Claiming she was treated just as badly as Sandra Fluke, Bristol Palin has suggested that maybe President Obama should give her a phone call too, just like how he gave Sandra Fluke a phone call. It appears that once again, a Palin not involved in a situation has managed to make something All About The Palins. But does she have a point?
Bristol's expressed her dissatisfaction over what she perceives to be an injustice in a blog post called Mr. President, When Can I Expect Your Call? In it, she compares public response to her family's travails with the way the public responded after Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute." Her problem with the whole thing was that she didn't see any liberals rushing to her aid when Obama supporter Bill Maher called her mom a cunt, or when he made tasteless jokes at her family's expense.
Bristol's right that Maher's making jokes about a child with Down Syndrome is a pretty crappy MO, as is making sexual jokes about a politician's daughter or calling Sarah Palin a cunt. Even though Maher may dream of a world where "cunt" is a gender-neutral word that can be hilariously deployed by a man against a woman without it seeming misogynist, it's still not a word that comes without baggage. And Bristol's right that often, liberal people in the media are more willing to overlook misogyny from the left wing than they are from the right. Because of this, there's now a pool of prominent left wing men that think they couldn't possibly be dismissive toward women because they're so politically liberal and hip, when the reality is they're just a different sort of boys' club that excludes and dismisses women in new, hip ways — and that's totally messed up.
But Bristol Palin's surprisingly bitter assertion that she should get a phone call from the President apologizing for the actions of his million-dollar donor and congratulating her for, uh, Bristol-ing is misguided at best, and laughably self-aggrandizing at worst. She writes,
I'm not expecting your Super PAC to return (Maher's) money. You're going to need every dime to hang on to your presidency. I'm not even really expecting a call. But would it be too much to expect a little consistency? After all, you're President of all Americans, not just the liberals.
The President doesn't owe every woman who has ever been called a cunt (or worse) a personal phone call; otherwise I'd have saved his number as "DON'T ANSWER" in my phone due to annoyance with his weekly "sorry someone just called you a cunt" soothe-dials. And he certainly doesn't owe Bristol Palin a phone call any more than he owes Kim Kardashian a phone call apologizing for John Hamm calling her stupid. Bristol Palin is not a politician, she's not a public advocate for a cause (unless you count self-promotion and carrying your baby around like a precious, horrible trophy from God as "public advocacy"). She's just the daughter of someone who used to almost be important trying to make a career for herself in reality television. She doesn't deserve to be insulted the way Maher insulted her, but she doesn't deserve a phone call from the President, either. Maybe a candygram from Nancy Pelosi.
At the same time, liberal comedians like Maher should take a hint from what happened to Rush Limbaugh. American women seem fairly sick of being shat on, and an election year may not be the best time to deploy the "LOL bitches amirite?" jokes if they want to encourage women disenfranchised by Republicans to come running back to the left side of the aisle. In fact, it's probably a good idea to ditch the misogynist jokes entirely, and embrace the philosophy that everyone's equally capable of being a dick, regardless of how many X chromosomes they have. And if that's out of the question, maybe it would be a good idea for the President to consider if the million dollars from Maher is worth it.