“But, more importantly, this line of defense is deeply sexist. You can’t say that [Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s] gender is irrelevant in the political campaign and then give her points for not fainting under the pressure of male criticism. Can you imagine anyone ever saying that Margaret Thatcher should have gotten points for withstanding the parliamentary barracking she got on a regular basis — because a woman isn’t expected to be able to stand up against a bunch of men? Please.
“And then you realize that Clinton’s flacks don’t even believe in the ability of women to be involved in politics without apology, excuse or cheap and easy invocation of the female defense. They use feminism the way they use everything else: as a tool to gain personal power. What’s next? Congratulating her that she didn’t burst into tears? [. . .] She can’t play the gender card both ways.”
— Andrew Sullivan, writing on “The Clintonites Panic II,” at the Daily Dish blog (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com)