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The Condi rumor mill swirls

During Condi Rice’s appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the other day, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said this to the Secretary of State about Dear Leader’s escalation plans for Iraq:

“Who pays the price?” Boxer asked Rice, who is unmarried and doesn’t have children. “I’m not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You’re not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families.”

This caused the White House to go apesh*t. Tony Snow:

White House spokesman Tony Snow called Boxer’s remarks, made during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting Thursday, “outrageous.”

…”Here you’ve got a professional woman, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Barbara Boxer is sort of throwing little jabs because Condi doesn’t have children, as if that means that she doesn’t understand the concerns of parents,” Snow said. “Great leap backward for feminism,” he added.

I’m not even bothering with the dumbass hypocrisy of the Freepers re: Boxer’s comments this time around, but you can read the knuckledraggers if you wish. Here’s just one choice comment that should be thrown back in their faces whenever a single, childless female Dem politician is tagged with the dyke label from the swamp:

Actual Freeper Quote
Remaining childless makes Condi look MORE respectful of children: One CAN’T “Do it all,” and do it well. Children often get warehoused by overachieving parents. Condi made a rational, responsible decision. If you earn a Ph.D. and rise to prominence, something’s “had to give” or be sacrificed, usually attention to your children (unless your husband stays at home, unlikely for someone who would be Condi’s partner, she would probably be attracted to a person similar to herself…)

I suppose that the right (and single, childless women) could get all hot and bothered about this if they didn’t read all of Boxer’s comment — she included herself in those who aren’t paying the price because she doesn’t have any immediate family in the military.

Besides, how come the right wing’s collective knicker-twisting was nowhere to be found after the First Lady took a swipe at Condi’s personal situation in a very direct way, during an interview with People mag, when asked about the possibility of a woman as President:

But it isn’t easy to live here. Dr. (Condoleezza) Rice, who I think would be a really good candidate, is not interested. Probably because she is single, her parents are no longer living, she’s an only child. You need a very supportive family and supportive friends to have this job.

Keith Olbermann didn’t fail to notice Laura Bush’s comments, either. See the video after the flip…

In any case, all of this overreaction has stirred up the rumor mill about Condi’s sexual orientation again. Is this something that the right wants to squash pronto because they are afraid it’s true — or false — or what? It’s certainly a sore spot for whatever reason. John sees it as well:

One thing I’ve learned is that conservatives flip out the most when they think you’ve found their weak spot. For example, when people questioned Bush’s intelligence at the beginning of his term (pre-9/11), the conservatives flipped out (remember when the Canadian press secretary mentioned that Bush was a bit of a dodo?). The conservatives didn’t flip out because they thought the charge was wrong or rude or inappropriate – but rather, they flipped out because they knew the charge to be true, and incredibly damaging to the president. After all, imagine how history might have come out differently had the American people known in 2000 what an arrogant dimwit our president-to-be really was? The pattern is repeated often in conservative circles. The moment an enemy hits close to home, conservatives flip out in order to ensure the enemy never dares go there again.

What that suggests in the case of the Condi uproar is that, I think, the White House and conservative activists like FOX News are deathly afraid of Condi’s unmarried status and what it might suggest about her sexual orientation. Condi is a potential future Republican presidential, or VP, candidate. She is a rising star (or at least was until the Iraq fiasco) in a party that has few stars left. And if Condi were to turn out to be a bit light in the Manolos, it wouldn’t go over too well with the family values crowd that controls the Republican party.

It didn’t help matters when Rice flipped out the right wing when she enthusiastically swore in the new Global AIDS Coordinator, Mark Dybul, taking care to purposefully acknowledge his partner, Jason Claire who was at his side.

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(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“I am truly honored and delighted to have the opportunity to swear in Mark Dybul as our next Global AIDS Coordinator. I am pleased to do that in the presence of Mark’s parents, Claire and Richard, his partner, Jason, and his mother-in-law, Marilyn…You have a wonderful family to support you, Mark, and I know that’s always important to us. Welcome.

The Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg sounded like Condi had just installed a disco ball and started playing house music, saying

“We have to face the fact that putting a homosexual in charge of AIDS policy is a bit like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. But even beyond that, the deferential treatment that was given not only to him but his partner and his partner’s family by the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is very distressing…So, for her to treat his partner like a spouse and treat the partner’s mother as a mother-in-law, which implies a marriage between the two partners, is a violation of the spirit if not the letter of the Defense of Marriage Act,

The one thing that is painfully apparent in all of this is the fact that women in politics are still behind the 8-ball, regardless of party affiliation, when it comes to being judged for their relationships, sexual orientation, childbearing, even hairstyles and hemlines, in ways that men are never under scrutiny for. [Houston City Controller Annise Parker had much to say about this phenomenon at the International Gay and Lesbian Leadership Conference back in November.]

So, is she or isn’t she? If she’s deep in the professional closet as many of these DC GOPers are, we’ll likely never know.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding