"Henny Penny Harridan', today's piece by Maureen Dowd in the NY Times, is demonstrative of an unattractive little corner of Ms. Dowd's mind. Luckily the vast majority of the landscape of her brain is wondrous; it's only when she has to deal with women in power that the purple loose-strife and the fragmiaties become invasive.
Much of her piece today is correct. Sen. Clinton is in a difficult predicament in triangulating her position on the war in Iraq. By why is it necessary to use words like "harridan", and "henny penny?" Dowd asserts that the need for Rumsfeld to leave is obvious to all but W. and Cheney - so why compare Clinton's articulation of this fact to the "Queen of Hearts, delivering her climatic demand for his head."
The fact that Sen. Clinton's position on whether or not we should got to war in Iraq was the wrong one, does not make Rumsfeld's gross incompetence irrelevant. Clinton was right to insist on Rumsfeld's appearance before the committee, and she was right to lambaste him for his pathetic performance as Secretary of Defense. I have no problem with Dowd's delight in mocking Sen Clinton, even though she was more forceful than any other committee member in calling attention to the failures of this administration.
My problem is that Dowd chose a moment when Clinton was doing the right thing to make fun of her, thus taking the chance that the mockery of the person would be mixed up with the mocking of the person's position. Using sexist stereotypes only muddles the mix further.