If you haven't read this article by Kate Sheppard about John McCain's bone-deep loathing of women, please do. I think, for a lot of us, it's easy to write off Republican pandering to sexism as a vote-getting ploy, an attempt to please the American Taliban. But that's a failure of imagination, because it neglects to observe the diversity of misogyny out there that expresses itself in anti-choice politics and opposition to laws outlawing discrimination. Let's not get caught up in the lies that right wingers tell about how their sexism is about "respecting" women by putting us in our places. Even the mythology---where women give up our jobs and submit to unequal marriages and mandatory childbirth in exchange for chivalrous treatment---is 100% bullshit. 1000% bullshit. Misogynists like John McCain hate women in colorful ways, that they feel free to express in many situations, not just in their voting records.
Commenters at Alternet were crying foul about the end of the article, where Sheppard links McCain's personal loathing of women to his policies, but I think it's actually very important. His policy choices are firmly linked with who he is as a person, and therefore we can expect that if he's elected, he'll continue to act on his belief that women aren't human beings. Because it's not pandering for him. He's a true believer, a dyed-in-the-wool misogynist. Let me quote her:
Then there's what we know about McCain's personal interactions with women. In his book The Real McCain, Cliff Schecter describes one stop during his 1992 Senate reelection bid. He writes, "At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, 'You're getting a little thin up there.' McCain's face reddened, and he responded, 'At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.' " (Schecter confirmed this remark with three reporters who were present when it was made.)
And at a 1998 Republican Senate fundraiser, McCain proffered this "joke": "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?" Answer: "Because her father is Janet Reno."
Then, there is McCain's response to a questioner in Hilton Head, S.C., last November, who asked, referring to Sen. Clinton: "How do we beat the bitch?" McCain responded: "Excellent question."
During this election campaign, McCain has taken to talking up the sexual conquests of his youth, perhaps to appeal himself to younger voters. In March, he told a crowd in Meridian, Miss.: "I remember with affection the unruly passions of youth." He then regaled them with a story of his exploits organizing an off-base toga party for his military pals and local girls.
In another campaign stop in Pensacola, Fla., McCain recalled his days as a Florida-based fighter pilot -- dating an exotic dancer known as the "Flame of Florida" and "blowing my pay at Trader Jon's," a local strip club. Abstinence-only must not apply for the boys.
Of course, it never did. Let us always remember that the lip service being paid towards male "integrity" in treating women is just lip service. Some of the hard right American Taliban might be comfortable with punishing male sexuality (though always less than female sexuality), but most wingnuttery thinks that putting all the responsibility not to do it on the shoulders of women is good enough, and a little rape that fills in the gaps is nothing but collateral damage.
This stuff is important. I'm not one to analyze everything a politician does or says in the worst possible light, but when they have a consistent pattern of behavior that lines up with policy choices---and McCain's personal misogyny lines up with his misogynist policy choices---then it is important. It drives home to your swing voters that this motherfucker is Not Kidding.