You don't have to be Gloria Steinem to figure out why the same sound bite shows up in story after story about last night's California debate. Here's The Boston Globe's version:
Huffington shouted down Schwarzenegger when he tried to interrupt her comments about the state budget. "This is the way you treat women, we know that," she said.
"I have a perfect part for you in `Terminator 4,' " he shot back with a grin. In Schwarzenegger's most recent movie, "Terminator 3," his character dunks a woman's head in a toilet.
Schwarzenegger has a ready defense when people criticize that T3 scene and the glee with which he's described it to interviewers:
"I saw this toilet bowl. How many times do you get away with this — to take a woman, grab her upside down and bury her face in a toilet bowl?" he said. "The thing is, you can do it, because in the end, I didn't do it to a woman — she's a machine!...."
I think an awful lot of people who enjoyed his attacks on Huffington last night follow a similar line of reasoning: it's OK to attack Huffington because she's on the far side of a line that separates real women from unnatural monsters. A few comments from the debate discussion at Lucianne Goldberg's site:
When her husband left her for another man, it did something to her psyche and now everyone else is paying the price.
She is the most annoying female nothing but a fishwife.
Ari is shrill , sour , a driven self important witch with giant control dreams .
Arianna makes Hildebeast sound sane. What a shrill.
Huffinpuff is fast becoming the obnoxious equal to the PIAPS.
"Hildebeast" and "PIAPS" are, of course, pet right-wing names for Hillary Clinton; the former is self-explanatory; the latter stands for "Pig in a Pants Suit."
"Shrill" women aren't real women. Witches, pigs, shrews, and beasts aren't even quite human. So they're OK targets for a "real man."