May 29, 2009
Back in 1995, Newt Gingrich famously concluded menstruation rendered women unfit for combat roles in the military. Now just two days after Gingrich branded Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor “racist,” convicted Watergate felon and right-wing radio host G. Gordon Liddy agreed that both of Newt’s arguments disqualify Sotomayor. Period.
After echoing Tom Tancredo’s slander that the National Council of La Raza to which Sotomayor belongs is a “Latino KKK,” Liddy Thursday recycled Gingrich’s theory of menstrual disqualification:
“Let’s hope that the key conferences aren’t when she’s menstruating or something, or just before she’s going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then.”
If that pathetic formula sounds familiar, it should. As the New York Times recounted 14 years ago, Newt suggested menstruation should keep women out of essential roles in the American military, if not off the bench:
“If combat means living in a ditch, females have biological problems staying in a ditch for 30 days because they get infections, and they don’t have upper-body strength. I mean, some do, but they’re relatively rare. On the other hand, men are basically little piglets — you drop them in the ditch, they roll around in it, doesn’t matter, you know.”
Unsurprisingly, Rush Limbaugh, now a fellow propagator of Gingrich’s “racist” smear of Sotomayor, back in 1990 made menstruation the sneering centerpiece of his critique of women in American public life. In his case, Limbaugh redeployed menstruation myths to pillory the National Organization of Women:
“We know that women in groups — same office, same dormitory, same barracks — eventually have synchronized menstrual cycles. We also know that there is this thing called PMS, and we know that it turns a woman into a hellion. We know that PMS has been used as a defense against a charge of murder. Here’s my proposal: We have 52 battalions. We can prepare the nation so that we have on any given week of the year a combat-ready battalion of Amazons to go into battle. Imagine that you are Manuel Antonio Noriega. You are in the Papal Nuncio in Panama City. You feel safe. All of a sudden, you hear this bloodcurdling scream outside: ‘I AM OUTRAGED!’ And there is Sgt. Maj. Molly Yard leading a battalion of Amazons with PMS over the hill! That would be enough to scare the pants off anybody.”
Of course, the only scared people in 2009 are the likes of Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy. The prospect of another woman on the United States Supreme Court is apparently more than these piglets can handle.