As NewsBusters reported Wednesday, the National Organization for Women finally responded to Bill Maher calling Sarah Palin a highly derogatory term for a woman's vagina, but did so without mentioning Maher's name, the program he said it on, or the television network he represents.
Later that day, while discussing with Fox News's Greta Van Susteren the double standard surrounding the difference between how liberal and conservative women are treated by members of the media, the former Alaska governor said, "By the way, I need NOW's defense like a fish needs a bicycle" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Well, are politics fair, and do women politicians who make a mistake get the same treatment as men when they make a mistake? Now, we know what Minnesota Congressman Michelle Bachmann thinks. She recently made a big gaffe making a mistake about the start of the Revolutionary War and she got hammered by the media for her gaffe. Congresswoman Bachmann admits her mistake but she is now crying foul. She says women, and especially conservative women, get treated more harshly than men for gaffes.
Now, she cites two examples gaffe. President Obama's gaffe when he said there are 57 states - there are not 57 states. And another one where he said 10,000 were killed in tornadoes in Kansas. So, what does Governor Palin think? Governor, let me ask what you think about that. I confess I've made a bazillion mistakes myself. But anyway, what do you think: are women treated differently than men in politics on gaffes?
SARAH PALIN: Yes, of course. Women are held to a different standard in all areas.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why?
PALIN: But my point is going to be, so what? You know, let's just work harder, produce more, produce better, and get over it. You know, I'm through whining about a liberal press that holds especially conservative women to a different standard because it doesn't do me any good to whine about it. I've made my point.
VAN SUSTEREN: Alright, now, okay, obviously, I mean like Bill Maher just used vulgarity with you, but the problem is you may say you are over it. But it is degrading to women, that's the problem. And maybe, okay, well let, Governor Sarah Palin, she's over it, she may not care, it's water off a duck's back and everything like that. But the problem is you got a daughter, your daughter's got friends, everyone watching here's got a sis, probably got a mother but a sisters. It's degrading, and, and it really does need to be fair.
PALIN: Well, we wish that it were fair, but nobody's ever promised that life was going to be fair. In politics it really isn't fair. There's scrutiny, the double standards and all that. Again, when it affects me personally, I'm dealing with it I guess in a different way than others, others who want to bring more light to it and demand that Bill Maher apologize or that NOW defend me for something that was said about me. By the way, I need NOW's defense like a fish needs a bicycle. I don't want them to defend me.
But my point is when a shot is taken at me, you know, it is water off a duck's back because I know the important things in life that we need to concentrate on, especially the national and international issues that are so important in our country. But you're right - when it comes to other women, when it comes to my daughters, when it comes to you Greta. If somebody says something that is not true or is spun in such a...
VAN SUSTEREN: I got my Irish brothers. I got Hannity and O'Reilly to come back and punch them. I got my Irish brothers.
PALIN: Well, then, yeah, you know, I'm not going to retreat on that. I'll reload and I'll tell them what I think about them and hold them accountable for what it is that they say about other women, because in that respect it's not fair.
Exit question: Palin has been rightfully bashing the media for years. Is she really done with that, or has she gotten to the point where she sees Maher as small potatoes and will be right back on the attack when a bigger fish unjustifiably disparages her or her family?
*****Update: NBer Blonde points out in the comments section that Palin may have gotten this line from a U2 song called "Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around the World" wherein Bono sings, "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." However, he's not the first person to say this.
Its derivation goes back to Australian writer Irina Dunn and was later popularized by feminist Gloria Steinem, which means Palin's remark might have been a double-edged whack the women's movement.