(Tom Toles)
Editorial cartoonist

Here we go again, and again, and again. Democrats are not allowed to have a strong female leader. Who says so? The Republicans. Who listens? Democrats.

We are now back to the “polarizing” Nancy Pelosi. The GOP kept beating on the “polarizing” Hillary Clinton as long as it could, and long after she was out of office, or even running for one. Their polling must have told Republicans that it wasn’t working anymore. So now what? Now back to the “polarizing” Pelosi. Why Pelosi? Because she is a woman. Because she is effective. What’s with this “polarizing” thing? It mostly comes from nowhere except the GOP demonization machine.

I don’t recall Pelosi even being in the news much lately, except in an entirely unrelated internal issue of Democratic Party leadership. The “polarizing” charge is a self-fulfilling consequence of Republicans’ hysterical screaming that she is “polarizing.” Make no mistake: This is fundamentally the same self-fulfilling charge that they made against Clinton. Republicans insist that any powerful Democratic woman is “polarizing.” They say it so loud and so repeatedly that they make it so. The crazed and simply irrational hatred of Clinton was so disconnected from any actual facts that it became impossible to even have a conversation about it. Somehow she was uniquely, historically, unredeemably “polarizing.” Until she left the political stage. Then, back to Pelosi! Somehow, by the most amazing coincidence, she is uniquely, historically, unredeemably “polarizing.”

Have you ever listened to Pelosi speak? She is calm, measured, intelligent, focused and very, very informed. Like Clinton. How exactly is this “polarizing”? Because Republicans insist that it is. And why do they say it? Because Pelosi and Clinton are smart, talented, determined Democratic women.

Is it ALWAYS women they do this to? No, not always. Let’s think of a calm, measured, intelligent, very informed Democrat who wasn’t a woman, who Republicans insisted was uniquely, historically, unredeemably polarizing. Oh yeah, Barack Obama. Maybe there’s a pattern of some sort or other here.

You want to know who really is the uniquely, historically, unredeemably “polarizing” actor? The current Republican Party, which foments and feasts on this form of politics.