I agree with Tom here.
Except that I don't.
The sexism and misogyny Hillary Clinton has had to face as a candidate for President is loathsome, despicable, vile, and probably a symptom of a class-wide sexual dysfunction among our elite pundits.
But it is not Obama's or Edwards' jobs to fight it. At least not until, and unless, she wins the nomination.
This is what Hillary volunteered to take on. She knew what she would have to deal with. In fact part of her pitch for herself is that she's the Democrat best-prepared and best-equipped to take the fight to the Right Wing Conspirators, their Noise Machine, and their apologists, toadies, flunkies, and moles in the National Press Corps.
If Obama is the nominee, the attacks on him will be as vicious, loathsome, despicable, and vile, and racist.
And if Edwards is the nominee, the attacks on him will vicious, loathsome, despicable, and vile, and homophobic, (Cf. Haircuts, Breck Girl.) with the nifty little fillip of accusations of his being a commie subversive and a populist demagogue and a hypocrite and phony---that snotty rich boy with all his pretend concern about the poor and the working stiffs of this country, like he cares about people who are like...well...like his parents.
Whichever one is the nominee will have to fight off attacks on their patriotism, courage, commitment to waging the endless war on terror, etc.
Clinton has more or less boasted that she can defend herself in ways the others can't.
Complaining about the sexism and misogyny on the campaign trail is like signing up to run a marathon in San Francisco and then complaining about the hills or going camping by a stream in Alaska and being outraged to find grizzly bears on the banks poaching the salmon.
This is the lay of the land Clinton did not enter without a map. These are the critters that live in these woods and she did not go in there without a field guide.
The women-haters are not going to be shamed into enlightenment. The racists will not grow tolerant. The fact that a woman and a black man are two of the people most likely to be the next President of the United States is not a transformative lesson for them. It is what is infuriating them.
I'm not saying Clinton's supporters shouldn't complain. Obama and Edwards don't need to do it, but Bob Kerrey should be out there screaming bloody murder.
And posts like Tom's and those by the bloggers he links to are necessary.
But Obama and Edwards are her opponents at the moment. I can't see how they could come to her defense without seeming to be endorsing her. They may not be behaving like gentlemen, but I believe they are treating Hillary Clinton pretty much as they'd treat another man if that man was the front runner, leaving her to fight her own battles and looking for advantage in whatever is causing her to slip.
She's been doing the same in regards to them.
(Edwards may have looked for a little too much advantage on this one.)
If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, then I will expect Barack Obama and John Edwards to become two of her most outspoken knights-errant.
If Obama or Edwards is the nominee, I will expect Hillary Clinton to become one of their most vociferous champions.
Until then, though, they are each on their own and have to fight their own their own fights.
I think Clinton's up to it.
She seems to have handled this one just right.
Related: Glenn Greenwald on the monster that's already rising out of the lake to go after Obama.
And, as for Edwards, there's this editorial from the New York Times.
Mostly it's about what a woeful pack of human anachronisms is running for the Republican nomination, but it includes this what I'm sure the writer thought was a positive paragraph about the Democratic field:
Then came the four Democrats: the woman, the African-American, the Hispanic American, the coiffed Southern lawyer. They seemed younger, livelier and clearly to be living in 21st-century America.
Excuse me. The coiffed Southern lawyer? Coiffed?
There's that haircut again.
And, by the way, real men get hair cuts. Women get coiffured. Know what I mean? A wink is as good as a nudge, eh?