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It's a "Caricature" to Call Nancy Pelosi Liberal?

Robin Toner: "For Ms. Pelosi, relentlessly caricatured by the Republicans last year as a hard-edged, tax-raising liberal, the image of mother and grandmother takes the edge off the ideological cartoon."

Robin Toner, who reports on politics from a sociological perspective, celebrates the fact that women voters feel less defensive about voting for women who emphasize their "softer, domestic side" in her Monday front-page"political memo," "Women Feeling Freer to Suggest 'Vote for Mom.'"


Along the way Toner provides some labeling imbalance: "For Ms. Pelosi, relentlessly caricatured by the Republicans last year as a hard-edged, tax-raising liberal, the image of mother and grandmother takes the edge off the ideological cartoon. As Karen O'Connor, director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University, puts it, 'For Nancy Pelosi, it becomes, 'O.K., am I going to be the San Francisco liberal, or the woman who relates to all voting women, because I've raised five kids, I have several wonderful grandchildren and I can also run your House.'"


"Kate O'Beirne, Washington editor of National Review and a conservative analyst, said she believed Ms. Pelosi's imagery 'was probably effective.' (Although she quickly added, 'I don't see that as a welcome development.') Ms. O'Beirne said that 'the optics' of a speaker assuming power surrounded by children signaled 'a kinder, gentler, softer approach' to voters, particularly women, who are weary of a long and difficult war and the intense partisanship in Washington in recent years."


Notice that Toner has no problem labeling O'Beirne as a "conservative analyst," yet calling Pelosi a liberal is both an "ideological cartoon" and a "caricature." That's a word the Times has previously employed to defend both Pelosi and Sen. Hillary Clinton from charges of liberalism, even though a casual examination of their voting record shows Pelosi and Clinton well to the left end of the political spectrum.