ADDED: Salon's Joan Walsh wrote:
I knew Edwards was making news when she criticized Clinton, but she was definitely not calling her a man, which is one of the GOP's favorite slurs against Hillary Clinton. This is the last, best hope of the Republicans to hold onto the White House: to brand the leading candidate, who happens to be female, as too mannish, while slurring the leading men -- John Edwards and Barack Obama -- as girly. Meanwhile, President Bush is the swaggering moron who won't ask for directions even though he's 100 miles off course, and the 2008 GOP lineup is a parody of masculinity -- not to mention a Mount Rushmore of infidelity. According to an Associated Press poll released today, GOP primary voters are still longing for someone different to throw his or her hat into the race. Elizabeth Edwards' point was to question Democrats who are making a straight gender pitch for women to support Clinton -- or for African-Americans to support Obama -- which is absolutely fair game.Walsh is complaining about one of Drudge's headlines. But when does the GOP use the word "man" against Hillary? I mean, there may be insinuations that she's insufficiently feminine, but I'm not seeing anyone actually calling her a man. So why is Walsh bitching about Drudge idiocy and then committing the same offense?
Anyway, there is an elaborate gender subtext in the 2008 campaign, and Elizabeth Edwards is playing her part in it. She's pretty subtle about it, but she is using gender to score points. So what Drudge did worked as hyperbole. I could see blogging that interview and making a wisecrack to the effect that Elizabeth Edwards is saying Hillary's a man. Drudge sets his own standards for what his page is supposed to be. It's not quite normal headlines. Sometimes he twists things around for comical effect.
The main problem, I think -- and I've blogged about this before -- is when he puts something in quotes that doesn't appear in text at the link. Today, he had: "Gender Bender: Wife Edwards Says Hillary 'Behaving Like a Man.'" And "behaving like a man" did not appear at the link. You could do fake quotes. The Onion does. But I don't think that's Drudge's standard approach. That's what makes it seem wrong.
MORE: Katharine Q. Seelye writes in TimesSelect:
[I]t seems that there’s something about Mrs. Clinton that is clearly frustrating to Mrs. Edwards....Yeah, she's beating the hell out of her husband.
The Edwards campaign may find that such pointed remarks help Mr. Edwards raise money, as Mrs. Edwards’s confrontation with Ann Coulter did a few weeks ago. But it may also find that they overshadow her husband and his message.I'm thinking it's actually pretty smart of EE to strike out like this. There's something a little annoying about sending the woman (who's a wife) out to attack the woman (who's a candidate), but EE is very appealing, and the Edwards marriage is quite a bit more appealing than the Clinton marriage. And Hillary has been using Bill.