Marcia Pappas, the President of the New York State chapter of the National Organization of Women, gained a bit of notoriety on Monday when she called Sen. Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama the "ultimate betrayal" of women. The logic went something like this: Kennedy's endorsement was driven not by shared political beliefs but rather a patriarchal mentality that women like Sen. Hillary Clinton should not, be president.
Provocative, to be sure. But, it turns out, not the first (or perhaps most) controversial statement made by the NOW head in the 2008 campaign. Weeks earlier, in a organizational press release, Pappas described the reaction to Clinton's now famous "crying" moment in New Hampshire as a "psychological gang bang" -- similar to the raping of Jodi Foster's character in The Accused.
"We've all witnessed scenarios where, on the playground little girls are being taunted by little boys while both girls and boys stand idle, afraid to speak up or even cheering," Pappas wrote. "Then there was that movie where Jodie Foster portrayed the true story of woman who was ganged raped in a bar while others looked on and encouraged the realization... This past week, we witnessed just such a phenomenon involving men who are afraid of a powerful woman. Hillary Clinton, in her quest for her Presidential nomination, has in fact endured infantile taunting and wildly inappropriate commentary. Indeed we have witnessed almost comical attacks by John Edwards who in turn sided with Barak [sic] Obama as both snickered at Clinton's 'breakdown,' which consisted of a very short dewy-eyed moment."
The press release, titled "Psychological Gang Bang of Hillary is Proof We Need a Woman President," was released on January 11. In it, Pappas offered scathing criticism of Sen. John Kerry - much in the way she did Kennedy - for choosing to endorse Obama. The former Democratic presidential nominee, she penned, was joining the "playground gang."
"John's recent alliance with Barak [sic] sent a clear message to women everywhere," she wrote. "The message is that if a woman gets too powerful, she can count on the good ole boys ganging up on her. Hillary is a powerful, strong and intelligent woman and she deserves our support. Let us remember what we as women's rights supporters, are charged to do: SUPPORT WOMEN!"
All of this, ironically, was written in the aftermath of a moment of Clinton triumph: her come-from-behind victory in the New Hampshire primary. Though, to be fair, that event was also addressed.
"When women in New Hampshire could vote in private, they came out in droves for Hillary," wrote Pappas. "What happened is that women stood up and said "We're fed up and we're not going to take it anymore! We won't sit idly by and watch, while you gang bang one of us."