The Rant 


In Internet circles, that's the acronym for "It's OK if you're a

Republican," the recurring phenomenon in which Republicans get a pass for

behavior that would doom Democrats.

In the past couple of weeks, there's been no shortage of IOKIYAR incidents.

Once upon a time, teen pregnancy was bad. "Bearing children out-of-wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child's parents, and society," wrote right-wing leader James Dobson. But that was before one of their own was involved.

With unwed 17-year-old Bristol Palin's pregnancy suddenly in the news, what had previously been a societal ill became the most wonderful thing in the world. Bristol had "chosen life!" All other teen mothers also "chose life," of course, but they don't have the good fortune of being born to the Republican vice-presidential nominee.

Even conservative writer Byron York of the National Review, struck by this blatant example of IOKIYAR, observed, "If the Obamas had a 17-year-old daughter who was unmarried and pregnant by a tough-talking black kid, my guess is that if they all appeared onstage at a Democratic convention and the delegates were cheering wildly, a number of conservatives might be discussing the issue of dysfunctional black families."

Asked to comment on the situation, the McCain camp responded: "The bottom line is no, we're not concerned about it. [Bristol] chose life when it came down to it." Sarah and Todd Palin's Bristol statement declared, "We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby."

It was surprising to see Republicans talk the language of "choice," given they've fought so long to deny that choice to other women. Then again, IOKIYAR.

As is community organizing. Ironically, a theme of the recent Republican convention was "service." In George H.W. Bush's inaugural speech in 1989, he said, "I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the nation, doing good. We will work hand in hand, encouraging, sometimes leading, sometimes being led, rewarding."

But apparently, community organizing is okay only if you are a Republican, since convention speeches by Rudy Giuliani, Palin, and others mocked Barack Obama's work as a community organizer.

Remember, IOKIYAR. Like using sexism as a shield to hide from legitimate political criticism. When Hillary Clinton complained about media sexism during her primary campaign earlier this year, none other than Sarah Palin said, "When I hear a statement like that coming from a woman candidate, with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism or, you know, maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think that doesn't do us any good, women in politics, women in general wanting to progress this country."

"Perceived whining"? IOKIYAR. "The Republican Party will not stand by while Governor Palin is subjected to sexist attacks," said top GOP surrogate Carly Fiona, in an effort to shield Palin from legitimate criticism of her shocking lack of qualifications for high office.

And what about those qualifications for the office of vice president? When Virginia governor (and former Richmond mayor) Tim Kaine's name was floated as a potential Democratic vice-presidential pick this summer, top GOP strategist Karl Rove mocked his experience on Face the Nation: "He was mayor of the 105th-largest city in America. ... It's smaller than Chula Vista, California, Aurora, Colorado, Mesa or Gilbert, Arizona, North Las Vegas, or Henderson, Nevada. It's not a big town."

Richmond has a population of 200,123. Wasilla, Alaska, had a population of 6,000 during Palin's mayoral term. Not exactly a big town. But IOKIYAR.

Finally, how many flag pins did McCain and Palin wear during their convention speeches?


Markos Moulitsas is founder and publisher of Daily Kos and a columnist at The Hill.

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