Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels. And the last refuge of feminista scoundrels is whining that your enemies are ganging up on you because you’re a woman.

Last week California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer made a fool of herself shrieking during a committee hearing at Condoleezza Rice, President Bush’s appointee for secretary of state. Boxer’s performance was so embarrassing that several of her Democratic colleagues wished aloud that she would shut up. A Saturday Night Live skit lampooned her as a rat-haired screeching termagant lighting into an unflappable Rice. The contrast between madwoman-in-the-attic Boxer and her composed California Democratic colleague, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who’s supporting Rice’s nomination, couldn’t have been more stark.

Wouldn’t you know, though, Los Angeles Times columnist Margaret Carlson has come to Boxer’s defense today–and what a defense! The jist is: They’re picking on poor Barbara because they’re sexist pigs. Here’s an excerpt:

“Women don’t have a lot of leeway in how they comport themselves. Could any woman behave on TV like Bob Novak or Bill O’Reilly and get her own show? Female pundits are rarely called ‘sharp and incisive,’ only ‘shrill and strident.’ Women in politics have less margin for error. During his 30 years as a columnist, I can remember William Safire calling only one person a ‘congenital liar,’ and it just happened to be Hillary (D-Whitewater).

“In the Senate, you still hear women described as ‘ladylike’ The models for admission to the club are Sens. Elizabeth Dole and Dianne Feinstein, in their pumps and matronly dresses. If a woman takes on a man, she must do it in florid language or behind closed doors. If she takes on another woman, she’ll be labeled a catfighter, unless she’s a white-haired grandmother in triple strand pearls and does it in verse. (Remember when Barbara Bush called Geraldine Ferraro something that ‘rhymes with witch’?)”

I don’t know where to start on this one–what about Ann Coulter? I’d say that Carlson is caught in some sort of 1970s time warp, where real women wear combat boots (Sarah Jessica Parker, call your Manolos salesman!), and being called “ladylike” is an insult. And how about that little dig at Feinstein’s “matronly” hip-spread? Talk about catfighting!

Meanwhile, Boxer is now pretending that she, not Rice, was the victim of the Foreign Relations Committee farrago. Here’s how the Washington Times reports it:

“‘She turned and attacked me,’ the California Democrat told CNN’s “Late Edition” in describing the confrontation during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
“‘I gave Dr. Rice many opportunities to address specific issues. Instead, she said I was impugning her integrity,’ Mrs. Boxer said.

Actually, as Captain Ed Morissey points out on his blog, Boxer effectively called Rice a liar six times during the hearing, including making this statement:

 “I personally believe ‘ this is my personal view ‘ that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell this war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth.”

(Also see Patterico’s Pontifications for some pointed observations about who victimized whom at the hearing.) I guess this sort of thing makes Boxer a hero to Margaret Carlson and her kind. But to everyone else, Boxer’s a laughingstock.