You thought Maureen Dowd’s “Mean Girls” column-in which she referred to the female Republicans now running for office as “nihilistic cheerleaders”-was wacky? (See here and here.)

Well, Melinda Hennenberger-whose delicate sensibilities came unhinged when Sharron Angle “ridiculed” Harry Reid (she told him to “man up” and admit Social Security is in trouble)-ponders the possibility that the crop of Republican women may encourage bullying:

And shouldn’t we at least be asking whether there’s any connection between these increasingly common taunts, from candidates who act like they’re in the seventh grade, and the heartbreaking recent spate of bullying of and attacks on gay kids?

Melinda, the question is asked and answered: no.  Unless, of course, you are referring to bullying by mean girls such as Maureen and yourself.

Hennenberger seems to realize that it’s hard to make her case:

Of course the nine New York thugs – the Latin King Goonies, they like to be called – who recently tortured two teenagers and a 30-year-old in a homophobic rage were not literally taking their cues from the cutesy put downs used by female Senate candidates like Sharron Angle (R-Nev.) and Robin Carnahan (D-Mo.). But do we really need any more reminders that squirreliness about sexuality regularly leads to violence? How can we tell our kids that both words and actions have consequences and then elect leaders who run around pointing groinward and laughing?

I guess including Democrat Robin Carnahan is what passes for bipartisanship. But it’s really the Republican women who bug Hennenberger::

Most, though not all, of the women mocking an adversary’s lack of political cojones are Republican, too, and that’s actually quite odd to me. According to their own narrative, weren’t conservative women supposed to be the ones who liked men – and hated seeing them put down? Isn’t there something disconsonant about touting womb-to-tomb respect for life, then shouting about testicles in any language?

I keep trying to imagine my seriously conservative Aunt Virginia, regent of the DAR — who wore pumps and full makeup to pick up her dry cleaning, who signed me up for the Phyllis Schlafly Report in the seventh grade, and who would have given Ronald Reagan her last nickel — saying such a thing, but I can’t get there. Nor am I at all sorry about that.

For better and worse, these aren’t Elizabeth Dole-style Republicans, but I hope they haven’t permanently jettisoned what I liked best about the conservative women I grew up around, which is that they really were ladies.

And maybe you remember how they used to ridicule the “adoring gaze” of the ladylike Republican ladies?

What the Maureen-Melinda attack is is really a bunch of middle-aged commentators throwing a hissy fit because they’ve been going around claiming to speak for women for years and now a feisty and independent-minded bunch of women who are think nothing like them (and in several cases haven’t had  their advantages) are rising to the top.

Maureen, Melinda: Man up.