Women Aren't Real Conservatives

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"The next appointment, for Chief Justice, is not going to be a woman, so we're going to see two real conservatives on the court." So says Susan Estridge Estrich, who apparently doesn't think a woman can be a real conservative. This was after announcing that John Roberts is a nice guy, a friendly guy, but a hardcore conservative, as if that's an unusual combination. She's one of the better liberal analysts on cable news. This sort of thing is really out of character for her. I guess her acknowledged disappointment that a woman didn't get nominated has thrown her a bit loopy.

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who apparently doesn't think a woman can be a real conservative

No, apparently she thinks that all men are real conservatives. She might also think that a woman can't be a real conservative, but you can't tell that from her statement.

That is the logical entailment, but I think she was trying to get the conversational implicature that women aren't real conservatives. She had just been talking about really wanting Edith Clement. The idea was that a Bush appointee is going to be conservative, but if it's a woman she won't be as conservative.

If we're going to get away from what she really said and into what she was trying to convey, I think a more likely account is that Estridge had a pretty good idea of Bush's short list. And of what she know of that short list the only potentials who were not "real conservatives" were women.

This is bolstered by the fact that she really wanted Edith Clement. In light of that, your statement "The idea was that a Bush appointee is going to be conservative, but if it's a woman she won't be as conservative." should read: " The idea was that a Bush appointee is going to be conservative, but if it's this particular woman she won't be as conservative." Taken this way, Estridge is not making a generalization about women and "real conservatives", but about one particular woman not being a "real conservative" (whatever that means).

I could be wrong as I have no idea what the context was, but that was my first interpretation of what she meant.

As for the "Roberts is a nice guy, a friendly guy, but a hardcore conservative" comment, it seems to me that she is complimenting someone who she disagrees with politically. Why do you take as some sort of insult? Especially if, as you say, "This sort of thing is really out of character for her."

I dunno. I didn't hear it. And I have no idea who Estridge is, so it's not like I have a vested interest in defending her. But her comments seemed pretty benign to me.

That's more plausible. She did talk about some other women who were more conservative, but she didn't talk about any other men.

I just couldn't imagine saying of someone, "He's a nice guy, but he's a liberal." That just sounds rude, as if the second part of it conflicts with the first. "He's a nice liberal" or "he's a nice conservative" is a little better. They still all sound unfriendly, even though she's saying he's friendly.

That just sounds rude, as if the second part of it conflicts with the first.

Well, it would be rude if it came out of nowhere. But if she was just talking about wanting Edith Clement precicely because she is less conservative, then it doesn't really seem rude to say that the actual nominee is a plenty nice guy but too conservative for her.

No, that's not the context. She was excited that Clement's name was being thrown around precisely because Clement is a woman. She certainly preferred her to other women's names that were being thrown around, but the general context was her disappointment at hearing his name after looking forward all day to the announcement of a woman.

Oh, well never mind. I guess Estridge's comment is a little odd then.

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