“B-b-but it’s a joke! It’s for Colbert’s show!” Yeah, but who’s the joke on? It’s intended as a goof on “mansplaining,” I guess, but given that her list is composed of *mostly* inane nonsense, it plays almost as well as a goof on feminists for whining about “mansplaining” in even the most trivial contexts. The politics of this gag work this way, I think: Start with a subject that leftist women really do think men shouldn’t speak up about — “what women do with their bodies,” a.k.a. killing an unborn child whether the child’s father objects or not — and then use the absurdity of the rest of the list to soften the blow from that first hard shot, precisely so that McCaskill can claim it was a big goof if she gets in trouble for it. It’s a version of Jon Stewart’s clown nose on/clown nose off routine.
And McCaskill’s happy to participate despite the small risk of a headache she’s running by doing this because it’s a favor to her frenemy Hillary, who’s going to run a campaign next year based mostly on gender identity politics. If McCaskill’s a loyal soldier for Clinton, maybe she’ll atone sufficiently for her endorsement of Obama in 2008 to land a job in the next administration. That’s a better play for her than trying to win reelection in Missouri, a state that Obama lost twice (by nearly 10 points in 2012). She got lucky twice over the last time she ran, not only landing a flawed opponent in Todd Akin but benefiting from higher Democratic turnout since it was a presidential election year. Her seat is up again in 2018, a midterm election where Republicans typically fare better, and GOP leaders will make sure she has stiffer competition next time than Akin. If she’s going all in on stunts like this, it means she’s either going to run the same dumb “war on women” campaign she ran last time albeit under much less favorable conditions or she’s planning to retire and hoping that being a surrogate for Hillary (note the mention of “pantsuits” here) will earn her a position in a new Democratic government. Either way, good riddance.
Exit question via Ashe Schow: Is there any other group that could safely be lampooned on TV with a list like this? Besides whites, I mean.