“Asked why she is a better candidate than her Republican primary opponent Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Calif.), Fiorina said that a woman stands a better chance of defeating Boxer.

“‘With all due respect and deep affection for white men, I am married to one,’ Fiorina said at a breakfast at Americans for Tax Reform. ‘But [Barbara Boxer] knows how to beat them in California, she has done it over and over and over again.'”

“But it’s certainly not dirty pool for Fiorina to note the conventional wisdom, that for some women voters, or for some moderates, a female candidate is more appealing. Maybe it shouldn’t be that way, but it does, indeed, seem to be that way. (If you buy the conventional wisdom — which you don’t have to. But I don’t see the sin in noting that conventional wisdom.)

“And let me note: When Sarah Palin was attracting large swaths of previously-Obama-leaning women, no one objected and jumped up and down shouting ‘It’s not right that women are now inclined to vote Republican just because Sarah Palin is a woman! I renounce these votes!’

“If I remember right: We were all more than eager to accept those votes, even if they were cast for supposedly-bad reasons. In fact, I remember being positively giddy about that myself.”

“Now look just at Republicans: Republican men deem Palin ‘qualified’ by a margin of 60-38. But Republican women? Not even half think she is qualified: only 49%. 50% of Republican women say Palin is unqualified for the job.

“If you like Palin – well go ahead. It’s a free country. But quit saying that ‘the people’ love Sarah Palin.

“They don’t. Actually, they quite dislike her. The longer they know her, the more they dislike her. And even more than they dislike her, they do not respect her. That reaction of dislike and disrespect is most concentrated among American women.

“Sarah’s constituency is a relatively small cohort of conservative men. I offended a lot of these people last week by suggesting that there was some sexual dynamic at work in the enthusiasm for the politician whom Rush Limbaugh used to describe as ‘Governor Babe.’ So let’s put it this way: Whatever impulse it is that so excites Palin supporters, it is not shared by their wives.”