Speaking of conservative slurs against leftists for California Governor, this Susan Estrich column has achieved a popularity online completely out of proportion with its substance. Estrich's essential argument: Being a good female politician means being a good woman, being a good woman means being a good mother, and being a good mother means not running for public office if your family doesn't want you to. Estrich throws a few more classic gender-tinged insults at her for good measure - Huffington is a manipulative siren seducing liberal men; Huffington is a heartless social climber and political chameleon who only cares about using others for power; Huffington is a neglectful mother who cares too much about her career. Michael Huffington says she is very seductive. I guess. He's admitted to being bisexual, and she got him to marry her... But when it costs you your kids, when the kids ask you not to do it, when they move out . . . whew. If you don't get that right, Jackie Kennedy used to say, what difference does anything else make? You're only as happy as your least happy kid, one of my friends always says. I guess that's not true of Arianna Huffington. She looks pretty happy these days. There's a strong argument that with the Democratic party uniting behind Cruz Bustamante - a man who for all his faults is well to the left of Gray Davis and could be the first Latino governor of the nation's largest state - Arianna's stated goal to represent a real left alternative in the vacuum left by the refusal of Democrats to run no longer applies, and her promise not to be "a spoiler" in the race rings empty. While I agree with more of Arianna's politics, were I a California voter my vote at this point would go to Bustamante. But the "madonna/whore" type of attack Estrich makes is simply absurd. On her new campaign blog, Arianna writes: Leaving aside her completely inaccurate description of my relationship with my children - based on nothing other than my ex-husband's one-note rants - it was like reading a piece written in 1903, not 2003. Or even 1973. I guess we haven't come as long a way, baby as we thought. I assumed we were long past the argument over whether you could be a woman, a leader, and a mother without having the powers-that-be shaking their heads and pulling out the slime. My thoughts exactly.

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