Is Sarah Palin really a woman? That's the type of asinine question that could originate only in academia. And, right on cue, here's Wendy Doniger, a divinity professor at the University of Chicago, declaring an all-out assault on biology. Mrs. Palin's "greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman," the professor carped in a Washington Post blog entry. But she didn't stop there: "The Republican party's cynical calculation that because [Palin] has a womb and makes lots and lots of babies (and drives them to school! Wow!) she speaks for the women of America and will capture their hearts and their votes, has driven thousands of real women to take to their computers in outrage." The pernicious swipes at parenting aside, what to think about a professor who suggests that womanhood is defined by one's devotion to leftist orthodoxy, as if doctors stamp "liberal Democrat" on every female birth certificate? For me, it's another reminder that colleges are a reliable, if unintentional, source of comic relief. And maybe for you, there's a new benchmark to measure insanity: the University of Chicago's Divinity Department.
Not to be outdone by Ms. Doniger, History Department chairman Catherine McNicol Stock from Connecticut College implied that Mrs. Palin is a white supremacist. "It is hard to know where [Palin] stands on issues of race, equality and diversity," she writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer, noting that the "Pacific Northwest - called by many the 'Great White Northwest' - [is] the very region that Sarah Palin and her family call home." Ah, the logic: There are racists in the Pacific Northwest. Mrs. Palin lives in the Pacific Northwest. Therefore Mrs. Palin is a racist.
If that weren't enough, Ms. Stock asserts that the Alaska governor's convictions on traditional marriage, gun rights and abortion are "radical." Just how radical? Well, let's just say she names Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, and Terry Nichols, Timothy McVeigh's accomplice, while saying that Mrs. Palin's ideas "bear a comparison with some of the most notorious 'rural radicals' of our time." Someone please remind Ms. Stock that if she's concerned with domestic extremism, she may want to keep an eye out on Barack Obama's associates - to wit, William Ayers, the unrepentant bomb-thrower, and Jeremiah Wright, the racist reverend.
Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor, also threw his tinfoil hat in the ring. To him, Mrs. Palin is a theocrat, mirroring the mullahs of Saudi Arabia. A recent article by Mr. Cole on the left-leaning Salon.com was titled "What's the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick." Not content to make outlandish accusations on his own time, Andrew Hallam, an adjunct professor teaching English composition at Metro State College in Denver, required his class to write an essay blasting the Republican vice presidential nominee. Students were compelled to "undermine" what he described as Mrs. Palin's "fairy-tale" image. A college spokesman defended Mr. Hallam, arguing that it was his job to "provide opportunity for critical thinking and civic engagement." Exactly how does spoon-feeding leftist prejudices in a classroom foster "critical thinking"?
Lastly, an attack on Mrs. Palin wouldn't be complete without good old-fashioned Christian-bashing. Playing the predictable part is Nancy Hardesty, a professor of religion at Clemson University, who claims (wrongfully) that when Mrs. Palin "talks about using up our non-renewable resources, drilling on the North Slope and building the pipeline, it's almost with glee because in a sense it doesn't matter. All her brand of Christians may be gone before those things run out." Don't you just feel the tolerance - academia's cardinal virtue - oozing from these folks? Obviously, all college professors aren't leading malicious discussions about John McCain's running mate, but it's worth noting that the same insufferable vitriol dripping from the left over Mrs. Palin is virtually absent from any analyses of Joe Biden and Mr. Obama by conservative instructors - from the handful that exist.
When was the last time a conservative professor questioned Mr. Obama's blackness or maleness because of his positions on energy, tax cuts or abortion? Such blatant malevolence is notably missing. Sure, these liberal professors have a right to say whatever they want, but do we want people who exhibit those types of narrow-minded perspectives teaching our young minds? Apparently campus administrators do, since they keep hiring them.
It's no secret that academia is in the tank for Mr. Obama. Since the start of the presidential campaign, the Obama camp has received more than $10 million from the education industry, according to a report released last month by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan watchdog group. In fact, between Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain, "Eighty-nine percent of the education industry's contributions have gone to the Democrat." Eighty-nine percent. Such ideological purity is astonishing considering that nearly half of the country supports Mr. McCain.
And that, my friends, is what administrators and faculty mean when they proclaim their institutions to be bastions of diversity: heavy on leftist representation, short on a variety of ideas.
Jason Mattera, spokesman for Young America's Foundation, occasionally writes for The Washington Times.