She was posing for the cover of Runner’s World magazine. It never occurred to Sarah Palin, when she leaned on a disheveled American flag and held up two Blackberries to the camera, that her legs peeking out from those running shorts would end up on the cover of Newsweek.

On her Facebook page, Sarah Palin is calling out Newsweek for sexism:

“The choice of photo for the cover of this week’s Newsweek is unfortunate. When it comes to Sarah Palin, this ‘news’ magazine has relished focusing on the irrelevant rather than the relevant. The out-of-context Newsweek approach is sexist and oh-so-expected by now.”

On this, Sarah Palin has a point, and she’s right to pull the sexism card. The photograph is somewhat provocative, maybe a little undignified for a political figure, or someone who plays one on TV. Plus, her thighs look a little thick.

It’s a terrible thing, what female politicians must endure these days. Last year Hillary Clinton was called a lot of vile, despicable names from both sides of the political spectrum. She cried sexism back then too, and Sarah Palin was quick to jump to Clinton’s defense.

Oh no wait! No, she wasn’t:

“I think she does herself a disservice to even mention it, really. You’ve got to plow through that. You’ve got to know what you’re getting into, which – I say this with all due respect to Hillary Clinton and to her experience and to her passion for changing the status quo also – but when I hear a statement like that, coming from a woman candidate with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism, or, y’know, maybe that sharper microscope put on her, I think that, that doesn’t do us any good.

“Women in politics, women in general, wanting to progress this country, I don’t think it bodes well for her, a statement like that. Because, again, fair or unfair, it is there. I think that’s reality. And I think it’s a given. I think that people accept that she is going to be under that sharper microscope; so be it! Work harder, prove to an even greater degree that you’re capable, that you’re going to be the best candidate. And that’s what she wants us to believe at this point. So it bothers me a little bit, hearing her bring that attention to herself on that level.”

Sarah Palin, NEWSWEEK forum on Women in Leadership (March 2008)

Apparently, conservatives are heeding Palin’s call toward feminism. Media Matters reported last week that right-wing commenters have raised their consciousness about the very sensitive issue of rape.

  • “You’re being raped by your government – raped.” – Glenn Beck
  • “Obama said: ’You get up there and you rape ’em’ … get ready to get gang-raped again, folks!” – Rush Limbaugh
  • “The Statue of Liberty is disheveled and raped and she’s crying.” – Michael Savage

But alas, rape only arouses their ire when it is metaphorical.

Jamie Lee Jones was really, literally, gang-raped while working for KBR in one of those no-bid contracts in Iraq. But because of her contract with KBR, she cannot bring suit against the company or the fellow employees who treated her so brutally. She has no recourse at all.

Jamie Lee suffered the worst misogynistic treatment imaginable. Has Sarah Palin ever spoken out on her behalf? I must have missed the Twitter feed she sent out endorsing Senator Al Franken’s amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill, giving the right to sue to taxpayer-funded American contractors like Jamie Lee Jones, who are gang-raped by their fellow employees.

Thirty Senators voted against the Franken amendment – all Republicans.

But that was before they heard their leader and spiritual advisor Sarah Palin’s clarion call in support of women’s rights. … Then again, she never sounded the feminist alarm until Newsweek showed us her legs.

Check out our brand new Sarah Palin Mad Libs puzzle.