The Washington Post's Anne Kornblut must really want to portray Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton as having faced equal amounts of sexism, despite evidence to the contrary. That's the only way to explain this ridiculous passage:
Despite "lipstick on a pig," "beat the bitch," and "iron my shirt," the 2008 election wasn't just a collection of lowlights for female candidates. It was a chance for the country and for women running for high office to learn what it will take for a woman to someday assume the Oval Office.
Notice the difference between those three examples?
"Beat the bitch" is a reference to a McCain campaign event at which a supporter asked him how he would "beat the bitch," in reference to Clinton. (McCain's response? "That's an excellent question.")
"Iron my shirt" is something a few male members of a Clinton audience yelled at her, suggesting that a woman's place is in the home.
And "lipstick on a pig"? That's a McCain-Palin campaign lie. During last year's presidential campaign, Barack Obama used the phrase "lipstick on a pig" -- a common reference to an unsuccessful attempt to make something unappealing look better. The McCain-Palin campaign then pretended to think Obama was calling Palin a pig, and the media pretended to believe them. It was all so very transparently stupid, and doesn't have anything to do with sexist treatment of female candidates. It has to do with lying politicians, and the media who enable them.
And Kornblut should know "lipstick on a pig" isn't like the others; that it was, instead, a McCain campaign concoction: the article she links to -- an article she wrote -- notes that McCain himself had used the same phrase to describe a Clinton health care proposal. So why is she pretending Barack Obama's use of the phrase "lipstick on a pig" was the equivalent of John McCain praising a questioner who referred to Hillary Clinton as a "bitch"?