Why bring it up now? Because David Bernstein points me to a "Taxonomy" of Conservative Blogs that engages in yet another one of these smears ("If she didn't have tits, she'd be stuck writing at Townhall.com."). Which, as Bernstein notes, wouldn't be so bad, if the entire left blogosphere didn't appear to be endorsing the post (to be fair, there are exceptions).
Honestly. I don't like the bloggers on this list either (except Volokh. They're cool. And jury's out on Dean's World and Buzzmachine). But the smear style attacks should not be tolerated--and I don't care that "they do it too." In my post on how the far left/right treats centrists, one commentator argued that leftists are more likely than righties to attack their opponents based on sex, race, or sexuality. I noted my skepticism then, and I'm skeptical now, but damn, we're not making a good showing of ourselves here.
We're better than this.
PS: There is a reasonable way to make the case that a conservative blogger's status as a woman or minority does effect her popularity amongst her peers. Blogcritics, for example, talks about Derrick Bell's "Rules of Racial Standing" here. The pertinent rule is:
Few blacks avoid diminishment of racial standing, most of their statements about racial conditions being diluted and their recommendations of other blacks taken with a grain of salt. The usual exception to this rule is the black person who publicly disparages or criticizes other blacks who are speaking or acting in ways that upset whites. Instantly, such statements are granted 'enhanced standing' even when the speaker has no special expertise or experience in the subject he or she is criticizing. [emphasis added]
In law, this might be seen as an admission against interest. That is, a woman who speaks against "feminism" is presumed to be speaking against her "own interests" and thus receives additional weight ("enhanced standing"). Under this view, Malkin's popularity is partially premised on her position as someone conservatives can point to and say: "Look! We're not racist--some minorities agree with us!"--a status that is interwoven with her status as a woman and minority. And one could then extrapolate that if Malkin didn't provide that particular service to conservatives (IE, being a conservative minority woman), she'd be a non-entity.
That argument is sophisticated, controversial, and debatable (I make no comment on whether or not it is correct as applied to Malkin). It is not, however, conveyed in a crude posting that marks Malkin's success as solely attributable to her "tits." Make the latter argument, but the former should be an anathema to true liberals.
UPDATE: Alas, a Blog joins the "Malkin-bashers defending Malkin" group. We should start a club.
UPDATE 2x: With regard to how we ought view minority conservatives, I have just posted what originally was to be an update to this post but, due to length, became a post of its own. It is entitled "Standpoint Theory, The Voice of Color, and "Uncle Toms": Positioning Conservative Minorities" and I highly encourage you to take a look.