Camille Paglia can best be described as a free-thinking liberal lesbian.

That doesn’t mean that she subscribes to every aspect of contemporary radical feminist orthodoxy. Quite the contrary.

It means that even though Paglia is a highly public homosexual and a long-time supporter of the Democratic Party, she’s quite prepared to point out the hypocrisies that pervade many left-leaning political and cultural critiques.

Witness Paglia’s remarks in her Nov. 14 Salon.com column about the shoddy treatment accorded to Sarah Palin during the presidential campaign.

In her column, Paglia discusses Presidential-elect Barack Obama’s disturbing ties to convicted 1960s terrorists William Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dohrn. Why have these ties attracted so little negative attention, Paglia wonders, whereas every minor foible of Palin’s has been subjected to microscopic media scrutiny.

“Given that Obama had served on a Chicago board with Ayers and approved funding of a leftist educational project sponsored by Ayers, one might think that the unrepentant Ayers-Dohrn couple might be of some interest to the national media,” Paglia writes. “But no, reporters have been too busy playing mini-badminton with every random spitball about Sarah Palin, who has been subjected to an atrocious and at times delusional level of defamation merely because she has the temerity to hold pro-life views.”

Continues Paglia, “How dare Palin not embrace abortion as the ultimate civilized ideal of modern culture? How tacky that she speaks in a vivacious regional accent indistinguishable from that of Western Canada! How risible that she graduated from the University of Idaho and not one of those plush, pampered commodes of received opinion whose graduates, in their rush to believe the worst about her, have demonstrated that, when it comes to sifting evidence, they don’t know their asses from their elbows.”

“Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover,” Paglia warns. “The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology — contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought.”

“I like Sarah Palin, and I’ve heartily enjoyed her arrival on the national stage,” Paglia continues. “As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is — and quite frankly, I think the people who don’t see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma.”

Comments Paglia, “I stand on what I said (as a staunch pro-choice advocate) in my last two columns — that Palin as a pro-life wife, mother and ambitious professional represents the next big shift in feminism. Pro-life women will save feminism by expanding it, particularly into the more traditional Third World.”

— Tom McFeely