I want to add to J. David Velleman's post at Left2Right, in which he asks if "warring symbols of masculinity" played an unprecedented role in the 2004 election. David focuses on the presidential campaign, but no discussion should exclude the Bunning attacks on Mongiardo in KY. Bunning's proxies called Mongiardo "limp-wristed," and a "switch-hitter." Republican state Sen. Elizabeth Tori actually said "I'm not even sure the 'man' applies to him in the word 'gentleman.'"
Specifics aside, an essential part of the GOP strategy is the two step process of denigrating femininity and then projecting it on the Democratic party. We must either defend "feminine" approaches to governance (things like diplomacy, multilateralism, drug treatment, crime prevention, rehabilitation) or disclaim them. Silence is not a strategy.