"Did Sarah Palin get breast implants?" satirical political blog Wonkette asked playfully last week, posting new images of the former VP candidate and Tea Party leader in an arguably flattering white shirt — and prompting a flurry of blogger "commentary." Though the mainstream media shunned the topic, now that Palin has stated publicly that she did not undergo breast augmentation surgery, pundits are bemoaning what the viral popularity of the "Boobgate" meme says about the perception of women in politics. (Watch Sarah Palin respond to the rumors.) A sampling of reactions:

The double-standard is alive and well: "Eyes up, grow up!" says Karen Valby at Entertainment Weekly. Too often, the national conversation about women in the public eye "begins and ends with their appearances... [and] the tone becomes sneering, small, and cruel. Why are we so fascinated by Sarah Jessica Parker's 40-something face, but react with "some affection" to Alec Baldwin's "bloated barrel gut?" Whether you agree or disagree with Palin, "let's all agree to look at her mouth when she's talking."
"Sarah Palin's boobs are real, get over it"

'Boobgate' shows how far women have to go: "In light of this year's primary election results, some may call 2010 the political year of the woman," says Mary Sanchez at the Kansas City Star. "Don't be so sure." It's hardly "unqualified progress" when a leading political figure can't show up at the Belmont Stakes in a white t-shirt without being "scrutinized physically."
"You've come a long way, baby — or have you?

The episode also showed how humorless conservatives are: While Wonkette is pretty clearly a comedy site, says Roy Adrosso in The Village Voice, "rightbloggers" naturally "rose to defend the former governor's breasts from charges of augmentation in deadly earnest" — finding time, naturally, to lament the Left's women for their "drab clothing" and "perpetual sourpuss."
"The week we talked about Sarah Palin's [breasts]"

This episode was a bi-partisan embarrassment: Whether Palin had breast surgery is "less the story than the fact that we made the possibility of her new breasts" a story, says Abe Gurko at The Huffington Post. If you support Palin, "get your mind out of the gutter" and focus on bigger issues. If you're "from my camp" and "want her to fade into the sunset," you'd be well advised to shut up, too.
"Sarah Palin's assets"