Sarah Palin


So McCain has chosen Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. She’s young — 44 — and a self-described “hockey mom.” Because Palin is relatively unknown on the national level (she’s been governor since 2006, and before that was mayor of a town of 8,000 people), a lot of people are already identifying this as a ploy to snag the votes of disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters. I don’t know whether that’s true (my guess is yes), but it’s my sense that Hillary backers who don’t like Obama are not going to like a McCain/Palin ticket much better.
Let me say right off the bat that, overall, I think it’s great that Republicans have chosen to elevate a woman to this level — no matter what their motivations. I want to see more women of all parties involved in politics. But, as we stated over and over in the primaries, a politician’s gender isn’t everything. It’s merely one factor to be considered. And quite frankly, Palin’s political views suck.
First up, she’s super anti-choice. The forced-pregnancy crowd is thrilled today! (She recently had her fifth child, who has Down’s syndrome.) She’s against marriage equality and supports a federal gay-marriage ban, but has made sure to note that she “has gay friends.” Though she has signed on to same-sex partner benefits. She believes schools should teach creationism. She’s also pretty terrible on environmental issues, and is a huge advocate of drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. Plus, she’s embroiled in a scandal:

But Palin’s seemingly bright future was clouded in late July when the state legislature voted to hire an independent investigator to find out whether she tried to have a state official fire her ex-brother-in-law from his job as a state trooper.

As Vanessa blogged last month, Bill Kristol was claiming McCain would pick Palin — and that would prove that Republicans are “much more open to strong women.” Frankly, that’s bullshit. Republicans are more open to a certain type of woman — one who is strongly against things like equal pay, universal health care, and reproductive freedom. In other words, the party is pro-woman-candidates, as long as they enact anti-woman policies.
More to come later… Any Alaskans out there who know a bit more about her? What do the rest of you think?
UPDATE: My colleague Adam over at TAP makes some great points:

The pick of Palin is dripping with transparent condescension, the notion that the enthusiasm behind Hillary was simply the result of her being a woman, that it had nothing to do with what she actually stood for, and in that sense it’s equally sexist. Palin is essentially a hard right ideologue, and therefore nothing like Hillary as far as substance is concerned. It’s not very different from running Alan Keyes against Barack Obama in 2004. The conservative media reaction has already engaged in paternalistic language, with FOX News reporting on television that “McCain broke the glass ceiling,” implying in fact, that the pick had nothing to do with Palin or her qualifications, but merely her gender. It’s fitting that the party positing affirmative action as a program that picks people exclusively based on race or gender rather than qualification should do something similar given an opportunity for political advancement. While Obama is promising change through policy, not simply through the circumstances of his birth, the McCain campaign thinks his appeal is simply visual and demographic, and therefore something they can exploit.

UPDATE II: Bilerico has more on her record on LGBT issues.

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220 Comments

  1. Suzannah
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    As a former field organizer for congressional campaigns, and a former organizer and state president of NOW, I fell out of my chair grappling with rage, laughter, fear, and a guilty sense of excitement when I heard the VP pick for McCain was Alaska Gov Sarah Palin.
    There are a couple rules of politics that I have to refer to to explain why Sarah Palin is the worst thing that could happen to Obama/Biden.
    NUMBER ONE:  Past Behavior is the Best Indicator of Future Behavior.
    This is the number one rule in politics. Even for all the sexists bastards in the republican party, the possibility that they would cross over to the all male Dems ticket rather than vote for a woman is completely impossible. Most voters have been voting for years, and the hardest thing to do in politics is to get a voter who has been going into the booth and pulling the lever the same way for the last 20 years to pull the lever a different way. It’s the same reason my diabetic mother can’t lay off the cookies and why I have issues quitting smoking when I have expresso in my hands.  Habit is really hard to break – and voting is just the same – if not more so – especially to older voters. This is why Independent voters matter so much to elections, they have a past behavior of switching.  They are the only ones consultants can craft a message to that will actually respond once they get into that booth.  Its not an opinion, really, its just political fact.  We get data that, while it does not show who voted for whom, it does show the statistics of how often those who registered a certain party voted that party, and it is always very high data, regardless of the candidates positions.
    My point is that McCain is not going to lose any of his base. They are shored up, regardless of his VP pick. Especially since republicans are more lemming-ish than democrats. They are experts at falling in line.
    NUMBER TWO: The Majority of Voters are Women.
    In election after election, more women than men vote.  This is true in both parties, in all age groups, and amongst Independent and Unaffiliated voters. This makes the Independent and Unaffiliated female voters very very important.
    McCain’s age means that he is wagging the possibility of the first female president at all the heartbroken Hillary fans out there. Even though Palin is on the wrong side of most feminist issues – that is a carrot that is really hard to pass up for all the women who have been feeling that they lost their only chance of seeing a woman in the top slot in their lifetime. That carrot is really hard to pass up.
    NUMBER THREE:  In the end, it’s all about numbers.
    Behind all the hype, right at this minute, there are thousands of people behind databases and knocking on doors tallying votes because in the end, it’s really all about the numbers.  Publicity, websites, speaking engagements, all of these things are really designed in politics to do one thing and one thing alone: Build a reliable list.   On election day, we execute the list.  The Republican version of this is super sneaky.  Take the Federal Marriage Admendment.  It was never going to pass, it has never had the votes.  But it gave the right wing the opportunity to get lots of names and numbers and email address in the process of pushing it, lots of names and numbers and email addresses that they could GOTV (get out the vote) on election day.  This is also why the right would encourage state right wing organizations to push a constitutional amendment to their state constitutions to ban gay marriage.  The vote on these ballot measures happen the same day as the presidential election, and so it is another right wing cause pulling votes to the polls – and while they were there, they could check George Bush’s name for president. So lets look at the numbers:
    In this corner, the Republicans have:
    1. All of the republican base: which was enough to elect president bush twice.
    PLUS
    2. A portion of women who were going for Hillary, got hyped up for Hillary, but cannot resist the carrot of a possible female president in their lifetime.
    In the other corner, the Democrats have
    1. All of the Democratic base, which was almost enough to elect Kerry and Gore
    PLUS
    2. All of the new and younger registered voters.
    So the question comes to this: Are all of the new voters more or less than the number of women who will jump to McCain’s side due in part to his picking a female VP who could, given his age, become president? The numbers are quite scary.
    NUMBER FOUR:  The fewer people vote, the easier it is to control the vote. 
    Obama proved this already.  He won the nomination with hardly any large states, because he was focused on the caucus states where you could get the most delegate votes per actual citizen vote.  He didnt have to get the vote of every democratic voter – just that of the caucus goers.  Numerically, it costs less per vote to the campaign in campaign costs.  So Obama was really slick in choosing the caucus states.  NOTE: Unfortunately, that left us a candidate who to date has lost most battleground states in the past. 
    The republicans are more vicious with this rule.  They employ horrible voter suppression tactics to control the vote.  All you have to do is have street construction on the way to polling places in inner cities or change a polling place last minute on a campus to eliminate tens of thousands of votes rather easily. 
    So keep your eye on voting machine issues between now and election day.  And if the campaigns are smart, they will keep making sure that the people they register will actually appear on the board of elections list because quite often they do not in republican areas and areas that are college towns.
     
    NUMBER FIVE: TV & Media Love a Cat Fight.  They Only Pit Women Against Women.
    Didnt you notice how odd it felt to see Clinton and Obama sparring? Thats because when you see a female commentary making a point, it is usually another female who is used as the counter point. They still don’t let us play with the big boys, we have to stay in our sandbox and throw sand at only each other.
    Now here is the BEST part for Hillary supporters: Obama is going to need to explain why he didnt pick the most qualified, popular, eloquent, and charismatic female politician in US history while McCain, a republican no less, picked a female right away. And since the news always and ONLY pits females against females in debates, Obama is going to need a female and ONLY a female to take on Palin. That makes Hillary Clinton his new best friend. He is going to have to call a LOT of favors, and after her being snubbed, I am THRILLED that he is going to have to rack up the favors with her.
     
    tee hee.

  2. Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    This is a cynical, condescending move.

  3. BROWN TRASH PUNK!
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    my mouth dropped open when I saw the news on Jezebel.
    my first thought?
    “Wow, McStain must be really desperate and he’s so out of touch. What a sneaky man.”
    It is an OBVIOUS DESPERATE ploy to lure angry Hillary supporters to vote for him. But I think his plan will backfire, because Hillary is probably going to stump for Obama even more.

  4. vertigo29
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Excellent analysis Suzannah. I don’t know if I can add more to what you said but my initial reaction to the news was simply of surprised. You have to agree that this is a pick from nowhere and, I just hope that Clinton supporters that were thinking of voting for McCain think twice about it. And I was one of those Clinton supporters!
    You are right that Clinton has just become more important because once she sets the contrasts between her and Palin (and she is the one that has to do that), people will begin to understand.

  5. Jimmy 5
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Now here is the BEST part for Hillary supporters: Obama is going to need to explain why he didnt pick the most qualified, popular, eloquent, and charismatic female politician in US history while McCain, a republican no less, picked a female right away.
    No he isn’t. The Democratic Party has just spent a week explaining why Joe Biden is an excellent good choice for VP and uniting – Hillary and Bill Clinton most emphatically included – behind the Obama/Biden ticket. Obama has absolutely no explaining to do here, and the fact that you’re celebrating something you see as good news for an anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-worker party is extremely problematic. If John McCain and Sarah Palin win, the right to choose, any chance at recognition for same-sex unions, and an economy not built for the super-rich go the way of the dodo; is what you think of as good news for them (and I’m not entirely sure I agree with that assessment) something to celebrate?
    And most people, Democrat or Republican, can see why John McCain picked a female right away – not because she’s the best choice for the job, but because it’s a cynical move to pick up independents. This clearly is not a choice based on who can take over the office should the 72-year-old man become unable to perform its duties. I can count three Republican women off the top of my head who are more prepared for the presidency than a woman who’s barely been governor for two years, and has been embroiled in ethical scandals for virtually her entire term.

  6. Okra
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    “In other words, the party is pro-woman-candidates, as long as they enact anti-woman policies.”
    I agree with this in general, though I wouldn’t say all members of the party support all the party’s anti-woman policies (some people I know, for example, are fiscally very Republican but dubious about the parties’ stances on abortion, gay marriage, etc–then again, it could be argued that the fiscal policies themselves are anti-woman. But I digress!)
    The news hit me like an electric shock. I’ve been suspecting for months that McCain would win, anyway, (whether Obama or Clinton was the nominee), but this clinches it for me.
    My first reaction was: “YESSS! McCain had to swallow his apparent contempt for powerful women [Reno-Clinton jokes, anyone?] and ‘saddle’ himself with one to renew his maverick persona and scrape by into the presidency.” Seriously, this man “wants it” more than a lot of recent candidates of my political memory. It’s funny how the media made Clinton seem like she was a grasping, grossly ambitious, Machavellian politico when in fact, male candidates–including and especially McCain–have just the same characteristics.
    It’s oddly funny to me that so many self-professed “progressive” men I know had borderline-sexist stances towards Clinton, but that here we have John McCain–MCCAIN, he of the “cunt” jokes, by God!–hamming it up right now in his speech and extolling his “mother of five” running mate. Un-freaking-believable.
    I truly believe John McCain will be the next President. And I suspect that at least once during his presidency (e.g. a heart “episode”), Palin will be considered to be about to step into the Presidency herself. It reminds me of the all times in history women have stepped into the shoes of male predecessors or relatives and gained power in that way.
    It’s a strange world.

  7. sybsyb
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I’m so angry… I just see this as a bald-faced ploy by the GOP, banking on the idea that women vote gender over interests.
    I just hope Obama & Biden, with Clinton’s help, can expose her for what she is, before too many fellow “hockey moms” in swing states are wooed.
    Also, I think the experience argument goes out the window here. The VP needs to be ready to take over the country, and McCain is saying someone with two terms as mayor of a small town and two years as governor of a sparsely populated state is ready for that.

  8. Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    It is a ploy for sure… not at all surprised by those sneaky and deceptive Republicans…

  9. Suzannah
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, I am sorry about the long post, but I haven’t gotten the posting to my profile here figured out yet – got some errors. I hope Hillary bargains big on this. I hope she gets the full reign on taking over Health Care Reform in exchange to being point person on this. You know right now Hillary is the camp the news are going to for comment, and you know the question “Why Didnt YOU Pick a Woman?” is going to get asked over and over and over to Obama’s camp.

  10. Aint I A Woman
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Honestly? I think this is really insulting. I think it’s some cynical move to grab women voters because Republicans have a low expectation of general female intellect.

  11. sybsyb
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    though, I should also say… yes. More women involved in high-level politics is a good thing. I just wish it was someone who would do more to help women, instead of rolling back many of our hard-won accomplishments.

  12. celestenj
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Suzannah – I wish I had more time to explain how much I disagree with your analysis (although I can appreciate how detailed and thoughtful you were about it).
    You keep saying many former Hillary supporters “can’t resist the carrot of a female candidate” – well I was (and still am) a HUGE Hillary supporter and there is NO WAY I would ever entertain voting for McCain/Palin simply because I “cannot resist the carrot of a possible female president in [my] lifetime.” Palin has so little in common with Hillary that I find any sort of comparison (aside from gender) quite a stretch.
    Perhaps I am alone in this, but I’m watching the Palin acceptance speech right now and she sounds like a ditzy 14 year-old fawning over her husband and McCain. Her first few minutes have been spent talking entirely about her children and how much she admires her husband (I’m sorry, he is running for VP?).
    SHE COULD NOT BE MORE DIFFERENT THAN HILLARY!

  13. BROWN TRASH PUNK!
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    @ Celestanj:
    good. I’m glad Sarah Palin’s speech comes across as ditzy and fawning. Then that means it will turn off pro-Hillary voters away from McStain’s campaign.

  14. Catherine_M
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Just out of curiosity, why does it matter that she has five kids and one has Down syndrome? Like if she were pro choice she would have aborted the baby with Down syndrome?

  15. Okra
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    CAtherine_M: You got it! Pro-choicers are all about killing Down’s Syndrome babies and baby seals!

  16. Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m also glad to see a woman elevated to such a level, but frankly, I’m more insulted and patronized by McCain’s pandering and tokenism. I just listened to Palin’s speech and spent the first five minutes talking about her husband and the last 5 minutes talking about each of her children. It’s as if she has to reassure conservative voters that not only does she has a man backing her up, but she’s not one of *those* feminists, either.

  17. Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Oh God, here she goes:
    “Hillary left 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling of America. It turns out that the women of America aren’t finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all!”
    -Sarah Palin, 5 minutes ago

  18. Femgineer
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been reading comments on cnn.com, and I keep seeing McCain/Palin, and it makes me think McCain/Pain. And that is what a term with the republican ticket will be like: Pain.

  19. winnie mcgovens
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    This makes my dread of McCain winning even stronger. Now if he wins he’s going to turn the first woman in the white house into a total joke, just a ploy for votes instead of an important moment in history.

  20. vertigo29
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Catherine_M, thanks for saying that… that is how McCain is selling her.

  21. bethora
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    So, do they expect us vagina voters to follow Ms. Palin like poor little sheep to the polls? Identity politics are good, but having political VIEWS is better. And, a shock to the GOP, women have views about candidates. Thanks but no thanks.
    Great analysis at TAP, thanks for that.

  22. AlmostAmanda
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Wow, she just compared herself to Hillary Clinton. Nice.
    I’m certainly not one of those people who thinks that Hillary is entitled to be the first woman in the White House, but given her policy positions and the fact that I think she was given this position in nothing more than an attempt to draw Hillary supporters who haven’t/may not jump onto the Obama bandwagon, I find that comparison incredibly offensive.

  23. J.Helene
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I am so angry with McCain and Palin for co-opting Hillary Clinton’s success and momentum. Yes, they are both strong women. End the comparisons there, please. How insulting to Hillary that she’s being used like this.

  24. Wendell
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Brown Trash Punk – I mis-read your “McStain” as “McStalin.” I chuckled at my mistake.
    I’m tired of these talking points which, as noted by the updated original post’s quote, are incredibly condescending to HRC’s supporters. I can’t imagine that PUMAs are as wide-spread as the punditry in the MSM would lead us to believe. Those talking-head assholes love to instigate “cat-fights.”

  25. talon23
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    John McCain thinks you can’t tell the difference between people with vaginas.

  26. BROWN TRASH PUNK!
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    ladies, come on. Do you really think Hillary is going to stand by and let Palin compare herself to her?
    HAHAHAHAHA!!!!
    riiiight. a woman with less than 20 months of experience in office, anti-abortion, anti-gay, and the mayor of a small town in the place of norwhere… LMAOOO!!!!!!!!
    I’m waiting for Hillary to declare: IT’S WAR!

  27. BROWN TRASH PUNK!
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    ladies, come on. Do you really think Hillary is going to stand by and let Palin compare herself to her?
    HAHAHAHAHA!!!!
    riiiight. a woman with less than 20 months of experience in office, anti-abortion, anti-gay, and the mayor of a small town in the place of norwhere… LMAOOO!!!!!!!!
    I’m waiting for Hillary to declare: IT’S WAR!

  28. Catherine_M
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    @Orka: Grow up. I was asking a question. It was completely unnecessary to inform us all that she has a child with Down syndrome. It has nothing to do with being pro life. I know lots of pro choice moms/families that have kids with Down syndrome, so being pro life is really not a prerequisite to having a child with Down syndrome.

  29. Wendell
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Talon23 – AMEN.

  30. Suzannah
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    celestenj-
    Hey, I TOTALLY agree with you actually, and any Hillary supporter who knows the issues would be offended by this obvious pandering. I just wish I believed that every Hillary supporter was an issues hound like you and me. But a lot of her supporters were blue collar, and had far less access to a higher education, or to the free time that comes with being an issues hound. I am convinced that when you know the issues, you know this is pandering. But there was a large contingent of Hillary supporters that didnt have the access or time on hand to become educated on those issues. They are busy with kids and jobs, and lack of money. Where’s the time to research the issues when you have to put one kid to bed, talk to your partner about the face you are short on rent, help the other kid with their homework, and do the extra hours at work because your job just downsized and now you have twice the work to do as before?
    I am also convinced that the biggest problem with the Democrat party is that our soundbite is not a 10 second soundbite. We can’t sum up our positions with easy little sayings like “it’s a child not a choice” as it is so easy for right wingers to do. It is going to be really hard to make the sound bytes necessary to reveal Palin for what she really is: not the “hockey mom just like you.” She sure as hell looks the part.
    In the end, only Hillary can save the day, which is what is really funny. We need Hillary on the TV pounding it home that is Obama who is good for women.
    here’s an idea. Hillary & Obama need to pull some serious pro-woman legislation out of their Senatorial asses that McCain is SURE to go on the record as being against, and then bring up that vote over and over and over ad nauseum.

  31. klompen
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    This is a tremendously insulting pander to feminists – it screams, “We know all you want is a vagina on the ticket! We know you don’t read!” Who gave us the most powerful black woman in America? The worst president in recent memory, and McCain really is trying to be just like him. It’s the Rovian tactic of surrounding yourself visually with individuals from minorities so that you can own the “progressive” label as you aggresively seek legislation to screw them over on a mass scale. I trust, however, that few progressive feminists will fall for it, the same way few women and African-Americans cheered Condoleezza’s ascension in the administration.

  32. Okra
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Catherine_M, what are you talking about? My post was in agreement with/in support of your points.

  33. Catherine_M
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Eek. I’m sorry, I misinterpreted your response. I have a sib with DS and every time something comes up in the media about DS and you say anything about it, like hey, people with Down syndrome aren’t mutants or anything you get accused of being a crazy prolifer… So again, I apologize for misinterpreting your response!

  34. inmyhead
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    just to throw this out there… mccain waited for obama’s announcement before he decided for a reason. had obama chosen clinton, mccain would likely not have chosen a woman. so i’m really hoping that this doesn’t turn into obama being harassed as to why he didn’t choose a woman (which wouldn’t have been politically viable)because the only reason mccain chose one is to put (negative) attention on the fact that obama did not. all the republicans in my office are ecstatic right now and they truly believe that hillary supporters think a woman in office doing nothing for women’s issues trumps a man in office working for and with women on issues important to us. i sincerely hope they are wrong.

  35. Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    @Okra & Catherine re: “(She recently had her fifth child, who has Down’s syndrome.)”
    Regardless of whether the author meant to imply that a woman who learns that her child may be born with Down’s Syndrome or any other disability should make that a factor in choosing whether to carry the pregnancy to term, that’s how it sounded to me when I read it.
    Choice is choice is choice and I think everyone reading this site would agree it needs to be protected as part of a larger reproductive rights and health agenda. That’s why a line like that is so problematic – it seems to infer that women who have many children or who have children born with disabilities are doing the wrong thing. I would never vote for McCain no matter who he chose, but reading that line on a site like this surprised me. I think you know better.

  36. Okra
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    That’s okay. ;) I probably should have put a *sarcasm.* With the internet the way it is, and the potential for misinterpretation and all…

  37. Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    It’s already started… the news is already introducing her as “Sarah Palin, a mother of five…” Did you ever hear Dick Cheney introduced as “Dick Cheney, the father of xx” or “John McCain, a father of xx” and so on.

  38. johanna in dairyland
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Also, Feminists for Life is pleased to announce that Palin is a member …
    Ack.

  39. JasonM
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    My favorite Palin quote so far:
    “What exactly does a VP do?”
    Watch her say it here:
    http://www.endpoliticsasusual.com/2008/08/hillary-supporter-and-congressional.html

  40. Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    As soon as I heard this news, I zipped over here to see what you all are saying: Glad to see we’re all on the same boat!
    I’m grossed out & offended by this decision. I mean, we Hillary supporters might be bitter, but we’re not desperate!
    And as much as I would have liked to see Obama run with a female, I respect and thank him for not cow-towing to pressure to pick a woman- ANY WOMAN- just to be able to say he did so. It makes sense that he chose someone like Biden, whom he knows and respects. Not just some random selection done for the sake of image.
    My only question is why did McCain stop there? Why didn’t he pick Condi?! Black AND a woman! Give that man the keys to the union!

  41. crimgal
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I am listening to Congresswoman Blackburn from Washington make the argument on MSNBC that Palin’s experience as a wife, mother, and businesswoman trumps Obama’s experience “chairing a committee in the Senate”. She suggested that women gain leadership from their roles as wives and mothers (a notion I do not necessarily disagree with)… but then somehow mysteriously extrapolates that into national political leadership. I think that says a lot about the role that Governor Palin is intended to fill in the VP slot — sort of a pseudo-feminist who can make the overwhelmingly white, anti-gay Republican party feel “progressive”.
    I am really torn about this. On the one hand I am thrilled to see a woman on a presidential ticket, albeit for the Republican side. On the other hand, I can’t help but think this is an absolute ploy — a conniving, pandering ploy.
    Two more random observations: as ardent a feminist as I consider myself to be, I will admit to cringing when I saw that she has a 4-month old infant son. As the mother of young children myself, my immediate thought was, “What is she doing running for VP with a 4-month old?! That baby needs her around, not traveling all over the country giving stump speeches!” Of course, I then felt immediately guilty for this, and realized that I never once had a similar thought about Obama being absent from his girls’ lives. Still, her baby is only 4 months old! I don’t know — I guess I have strongly conflicting feelings about this news.
    Finally, did anyone else roll their eyes at the music selections? The theme from Rudy? Puh-leez. And then Van Halen? Get it — ’cause it rhymes with Palin? Lame.

  42. crimgal
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I am listening to Congresswoman Blackburn from Washington make the argument on MSNBC that Palin’s experience as a wife, mother, and businesswoman trumps Obama’s experience “chairing a committee in the Senate”. She suggested that women gain leadership from their roles as wives and mothers (a notion I do not necessarily disagree with)… but then somehow mysteriously extrapolates that into national political leadership. I think that says a lot about the role that Governor Palin is intended to fill in the VP slot — sort of a pseudo-feminist who can make the overwhelmingly white, anti-gay Republican party feel “progressive”.
    I am really torn about this. On the one hand I am thrilled to see a woman on a presidential ticket, albeit for the Republican side. On the other hand, I can’t help but think this is an absolute ploy — a conniving, pandering ploy.
    Two more random observations: as ardent a feminist as I consider myself to be, I will admit to cringing when I saw that she has a 4-month old infant son. As the mother of young children myself, my immediate thought was, “What is she doing running for VP with a 4-month old?! That baby needs her around, not traveling all over the country giving stump speeches!” Of course, I then felt immediately guilty for this, and realized that I never once had a similar thought about Obama being absent from his girls’ lives. Still, her baby is only 4 months old! I don’t know — I guess I have strongly conflicting feelings about this news.
    Finally, did anyone else roll their eyes at the music selections? The theme from Rudy? Puh-leez. And then Van Halen? Get it — ’cause it rhymes with Palin? Lame.

  43. Kris McN
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m wondering if this will end up being a Harriet Myers moment for McCain. This seems just like Bush trying to claim that Myers was the most highly-qualified candidate who just happened to be a woman so the Dems would have a harder time rejecting such a “historic” choice. Bush’s move was quickly seen for the cynical ploy that it was because Myers was so obviously not qualified. Given that McCain has lambasted Obama over and over for his “lack of experience”, can he really claim that he’s added the most qualified (or even sufficiently qualified) person to his ticket given that he’s talking about a half-term governor? It’s so clearly a Republican form of tokenism – surely Hillary supporters won’t bite. I mean, seriously?

  44. Okra
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Julia, I interpreted Ann’s phrase about DS child to be sort of a nod to what the MCain camp talking point would be (sort of like what I was trying to do with my baby seal comment). I can picture McCain et al playing up their anti-choice cred by “see? See? she’s such a good woman and pro-lifer, she kept–GASP!!–a baby with Down’s syndrome! [Because merciless baby-killers would have had no compunction about aborting!!]” It’s insulting and low all around–to people with Down’s Syndrome, to their mothers and fathers, to pro-choicers, and to those women who have made the choice for abortion, for any reason.
    (I think we’re saying the same thing, just thought I’d throw that out there).
    inmyhead, great point about the timing. You are absolutely correct. But, I’ll add to that: if Obama had chosen a Clinton, McCain would then have picked a non-Euro male. Although Bobby Jindal is terribly young and inexperienced, but heck, Palin’s not all that experienced either!
    McCain knows that when the two sides are standing up at a podium together, the very fact of Obama’s (a) ancestries (b) party [Democratic] and policies, and (c) very appearence all send powerful signals of “change.” By comparison, McCain and, say, Romney, will look like the crusty older rich White men’s club–the antithesis of change.
    McCain sees that “Change” worked so exceedingly well for Obama–it was put him over the top of Clinton’s more pragmatic taglines–that he needs to attack that “change” at the heart. And how does he most quickly do that? By slapping the women/non-Euro Band-Aid on his candicacy.
    But here’s one question I would LOVE for you all to answer for me: How does the anti-affirmative action party reconcile themselves to this, the most blatant and cynical act of affirmative action imaginable?

  45. Nothing Sacred
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Oy vey. PUMAs do exist. And they are jumping on the bandwagon: http://www.hillaryclintonforum.net/discussion/showthread.php?t=26089
    I can’t understand it. This is blatant pandering, but they are eating it up. Do they really want a woman president at any cost, even if that cost includes the right to control their own bodies? (And that is possible, considering that John McCain would not hesitate to put right-wing justices on the Supreme Court.) I don’t want to resort to stereotypes here, but is this maybe a generational thing? Most of us who watch/post at Feministing are in the under-40 crowd, and most of us support Obama because he supports women’s issues (at least more than McCain does.) Maybe the disgruntled Clinton supporters are older and afraid they will not see a woman president in their lifetime? I mean, I certainly want a woman to be president, but I would not want THIS woman to be president! (And considering John McCain’s age and mediocre health, it’s a distinct possibility that she could take over.)
    I guess that all I have to say is that, when it comes right down to it, having a single woman in a position of power is less important to me than women everywhere (i.e., everywhere in the States) being able to gain and keep their basic rights.

  46. becca
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    A few things.
    One, I don’t understand what being pro life has to do with having 5 kids, one with down syndrome.
    Two, her wanting creation taught in schools is not what she said. She said that students need to understand all sides of the debate and she’s right. You can’t argue with your opponent if you don’t know what they believe in.
    Three, being a “hockey mom” and spending time talking about her husband and kids. We talk about Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain all the time. What’s the difference? As for her kids, no one outside of Alaska has any idea who she is all she was doing was introducing her self. She is a governor, her husband runs (owns?) a successful company, 5 kids ranging in age from 5 months to adult – I think she is a great example of a women who doesn’t let society tell her what to do. She wants to call her self a hockey mom, thats fine, but she’s a hockey mom who is now the VP nomination and that, I believe, can give hope to those women who feel like they have to choose between a career and kids.
    As for being pro life and anti gay marriage to be honest I don’t know to much on how far right she is. She did VETO a reform that would have denied same sex partner benefits to state employees and while it may not be marriage its a step in the right direction and it shouldn’t be ignored.
    I am from Alaska and over all I have loved what she has done since she has been governor. There is a part of me that is disappointed that she accepted the nomination because McCain is so beneath her. She has spent the last (almost) two years reforming the state government which was filled with so much corruption and run by the “old boys club”. She has totally bucked the system and goes against tradition in the way she runs the office. She is in support of off shore drilling, so are most Alaskans. The drilling of oil and gas up here is not so black and white as it is down south.
    She cut back pork barrel spending and gave more money to eduction and the SChip program. She is a big believe eduction (including programs to help poor and disadvantaged kids) and health care for everyone – but more importantly she has backed up her words with the money. I truly believe that what she has done in office has been to promote the welfare of Alaska and not her pocket book and political aspirations.
    She has the ability to stand up to McCain and if you watched McCain at all during her speech there were times when he was looking very uncomfortable with the things she was saying. She threw a couple of jabs at him that he did not find to funny. She is NOT a push over and McCain would have a very difficult time keeping her “in line”. Of course McCain is hoping to use her gender and I do find that offensive but she is nobody’s lap dog.

  47. Andie
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    What a condescending, superficial and cheap trick. Like that would make me forget his opposition to reproductive rights and complete stupidity regarding access to birth control, not to mention his less-than-stellar history with fair pay. Unfortunately, though, we should never underestimate the American public’s habit of just not paying attention. I really hope the Democrats, especially Sen. Clinton, respond aggressively to this.

  48. msmam
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Anyone familiar with John McCain’s record on women’s issues – let alone Sarah Palin’s – should be pretty disgusted with his pander.
    But Susannah’s analysis confirms my worst fears, which is that there might be enough idiots in this country to see nothing more than a woman.
    Obama needs Hillary to help shut Palin down, first and foremost (on that note, I think she’ll be eaten alive by Joe Biden in the debate). They’ll also have to – albeit carefully – nail her on her inexperience, and on the fact that she is up to her ears in an ethics scandal.
    I also think that there has to be a way to point out the problem with having the mother of a four-month-old with Down’s syndrome on the ticket. Obviously, in no way am I saying that moms shouldn’t work (which is exactly how a lot of Republicans will spin it), but I don’t know any woman, Democrat or Republican, who would leave a special-needs infant plus four other children to do such an unbelievably difficult and time-consuming job. My mother is a nurse who works with newborns, and her reaction to Palin was along the lines of “is that women batshit crazy?”
    I can commend McCain’s political acuity for picking someone that would shake things up a bit, but he’s now the one putting an election before a country. From everything I’ve read, Palin might help the ticket, but she’d do a shitty job in the office itself. Let’s hope that comes through.

  49. Sage
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I was waiting for someone to make such an articulate, and well thought out statement.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ojt_ndiYIT4

  50. SadieWest
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    All I can say is, I can’t WAIT to see the Vice-Presidential debates. I think maybe Joe Biden can take her… and make her look like the nobody she is.

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