Ms. Wasilla Goes to Washington

Was Palin's candidacy a step forward for women?

Election 2008, which shattered the ultimate barrier by bringing an African-American to the White House, also turned out to be the Year of the Woman Who Failed. First, Hillary Clinton (D-NY) had the Democratic presidential nomination almost within her grasp only to have it snatched away. From the ashes of her campaign rose Sarah Palin as the Republican vice-presidential candidate—and now, some are blaming her for McCain's defeat. But was her candidacy, in spite of it all, a step forward for women?

When Palin first emerged on the national scene, I thought—despite strongly disagreeing with her views on abortion and many other issues—that she could do a great job of advancing a conservative or individualist feminism that should be a vital part of our discourse  on women's issues. Unlike many other conservative female politicians, Palin unabashedly called herself a feminist. Instead of echoing traditionalist pieties about the special nature of women, she matter-of-factly told Katie Couric, "I'm very, very thankful that I've been brought up in a family where gender hasn't been an issue" and expressed the conviction that "women...today have every opportunity that a man has to succeed, and to try to do it all, anyway." This is a philosophy that vast numbers of Americans can relate to—a cheerful can-do feminism far more practical and appealing than perpetual victimhood.

Palin's rise enraged many liberal and left-wing feminists. At HuffingtonPost.com, novelist Jane Smiley branded her "a woman who reinforces patriarchal power rather than challenges it." (The notion that "patriarchal power" exists in the United States in 2008 is only slightly less delusional than the belief, erroneously attributed to Palin, that God created the dinosaurs 5000 years ago.)   

The backlash was not just about abortion. Pro-choice conservative women, from Margaret Thatcher to Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, have met with similar hostility from "movement" feminists, who regard support for free markets or military strength as heresies and extensive social programs as an article of faith. Some of Palin's critics, such as Katherine Marsh in The New Republic, faulted her for sending the message that women can and should do it all on their own without help from the government.

That's precisely why Palin could have been good for feminism.  In the 1993 book Fire With Fire: The New Female Power and How It Will Change the 21st Century, feminist writer Naomi Wolf argued that feminism had to discard "litmus tests" which exclude too many women. Wolf wrote that the beliefs of conservative and Republican women who embrace "self-determination, ownership of business, and individualism" should be "respected as a right-wing version of feminism." She even suggested that the "no litmus tests" principle should extend to abortion rights.

It is doubtful that Wolf would apply any of this to Palin, whom she denounced as a tool of Karl Rove's sinister cabal. But that doesn't make what Wolf wrote any less true. 

And for a while, Palin did seem like the very model of the modern right-wing feminist. She was not, as some of her detractors sneered, a man-pleasing "Stepford Wife" but a powerful, take-charge woman who was raising five children—not on her own, but in partnership with her husband. That, too, would have made her a great role model.  The biggest feminist issue in America today is the career-family balance, a women's issue that cannot be addressed without getting men more involved. It would be genuinely inspirational to see that the "mommy track" can be a road to the White House—and to see a stay-at-home dad as Second Dude.

Unfortunately, Palin's feminist star was dimmed by a few things, especially the mounting evidence that she was less than qualified for the spot. (Her supporters derided such concerns as "elitism.")  The shielding of Palin from the media, and the McCain campaign's request for a less challenging format for her debate with Joseph Biden, would have been embarrassing for any candidate - but especially for the first woman on the Republican ticket. Palin went from Xena, Warrior Princess to damsel in distress, and her candidacy began to smack a particularly pernicious form of faux feminism: gender-based promotion of the less competent.

Palin's cultural divisiveness made her unsympathetic as well.  While her populist fans accused her detractors of snobbery and class hatred, class warfare against "the elites" drove her candidacy from the start. If there was a central idea to her campaign, it was the superior virtue of the small towns and rural areas that she dubbed "real America" and "the pro-American parts of the country." While rejecting the feminist brand of victimhood, Palin became a standard-bearer for its right-wing equivalent: cultural conservative grievance.

Will Palin redeem herself in 2012 as a candidate with a less polarizing and more substantive message? Perhaps. In the meantime, the good news is that no one regards her failures as failures of women. The bad news is that conservative feminism is still waiting for its spokeswoman. To succeed, feminism needs to learn to connect with a wide spectrum of women and men.

But perhaps the most important thing female politicians can do for feminism is to show us what women can be and what they can do. And in that sense, the Palin's candidacy was only a half-step forward.

Cathy Young is a contributing editor at reason magazine. A shorter version of this column previously appeared in Newsday.

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  • Jess Fields||

    Not mentioned, for whatever, reason, is the brainwashing that John McCain unleashed upon her. She was, of course, not really brainwashed...

    But McCain tried to turn her into a moderate. That made her seem more "Republican" than the conservative that she actually is. (was?)

    This, more than anything, busted her vice-candidacy in my mind.

  • BDB||

    O-v-e-r-e-x-p-o-s-u-r-e. She needs to learn what that word means before she becomes the Vanilla Ice of politics.

  • ||

    I had really hoped the settled election would allow her to sink back into snowy obscurity.

  • Lefiti||

    Try to recruit her for the LP. The combination of dim and good looking might work where repulsive alone has failed. Not that Barr is bright.

  • Urkobold™||

    BDB, YOU FOOL, AGAIN YOU GET IT PRECISELY WRONG. SARAH PALIN IS UNDEREXPOSED! TRY AS HE MIGHT, THE URKOBOLD HAS UNCOVERED NOT ONE NUDE PHOTO OF THE GOVERNOR.

  • BDB||

    "SugarFree | November 13, 2008, 3:09pm | #
    I had really hoped the settled election would allow her to sink back into snowy obscurity."

    It all hands on whether Ted Stevens holds onto his seat or not.

  • ||

    Jindal/Palin 2012.

    Yep, I am going to be waiting for this to happen...

    Tina Fey as Palin on a future SNL:"We need to take Bobby out of the IT department and put his straight into the Whitehouse! You betcha!"

  • ||

    Sarah Palin had one moment of greatness. Her speech at the RNC, I was in the xcel center (up in a the talk radio skybox), the atmosphere was electric.

    She read that speech but they were not her words, someone else wrote those words. Others coached her in their delivery. They were not her ideas, they were the ideas of someone else. She is a wonderfully coachable actor.

    When she opens her mouth to speak extemporaneously she comes off as uninformed and foolish.

    Explain to me why this woman is not the political equivalent of Ron Burgundy?

  • ||

    BDB,

    Yeah, there are no good options there. (Except for the Senator in jail scenario.) But at least the Democrat winning doesn't give them a filibuster-proof majority.

  • Ben||

    *him not his

  • ||

    Explain to me why this woman is not the political equivalent of Ron Burgundy?

    Because her brain is 1/3 the size of ours.

  • ||

    Maybe in will be Palin/Jindal, Ben.

    Anyway, why do women have to step forward? Do we really have to keep using this "progressive" terminolgy?

  • ||

    Who in there right mind would want a job as a politician anyway. Its seems there is a power struggle within the republican party and the old white haired guys want to make sure she is not the future of there party.

  • BDB||

    "Maybe in will be Palin/Jindal, Ben."

    So an overly PC Bush/Cheney Part II?

  • ||

    But was her candidacy, in spite of it all, a step forward for women?

    No.

    Wow, this writing political commentary stuff is easy.

  • ed||

    I can understand all the attention, now that Mrs. Palin is the president-elect, but...
    What's that?
    Obama?
    The president-elect is a nig-?

  • ||

    When she opens her mouth to speak extemporaneously she comes off as uninformed and foolish.

    Did you see her interview with Larry King yesterday? When not pressured to spit out soundbites, she comes off as genuine and reaasonably intelligent.

  • thoreau||

    O-v-e-r-e-x-p-o-s-u-r-e. She needs to learn what that word means before she becomes the Vanilla Ice of politics.

    Ice ice Palin,
    Alaska ice ice Palin,
    You got a problem?
    I'll solve it,
    Check out the moose
    While my husband he skins it.
    Ice ice Palin,
    Alaska ice ice Palin.

  • Kaiser||

    Ben

    Jindal/Palin 2012.




    No way! Palin/Huckabee 2012. I just really really want an excuse to say Puckabee.

  • ||

    flygate,

    Really?


    "Sitting here in these chairs that I'm going to be proposing but in working with these governors who again on the front lines are forced to and it's our privileged obligation to find solutions to the challenges facing our own states every day being held accountable, not being just one of many just casting votes or voting present every once in a while, we don't get away with that. We have to balance budgets and we're dealing with multibillion dollar budgets and tens of thousands of employees in our organizations."

    SugarFree,

    It's science.

  • thoreau||

    I think I should have said "Wasilla Ice", not "Alaska Ice."

  • ||

    Posh. The libertarians are going to take over the GOP, with Sanford/Flake winning the presidency in 2012.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Largely overlooked in the rush to bloody Palin's nose is that most of the people who are critical of Sarah P are never going to pull the lever for the GOP. Not even if they ran Ronnie Rayguns and FDR's ashes on a straight New Deal platform.

    Secondly, Palin's candidacy isn't likely to be seen as a step up for women because she isn't Geraldine Ferraro, Babs Boxer, or Di-Fi.

    See: Uncle George's Condoleeza Rice for another illustration of that premise.

  • ||

    mantooth,

    "I got to kill somebody with a trident!"

  • ||

    She read that speech but they were not her words, someone else wrote those words. Others coached her in their delivery. They were not her ideas, they were the ideas of someone else. She is a wonderfully coachable actor.

    Can't one say the same for Obama. I think we need to really push for good sound candidates and not media hyped government celebs.

  • BDB||

    "She is a wonderfully coachable actor."

    She used to be a sportscaster on local TV. Of course she was!

  • BDB||

    "Can't one say the same for Obama. I think we need to really push for good sound candidates and not media hyped government celebs."

    Once again, when defending Palin, make sure to avoid the relevant issue and talk about Biden or Obama.

  • MAX HATS||

    Considering her whole schtick was basically saying "I'm just a girl," then giggling, then winking - going to have to say no. The takeaway lesson was that if you act flirty enough to make repressed conservative men want to fuck you, you too can be elevated to a position far beyond your capabilities. Take that, patriarchy!

  • ||

    Largely overlooked in the rush to bloody Palin's nose is that most of the people who are critical of Sarah P are never going to pull the lever for the GOP.

    Either that, or people who are trying to find someone to blame for the campaign's failure. Someone other than themselves, that is.

    Once again, when defending Palin, make sure to avoid the relevant issue and talk about Biden or Obama.

    Why? If the claim is that Palin is stupid or "uncurious" or inarticulate off a teleprompter, why is it illegitimate to ask "compared to who"? Why shouldn't she be evaluated against her against her recent competition?

  • ||

    Can't one say the same for Obama. I think we need to really push for good sound candidates and not media hyped government celebs.

    Obama was a collaborative partner in the speech writing process. Did he write every word he spoke? No. But there's little question they were his ideas. My understanding is he wrote all of his "race speech" last March.

    I have hear no one claim that Palin was involved in the crafting of her RNC speech.

    As for the King interview last night, read the transcript and tell me how she sounds? Also note, that there's no policy substance to the discussion. They're talking about her personally, not what she might do as a VP.

  • BDB||

    If you have an IQ of 80 you can come out of a Larry King interview sounding good. The guy gets so many people on his show because all his questions are softballs.

  • BDB||

    "Why shouldn't she be evaluated against her against her recent competition?"

    Because people hate small towns and women, RC Dean.

  • BDB||

    In all seriousness, RC Dean, is she smarter than Bobby Jindal (a Rhodes Scholar)?

  • MAX HATS||

    Okay, let's do that. Let's compare to her competition.

    Obama: can speak english.

    Biden: can speak english.

    Palin. . .loses.

  • nebby||

    "Can't one say the same for Obama.."

    Uh, no. Obama was fully involved in crafting his positions and speeches and ran a winning campaign for the nomination and the Presidency based on that. (Not to mention his deep intellectual firepower- Harvard Law editor, etc..)

    In contrast, Palin.. uhh, was picked by somebody for a post-convention bounce and then helped scupper her team's chances by showing she was uninformed and ill-equipped for any higher office.

  • Saturday Night Live||

    Writer #1: Obama is not funny!
    Writer #2: We're screwed!
    Writer #3: There's always Sarah Palin...
    Writer #1: We're working Tina too hard as it is...
    Writer #3: She can take it.
    Writer #2: What if she dies?
    Writer #3: Offer her more money.
    Writer #1: Her enbalmer might resist...
    Writer #3: Is he funny?
    Writer #1: He could be, with the right treatment...
    Writer #3: Get Lovitz on the line.

  • BDB||

    Look, take the partisan hats off and compare Palin to her Republican competition for 2012 (Jindal, Sanford, Pawlenty, Crist) and see if she looks like the smartest, most qualified person among that group.

  • Hogan||

    subtract crist. crist would lose to palin in tic tac toe.

  • BDB||

    I didn't know he was that stupid, Hogan.

  • Richard Upton Pickman||

    Did the McCain/Palin ticket remind anyone else of the president/first lady combo in the Philip K Dick book The Simulacra?

    Maybe she is an actor...

  • Hogan||

    he can handle a sentence better than palin, i bet, but i know several people who've worked with him and the consensus is that he's a nice guy but a pretty dim bulb. agrees with whoever he's talking to and doesn't necessarily pick up on glaring inconsistencies.

  • Hogan||

    oh shit WHOMEVER

  • Kaiser||

    Disclaimer: I believe Sarah Palin to be an idiot, and hope we don't have to deal with her any more however...

    Look, take the partisan hats off and compare Palin to her Republican competition for 2012 (Jindal, Sanford, Pawlenty, Crist) and see if she looks like the smartest, most qualified person among that group.




    Is she more qualified? Not a chance in hell, but then again, to be qualified for a VP position you basically have to be able to... breathe. I mean I know waiting for the President to die and just hoping for that day to come where the congress has a tie vote takes skill and all but really...

    I mean VP picks are meant to garner votes and bolster your positions. McCain was just hoping to pick up the PUMA crowd with the Palin pick. Just like Obama picked Biden to bolster his own inexperience. I mean does Biden really fit into Obamas rhetoric? A washington insider who has ben there for 30+ years?

    Just a reminder here I am only playing devils advocate, as noted at the start of my post I think Palin is a moron who disappears.

  • ||

    Richard Upton Pickman,

    No one would make a robot as busted up looking as McCain. But then he does looked worked by space jalopy enthusiasts, so maybe your on to something....

  • ||

    "people who are trying to find someone to blame for the campaign's failure."

    I think Palin does deserve a lot of the blame for the campaign's failure. People didn't want such a dummy being a heartbeat away from the presidency.

  • BDB||

    Kaiser--

    I mean qualified for the Presidency, since that is obviously the office she is angling for now.

  • ||

    you're

    fuck

  • Kaiser||

    wow I am off my game today...


    ...disappears into the abiss.

    Was how that should have ended.

  • ||

    "I mean VP picks are meant to garner votes and bolster your positions."

    But they also need to be qualified for the presidency in case the president dies in office.

  • BDB||

    As to Palin dissapearing, I suspect she will "author" a ghostwritten bio in about four months time to bring herself back into the spotlight.

  • Kaiser||

    BDB


    In that case not a chance. Like I said hopefully she will just disappear now back into her corner of the world. I was watching Morning Joe on MSNBC a couple of weeks ago and one of their analysts brought up a good point:

    Being a VP on the losing ticket for presidency is never a good start for a political career. Looking back at recent history tells us as much. Look no further than Edwards or Gore for proof of that.

  • ||

    I'd be cooler if it was actually written by a ghost.

  • Geotpf||

    Once again, the Republican Party is behind the times. 24 years behind, to be precise. Heck, Ferraro was about as poor a VP choice as Palin was (especially due to the tax return scandal), and the Mondale-Ferraro ticket got their ass kicked just like McCain-Palin did (although even more so).

  • ||

    Palin's best bet is probably a Palin family variety show on CMT.

  • ||

    Look no further than Edwards or Gore for proof of that.

    Maybe she'll become an environmental activist speaking out on the dangers of man-made continental drift.

    "Every year, California gets one centimeter closer to Japan. In 5 years we'll only be fifty feet from Okinawa, dontchaknow."

  • Geoff Nathan||

    The Repubs were thinking 'any woman will do', and ignored the fact that generally, conservative women didn't care whether a woman was running, because that's not important to them, and liberal women wouldn't vote for someone with her views, regardless of gender. It was just plain stupid politics, and they got spanked for it.

  • BDB||

    "The Repubs were thinking 'any woman will do',"

    The same "logic" they used when they decided to run Alan Keyes against Barack Obama in his Senate race.

  • ||

    "Largely overlooked in the rush to bloody Palin's nose is that most of the people who are critical of Sarah P are never going to pull the lever for the GOP."

    I'll vote for a Sanford/Flake ticket, but I'll never vote for Palin.

  • ||

    All four candidates are probably in the same relative IQ grouping. But I think Palin has the best judgment, which is what is most important in terms of a political candidate. She has the potential to be something other than a complete and utter disaster, as Obama will and McCain would have been. The thing I worried about with her is that she didn't have the experience to fend of the neocon crowd the dominates Washington. Palin seemed like a fool when she was reading McCain's script, and outshone Obama when she went off on her own. But if McCain died on day one would she have had the force of will to sack McCain's cabinet and bring in her own team, against what would have surely been a batshit crazy hostile media? That's where I'd have my doubts. And why I'd like to see her build her own political base and circle of advisers up a bit more before I'd consider not voting for her (I'll likely never vote D or R, but if she's decent enough that I'd give her consideration before not voting).

  • MAX HATS||

    Totally agree. Republican party's only hope. Judgement. All the way. Palin has good judgement. No question. Thanks but no thanks amirite? Well now it's time for thanks but also thanks - for the republican party nomination. Palin 2012.

  • *||

    Hogan | November 13, 2008, 4:03pm | #
    he can handle a sentence better than palin, i bet, but i know several people who've worked with him and the consensus is that he's a nice guy but a pretty dim bulb.

    Yeah, and I know several people that worked with Stephen Hawking and say he was a total spaz. Yeah, I called out Hawking. Big whoop. Ya wanna fight about it?

  • ||

    O-v-e-r-e-x-p-o-s-u-r-e. She needs to learn what that word means before she becomes the Vanilla Ice of politics.

    Why did this video pop into my head. Except in the one I pictured, the tape was the Couric interview and it was Tucker Carlson yelling, "No Sarah!"

  • ||

    "Did you see her interview with Larry King yesterday? When not pressured to spit out soundbites, she comes off as genuine and reaasonably intelligent."

    Anybody can look halfway intelligent with the softball questions that Larry King throws out.

  • ||

    All four candidates are probably in the same relative IQ grouping.

    I doubt that.

    Obama was editor and later president of Harvard Law Review and graduated Magna from Harvard Law.

    From an IQ standpoint he's clearly head and shoulders above the rest.

    McCain went to a really good school (USNA) but he was likely accepted because he was a 3rd generation legacy. The fact that he finished in the bottom 5% of his class supports that theory.

    Biden seems intellectually unimpressive, but he is so comfortable in the environment of DC that he comes off brighter than he probably is.

    Palin kicked around a bunch of community colleges and third tier schools before graduating with a gut major after 6 years.

    But I think Palin has the best judgment

    If Palin had solid judgment she would have told McCain she was not yet ready to be VP.

  • ||

    Being a VP on the losing ticket for presidency is never a good start for a political career. Looking back at recent history tells us as much. Look no further than Edwards or Gore for proof of that.



    I get what you're driving at but I have to mention that Gore was VP on the winning ticket, twice.

    And, by God, he'd've won in 00 too if only some geezers in palm Beach Conty hadn't gotten confused and voted for Adolf HitlerPat Buchanan as well.

  • Les||

    Palin seemed like a fool when she was reading McCain's script, and outshone Obama when she went off on her own.

    I'm amazed that people can watch her interviews and think she's anything but embarrassingly overconfident and willfully ignorant.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrzXLYA_e6E

    But then, there are still a lot of Bush supporters out there, I suppose.

  • BDB||

    Dole is the only losing VP (as in never getting elected VP even once) to get the nomination since World War II, and he waited 20 years. And still lost.

  • Timmy||

    The most important feature of Sarah is that she looks real good in a tight sweater.

  • Hogan||

    asterisk - do you have different information about crist? from anecdotes i've heard from friends and family members who've dealt with him, i don't rate his intellect all that highly.

    i don't want to fight you about hawking - maybe we can take this up with him? i've heard he's a total puss and weak as shit.

  • Kaiser||

    Yes I realized my mistake about Gore after I had already submitted the comment. As you said though you got the point. BDB drives that home even more, I wasn't even aware that it went that far back.

  • ||

    "If Palin had solid judgment she would have told McCain she was not yet ready to be VP."

    I think Palin is so dumb that she doesn't realize just how dumb she is. Either that, or she's trying to wing it and trying to snow people into believing she's qualified to be president.

  • ||

    Palin seemed like a fool when she was reading McCain's script, and outshone Obama when she went off on her own.

    Seriously? Because when someone says during a televised debate, "I'm not going to answer that ques

    Biden seems intellectually unimpressive, but he is so comfortable in the environment of DC that he comes off brighter than he probably is.

    My friend (a pretty staunch Republican that has worked in DC) described it best. He's the sort of guy that speaks authoritatively, clearly and confidently, so you think that what he says is true. Then you think about what he says and all of the sudden you're like, "What the fuck?"

  • ||

    The most important feature of Sarah is that she looks real good in a tight sweater.

    She'll look less good in 8 years.

    "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."

  • ||

    I am not sure Edwards is a good example. He did pretty well in the primaries. He probably kept Hillary from winning. If he hadn't knocked up his mistress, he would be set up for 2016 when Hillary is too old and the chosen one is off to Mt. Rushmore. Hell he still might be. And Gore did win the popular vote in 2000. That is not bad.

    Erik in Maine is right. No question Obama had the highest IQ of the four candidates. Magna cum is not bad. We of course are about to find out that IQ doesn't translate into wisdom or decision making ability. As smart as Obama is, he doesn't hold a candle to Woodrow Wilson who was probably, next to Nixon, the worst President of the 20th Century. With a very few exceptions, Jefferson comes to mind, eggheads have done very poorly as Presidents.

  • BDB||

    Kaiser, the last loser VP to be elected Pres. was Roosevelt in 1932.

  • ||

    Everyone said VPS could never win the Presidency until Bush I did. Being a losing VP is a bad thing until it becomes a good thing. It doesn't mean much one way or another.

  • Kaiser||

    Kaiser, the last loser VP to be elected Pres. was Roosevelt in 1932.



    ...no wonder losing VPs no longer get elected. Although that couldn't be a good reason as most people view FDR and his New Deal as a great moment in history.

  • BDB||

    The real reason is because once you have the stench of "loser" from getting creamed in a general election, it is difficult to come back. Nixon is the only one that comes to mind who did that.

  • Chuck ||

    Are you fucking kidding me? First of all, she identified herself as a feminist and then later said something like 'I'm not gonna label myself.' Here's another quote: "Sitting here in these chairs that I'm going to be proposing but in working with these governors who again on the front lines are forced to and it's our privileged obligation to find solutions to the challenges facing our own states every day being held accountable, not being just one of many just casting votes or voting present every once in a while, we don't get away with that. We have to balance budgets and we're dealing with multibillion dollar budgets and tens of thousands of employees in our organizations." What?!? And she's supposed to be anything but an embarrassment to women or anyone else? Get the fuck outta here with that nonsense.

  • ||

    Not only has no losing VP been elected since FDR, we have also had two straight two term Presidents. That is a pretty rare event. Only once have we had three straight two term Presidents, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe. The Eisenhower, Kennedy/Johnson, Nixon era was close, but Kennedy was assasinated and Nixon didn't finish his term.

  • ||

    Meh, I meant to finish the previous sentence.

    Seriously? Because when someone says during a televised debate, "I'm not going to answer that question, I'm going to answer a different one." I think that person is way out of their depth.

  • ||

    "Nixon is the only one that comes to mind who did that."


    Nixon didn't get creamed he almost won. He may have really won and had the election stolen from him. We will never know. He later lost the election to be governor of California in 1962. That was when he made the famous "you won't have me to kick around anymore" statement. But if you talk to people who lived in CA back then, they voted against him not because they didn't like him but because they knew he wanted to run for President again in 64 and they didn't want a governor who was more interested in running for President than running the State. Nixon, at least before Watergate, was never as hated as the media makes it out to be.

  • ||

    "most people view FDR and his New Deal as a great moment in history."

    Most people are sadly deluded.

  • ||

    "Seriously? Because when someone says during a televised debate, "I'm not going to answer that question, I'm going to answer a different one." I think that person is way out of their depth."


    I don't think so. I would say that if I thought the question was a stupid one. I wouldn't be that polite and would say something like "well Charlie that is a really stupid question, since you don't know anything about the subject you are asking about, let me rephrase the question into a better one and I will answer that." I of course am not a politician for that reason.

  • *||

    Hogan,

    Do you live under a bridge? I only ask because everything seems to go over your head.

    Oh, and there are these things on your keyboard that say "Shift" on them.

  • Lester Hunt||

    Check out Camille Paglia's comments on Palin in "Obama Surfs Through" on Salon. Camille is great fun, as always.

  • Just Plain Brian||

    TRY AS HE MIGHT, THE URKOBOLD HAS UNCOVERED NOT ONE NUDE PHOTO OF THE GOVERNOR.



    Well, it's not a photo, but there is that Painting

  • ||

    "Check out Camille Paglia's comments on Palin in "Obama Surfs Through" on Salon. Camille is great fun, as always."

    Yes she is. She is a total whack job, but a really smart and interesting one. Vamps and Tramps is one of the funniest and most entertaining books I have ever read.

  • ||

    "Seriously? Because when someone says during a televised debate, "I'm not going to answer that question, I'm going to answer a different one." I think that person is way out of their depth."


    I don't think so. I would say that if I thought the question was a stupid one.


    "Governor, please if you want to respond to what he said about Sen. McCain's comments about health care?"

    Is a stupid question?

    I think her response suggests she has no idea what McCain's health care policy is.

  • shrike||

    But I think Palin has the best judgment, which is what is most important in terms of a political candidate

    Code for - "Palin is a fundie nut and aborto-freak like myself".

  • BDB||

    Shrike is like a conservative-created strawman with a pulse.

  • ||

    "Governor, please if you want to respond to what he said about Sen. McCain's comments about health care?"

    Is a stupid question?

    I think her response suggests she has no idea what McCain's health care policy is."

    What did she say? I think it is more a case of her wanting to stay on message and having been told by her campaign that she must say this or that. I don't think tactically it is always a bad move to not talk directly to your opponents' points. It is a free form political debate. Sometimes it is good to say "I am not going to screw with what my opponent has to say point by point, I am going to make my points which are as follows." The general consensus after the VP debate was that Palin did quite well. But she could cure cancer and people would still be on here talking about how dumb she is.

  • ||

    "In the meantime, the good news is that no one regards her failures as failures of women."

    Really?

  • ||

    What did she say? I think it is more a case of her wanting to stay on message and having been told by her campaign that she must say this or that. I don't think tactically it is always a bad move to not talk directly to your opponents' points. It is a free form political debate. Sometimes it is good to say "I am not going to screw with what my opponent has to say point by point, I am going to make my points which are as follows."

    You know, if she was erudite in other venues I would completely agree with you. The problem is she has never been erudite speaking on any issue other than herself.

  • brandon||

    Shortly before Palin was named to the ticket C-SPAN replayed an interview they did with her in early 2008. She came off as reasonably intelligent and capable. She rattled off policy minutiae and statistics with ease.

    I suppose it's easier to seem informed when the topic is Alaska than when the topic is the whole country and the world.

  • ||

    Here's a gem from today (when she's not under the thumb of the McCain's campaign).

    Sitting here in these chairs that I'm going to be proposing but in working with these governors who again on the front lines are forced to and it's our privileged obligation to find solutions to the challenges facing our own states every day being held accountable, not being just one of many just casting votes or voting present every once in a while, we don't get away with that. We have to balance budgets and we're dealing with multi-billion dollar budgets and tens of thousands of employees in our organizations.

    Read it aloud for the full effect. This is gibberish.

  • ||

    Shortly before Palin was named to the ticket C-SPAN replayed an interview they did with her in early 2008. She came off as reasonably intelligent and capable. She rattled off policy minutiae and statistics with ease.

    How odd that the interview disappeared down the memory hole after she was nominated. You'd almost think that the vast majority of the media had a visceral negative reaction to her that they were determined to hammer home, and didn't want to put anything on the air that would interfere with their template.

    Standard Palin Disclaimer: I have no idea how smart she really is, or whether she would have made a good VP. I do know a smear campaign when I see one, though, and there has been a very successful directed at her.

  • shrike||

    How could any person ascertain Palin's "judgement" based on her flimsy political career? Her Bridge to Nowhere stance was proven to be complete myth when it was found she initially supported it and then later accepted the funds for it. The pipeline was a rigged contract for one bidder.

    Yep - that is some record of "judgement". We all know what the term means - it is pure code for the fundies/conservative types.

    But hey - I am pulling for her. Maybe she will be the beast that kills off the GOP so that a more rational party can take its place.

  • Les||

    I do know a smear campaign when I see one, though, and there has been a very successful directed at her.

    It wouldn't have worked without her help.

  • *||

    How do you know when she had her last smear?

  • MAX HATS||

    I do know a smear campaign when I see one, though, and there has been a very successful directed at her.



    A smear job is when someone you really want to like keeps saying and doing dumb things? How is the media responsible for the diarrhea that comes from her mouth every time it opens? Did the media buy all those clothes with RNC donations, too?

    What would it take for you to think she's corrupt, stupid, or both?

  • *||

    And won't someone please think of the Todd?

  • ||

    RC Dean wrote: "How odd that the interview disappeared down the memory hole after she was nominated. "

    Too bad she didn't give good interviews with which to replace the old one.

    Is your position that this earlier interview that C-SPAN showed had been taped before Palin's "Use-By" date?

  • ||

    I can only wish Palin much future success in influencing her party! Good luck Sarah!

  • Elemenope||

    No one would make a robot as busted up looking as McCain. But then he does looked worked by space jalopy enthusiasts, so maybe your on to something....

    Clearly someone doesn't watch Battlestar Galactica.

  • Shannon||

    "The notion that "patriarchal power" exists in the United States in 2008 is only slightly less delusional than the belief, erroneously attributed to Palin, that God created the dinosaurs 5000 years ago"?

    Really? How then are the vast majority of CEOs and politicians still men? How is there still a huge gender gap in wages?

    shut the fuck up.

  • Male Oppressor||

    Really? How then are the vast majority of CEOs and politicians still men?

    Because women would just bleed all over that fancy office furniture.

  • economist||

    "Really? How then are the vast majority of CEOs and politicians still men? How is there still a huge gender gap in wages?"
    I'm sorry you're on your period. Would you like a midol?

  • Scott66||

    Shannon, the wage gap is a complete and total myth. There are more male CEOs because at the extremes of work men hugely outnumber women. Male politicians of both party favor women over men, it is misguided or dishonest to say that because men dominate politics that the average man benefits. This maybe why women who are the majority of voters keep voting men into office.

    As for whether Palin helped women in politics, I think so from a pratical standpoint. The public got to experience Palin and Hillary as serious candidates. The press coverage of them was different than for the men in the race. This difference worked both as negative and a positive for them. Hopefully next time the press and people in general will put aside those differences and concentrate on policy.

  • Leftitti||

    This article and the comments to it are the very reason the libertarian party will never man up and become a force to be taken seriously.

  • DannyK||

    I think Palin was a token woman candidate. People can tell when someone's a token, and they don't like it. This is what makes Clarence Thomas so volcanically angry.

  • ||

    Actually, the reason more men are CEOs than women has more to do with the makeup of the job market in the 1970s and 1980s than it does with today's. The entry level peons of 20-40 years ago are today's CEOs. Since women were at a significant disadvantage back then, it's led to the disadvantages today.

    For example, Carly Fiorina graduated from Stanford in 1976 so she had to deal with that slog. The women graduating in the late 90s and today will be on far more equal footing. Of course, it won't be visible until about 2020 or so.

    There is, of course, the bit about a significantly higher percentage of talented women intentionally pulling themselves out of the workforce than men. This will skew the percentages a bit as well.

    By the way, I'd like to thank the sexist douchebags above for making us all look bad and proving Shannon's point when there are non-nefarious explanations.

  • zoltan||

    The women graduating in the late 90s and today will be on far more equal footing. Of course, it won't be visible until about 2020 or so.


    Mo, while it is true that a larger percentage of women are graduating from universities than men, look at the majority of the programs they graduate from. How many males do you see graduating from elementary ed. and how many women do you see graduating from engineering or computer science?

    Now law, business and finance I think are much more equal and you'll see more integration there.

    And come on, the bloody office furniture joke was funny.

  • A Whiter Shade of Palin||

    I am and always will be amazed at the attention given to the vice president on a ticket. Rational voters don't vote based on vice-presidential candidates.

    Nevertheless, I have long noted that humans are intensely irrational. Stupid is what we hear most. Irrational is the better explanation.

  • Phrenology 101||

    DannyK,

    Justice (Longdong) Silver transcended tokenism. People expected a lightweight like Souter. They instead got a thinker. Obama has no monopoly on bright man with genetic connection to Africa. Clarence Thomas despite his part as political pawn has proven bullocks to attacks on his intellect. This black boy would confound any phrenologist.

  • muen||

    The dynamics are sooo interesting, I cant say im a fan...But I can say there are a lot of women out there thinking ..."WOW if she can do it ...I can!" thats good right...seriously. My crazy theory is that she was a royal pain in the buttocks for the oil barons in Alaska, this is the way to get her out...the celebrity of it all ...just like a drug!!

    nice blog

  • Scott66||

    Mo, you are correct that there are more reasons than the one I listed as to why there are more male CEOs, just as there are more reasons than you listed. I believe that even with the increased rate of graduation of women today, the big company CEO will not be 50/50 in the future. Men are simply more extreme than women and will probably always have more representation at the highest and lowest ends of society.

    Shannon comments were also sexist and dangerously misinformed. In my area of the world the ad I heard most often from Obama was the one where he touted the 77% wage gap and stated he wanted a world were his duaghters will make as much as your sons. The wage gap is a myth. If considering the same job, same hours, and same senority, women make the same as men. Even the feminist report he is probably referencing states that. They get the 77% number by taking the total wages earned by men/women and dividing the wages by the total number of men/women. Obviously this is a lousy way of doing it as the genders often make different lifestyle choices. Obama is pandering to people like Shannon and will probably try to pass federal laws to fix the wage gap which doesn't really exist. The effect will be misguided social engineering at best and most likely down right discrimination against men. That should trouble all men and fair minded women.

  • ||

    "How then are the vast majority of CEOs and politicians still men?"

    This is the dumbest thing on the thread. You may as well ask why the greatest heavyweight boxers are all men. And why the vast majority of nurses are women. Did it ever occur to you that men and women might be fundamentally different from one another?

  • Xmas||

    Shannon,

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/mostpowerfulwomen/2008/

    It simply a matter of percolation. It takes time for ANYONE to rise to the top. If you got the magazine, there is a great article on the new wave of female manager. They have a great description of the growing "old girl network".

  • scotth797||

    Shortly before Palin was named to the ticket C-SPAN replayed an interview they did with her in early 2008. She came off as reasonably intelligent and capable. She rattled off policy minutiae and statistics with ease>>>

    I said on day one, the McCain campaign should have sat he down with Brian Lamb for two hours, and took calls from CSPAN viewers the next day for two hours. If you want to play the *liberal media* card (which I happen to believe is true), that is what you do. Same goes for that folksy crap she throws out there.

    Frankly, as I have posted on Reason ad naseum, every debate should be on CSPAN. And it is the only place where I take interviews seriously. Palin on Hannity and Colmes? Biden on Meet the Press? Obama anywhere?

    And a few others-

    Camille Paglia is a trip. Met her at one of her book signings, where she ripped in to academia in a college town (Austin). Made fun of feminists and so on. I thought gentrification was going to be next. Confusion on the faces, who obviously didn't know her deal.

    Palin doesn't exactly come off as Plato, but lets look at Joe Biden. Voted for the war, suggested breaking Iraq in to three different regions and is one of the big voices on the drug war. The poster who wrote that Biden speaks with authority is right. Chris Rock says the same about men who want to get sex from women. Speaking with authority gets you ninety percent of the way there.


    It's utterly ridiculous that we haven't had a female president, much less a nominee.

    On the other hand, female enrollment in the professional sector, particularly law is up dramatically. That should bode well for an increase to the 16% of senators and 0% of presidents.

    Speaking of which, now that Barry is in the White House, we are back to 0% of black senators. The ulimate club doesn't have much *change*

    It will be interesting to watch Palin going forward. In my opinion, the isolation of Alaska will hurt her.If you really want to be in the game, you have to be in the lower 48. Even a governor of a Montana or her home state of Idaho is to out there. Has to take that Senate seat.

    Palin would also have to do other things for the next twenty four months- hire a PR firm, surround herself with pros, and engage in something substanative, well, by US standards. A serious book, a big time committee, and a benefactor or two..or twenty.

  • ||

    On the other hand, female enrollment in the professional sector, particularly law is up dramatically. That should bode well for an increase to the 16% of senators and 0% of presidents.

    For anyone who thinks the Nanny State and the Redistribution State are bad things, that is one depressing prospect. Women, to generalize grossly, are much more likely to favor that kind of communitarian/socialization of risk and reward than men are.

  • JB||

    Obama was NOT involved in the crafting of his own speeches and positions. His qualifications suggest that he is more concerned with the inspiration of his rhetoric than the effects of his policy. Nearly all politicians (especially presidents) outsource speech-writing activities to operatives that specialize in dissecting every syllable of a speech for its electoral value. His positions and priorities were also similarly constructed. His Harvard law education served him only in attempting to use legal to implement redistributionist policies for the benefit of minority communities in Chicago. Obama has no education or experience in business, economics, or foreign policy; he must adopt most positions from the democratic party without much debate.

  • ||

    Little mention in the piece given to her- quite real- accomplishments as Governor, instead focusing upon her 2 months thrust into the national Presidential campaign. While no Governor is perfect, her record as an effective Governor (and BTW, one who, while holding culturally conservative views, hasn't used her office to advance them via government) is what should be considered at least as much as her 2 month performance as McCain's Veep. (And need we even mention the lack of comparable criticism given to Blowhard Joe Biden's serial gaffes?)

  • ||

    one who, while holding culturally conservative views, hasn't used her office to advance them via government

    You would think this would matter a lot more to soi-disant "libertarians".

    The visceral hatred of her as a "fundy nut-job" has always told me a lot more about her detractors than it does about her; among other things, that they can't imagine not using government office to advance personal views.

  • Hex||

    The visceral hatred of her as a "fundy nut-job" has always told me a lot more about her detractors than it does about her; among other things, that they can't imagine not using government office to advance personal views.

    In contrast, anyone who believes a 14 year-old rape victim -- even in the case of incest -- should choose "life", rather than hauling ass to the nearest abortion clinic, to me, says a lot more about the retard advocating such a position.

    Why shouldn't people call her out as a "fundy nut-job" when that's clearly what she is? Just because she doesn't happen to be in a position to implement her particular brand of lunacy doesn't mean she wouldn't do so at the drop of a hat, if given the chance.

    Just what the world needs - more people in positions of power that think they have a direct line to god(s). Sheesh.

  • ||

    McCain lost because he ran Al Gore's candyass, wishy washy 2000 campaign playbook.

    People wish it was as simple as who his VP pick was. It doesn't matter who it was, McCain was the problem.

  • Justen||

    Palin? Feminist? I paraphrase: "Feminist? Gee, I don't know if I'd call myself a feminist, shucks I just really don't like those labels being applied to mavericky mavericks like and, et cetera".

    Okay so it wasn't that bad, but I distinctly remember Palin showing discomfort over the concept several times. Besides that her demonstrable lack of competence at anything besides delivering rehearsed lines and stirring crowds suggested to a large part of the country that she was chosen based on her gender rather than her ability, which if anything is a huge blow to feminism. All that tells us is that yes, gender still matters to people, just in different and equally sexist ways. She's a shining example of every sexist stereotype of a female leader, she was horribly damaging. It's particularly sad because there are so many intelligent, truly successful young conservative women that could have been chosen in her place.

  • ||

    Libertarian feminism? How about individualism instead?

  • ||

    The continued support for Palin is the most prominent example of the intellectual abyss into which the American right has fallen. They've got what I've dubbed "Jonah Goldberg Disease" - they've allowed hatred of liberals to become the central organizing principle of their thinking, and have come to reflexively adopt whatever ideas liberals oppose, and reflexively defend whatever liberals attack.

    In October 2006, in an LA Times column in which he called the Iraq War a mistake, Jonah Goldberg wrote this line: I must confess, one of the things that made me reluctant to conclude that the Iraq war was a mistake was my distaste for the shabbiness of the arguments on the antiwar side

    Think about that. This is a question of life and death times many, many thousands, and he let his opinion be guided by this partisan pissiness?

    Sarah Palin, when prompted and reminded many times by Charles Gibson, didn't know that George Bush had articulated a new doctrine of military pre-emption. She didn't just whiff on the name "Bush Doctrine" - when Gibson told her what is was, told her when it was issued and what it was about, answered the question as if it was the first time she had ever considered such ideas. She couldn't name a Supreme Court case other than Roe vs. Wade.

    There are not verbal slips; this is evidence of a profound lack of knowledge and understanding about some of the most important ideas that define and animate the conservative movement, but we see her constantly given a pass. Why? No big mystery, the people giving her that pass come right out and tell us why - because they don't like the people who point out these shortcomings. They're liberals. And when they're not liberals - Kathleen Parker, David Brooks, Christopher Buckley - they call them liberals anyway.

    When people criticize the radically anti-abortion (even in the case of rape and incest)l, anti-gay, anti-everyone-who-isn't-from-a-background-like-her-own Palin as narrow-minded and provincial and fanatical, it doesn't "tell me a lot more about her detractors than it does about her." That anyone could see the facts and arguments on these matters and think that the most important thing is not to consider their implications, but to indulge one's feelings about those detractors, it's an abdication of the intellect in favor of a mindless choosing of sides.

    Conservatism these days is about pissing off liberals, about making one's self believe whatever "those people" don't. Do you really want to insist to yourself that Sarah Palin is smart, and knowledgeable, and popular, and capable, ,just because "those people" have concluded the opposite? Fine, have at it. See you in 2012, and keep the faith!

  • ||

    (And need we even mention the lack of comparable criticism given to Blowhard Joe Biden's serial gaffes?)

    Apparently so, because every single person who tried to make the argument that we can't believe our lyin' eyes when noting what a disaster Sarah Palin in feels the need to mention the fact that Joe Biden has said things that were unhelpful for his ticket during the campaign.

    So the answer, from what I've read, is a hearty "YES!" As far as I can tell, "we," defined as people who want to make the case that it would be a really good idea to make Sarah Palin Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and Chief Executive, do need to bring up Joe Biden.

  • ||

    Obama was NOT involved in the crafting of his own speeches and positions.

    On your say-so, we're supposed to believe that? Because the people who actually covered the campaign and had the closest access have uniformly reported that he wrote many of his own speeches, including the Philadelphia speech on race.

  • ||

    I'm still trying to figure out what 'liberal' means. I'm quite liberal and accept and respect your opinions and lifestyles while I mayn't agree with your decisions. Hey. Do your own thing. I'm not quite sure how any one can believe or not believe in abortion. It is... a bit like accepting or not accepting lunar cycles.

    In terms of government, well, the government that governs least, governs best. I'm painfully conservative, in that I actually conserve my resources and always have. Hell, I live in Texas where water is our most precious commodity. When I need to wash dishes in hot water, I run it into a pitcher until it gets hot, then save the water for the garden or the dogs' water bowls. I've composted stuff for 55 years since being a child in rural Maryland. Cheap 'R me. Still I deplore 'watermelons' -- green on the outside, red on the inside -- who'd legislate behaviour.

    Gov Palin was a breath of fresh air and she was just plain fresh -- as in, in your face. I hope to hear more from her whether or not she gains a national forum again.

    As for Sen Obama's speech writing, my guess is that he keeps a blue editor's pencil at hand at all times. He's a terrific orator. I'd give him an A+ in presentation. Substance? Well... we'll see in January. Oratory is oratory and action is action. Often they bear no similarity. I fear his scientific ignorance as I fear the nation's innumeracy and inability to think empirically (see Gorebull warming and the fact that, by definition, science never reaches a consensus).

    As usual, life is interesting.

  • ||

    The notion of "patriarchal power" in 2008 is delusional? I'm not sure how one defines patriarchal power, but this little tidbit makes it seems worlds less delusional than dinosaurs running around 5,000 years ago:

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women still earn on average only 77% of what men earn.

  • ||

    One thing is clear to me: Palin has a higher IQ than the author of this piece.

  • ||

    I watched Sarah Palin during the debates and in media interviews. This is a woman with no understanding of science, history, or economics. She displays an astonishing lack of intellectual curiosity or appreciation for the biodiversity of her adopted state. Is this the best the Republican Party can muster?

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