John McCain thinks women are stupid

Last night, upon hearing that Sarah Palin was McCain’s pick for VP, I thought it was bad news for us (but a good decision on his part). But after watching her speech, I’m re-considering. The invocation of Democratic women — particularly Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton — came across as shameless pandering, especially in light of the McCain team’s strategy to try and woo former Clinton supporters. It’s clear enough that Team McCain thinks women are so dumb that if they just switch the skirt, female voters will come running. This is the same party that has demonized Hillary Clinton for years, and now they’re singing her praises at a huge campaign rally? Uh-uh, female voters are not that dumb — even those “disaffected, angry” Clinton voters who CNN keeps telling me tend to be “older women.”

The fact is that John McCain has chosen a staunch conservative to be his running mate. She is anti-choice. She is against civil rights for gay and lesbian people. She wants to drill in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge. She’s a gun nut. She’s a Buchanan supporter (and it doesn’t get much scarier than that). She wants to teach Creationism in schools. She doesn’t believe in global warming. She talks about having a child with Downs Syndrome, but then voted against funding special-needs programs in schools.

The McCain camp has picked an anti-woman woman to deliver their anti-woman message. It’s a card the GOP has been playing for a long, long time. They seem stuck on that statistic that 27% of Hillary Clinton voters are not supporting Barack Obama, and are trying to pull those voters to their side by talking about the glass ceiling and feminism (did you ever think you’d hear words like that used by the Republicans in a good way?). I wonder, though, how many of that 27% were moderate to right-leaning women in the first place, who supported Clinton because she’s Hillary Clinton and would have otherwise been voting Republican anyway? I just don’t imagine that there are significant numbers of truly progressive women who would support McCain out of spite (I’m sure there are a few, but it’s no 27%). And I don’t imagine that there are lots of women who would support an anti-woman candidate just because she has a vagina.

One thing I’m not looking forward to is watching progressives toss out the same old sexisms against Palin that have always been used against female politicians. I don’t like Palin, and I don’t particularly want to be defending her against attacks by fellow Obama supporters and media-makers, but those attacks are most certainly coming. Just watching CNN International, the focus on Hillary voters as vengeful witches intent on ruining the election has been stunning. Certainly Palin will receive her fair share of sexist media narratives as well — I’m particularly looking forward to Hillary Clinton’s response to Palin’s quoting of her, and how that will be cast as the ultimate powerful woman catfight.

Women are not stupid, even if John McCain thinks we are. And the progressives among us will not be voting for an anti-woman candidate just because she happens to be female. But hopefully, we also won’t be excusing sexism and misogyny directed at Sarah Palin just because we find her views abhorrent. And hopefully media elite and progressive writers will have the sense to attack Palin on the issues, and not on what’s in her pantsuits.

Author: has written 5275 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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107 Responses

  1. Peter
    Peter August 29, 2008 at 11:27 pm |

    The more I read about her, the more I’m convinced it was a total gimmick to pick her. It wasn’t just about putting a far right wingnutter on the ticket.

    She was the mayor of a small alaska town just two years ago, and by her own admission doesn’t know much about foreign policy? Are you fucking kidding me?

    This was a total pander and gimmick by McCain. This was a move obviously born of desparation. There are far better qualified female candidates McCain could have picked. But those stadium-sized crowds Obama routinely draws must be freaking the old man out, and he wanted a gimmick to create a media buzz to distract from Obama.

    And I don’t think most women are going to be fooled by a guy who calls his wife a c*nt, and makes ape rape jokes, into thinking he’s some kind of enlightened man for putting an unqualified female wingnut on his ticket.

  2. Andrew
    Andrew August 30, 2008 at 12:07 am |

    Seriously now… an anti-woman woman? This surprises me. I sympathize with your fear that ‘choice’ might be eroding, but shouldn’t feminists be overjoyed that Sarah Palin is proving that it is possible for a woman to be successful in her career AND have a (big) family? This is evidence that you don’t have to choose between family and career. You can have both, and Sarah Palin is proving it. We are moving forward.

  3. Eva
    Eva August 30, 2008 at 12:18 am |

    I’m not worried about women en masse voting for MCCain because of Sarah Palin, because obviously most women aren’t dumb enough to believe that all women are interchangeable. I am worried about progressive women en masse staying home, or voting third party to the point the the Republicans win, because this is a party that went after its own female candidate with vicious sexist rhetoric, and has already starting making sex jokes and arguing that good mothers can’t be good candidates. I can only imagine what a party that gleefully promoted materials and websites that called its own democratic presidential frontrunner a bitch, a ho, and a cunt, will do to a woman in the opposing party, and I imagine a lot of that rhetoric will be disgusting and off putting and make actual progressive democratic women, not just the much hyped PUMA’s, feel like they’re not interested in throwing their vote behind a party that takes them for granted and treats them like shit. As a black woman who registered as an independant years ago because I was sick of my so called party taking my vote for granted and doing nothing for me, I can’t really blame people who make that decision. I’ll be voting for Obama this time, out of fear of McCain more than hope (and I would have been voting for Hillary for the same reason), but if I didn’t live in a swing state, the Green Party ticket would be tempting.

  4. zak
    zak August 30, 2008 at 12:19 am |

    I would feel sorry for Palin, but that she accept the offer from McCain.

    On the one hand, the media and the blogosphere are going to tear this woman apart. She’s the punchline to a bad joke. She has no national or foreign policy to run on, and she most certainly cannot begin to compare herself to Hillary Clinton beyond genitals.

    Andrea Mitchell is told McCain met with her once before selecting her. It means she’s going to wind up being vetted in public by the media and the American people. It is not an enviable position.

    But on the other, she actually agreed to this charade.

    She can’t truly think she’s prepared to step in a run a gov’t that supports more than 300 million people because she’s spent about 2 years running a gov’t that supports less than 1 million Alaskans. And McCain’s age makes that reality a factor.

    What did she get in return for agreeing to be VP? What promises have been made regarding her future in the Republican Party?

    I also wonder about the backlash she’s going to take from conservative women. She’s a pro-life creationist. . . I don’t get the impression that segment of society would approve of a woman with 5 children — one that’s still an infant — placing her very public political career ahead of motherhood.

    Clearly, having a job is as far as her feminist streak extends, given her stance on family planning and gay marriage, but it seems at odds with her very conservative ideology.

    Phyllis Schlafly must be torn this evening.

  5. karen lee
    karen lee August 30, 2008 at 12:20 am |

    Frankly, as a 64 year old white, well-educated woman I am really insulted that the Republican Party thinks we are so stupid that we will switch to John McCain simply because he has chosen a woman as his vp candidate. Do they really think women wanted Hillary Clinton simply because of her gender, and not because of all the issues — women’s issue, health care issues, environmental issues — that she stood for? Do they have any idea how many women they have really offended by making that assumption?
    Does Andrew think that Palin is the first woman to combine career and having a big family? Try Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farmworkers Union with Cesar Chavez and a lifelong key organizer of labor rights for farmworkers — which she did with extraordinary talent, intellect and success while also successfully raising 11 children.
    Can a woman who takes stands against women on almost every key issue be considered “anti-woman”? Of course. Are men with black skin automatically pro-black even if they vote, as legislators or judges, against every crucial civil rights and anti-racist measure?
    Come on John McCain and Neocons, give us a little credit for being able to think. We don’t vote for someone because she has breasts and a vagina. ANd thank you Peter for showing that men understand this too.

  6. Swan
    Swan August 30, 2008 at 12:43 am |

    Here’s Hillary on Palin. Needless to say, I think her too-diplomatic response is totally wrong. Palin isn’t much of anything for women (or anyone else) to be happy about, because she’s just a henchman for the conservatives to work against women’s interests and the interests of other under-protected groups in our country. People like Palin help make the conservatives even more dangerous than if the public face of conservative politics consisted of white men alone, because people like Palin help fool people into thinking that conservative policies help women. So not only is Palin a particularly dangerous addition, she’s also a particularly obnoxious traitor (because the work she’s doing as his VP pick is to help the conservatives secure a whole bunch of political power all-at-once).

    I for one am pretty sick of people having mixed feelings about things like highly visible conservative women and highly visible conservative racial minorities. Sarah Palin, Condaleeza Rice and the like are just enemies, at least almost-as-much as guys like McCain are our enemies. The only sense in which they’re less culpable than McCain is by way of the possibility that a person like McCain may have a better idea of what conservatism is really all about, but (for instance) a black conservative TV news-magazine personality may be fooled into believing a lot of the lies he’s been hired by McCain’s ilk to tell.

    It’s pretty easy to figure out: If an ignorant woman sees another woman running as a conservative politician, she may conclude, “She’s a woman, like me. We have the same interests that all women do. She must know more than I do about governing, because she’s actually a politician, so if she thinks conservatives’ politics are ok, I suppose they’ve got to be ok. At least, I think she looks honest.” That’s how conservatives manipulate people. They know that populism isn’t their strong suit, so they try to disguise themselves as in some way populist. They used to try to publicly live up to their belief that only men should lead and work. But it became too unpopular idea, so they’ve got to disguise it a little– and people like Palin help a lot. If it wasn’t for a few people like her– the Condaleeza Rices– the conservatives would be doing much worse in this country.

    Condaleeza Rice used to sleep with conservative, dicky, white jocks when she was in college. The only reason she does what she does is because she knew that a lot of white people looked down on black people, so being black made her feel small and powerless. She then realized that there was someone conservatives (supposedly) disliked more than black people– the Russians or communists. If she could help white people fight their white enemies, she thought, they might like her and value her. So she became a Russia expert so she could stop being a black person. Condoleeza Rice is no role model for any black person or freedom fighter at all– neither is Palin.

    For more thoughts on Palin, check out all my posts from Friday here.

  7. Adrasteia
    Adrasteia August 30, 2008 at 12:48 am |

    I am surfing the feminist websites trying to get a feeling for how women view the choice of Palin. My first stop was Tennesse Guerilla Women where I read a majority of postings celebrating the GOPs choice. Not just celebrating, outright rejoicing.

    It seems there are a great many women who strangely think Palin is a brilliant choice for VP and don’t see it as pandering.

  8. perki
    perki August 30, 2008 at 12:54 am |

    Clearly, this is not intended to appeal to Hillary’s set, there is no doubt they will be voting for Sen. Obama.

    However, the last three elections have hinged on the 30% of the electorate that are Independent or centrist voters. The middle group that sometime votes D and sometimes votes R. Especially the women Independents, the R’s haven’t had that vote since Reagan. They want it. This is a great way to get it.

    I am a male, but heck, she looks like a strong woman that is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with any male politician. Why wouldn’t a feminist see past the party label and appreciate that trait and her successes against all odds? Or is feminism just another label for party D hack?

    This is a strange concept to those that live in the concrete jungle, but there is something very real about her. I think of her debating the ANWAR issue with an environmentalist from Manhattan. Who would really know more about the environment in the Arctic?

    Confession: I am really, really tired of Politically Correct positions that define logic and common sense. Frankly, I think most Independent voters are too!

  9. Marksman2000
    Marksman2000 August 30, 2008 at 12:59 am |

    “She’s a gun nut.”

    That’s a stereotype, Jill.

    Palin supports an individual’s Second Amendment Rights to keep and bear arms. And since the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled on this issue recently, it’s open-close logic for most intelligent people (I hope).

  10. ThatCrazyEquitist
    ThatCrazyEquitist August 30, 2008 at 1:02 am |

    Last semester I took a class on feminist jurisprudence. Several of the women in the class admitted to supporting Hillary Clinton just because she is a woman. One of the minority women said she was torn, because she didn’t know whether to vote her race or gender.

    Yesterday I went to one of my regular bars and asked the (female) bar tender what she thought about Palin (she was on one of the bar TVs at the moment). The bar tender hadn’t heard the news, but her first response was “at least she’s a female.”

    Do I think women are stupid? Of course not! Do I think they’re sexist? No! But, if you asked me if SOME women are stupid and SOME women are sexist, then of course the answer would be yes.

    If you think no women are selfish, stupid or sexist, then you’ve got some pretty sexist views of women. Women come in all types, ranging from the enlightened genius to the hillbilly redneck. They are as good of targets for Washington tomfoolery as anyone (actually better, since they’re the majority).

  11. jz
    jz August 30, 2008 at 1:02 am |

    The feminist political party once was an advocacy movement.
    It has withered to nothing but an extreme wing of the Democratic Party.

  12. ChenZhen
    ChenZhen August 30, 2008 at 1:08 am |

    Of course its pandering, because when it comes to the other rationales for choosing a running mate (who would help one govern effectively, and who would be a logical successor to the presidency), there are about 1000 better choices. Sure, there may be a little political chess thrown in there in addition, but this pick is all about helping McCain get elected, and nothing to do with actually running the country or solving America’s problems. I don’t think the electorate is so stupid as not to see through it, but the Obama camp should call them on it nevertheless.

  13. unrelatedwaffle
    unrelatedwaffle August 30, 2008 at 1:14 am |

    The worst, worst part of this pick for me, is that it’s one more blow to taking women in high political office seriously. They throw this dumbass in there with no redeeming qualities and not only will we hear wonderful sexist things like “I’d do her,” “McCain picked a Barbie,” etc., but the disgust many already feel towards her will be extrapolated to all other women politicians. God dammit.

  14. Mystery Dyke Squadron (Bombing Division)

    Nothing like a Right Wing Woman.

  15. nonofurbiz
    nonofurbiz August 30, 2008 at 1:48 am |

    UNDERSTAND THESE FACTS:

    THE PRESIDENT CHOOSES SUPREME COURT JUSTICES–MCCAIN HAS PLEDGED TO APPOINT JUDGES WHO WILL OVERTURN ROe v WADE.

    MCCAINS CAMPAIGN IS CYNICALLY PLAYING GAMES WITH FEMALE VOTERS.

    MCCAIN IS AGAINST EQUAL PAY for EQUAL WORK for WOMEN.

    MCCAIN CHEATED ON HIS FIRST WIFE WITH A TWENTY YEAR OLD BEER HEIRRESS WHILE HIS WIFE BATTLED FOR HER LIFE IN THE HOSPITAL. He even married Cindy before his divorce was completed.

    PALIN IS NO HILLARY, NOT EVEN CLOSE. SHE SOUNDS AND LOOKS UNINTELLECTUAL AND DITSY. SHE WILL BE EASY TO LAMPOON.

    PALIN WAS THE MAYOR OF A SMALL TOWN IN ALASKA (POPULATION 8000) JUST 2 YEARS AGO.

    PALIN IS CURRENTLY UNDER ETHICS INVESTIGATION FOR ABUSING HER POWERS BY WRONGFULLY FIRING A GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL DUE TO A PERSONAL VENDETTA.

    HILLARY AND BILL HAVE SHOWN WISDOM AND MAGNANITY IN THEIR ENDORSEMENTS of OBAMA, ITS TIME HILLARY”S SUPPORTERS DO THE SAME.

  16. Ms. Fakename
    Ms. Fakename August 30, 2008 at 1:57 am |

    Clinton was to the right of Obama on the war and other stuff. I don’t think many Hillary supporters are going to be voting for McCain (or, really, too many other people–I bet Obama wins by ten points), but I also don’t think this is really that cynical a pick. If the Republicans had better candidates, McCain wouldn’t be the nominee! They don’t like him too much more than we do. He picked her because he needed somebody the base would like, who wasn’t also under indictment (yet, anyway), not to try and poach Hillary voters. He couldn’t pick either of the guys he really likes because Lieberman is a pro-choice, pretend Dem, and Graham called the racist anti-immigration faction, racist. Romney isn’t the right flavor godbotherer, Huckabee doesn’t believe in trickle-down, Guiliani is pro-choice and from evil New York, Fred Thompson is too lazy even for Republicans. They’ve got nothing.

  17. belledame222
    belledame222 August 30, 2008 at 2:05 am |

    You know, I have a feeling that many, if not all, of the same people who can accept Phyllis Schlafly can accept this person in a leadership position, unfortunately.

    that said, it may well not be enough. basically it’s aimed less at most actual feminists and left-wing folks and more at sort of middle of the road voters who aren’t paying much attention to anything but the headlines and rumors of buzzwords: McCain is a moderate, a maverick, look, he picked a woman, she’s done some “moderate” things too, so and so Democrat thinks it’s great (thanks a lot, Geraldine Ferraro), so I guess I can go ahead and pick him over that guy I heard is sympathetic to terrorists/went to a madrassa/is some kind of radical/etc. etc. etc.

  18. belledame222
    belledame222 August 30, 2008 at 2:07 am |

    I’ll be voting for Obama this time, out of fear of McCain more than hope (and I would have been voting for Hillary for the same reason),

    Pretty much. I suppose I could go ahead and vote Green, I don’t live in a swing state, but I still can’t quite bring myself to go third party after the last two elections even if I know intellectually it “doesn’t matter.” besides, I’ve not been real impressed with what I’ve seen of the Greens at an organizational level, even if I agree with what they say on paper.

  19. Bruce
    Bruce August 30, 2008 at 2:09 am |

    It’s not just that she’s pro-life abortion prosecutionist/abortion jailer/abortion criminalizer (really, now is the time to dump this “pro-life” farce, here of all places) but she’s a creationist who wants the teaching of creationism as science as the education policy of her state and of this entire republic.

    A President Palin would PREFER to have a USA where attorneys advertise for abortion defense on TV like they do for DWI defense now, where women line up for the abortion docket in court like drivers do for the speeding ticket docket, where we are taxed to provide public defenders for poor women who have abortions, because if caught the government will try to jail them and mark them as felons along with their doctors, nurses, receptionists and any cab driver who helps any of them get to the scene of the crime.

    You’ve heard of Elmo’s World? Wayne’s World? You know see Sarah’s World. Game over.

  20. Bruce
    Bruce August 30, 2008 at 2:10 am |

    … KNOW see Sarah’s World. (D’oh)

  21. R in Colorado
    R in Colorado August 30, 2008 at 2:32 am |

    Inexperience, inexperience, inexperience!
    This choice for Vice President totally disarms any claims against Obama’s youth or ‘inexperience’. For the person set to take over the presidency at a moment’s notice (with a 72 year old president) where is her international prowess? Let alone her federal legislative track record?

    If any democratic woman candidate dared to suggest she could work 50+ hours a week and still be a good mother she would be mincemeat in the talk show/news media; what ever happened to the republican/born again mantra that a woman’s place is in her home with her children? Is the republican Vice President for the Equal Rights Amendment for women? Equal pay for equal work? Does she support state financed early childcare so that other women can follow in her path? What about that infant under 1 year old she is leaving in the care of others?
    Does she support the type of childcare funding that will allow other women to leave their mark as well?
    I’m all for women in office, so let’s hear her speak to the right wing against all the double standards, and support women leaving infants in daycare to pursue jobs, careers and political ambitions.

    Is she going to sweep up the Hillary disaffected? Only if she is Pro-choice and pro-family planning…giving young women (15-21) a full reproductive education early on…(not abstinence only claptrap) and allowing women to make their own choices. Will she support making insurance companies cover birth control pills just like they cover male ‘performance pills’ like Viagra? Will she support privatizing social security, the main source of most senior women’s’ income? Will she support improved Medicare coverage, the main source of most senior women’s medical care? These are the defining questions in 2008 to be a woman’s leader not just a front for the war machine.

  22. Margalis
    Margalis August 30, 2008 at 2:58 am |

    It was immediately clear that this was a pandering move, given that McCain barely knows her and her first speech was centered around riding Clinton’s coat-tails and trying to woo some of her disaffected followers.

    but shouldn’t feminists be overjoyed that Sarah Palin is proving that it is possible for a woman to be successful in her career AND have a (big) family? This is evidence that you don’t have to choose between family and career.

    Good for her but that has nothing to do with whether she makes a good VP.

    I get your intent but I think it’s off. If you look at what she is being praised for, it’s for being a “Hockey mom”, a mother of 5 kids, a mother of a Down Syndrome child, a mother of a guy about to serve in Iraq. It’s like she’s running for mom in chief.

    I’d say what she’s proving is that for women in politics being a mom is as important as being good at your job. The message this sends is that having a family is a primary requirement for a female politician.

  23. Darleen
    Darleen August 30, 2008 at 3:01 am |

    I must say, I’m amused. All women were supposed to rally around Hillary, but it is the Republicans that are “pandering” by running a Governor/nee Mayor/nee business owner with more executive experience than the community organizer running for President.

    And the lying about her began within minutes of the annoucement (hey Bruce, she’s not a ‘creationist’ but you know that), including sour grapes right out of the Messiah’s own mouth … stark contrast of class when McCain ran a congratulatory ad on O!’s day.

    Keep it up. Keep slamming a woman as a “hick” a “breeder” a “anti-woman woman”. Let’s see how the hysterical hatred of a real woman with real life achievements plays with the voters who see the Left’s mask dropped and the ugly intolerant face exposed. Didn’t take Jill long to go from recognizing the sexist slams from in-the-tank-for-O! CNN, to drinking long from the same stream.

    Baracuda will pin Biden’s ears back if he says anything remotely sexist, and Joe usually can’t help himself.

    I’ll just go make some popcorn.

  24. Renee
    Renee August 30, 2008 at 3:05 am |

    Seriously now… an anti-woman woman? This surprises me. I sympathize with your fear that ‘choice’ might be eroding, but shouldn’t feminists be overjoyed that Sarah Palin is proving that it is possible for a woman to be successful in her career AND have a (big) family?

    Palin is a colluder and the only thing that she is proof of is that women still internalize patriarchal values. Simply because she works and has a family does not make her feminist. She has breasts and a vagina as well but apparently that doesn’t make her sympathetic to the causes of other women. If she is anti gay marriage that she is against equality for lesbians, who happen to be women btw. She is pro life which means that she believes that the state should have control over a womans body. No self respecting feminist is going to drink the kool aid that this oxygen thief fundi is selling.

  25. Phoebe
    Phoebe August 30, 2008 at 3:27 am |

    Jill, I understand completely where you are coming from, but you have to understand that for a great many women, it’s not all about abortion rights and gay marriage. There’s a large swath of these women for whom Sarah Palin has incredible appeal.

    And Sarah Palin is no gimmick. She is a superstar. Anyone who has followed her knows this.

  26. Cecca
    Cecca August 30, 2008 at 3:45 am |

    @ Darleen

    To be worth my vote, you have to prove that you give a damn about someone besides yourself and the people who live lives exactly like yours. Nothing in Palin’s record proves that she’s done that. And to think that someone else shouldn’t have reproductive choices just because she chose to pop out kids? Damn right she’s anti-woman, and I don’t see that anyone should have a problem saying it.

  27. Bruce
    Bruce August 30, 2008 at 3:45 am |

    Darlene, she is both a personal believer in creationism (her business) and an advocate for religious creation theories as a component of the public education policy of Alaska (public business). She’s on record. No big deal; she’s not ashamed of it and if she thinks she’s right, why would she be? But her policies are the opposite of what I want for my country. So I look forward to opposing her. The flawed Biden is far less bad on my scorecard.

  28. Bruce
    Bruce August 30, 2008 at 3:53 am |

    Palin makes her views pretty clear here also: she affirms creation theory and declines to endorse evolution, her father’s science background in evolutionary science notwithstanding. Now maybe she’s fronting and actually DOES accept evolution, but we can’t know that. What we can know are her policy priorities.

  29. Terra
    Terra August 30, 2008 at 4:29 am |

    Conservatives are for quantity of life and liberals are for quality of life.

    That being said I think that this is what is called doubling down. An incredibly risky pick that might show a reward. When you are down by 10 points it makes sense.

  30. CrowsMakeTools
    CrowsMakeTools August 30, 2008 at 4:46 am |

    It’s probably McCain’s best move.

    McCain’s options were limited. He really liked Bobby Jindal, but, let’s face it, the Indian American vote is not going to make or break this election, but the women’s vote can, and Jindal is also on record as sympathizer with creationism. He doesn’t like Mitt Romney, and a McCain Romney ticket would be two rich white guys with about 12 houses between them. He likes Joe Lieberman, but McCain-Lieberman would have driven the base crazy, and Lieberman would not bring any votes to the ticket. Pretty much the same with Tom Ridge. Tim Pawlenty was probably his last best option, but, ultimately, he’s another governor with a short resume and no foreign policy experience.

    McCain ended up listening to Karl Rove, who is a real asshole, but knows how to do the electoral college math. McCain can win every conservative vote in the country and lose 55% to 45%. This election is, like most elections, all about the middle. If McCain can get, say, 15% of Hillary’s voters, he can probably win the election.

    I’m waiting the the right wing noise machine to start talking about Governor Palin as the “only Governor commanding forces in a state that borders Russia.” And I’m really going to enjoy what Saturday Night Live can do with this woman.

  31. dananddanica
    dananddanica August 30, 2008 at 5:50 am |

    john mccain thinks some women are stupid and on that he is right.

    will be interesting to see how this plays out but if he can get 3% of women who otherwise would have voted for obama or not voted at all, that might be enough to swing things his way. energizing his base with Palin’s right wing policies and selling the mainstream on the maverick and hockey mom image might actually work.

  32. Sarah J
    Sarah J August 30, 2008 at 7:24 am |

    Didn’t need another white woman to show me that women with young children can achieve.

    And another thing–I don’t believe any true progressive woman would support John McCain out of spite. There may well be plenty of ‘em who would rather support Cynthia McKinney than Obama, but I’m sorry, no one gets to call themselves a “true progressive” if they vote for McCain. And voting for a third party is NOT the same thing.

    I’ll be voting for Obama, though.

    The most annoying thing I’ve heard thus far is that Biden is going to have to take it easy on Sarah Palin in the debates? Why? Because she’s a woman? Because women are weak and need to be protected from the big bad men? Yeah, that’s really fucking progressive.

  33. tim f
    tim f August 30, 2008 at 8:12 am |

    One upside of all this is that it is forcing the Republican spin machine to recognise Hillary’s achievements, praise her and stop categorising her as three or four steps lower than devil’s spawn.

    Since the Republican machine spent so much time and effort demonising the Clintons after Bill Clinton left office, Hillary has always been a bit of a Marmite politician (love her or hate her but little inbetween). If she is still up for running in 2016 (and why not), or in 2012 if Americans vote for another four years of war and recession, it will be more difficult for the Republicans to successfully demonise her after effectively decontaminating the Clinton brand with this move.

  34. RogerR
    RogerR August 30, 2008 at 8:54 am |

    I wrote about Palin on my blog @ http://didntaskme.blogspot.com/

    and quoted my friend Tanya Melich’s article in her Women’s Media Center Commentary…”John McCain may think he can seduce American voters by having Sarah Palin by his side, but when the majority of Americans learn the Republican platform does not bring health care to Americans, will not protect woman to make their own reproductive choices, does not bring legal protection for equal pay for equal work, Sarah Palin, the McCain Trojan filly, will not fool American women.”

    http://www.womensmediacenter.com/ex/082908_c.html

    The trick will be to inform what appears to be an ineducable American public on these facts – a public that appears to still believe that McCain is a moderate on reproductive choice.

  35. Ms. Fakename
    Ms. Fakename August 30, 2008 at 9:12 am |

    You know, I could do without the “She used to be a mayor of tiny town!” b.s. Yeah, she did used to be that. Now she’s the governor of Alaska. And she had to beat two men who weren’t Alan Keyes to get that job. Like Jill said, there’s enough to hate about what she is. We don’t have to pretend she’s less than what she is.

  36. Peter
    Peter August 30, 2008 at 9:12 am |

    Frankly, as a 64 year old white, well-educated woman I am really insulted that the Republican Party thinks we are so stupid that we will switch to John McCain simply because he has chosen a woman as his vp candidate. Do they really think women wanted Hillary Clinton simply because of her gender, and not because of all the issues — women’s issue, health care issues, environmental issues — that she stood for?

    Yes, this is exactly how rightwingers think. At least a lot of them. I’ve been on enough internet forums and heard enough rightwing talk radio to verify this.

    How many times has Rush Limbaugh and other wingnutters proclaimed that blacks are voting for Obama just because he’s black? Yes, wingnutters are convinced that people can be manipulated into voting on gender or skin color loyalty. They really are that dumb. I don’t think they realize that minorities and women largely vote on issues.

    I don’t think Karl Rove is as dumb as Rush Limbaugh. I think the Rovian republicans see this pick in more raw political terms – using the Palin pick as a gimmick to distract attention from Obama, the DNC convention, to take the wind out of Obama’s sails, to create a media buzz. Sara Palin might be a smart, hardworking woman. But this pick was a total gimmick. Look, she was the Mayor of a small Alaska town, population 5,000, just 20 months ago. Are you freaking kidding me? Wingnuts would be laughing their asses off if Obama picked a VP with that resume.

  37. Peter
    Peter August 30, 2008 at 9:51 am |

    To be clear, I don’t think any one is slamming her for simply being a mayor. Being a mayor of a small town is an admirable job. And getting elected governor of a state is an achievement.

    Its about her qualifications. George Bush’s qualifications were mocked and shredded by progressives in the 2000 election: lifelong failed businessman, and governor for 5 years in a state were the governorship is a ceremonial position in accordance with the state constitution.

    I don’t think serving as governor for a little over a year, and prior to that being mayor of a small town is a good background for a potential president. And if conservatives are all of a sudden going to honor state level legislative experience, then they should recognize that Obama served for a decade as and Illinois State senator, prior to being a US Senator.

    From all appearances, Palin’s resume is thin for consideration as a potential president

    But honestly, my main problem with her is her bat shit crazy rightwing ideology.

    Anyone who wants to teach creationism in public school science classes is a lunatic. That’s an automatic disqualification, in my book.

  38. Mary
    Mary August 30, 2008 at 9:54 am |

    You know, I could do without the “She used to be a mayor of tiny town!” b.s. Yeah, she did used to be that. Now she’s the governor of Alaska. And she had to beat two men who weren’t Alan Keyes to get that job. Like Jill said, there’s enough to hate about what she is. We don’t have to pretend she’s less than what she is.

    It’s relevant because they are touting Palin’s time as mayor as “executive” experience. But the idea that running a town of 7,000 qualifies you to possibly be the next commander in chief is insane. Palin is truly unqualified. [i]Truly[/i] the least qualified out of everybody on the two tickets.

    As a woman, the more I think about this pick, the angrier I get. If McCain had chosen a woman with more of a resume – a Kay Bailey Hutchinson or a Christine Todd Whitman – I wouldn’t be nearly so angry. I wouldn’t necessarily vote for them, but I would get it. The Palin pick not only shows McCain’s “pick a woman, any woman” mentality, it fucks it up for every other woman in politics, who is going to have to prove she’s not a featherweight like Palin.

    And don’t think the right isn’t playing up Palin’s beauty queen past. Rush Limbaugh was on air going “Hey, we’ve got the BABE on the ticket!” Palin’s attractiveness is being used as one of her strong suits; obviously not directly by the McCain campaign, but by Republican surrogates. That aspect makes me want to punch somebody.

  39. Ditch Mitch KY | Ditch Mitch McConnell » Blog Archive » Apparent Transparent

    [...] to women? Yeah. I don’t vote with my [...]

  40. William
    William August 30, 2008 at 10:23 am |

    Women are not stupid, even if John McCain thinks we are.

    Women, as a group, are not stupid. However, the percentage of women who are uneducated, petty, uninformed, racist, or just plain dumb enough to fall for this gimmick isn’t any smaller than the percentage of people with those qualities in any other group. John McCain isn’t saying that all women are stupid by picking Palin, he’s playing the odds and hoping she hits the right cues to tip him in a few competitive states.

    Palin was a brilliant move. She all but guarantees he’ll take Alaska, which is one less state he’ll have to fight over given Obama’s 50 state policy. She wins him real points among libertarian leaning conservatives, but especially in the west and pacific northwest. She’s close to the center on enough issues that the spin machine can distract from most charges that she’s a right wing nut job. She plays for sympathy because of her kid. She plays to old prejudice, as I promise you we’ll start seeing ads and spin with this attractive white woman in conflict with the scary black man. Sexism in the media means she effectively neutralizes Biden in the debates, because if Biden behaves in the aggressive way he would with a man it’ll be painted as bullying. Shes young enough to balance the age on the McCain ticket. She steals a little bit of Obama’s change thunder without actually being about change. She doesn’t piss off the base.

    McCain doesn’t have to believe that all, or even most, people are going to fall for the identity politics, racism, and general bullshit that Palin means, just that some people will. A lot of states come down to a percentage point or two, and he’s betting that 2-3% of people will fall for the feint. He doesn’t even care that some people will be turned off or offended because, lets face it, if you’re bright enough to be pissed you weren’t going to vote for him anyway. Its Rove’s 50%+1 plan again.

  41. What can Palin claim that Hillary can't? [Darleen Click]

    [...] usual Vagina Warriors (to link just two examples of this wing of Left cultism) are absolutely apoplectic over [...]

  42. S.H.
    S.H. August 30, 2008 at 11:07 am |

    “But honestly, my main problem with her is her bat shit crazy rightwing ideology.”

    That’s really my only problem with her. But that problem is the reason I could never in a million years vote for McCain. With McCain’s age and previous health problems it’s disturbing to have someone so right-wing that close to the presidency. That being said, the sexist and misogynistic attacks are horrifying and need to be combatted because they hurt all women. Defending Palin against that bullshit doesn’t endorse her politics, any more than defending Hillary endorsed her candidacy, they’re two separate issues.

    I also don’t believe that simply picking just any woman will make disaffected Hillary voters jump ship and vote for McCain in of itself, but I do worry the ensuing storm of sexism against Palin could push some women to cast a fuck you vote, if you will. I really wish the dems would focus on her batshit crazy policy views and not take the low road, but it’s been barely 24 hours and it’s already looking like that’s too much to ask.

  43. Jaliya
    Jaliya August 30, 2008 at 11:28 am |

    I’m a Canadian citizen, and our government is likely to call an election this fall. I suspect that our Prime Minister is sweating over the possibility of an Obama win … but I do sense this: the rest of the world is holding its collective breath as we await the outcome of the US election. Please, American citizens, vote wisely …

  44. Ico
    Ico August 30, 2008 at 12:04 pm |

    I am worried about progressive women en masse staying home, or voting third party to the point the the Republicans win, because this is a party that went after its own female candidate with vicious sexist rhetoric, and has already starting making sex jokes and arguing that good mothers can’t be good candidates. I can only imagine what a party that gleefully promoted materials and websites that called its own democratic presidential frontrunner a bitch, a ho, and a cunt, will do to a woman in the opposing party, and I imagine a lot of that rhetoric will be disgusting and off putting and make actual progressive democratic women, not just the much hyped PUMA’s, feel like they’re not interested in throwing their vote behind a party that takes them for granted and treats them like shit.

    Ditto this, what Eva said. You can see all kinds of sexist sh*t being spewed at Palin already.

    I’m sick to death of it. I’m voting Green. Unless Obama/Biden actually start showing some genuine interest in women’s issues, as opposed to say pandering to evangelicals and continuing the rightward slide. I’ve been waiting this entire election cycle for Barack Obama to give me some reason to believe in him. He hasn’t. Particularly since sealing up the nomination, when he made that reversal on FISA and issued support for funding faith-based charities and whatnot. All he’s made me believe is that he’s less harmful than McCain.

    As for Palin — God knows I don’t want her to win. She has frighteningly awful views. The prospect of her in office is terrifying. But nonetheless, it’s a groundbreaking election cycle this year. We will either elect a POC or a woman to the white house. And while I desperately hope it’s Barack Obama, Palin is still an interesting (albeit scary) development.

    And that is the only praise of her candidacy you will ever hear from me.

    As for casting a “fuck-you” vote, as S.H. termed it. I think a vote for McCain is really a kind of political seppuku. I don’t know a single woman personally who would do this. I still may vote Dem if Obama miraculously starts addressing women’s issues consistently, and cuts it with the “sweetie” crap and the rightwing pandering and homophobia and sexism. Smart Democrats would do exactly that.

    But if the attacks already in progress against Palin are any indication, the Dems are not smart. Or maybe they are — maybe they know how devastatingly effective such tactics are against women — and they just don’t give a damn about sexism.

    In which case, again, I feel reaffirmed in my determination to vote Green.

  45. BellTolls4Thee
    BellTolls4Thee August 30, 2008 at 12:05 pm |

    If women fall for this cheap ploy, this ridiculous trick, it only proves how stupid we are as a nation. Sarah Palin is no doubt a strong woman but she will not advance women’s rights. As a matter of fact she will undermine them. How cynical and calculating a pick this is. I can’t believe women in America will throw away the progress they have made to have a TOKEN woman on the ballot. She is no Hillary Clinton!

  46. Charity
    Charity August 30, 2008 at 12:07 pm |

    Darleen is a protein-wisdomite; best not to challenge the delusional, folks. Now that she’s trackbacked over here from P.W. we might expect to see the grotesque factor ratcheted up significantly.

  47. Josh SN
    Josh SN August 30, 2008 at 12:23 pm |

    Most cynical VP choice ever? Operation Infinite Pander? Blatant disregard for the “experience” campaign, sinking it completely? All of the above?

    I agree with you.

    What the news isn’t reporting is that there are a) male chauvinist pigs, b) patriarchal christians, and c) macho military types… who may just vote for the guys with Ds after their name than vote Palin.

    72 years old?!

  48. The framing of the shrew
    The framing of the shrew August 30, 2008 at 12:30 pm |

    [...] involved — are out in full force to call Sarah Palin an “anti-woman woman,” a “woman hater,” or an “anti-feminist”. Conveniently, disagreement with such an assessement marks one as [...]

  49. Phoebe
    Phoebe August 30, 2008 at 12:33 pm |

    I’m telling you that you are all making a mistake if you continue to insist that Sarah Palin is just a gimmick. It’s going to leave you unprepared for what’s coming. She is going to knock America’s socks off.

  50. Sweating Through Fog
    Sweating Through Fog August 30, 2008 at 12:58 pm |

    John McCain isn’t stupid enough to believe that Pain will buy him the votes of HRC supporters, or feminists. The demographic he is doing after is socially conservative women that are married to men they don’t hate. This is a far larger demographic, one ripe for the taking because the law firm of Obama and Biden has nothing to offer them.

  51. HRC-lover
    HRC-lover August 30, 2008 at 1:01 pm |

    Did I hear “disaffected HRC voters”? Yes, I am one. But, wait. Why would I be wooed by Palin? Ohh, I get it. McCain thought my support for HRC is because she have a vagina? What the hell? Even I have one. So I could be a VP? Holly molly cow!

    I supported HRC because she is fit for the job. Because she care what I care, because she fight for my issues, she have nailed the republicans all her life long. Not because she is woman. What is this old guy talking about. I want HRC to nail man like McCain and woman lie Palin.

    I don’t care who McCain pick. But to say that I might vote for McCain because he picked a woman, IS AN INSULT TO WOMAN.

    I am more inclined to go to poll and vote for Obama. Because that’s exactly what Hillary wants me to do, that’s exactly what Hillary stand for.

    This is a stupid gimmick at best. To believe that anyone who voted for HRC, will even like Palin who is a Global Warming denier? Why in the hell a HRC lover vote for someone who is even more OIL-ADDICT then McCain and who believes in teaching “intelligent design”.

    Who you are kidding?

    McCain-Palin gives Viagra in health insurance, but denies female contraceptive pills. That’s make sense, don’t you think? With a ticket lie this, they need more Viagra!!

  52. The first and probably last thing I’m going to say about Palin « The Partial Muse

    [...] Andrew: I sympathize with your fear that ‘choice’ might be eroding, but shouldn’t feminists be overjoyed that Sarah Palin is proving that it is possible for a woman to be successful in her career AND have a (big) family? This is evidence that you don’t have to choose between family and career. You can have both, and Sarah Palin is proving it. We are moving forward. [...]

  53. Mary
    Mary August 30, 2008 at 2:28 pm |

    “Unless Obama/Biden actually start showing some genuine interest in women’s issues, as opposed to say pandering to evangelicals and continuing the rightward slide.”

    You would prefer the rightward full-on charge we would get with McCain/Palin in office?

  54. Ico
    Ico August 30, 2008 at 2:36 pm |

    You would prefer the rightward full-on charge we would get with McCain/Palin in office?

    Oh, is that what I said? Let’s see… hm… I’m pretty sure what I said was “God knows I don’t want [Palin] to win. She has frighteningly awful views…. I desperately hope it’s Barack Obama… I think a vote for McCain is really a kind of political seppuku.”

    But I see how that can easily be interpreted as a wish for a McCain/Palin victory. Because that’s what any criticism of Obama amounts to.

    *eyeroll*

  55. Mary
    Mary August 30, 2008 at 2:46 pm |

    Ah, yeah, I kind of posted off the cuff. I didn’t mean to get into a “here’s who you should vote for” argument. It’s really your business and your decision (and notice I had no problem with your criticisms of Obama). I just think, living in a “red state” and being surrounded by the kind of people Palin is cynically supposed to appeal to, I feel a certain sense of despair setting in.

    On a different note:

    Palin laughs while a political rival is referred to as a “bitch” and a “cancer.”

    YouTube

  56. Cecca
    Cecca August 30, 2008 at 2:48 pm |

    @ Ico

    It’s politics. Of course he’s pandering to the middle; he needs their votes. He can’t be all things to all people; doesn’t mean he’s not the best and most progressive candidate we’ve got.

  57. Ico
    Ico August 30, 2008 at 3:05 pm |

    Cecca, he’s actually *not* the best and most progressive candidate we’ve got. McKinney is. She is far more progressive than Obama. Obama is merely the more progressive of the two who actually stand a chance.

    But some of us will choose to vote outside that box because we do not see ourselves included in it (or, in fact, even a genuine effort to include us).

    @Mary: No prob. I can understand being worried about that.

    But just in general I would like to say that this sort of thing is why we see no progress. Criticism of Obama is frequently deflected/evaded or reinterpreted as support for Republicans (it is not). Or else it is excused as politics. But misogyny, homophobia, etc., are all things that I cannot excuse simply because it’s men playing politics. It is certainly not something I can support with a vote.

    I would expect any good and critically thinking progressive/feminist/LGBT rights activist/whatever to criticize the Obama campaign for its failings, and demand change. That is how we make improvements. We point out what is wrong and we fix it.

    I am waiting for Democrats to stop asking what’s wrong with *me* for not marching in-step, and instead to wonder if *they* are doing something wrong (sexism and homophobia, for starters) that might be alienating self-identified liberals from supporting them. I am waiting for real change, not the kind talked about, but the kind that results from criticism being fairly addressed and dealt with, instead of being dismissed with cries for unity while some of us get stepped on.

  58. Cecca
    Cecca August 30, 2008 at 3:39 pm |

    @ Ico

    I’ll paraphrase the comment I made on a previous post on this website.

    When you’ve got a choice between a candidate who treats you as less than a citizen, and a candidate who pisses you off on occasion, then you wait for the guy who occasionally pisses you off to get in office and you fight from there. Tearing his campaign apart *now* does absolutely nothing but make you look petty and help the guy who treats you like shit get in office. It’s politics. That’s not an excuse, it’s the way the world works. Republicans have won so many elections because they’re good at overlooking the minor things in order to get themselves in office, at which point they duke it out. Pointing out what is wrong doesn’t do a damn bit of good unless someone’s in a position to fix it.

  59. Peter
    Peter August 30, 2008 at 3:43 pm |

    I would expect any good and critically thinking progressive/feminist/LGBT rights activist/whatever to criticize the Obama campaign for its failings, and demand change. That is how we make improvements. We point out what is wrong and we fix it.

    I am waiting for Democrats to stop asking what’s wrong with *me* for not marching in-step, and instead to wonder if *they* are doing something wrong (sexism and homophobia, for starters)

    I’ll be the first to say I’ve had problems with Obama. He wasn’t in my top three choices for the Democratic nomination. I think some of his surrogates, and even himself sometimes, stooped to enabling sexist narratives of HRC. On the forums I participated in, I always called him down for that.

    I think his centrist-leaning DLC economic policies are a far cry from the populist and progressive traditions this country really need to get back to. As for his stance on women’s right, I’m not in a position to be as good of a judge on that as some of you gals. I do know I will only ever vote for a politicians who support repoductive choice, equal pay, and will uphold Roe.

  60. Ico
    Ico August 30, 2008 at 3:51 pm |

    @Cecca

    Who is tearing apart his campaign? Asking that he be not-sexist, that he address women’s issues — does that truly require him to sacrifice a win? No, it does not. He is in a position to fix it right now. And if he doesn’t — if he can’t even do THAT MUCH (meaning run a not-sexist campaign that occasionally considers women’s rights to be, gee, human rights, and maybe doesn’t step on queers so much) — what will he ever offer me in the future?

    I am aware of how politics works. I’m not a fool. But I can also see clearly when my vote is being taken for granted (because “I’ve nowhere else to go”), when issues of interest to me are considered unimportant/expendable, and when enough is enough.

    Change? Yeah, I want it. So let’s see it.

  61. ThickRedGlasses
    ThickRedGlasses August 30, 2008 at 4:32 pm |

    I’m having mixed feelings about things. Palin’s already been subjected to sexism from the media. But I don’t know if Palin cares, so I don’t know if I should even care. She’s so anti-woman that I don’t think she cares if someone calls her a bitch or says some other sexist thing about her. But I know that I should care because sexist statements made about anyone are wrong, even if the person they’re directed towards might agree with them. I guess I’m just really angry.

  62. Synonymous
    Synonymous August 30, 2008 at 4:40 pm |

    What Ico said. Y’know, I think “progressives” nowadays want some sort of Three-Fifths Compromise where women are enumerated for Electoral College purposes but don’t actually get a say in their representation – the guys in the party can decide for them.

  63. ol cranky
    ol cranky August 30, 2008 at 5:01 pm |

    Why wouldn’t a feminist see past the party label and appreciate that trait and her successes against all odds? Or is feminism just another label for party D hack?

    It’s not a matter of looking past the party label of this candidate, it’s a matter of looking at her utter lack of qualification for the position. Feminism isn’t about any female getting something just because she’s female, it’s about a qualified woman being treated equally to any other qualified individual. I know McSame had to pander to the religious right (they do hold his neuticals in their sweaty little hands) but if he thought he needed a uterus bearing individual to round out his ticket, he should have picked a qualified one.

  64. Zelie
    Zelie August 30, 2008 at 5:31 pm |

    Why is Palin, who has been a governor since 2006, remarkably more “unqualified” than Obama, who has been a US senator since… 2004? Because of his time in the state senate? Is that what we’re going on?

    Remember that he’s at the top of his ticket, she’s at the bottom of hers.

    Can I also assume that any pro-life (excuse me, anti-choice) woman who enters politics will be branded as “anti-woman”?

  65. Em
    Em August 30, 2008 at 6:31 pm |

    Can I also assume that any pro-life (excuse me, anti-choice) woman who enters politics will be branded as “anti-woman”?

    You must be new around here.

  66. Cecca
    Cecca August 30, 2008 at 6:42 pm |

    @ Synonymous

    Don’t try and appropriate slave terminology for use in a feminist conversation, especially when the subject of the conversation is a white woman. Just don’t.

  67. Cara
    Cara August 30, 2008 at 6:55 pm |

    Can I also assume that any pro-life (excuse me, anti-choice) woman who enters politics will be branded as “anti-woman”?

    Um yeah, support for any policy which we know for a fact kills women is in fact anti-woman. And I’m not sure in what world literally forcing a woman to give birth by law is “pro-woman.” Not rocket science here.

    And really Synonymous, I’m with Cecca. Not even remotely cool.

  68. Adrasteia
    Adrasteia August 30, 2008 at 7:23 pm |

    Phoebe says:

    August 30th, 2008 at 3:27 am – Edit
    And Sarah Palin is no gimmick. She is a superstar. Anyone who has followed her knows this.

    Phoebe, why is it a positive that Palin is a superstar but something to be feared that Obama is a superstar?

    Do I get just a whiff of racism here?

  69. Henry
    Henry August 30, 2008 at 8:04 pm |

    This is about the best move McCain could have made. The simple fact of the matter is that lots of people vote for who they feel they can connect with, or simply put, charisma. Look how many people are straight up nuts about Obama even thought he has no real accomplishments or record to run on.

    Like or dislike aside, consider this:
    This woman managed to get elected Governor in Alaska, which is dominated by Republicans, after publicly turning on members of the party machine in her state. Think about that for a bit. She has an approval rating somewhere near 80% there. She’s obviously got something special about her. She hits most of the hot buttons for the Republican base, both by being anti-abortion and Christian on one side, and by having a record of serious fiscal reform in a notoriously corrupt state and cutting spending on the other. She’s young, attractive, and actually blue-collar (as opposed to the fake blue-collar pretensions of Bush, Obama, Biden or Hillary for that matter). Not to mention charismatic.

    Basically, she’s a giant trap for the Obama campaign. They can’t attack her to forcefully or they risk alienating women voters. They can’t really beat her up on experience directly, because it can be pointed out that her experience is no worse than Obama’s, and she has actual accomplishments she can take credit for. About the only thing they can attack her on is her ideology, but if she’s plain likeable enough that might not get it done.

    She can damn near win this election for McCain just by holding her own with Biden in the debate, she doesn’t even have to beat him.

  70. Lauren
    Lauren August 30, 2008 at 8:07 pm |

    IOKIYAR, Adrasteia.

  71. Mary
    Mary August 30, 2008 at 9:00 pm |

    Why is Palin, who has been a governor since 2006, remarkably more “unqualified” than Obama, who has been a US senator since… 2004?

    Hmmm.

    B.A. in Journalism from Idaho State —> Mayor of a town of 9,000 people —> 18 months as governor, in which she has already been investigated for ethics violations, and admits “I don’t know much” about the Iraq war.

    B.A. in Political Science at Columbia —> Harvard law degree —> president of Harvard Law Review —> Constitutional Law professor for 12 years —> state senator —-> U.S. Senator making many official trips worldwide including meeting with Nouri al-Maliki. Unseats the Clinton machine during the Democratic primaries. I’m leaving some stuff out.

    Yeah, totally comparable.

  72. Griot
    Griot August 30, 2008 at 9:33 pm |

    They want us on the McCain Express so much, they gave us a token…

  73. Michael
    Michael August 30, 2008 at 10:11 pm |

    I cannor think of anyone who is more disapointed than I that Hillary Clinton is not the Democratic Frontrunner. However, I have not lost my mind and decided that a gun-toting, anti-choice nazi like Gov. Palin will make the republican ticket even somewhat appealing. I really hope that the women of America are not fooled by this recent stunt of McCain’s to try and pull Hillary voters over to his side just because he found a woman who political views are akin to Newt Gingrich and no where near the causes that have been and continued to be supported by a wonderful PERSON like Sen. Clinton. I am backing Obama/Biden for many reasons including but not limited to the fact that Sen. Clinton, whom I respect is doing the same.

  74. On Sarah Palin and John McCain « Feminocracy

    [...] writers will have the sense to attack Palin on the issues, and not on what’s in her pantsuits. Jill @ [...]

  75. Lauren
    Lauren August 30, 2008 at 11:47 pm |

    McCain’s choice was clever — because it poked fun at all the great things about Obama’s candidacy, in addition to putting his finger into the ANWAR and LITERALLY in-bed-with-big-oil pie — but I wouldn’t say it was smart.

    This VP candidate is inexperienced, corrupt, small-time, and until recently her biggest claim to fame is Miss Congeniality in a Miss Alaska pageant — unless you wan to count her twenty-some months of experience as governor of a state that has one zip code*, oh, and the PTA experience that apparently qualifies her for second in line to commander in chief. Sure, she’s good-looking and has some ties to the fundy base that McCain couldn’t get on his own, but she’s no substitute for a readily qualified candidate. Romney and Pawlenty have every right to be pissed off, as do, say Kay Baily Hutchinson or Elizabeth Dole, because the all of them have real administrative experience in comparison to Palin, whereas the former were set up as pawns for speculation and the latter were passed over for someone more attractive, because why? Who fucking knows. All I want to know is why the party against affirmative action gets off on this decision.

    Meanwhile, McCain, in part known for his trophy wife picks a trophy VP, which makes him look as smarmy and crusty as ever.

    *Whereas Chicago, *ahem* Obama’s district, has seven.

  76. Lea
    Lea August 31, 2008 at 12:18 am |

    Yes! You echoed my sentiments exactly!! So my guess is that there are more of us out there who are thinking this way!! GOOD! My husband and I watched the McCain-Palin VP announcement and I chuckled—“does McCain think women are stupid or what?” He STILL doesn’t get it!
    I almost feel embarrassed for Sarah Palin, accepting McCains nomination. She is naive to Washington D.C. circles. She might have taken care of the good ole boys in AK, but D.C. is the major leagues and McCain is one of the players! As a woman, I am also insulted that she accepted his nomination. Its pretty clear that he doesn’t like woman and uses them—they even mentioned on the News that he doesn’t get along with many of the female Senators. Is she kidding herself? He isn’t going to let her doing anything “important” in D.C.—if he gets in (and he won’t!) he’d dismiss her in ten seconds and send her packing to the VP mansion to hide out for four years.

  77. Ico
    Ico August 31, 2008 at 12:39 am |

    I’m having mixed feelings about things. Palin’s already been subjected to sexism from the media. But I don’t know if Palin cares, so I don’t know if I should even care. She’s so anti-woman that I don’t think she cares if someone calls her a bitch or says some other sexist thing about her. But I know that I should care because sexist statements made about anyone are wrong, even if the person they’re directed towards might agree with them. I guess I’m just really angry.

    ThickRedGlasses, I can understand feeling conflicted about defending Palin. But I do think it’s important to defend her against sexism and misogyny, because 1st) it’s wrong, as you noted. And 2nd) attacks on her ultimately affect us all. If it’s done against Palin (especially in the national spotlight, for a mass audience), there’s no reason such behavior will stop with her — especially if it’s given a pass. She’s hardly the first and will not be the last woman who is publicly humiliated simply for being a woman.

    All this talk about how she’s just a beauty queen and the like (which I see plenty of women, liberals, and others repeating) feeds into the culture of misogyny.

    So yeah, it is important to defend her. It’s also important that we shred the McCain-Palin ticket through staunch and unrelenting criticism of their policies. There is *plenty* of material to attack Palin on, the kind of rightwing stuff we’d be listing constantly for a male candidate. We should be tearing apart the rhetoric, ideology, and political history of this woman. No need for all these references to her looks (for ex, please Lauren, don’t call her a “trophy VP” — way to reiterate the beauty queen attack).

    Palin is a frightening prospect for the women of this country. She should be criticized for it, and she must be defeated come November along with McCain. But she must also be defended from sexism if we don’t want to reward/reinforce the kind of nastiness that’s already infecting the blogosphere/media/all of American culture.

  78. ThickRedGlasses
    ThickRedGlasses August 31, 2008 at 1:10 am |

    Thanks, Ico. I think defending Palin (the person, not the politician) is still going to be difficult, but it needs to be done.

    And as much as I don’t like the “trophy VP” comment, I have to admit something. It’s kind of weird. I haven’t read anything else like this, but this is how I feel. When I see John McCain and Cindy McCain standing next to each other, I don’t see an equal relationship there. I don’t know if it’s because of his comments at Sturgis, or because I get a fuzzy feeling when I see Barack and Michelle Obama. I didn’t watch her acceptance speech, so I haven’t seen Palin and McCain stand next to each other yet, but I have the feeling that I’ll get the same uneasy feeling that I get when I see John and Cindy McCain together. I think that when I see McCain and Palin, I’ll think that he doesn’t really respect her or see her as a partner in this election. I think that McCain might see Palin as a trophy VP.

  79. hmpierson
    hmpierson August 31, 2008 at 1:24 am |

    “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
    Because her father is Janet Reno.”

    Now who would make such an ugly “joke?” Obama? A surrogate?

    No, it was your hero, John McCain. You can do a google search, or just go to:

    http://www.salon.com/news/1998/06/25newsb.html

    But why should that be a surprise? McCain frequently drops the C-bomb on his wife in public.

    So all of you who are SO offended about that misogynist Obama, go vote for that great pro-life champion of women, John McCain. He’ll be laughing at you all the way to the White House.

  80. Lauren
    Lauren August 31, 2008 at 1:28 am |

    It’s not a beauty queen attack to call her a trophy VP — the Miss Congeniality comment is. Are we suddenly respectful of patriarchal beauty contests with college scholarships following the swimsuit competition, or am I off?

  81. Ico
    Ico August 31, 2008 at 2:22 am |

    Lauren, I just feel that the term trophy VP reinforces the focus on her looks and minimizes whatever qualifications she has. And to be frank I can’t imagine such a term being used for a male VP.

    @hmpierson, um… who on Earth are you arguing with? Is someone here rooting for McCain? If they are and I missed it, well they should just look at, oh, ontheissues.org, or really any other site that has gathered political histories/positions of politicians for a quick few dozen reasons why McCain-Palin are everything bad for this country, and particularly for women, and why the Obama-Biden ticket is infinitely preferable.

    If, though, you’re just another fauxgressive trying to bully weary folks like me with the “a vote for McKinney is a vote for McCain” nonsense, well… I’m too bored with that kind of stupidity to even get angry. So I’ll just yawn and hope you go away.

  82. Ico
    Ico August 31, 2008 at 2:36 am |

    ThickRedGlasses, I totally understand that feeling and I get it too — McCain picked Palin without having met her more than once or twice, from what news outlets are saying. His previous behavior shows he has no respect for women. Palin is just a campaign calculation.

    Still, how she is perceived will largely be framed by a) the media and b) how she carries herself. The latter will be interesting to see. Right now she’s being dismissed by Dems and celebrated by Republicans, or so it seems from a cursory glance at the internet. Will she just be a pretty face standing next to McCain, the way she’s being portrayed? Or will she have more power than that in her role as running mate? I think it is too early to tell.

    Either way, she’s a disaster for Dems, women, the country — her ideology on issues like abortion is even further right than McCain’s! The woman is downright scary. Yet still, the sexism of our culture will play a major part in shaping the narrative around her candidacy. It’s a tricky thing to loathe her for her politics, and fight her at every turn, while defending her from the misogyny leveled against her.

    But it has to be done. :/

  83. steph
    steph August 31, 2008 at 2:37 am |

    Somewhere up there, someone said “Condaleeza Rice used to sleep with conservative, dicky, white jocks when she was in college.”

    I am not a big fan of Oil-Tanker Rice, but I do not care who she was/is literally in bed with. I DO care who she was/is figuratively in bed with.

    and…
    who cares if Palin is pretty or not pretty. Yeah, I know THEY care, but should we toss about “beauty” related descriptions at all? (uh, apologies for the us VS them bit)

  84. dg
    dg August 31, 2008 at 3:58 am |

    McCain picked her to energize the dull GoP base. Palin as VP will elevate the status of women in both parties regardless of her views. It might hurry the Democrats along a bit also in their hidden chauvinisms. Focus on her value as a woman’s candidate and her personal views won’t be so hurtful. And she actually seems like a good listener to woman’s views. As VP her far left stands will not be implemented. McCain wants to reach across the aisle.

    Ferraro was touched by the mention. She said it was the first time anyone running for high office had mentioned her efforts. Palin sets a good trend for women there if others keep it up.

  85. dg
    dg August 31, 2008 at 4:09 am |

    The GoP is not concerned with swaying over all women voters with the Palin pick. They want to attract back the ones that voted GWB but switched to Obama. And McCain wants to put a new face on the party.

  86. Digitale Notizen » Blog Archive » Women are not stupid, John McCain!

    [...] Gouverneurin von Alaska, Sarah Palin, zu seiner “running mate” machen will, wird bei Feministe.us beantwortet. Nämlich die, ob feministische Politik eine solche ist, die personell auf Frauen in [...]

  87. Donna H.
    Donna H. August 31, 2008 at 5:11 am |

    ThickRedGlasses, I found Palin’s VP speech intriguing to watch. McCain looked uneasy throughout: http://tinyurl.com/5azsv2. Whenever he wasn’t applauding, he was continually tugging at or massaging his fingers, or holding his arms bent and fists clenched at his side, like he was waiting to punch someone. He doesn’t project confidence about his choice–if indeed he made the choice.

  88. matttbastard
    matttbastard August 31, 2008 at 8:21 am |

    I find your use of the term ‘defend’ interesting, Ico. I don’t see critiquing misogyny as synonymous with ‘defence’. The point isn’t that Palin is being attacked, but that because these attacks focus on her gender identity, Palin serves a proxy for all women. The misogyny being directed towards Palin as a woman can be analyzed and addressed without centring the individual.

    When Palin’s lifestyle choices with regards to her family and career are placed to the fore, it becomes an attack on all women who balance caregiving and the workplace, and that needs to be addressed and denounced. Is similar to how progressives should address racist comments directed towards Michelle Malkin, or sexist/homophobic slurs against Ann Coulter. It is the communities and cultures being appropriated for purportedly narrowly-focused contempt and ridicule that are harmed by such vitriol, not individuals who, in many cases, wouldn’t hesitate to offer their own hateful contributions to public discourse.

  89. Notorious P.A.T.
    Notorious P.A.T. August 31, 2008 at 9:36 am |

    One thing I’m not looking forward to is watching progressives toss out the same old sexisms against Palin that have always been used against female politicians. Just watching CNN International, the focus on Hillary voters as vengeful witches intent on ruining the election has been stunning.

    Are you saying CNN is staffed largely by progressives???

  90. S.H.
    S.H. August 31, 2008 at 10:01 am |

    “Are we suddenly respectful of patriarchal beauty contests with college scholarships following the swimsuit competition, or am I off?”

    For lack of a better analogy, it’s always been a kind of “don’t hate the player hate the game” issue for me. I deplore the pageants yes, but I’m not gonna shit on the women who participate in them or use them as a stepping stone to go onto bigger things.

  91. Robert Johnston
    Robert Johnston August 31, 2008 at 10:03 am |

    Just to be fair to him, John McCain thinks that men are stupid too. On the other hand, just to be honest about him, he hates women. The issue isn’t that he thinks women are stupid and panders to their supposed stupidity, because he panders to the supposed stupidity of men as well (“Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran!”); the issue, with regard to McCain’s sexism, is that he thinks women are subhumans who should be mocked and who aren’t entitled to basic human rights.

    To the extent that the Palin pick is an effort to pander to the stupidity McCain’s perceives in women, it’s not reflective of his sexism–although Palin’s christianist agenda is reflective of McCain’s sexism. The real trouble with the pick being a pander to stupidity is that it indicates that McCain believes it to be appropriate to pander to stupidity with the selection of his V.P.

  92. Peter
    Peter August 31, 2008 at 10:04 am |

    I can understand feeling conflicted about defending Palin. But I do think it’s important to defend her against sexism and misogyny, because 1st) it’s wrong, as you noted. And 2nd) attacks on her ultimately affect us all. If it’s done against Palin (especially in the national spotlight, for a mass audience), there’s no reason such behavior will stop with her — especially if it’s given a pass. She’s hardly the first and will not be the last woman who is publicly humiliated simply for being a woman.

    All this talk about how she’s just a beauty queen and the like (which I see plenty of women, liberals, and others repeating) feeds into the culture of misogyny.

    I understand your point.

    I haven’t read through this whole thread, but I haven’t seen any mention of Palin being a shallow beauty queen by liberals on any of the political forums I participate in. The comments on how “hot” she is seem to be coming from Cons and Rush limbaugh fans. Although, I don’t doubt that she could be, and is, subject to meaningless criticisms from anyone – lib or con.

    I’ve tried to limit my criticisms of her to her experience (as it relates to the office of the vice presidency), and her rabid nut job rightwing views.

    But, I actually suspect she’s a relatively smart person. No one can deny that getting elected a governor of any state is an accomplishment. I’m 100% sure that she is a genius compared to president Bush. I’m sure she has absolute mastery of the English language and is totally articulate compared to Bush. Bush got a pass for being a dummy because he’s a man. No woman who is as dumb and inarticulate as Bush would EVER be considered for a place on a national ticket.

  93. Ico
    Ico August 31, 2008 at 10:24 am |

    Is similar to how progressives should address racist comments directed towards Michelle Malkin, or sexist/homophobic slurs against Ann Coulter. It is the communities and cultures being appropriated for purportedly narrowly-focused contempt and ridicule that are harmed by such vitriol, not individuals who, in many cases, wouldn’t hesitate to offer their own hateful contributions to public discourse.

    I think you’re right there, Matttbastard. I don’t mean it to be a focus on her, personally, so much as on the cultural institution of misogyny. And yeah, it is very similar to attacks on Ann Coulter that way. How despite Coulter’s own despicable politics, the sexist/homophobic/transphobic attacks on her are really unacceptable (but remain widespread in liberal circles).

    I’ve seen them called out occasionally. But not nearly enough. It’s the whole “Why should we care since it’s Ann Coulter?” thing. It’s not about Coulter. And it’s not about Palin, whose politics are rightward even of McCain. It’s about misogyny being unacceptable.

    Re: racism and Michelle Malkin, thinking about the intersections of race and gender in this election reminds me of something else that’s been bothering me. Regarding Michelle Obama (OT I know, but very quick…) — who was cast first as a scary/angry black woman and more recently as a loving mother and wife. Michelle Obama is a quite accomplished career woman; but the discourse is more about her role as a supportive figure for Barack. Of course there is the sexism in play; but also I think a white woman (such as Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Edwards) can take an assertive/career woman role next to her husband and have it be less threatening than a black woman doing the same thing. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the sense I get anyway. That how she can present herself is so much more limited because of the systemic racism of the media and the public. That is much more subtle than what’s going on with Palin but just as important to be addressed, and I don’t see enough of that, either.

    It is frustrating. Basically, this election season tires me. It’s exciting too — the glass ceiling *will* be broken, and I hope it’s by Barack Obama — but so many nasty things are coming out it’s depressing.

    Anyway I agree with your comment re: Palin. She’ll be the focus of a lot of misogyny during this election season, but she’s not the only one. I think it would be good to take a step back and see how sexism is being played out through multiple women, where and how it intersects with racism/white privilege, and what we as progressives and feminist need to do to dismantle this systemic oppression. Perhaps it is easier to think of “defending” Palin in that context. Because yeah, it’s really not about her, so much; it’s about the system of oppression that targets her.

  94. Ico
    Ico August 31, 2008 at 10:32 am |

    Somewhere up there, someone said “Condaleeza Rice used to sleep with conservative, dicky, white jocks when she was in college.”

    I am not a big fan of Oil-Tanker Rice, but I do not care who she was/is literally in bed with. I DO care who she was/is figuratively in bed with.

    I missed that comment. But yeah, please. I think we can all agree that Condaleeza Rice is not a person whose politics we agree with, *without* this sort of thing.

  95. William
    William August 31, 2008 at 10:40 am |

    Whenever he wasn’t applauding, he was continually tugging at or massaging his fingers, or holding his arms bent and fists clenched at his side, like he was waiting to punch someone. He doesn’t project confidence about his choice–if indeed he made the choice.

    That would be the fear, Donna. Palin is the political equivalent of a Hail Mary in football: a desperate move by desperate people who see something terrible on the horizon. Ever since Obama picked up speed in the primaries there have been a lot of conservatives, both those planning on voting for him and those not, who have realized that Obama has the charisma of Reagan and the politics of Kennedy. They know that he has the potential to completely destroy them in November. Palin is a last ditch attempt to muddy the waters, to do something that might take a bit of the shine, teeth, rhetoric, attention, or timeliness off Obama’s campaign. Of course McCain looks uncomfortable and angry, he’s realizing that for the second time in his life he’s been put up as a sacrificial lamb.

  96. Charity
    Charity August 31, 2008 at 10:57 am |

    Maybe someone should let Pandagon in on the tip that using phrases like *all of us laughing at the failed beauty queen’s political rise* is not, in fact, OK? Pandagon has ceased to feel even remotely like a safe space for me, but given the topic of this thread I wanted to use this example to demonstrate that yes, it really is happening on liberal blogs, and even on self-professed feminist blogs.

  97. moni2238
    moni2238 August 31, 2008 at 12:46 pm |

    While searching for information on Palin I found an Alaskan’s point of view. Check this out…[link]

  98. blue epiphany
    blue epiphany August 31, 2008 at 1:01 pm |

    Regarding McCain fidgeting and moving his hand and arms – I’ve read that’s a result of the injuries he suffered as a POW, that he’s in near constant pain still and it’s difficult for him to keep his hands and arms still because of that. It’s been mentioned in more than one article I’ve read.

  99. Ico
    Ico August 31, 2008 at 4:33 pm |

    Maybe someone should let Pandagon in on the tip that using phrases like *all of us laughing at the failed beauty queen’s political rise* is not, in fact, OK? Pandagon has ceased to feel even remotely like a safe space for me, but given the topic of this thread I wanted to use this example to demonstrate that yes, it really is happening on liberal blogs, and even on self-professed feminist blogs.

    Is Pandagon still considered a feminist blog? I thought it lost that title spectacularly since feminism, by definition, cannot be racist. If it’s not a safe space for WOC it’s not feminist.

  100. Redstocking Grandma
    Redstocking Grandma August 31, 2008 at 5:06 pm |

    I am a strong Obama supporter, whose favorite candidate was Clinton. What appalls me is all the sexist claptrap coming out of the media and liberal blogs attacking Palin as a mother. Daily Kos is slathering over the story that her son is really her grandson. People are telling her what she should have done when she was in labor. Abortion is not the most important feminist issue to many of us. The right of women to mother and have demanding careers is equally important. Palin’s husband is willing to stay home with the kids. That doesn’t seem to register with all the people calling her an abusive mother abandoning her son.

    Palin is evoking a very different sort of sexism. Women aren’t supposed to run for major office until they are dried up old crones:)

  101. Charity
    Charity August 31, 2008 at 5:14 pm |

    Hi Ico, I guess I was more thinking that it still calls itself a feminist blog and is linked by a lot of feminist blogs. It was actually a post of Pam’s, not Amanda’s, which made it more startling to me.

  102. Ico
    Ico August 31, 2008 at 7:09 pm |

    Really? Of Pam’s? How unfortunate… :(

    I know it’s actually still linked to/self-identified as feminist. My snark wasn’t directed at you — please do forgive me if it seemed that way. It was more an expression of my general irritation at the fact that places like Pandagon continue to be viewed as representative of feminism.

  103. ThickRedGlasses
    ThickRedGlasses August 31, 2008 at 7:29 pm |

    ThickRedGlasses, I found Palin’s VP speech intriguing to watch. McCain looked uneasy throughout: http://tinyurl.com/5azsv2. Whenever he wasn’t applauding, he was continually tugging at or massaging his fingers, or holding his arms bent and fists clenched at his side, like he was waiting to punch someone. He doesn’t project confidence about his choice–if indeed he made the choice.

    Wow. McCain couldn’t have looked any more uncomfortable.

  104. Rachel
    Rachel August 31, 2008 at 7:33 pm |

    Thank you, Jill, for this post! I find it rather disturbing that feminists on other blogs are up in arms about Palin being called “barbie” but seem to completely miss her anti-woman politics. No, it’s not right to hurl sexism against Palin. But we need to make sure that the Republicans can not make us lose perspective!

  105. Charity
    Charity August 31, 2008 at 8:07 pm |

    No snark taken :)

  106. jamey
    jamey September 9, 2008 at 11:46 pm |

    unfortunately the average white woman IS that dumb, apparently. Granted, this has nothing to do with gender. Most people are dumb. But seriously…women ACTUALLY FELL FOR THIS?????? after watching palin speak, support among white women went from an 8% advantage for Obama to a 12% one for mccainn??!! a frigging 20% turnaround? GIVE ME A BREAK!

    were they listening? did they even watch? have they EVER read anything?

    the question, apparently, is not WHETHER they’re dumb. they clearly are. the question is HOW DUMB ARE THEY? smart women: unite and tell wal-mart moms to read a f*cking book!

    so discouraging

  107. PJ
    PJ September 25, 2008 at 11:38 pm |

    Green Party? Now THAT’S what I call stupid. Have you heard Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente speak? I have, and it’s just babble. This is the U.S. presidency you’re vying for, not the presidency of the poetry jam! BTW a lot of that poetry really sucks! What, because you say cuss words all across you’re doing poetry? That’s what the green party is doing. Bad poetry

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