August
30th 2008
Wailin’ about Palin!

Posted under: American history, Gender, women's history

This is the kind of "humor" Democrats should avoid!

Smart party, foolish politics

Sarah Palin is lighting up the feminist history blogosphere!  Our friends Knitting Clio and Tenured Radical also posted their thoughts this morning.  New Kid offers some thoughts about Palin and the discourse about aborting trisomy fetuses (Palin’s youngest child has Down’s Syndrome.)  Many of the different feminist law professors at Feminist Law Professors offer their views too.  John Fea at Religion in American history discusses Palin’s possible pentacostalism.  Please note–the image at left is an example of the kind of juvenille, patronizing, femophobic and ageist “humor” that Dems should avoid.  See here for a playbook about how to lose an election!  Yuk yuk yuk.  (This means you too, Bing!)

I’m sorry to say that I disagree with WOC Ph.D.‘s post on Palin.  Clinton’s brief statement yesterday on the historic nature of Palin’s achievement does nothing to undermine Clinton’s full-throated support for Obama/Biden or her sustained attack on McCain’s candidacy.  She clearly stated that the McCain/Palin ticket’s “policies would take America in the wrong direction,” and her radio address today elaborates once again as to why McCain would be bad for America.

For astute blogging and intelligent commenters outside of the feminist history blogosphere, you might want to drive on over to TalkLeft or Corrente.  I agree with Big Tent Democrat at TalkLeft in that the inexperience argument is a loser, and that if Dems want to go after her they should stick to highlighting her egregious policy positions.  And once again, I’m in total agreement with Paul Lukasiak in the comments here and here at Corrente.  Palin was smart politics for McCain, provided that she stands up to the scrutiny of the national stage.  Dems are of course free to dislike her, and they should because of her policy positions, but they’ll discount or patronize her at their peril.

14 Comments »

14 Responses to “Wailin’ about Palin!”

  1. Indyanna on 30 Aug 2008 at 4:23 pm #

    I understand we now have TWO campaign bustours careening around here in the eastern Battleground Mountains. Hopefully they won’t slam into each other at some unmarked blacktop intersection between Erie and Elyria at two in the morning, or we might have to revert to Jan. 1 and start over again! If anything of this circus comes within camera range I’ll try to forward some copy, but it’s pretty hard to get any reliable scheduling information around here. I think the satellite is down, or maybe they moved up the HD signal deletion deadline?!

  2. Historiann on 30 Aug 2008 at 4:38 pm #

    Well, I hope you Keystone Staters are up for a lot of courtin’ this fall. As you may remember, this was my strategy memo to the Obama campaign a few weeks ago…

  3. Indyanna on 30 Aug 2008 at 6:09 pm #

    We loved being the center of the political universe last March and April and I’m sure will eat up that “whole world is watching” feeling again in the fall too. It doesn’t often get that way out this way; since they got the Constitution ratified, anyway…

  4. Bing on 30 Aug 2008 at 6:16 pm #

    Oh tay.

    But I reserve the right to call McCain a douchebag.

    HJ

  5. Historiann on 30 Aug 2008 at 7:02 pm #

    Indyanna, talk to me after seeing the same negative ads on TV 6 billion times…

    And Bing: I can live with D-bag. I just can’t type it!

  6. Fratguy on 30 Aug 2008 at 8:48 pm #

    As I may or may not be a histioran of note I will choose to stick to my passing familiarity with current events in responding to the whining and nit picking regarding Sarah Palin. As to experience, I would argue that Dick Cheny has had the most foreign policy and Washington experience of any vice president or president, elected or aspiring in the last 16 years. For electing that experience we were rewarded with a shadow governmnent, and an incompetent one at that. But then again Historiann you are right about the women’s tee’s for national office. Dems had no early qualms about giving the launch codes to Howard Dean, another governor from a thinly populated state that borders Canada.

    As someone who is close to Governor Palin’s age, my accomplishments cannot hold a candle to hers. Are some of the sour grapes I taste on the internets nothing more than simple, ugly, envy? Surely these commentators do not think that these are reasonable arguements that will gain traction with the electorate. McCain chose a sympathetic, politically savvy, buzz generating running mate who throws a ton of reddest of red meat to his previously shaky base. Show some sense and attack her for that reason and that reason alone. Rejection of same sex partner benefits, opposition to abortion, period. This is to be hung around her neck like an albatross. Do not mention gender, experience, or the “scandal” about trying to get her wife beating brother in law fired from the state police. (The dude tried to Taser her 12 year old nephew for heaven’s sake, any male politico that did not personally pistol whip this guy would be forever held inelligible for public office). Maybe I’m right maybe I’m wrong, maybe Governor Palin will be John McCain’s Thomas Eagleton. I will go on record saying that his choice plus the convention gives McCain a minimum 6 point bump, even if the Dems can stop their petulant highschool catty bullsh!t.

  7. Historiann on 30 Aug 2008 at 8:54 pm #

    Fratguy–where have you been? The mystery deepens…

    My guess is that the anti-abortion and anti-gay rights stuff isn’t how Obama will want to go after Palin, given his recent attempts to soften or downplay his stances on those issues so that he can court the same evangelical voters who are now really jazzed about Palin.

    I’m sure that Obama and Biden won’t actually make the comments about the clothes, hair, body, beauty pageant, or call her a MILF etc., but let’s see if they speak out against this trash.

  8. nicole on 30 Aug 2008 at 10:41 pm #

    I don’t get Obama’s attempt to get those voters- doesn’t he get that they’ll NEVER vote for him? Especially now that Palin is in the picture- the Religious Right’s biggest complaint about McCain was that he wasn’t conservative enough- but man-o-man is she!

  9. Geoff on 30 Aug 2008 at 11:04 pm #

    Okay, can’t help but jump in here. I agree with many points already made. The Democrats should make every effort to inform voters of Palin’s positions. Her policies are not as fresh as her resume or age would suggest. They should respect her and define her carefully.

    However, the choice of Palin as VP should be used to criticize (no, bludgeon) McCain’s decision-making ability. Remember, it hasn’t been Democrats who have been bringing up the experience issue, it has rather been the centerpiece of McCain’s criticism of Obama. Who has focused on the War on Terror as the focus of his future presidency? McCain again. So, he does he pick for VP? Someone who two years ago was Mayor of a town of less then 10,000 and just got her passport last year.

    She is who she is and she can’t help it — as fratguy said, her achievements are greater than most of ours. So there’s no need to criticize her for being something she’s not (broadly experienced). She has just filled a role she was asked to fill by a leader in her party. There’s every reason to criticize the person who picked her to be next in line to the Presidency.

    I’d like to see us win elections by arguing the issues, but heck, we’ve seen where that got us in the past. If we win by subtley defining John McCain as ill-tempered and unreliable, prone to risky decisions, that’ll sit just fine with me. It’ll mean we’re finally learning something from the Republican playbook.

    Some of you think that Palin is a decent choice. I think he just gave Obama a few points, if not thrown the election. Palin’s choice won’t sit well with many of my blue-collar brethren who have invested decades learning the nuances of a trade and have a lot of respect for expertise. My educated opinion is that they’re going to be incredulous that someone with such a thin resume could be trusted with the Presidency. Sure her gender isn’t helping her out any with some in this crowd but Obama’s race isn’t a plus with this demographic either. Palin’s choice may be a game changer, but not the way McCain wanted. Now I’m on record. What’ll you wager, fratguy? Pork shoulder vs. sauerbraten?

  10. Historiann on 31 Aug 2008 at 8:10 am #

    Nicole–right on. Republicans pander to their base, as they should, whereas Dems piss on their base. Gee, I wonder why one party marches in lockstep, and in the other it’s like herding cats? (By the way, the marching in lockstep is not always a good thing–but it sure comes in handy for actually WINNING ELECTIONS!)

    Geoff, you suggest a strategy for dealing with McCain (hothead, bad tempered, prone to make seat-of-the-pants judgements) that sounds good to me. But, I still think Dems should try to thread the needle on that and avoid attacking Palin directly or personally or on anything but her policy positions. We’ll see what the polling looks like since the Palin announcement, but just as you’ve got your informants among your union brethren, I’ve got my connections with moderate and Republican women, and this pick has got their attention.

    You may be right–the pick may turn out to be a disaster. But, I also think that Dems should proceed cautiously and wait to see how she plays. As I said in my previous post, underestimating Republicans and not taking them seriously is how Dems lose elections.

  11. ej on 31 Aug 2008 at 8:38 am #

    I think so far, the Obama campaign has handled this well, at least in terms of the new ads. Its not about her, its about him. And clearly McCain wants this decision to affirm his maverick status, but it seems to me that it actually could hurt him with moderates. It could just as easily be spun as him bowing to the religious right (which I personally think is exactly what he did). Whatever one may think about her, he barely knows her! To me, that speaks volumes about his decision making process generally.

  12. Historiann on 31 Aug 2008 at 8:56 am #

    Do you really think that Obama was best buds with Joe Biden? They knew each other in the Senate, but let’s not forget that Biden and Obama were each other’s opponents.

    It’s perfectly fine for McCain to make his decision based on politics, not personal feelings. That’s what the VP selection should be about. They’re frequently marriages of convenience. (JFK and LBJ, anyone?) I agree with you that Obama’s new ad, the one that starts out, “He’s made his choice…” is a good one, because as you say the focus is on McCain.

  13. ej on 31 Aug 2008 at 9:10 am #

    I’m not suggesting there needs to be a personal friendship or they even need to get along. I’m just saying it sounds like of all the possibilities on the short list, she was vetted the least, and chosen when time was winding down. All I’m suggesting is that if the article in the Times is right, and he did want Lieberman (or Ridge, etc) and was forced to cave for fear of alienating his conservative base, it doesn’t bode well for a “Maverick” McCain presidency. The conservative base may be celebrating, but I think moderates should be concerned.

  14. Historiann on 31 Aug 2008 at 9:45 am #

    You may be right. I think that Republicans see it another way. I wish the Dem candidate were as beholden to his base as McCain, but that’s the difference between Republicans and Democrats!

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