Comments on: A real pregnancy, and a boneheaded Biden remark. Surprised? History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 20:19:58 +0000 hourly 1 By: Historiann Wed, 03 Sep 2008 03:17:50 +0000 Thanks for the links, Beth. I see what you’re saying. And, I think it’s totally fair game to go after her (anti) abortion politics–and I hope that Democrats will–but without any reference to Bristol! It doesn’t really matter what’s going on in the Palin family–what matters is how her policy positions, if implemented, would hurt your family and mine.

Remember how well it played in 2004 when John Kerry pointed out that Dick Cheney has a gay daughter? It was true, and it was true that the Bush administration’s policies harmed gay families, but it didn’t win Kerry any points, and in fact he was effectively spun as the bully.

By: Beth Wed, 03 Sep 2008 02:57:49 +0000

In the announcement, Palin said, “We’re proud of Bristol’s decision to have her baby.” Which could mean either a choice between abortion and carrying the fetus to term, or between raising it herself and putting it up for adoption. Though it sounds more like the former to me. This is the Feministing post I referenced, which pretty much captures my feelings:

And, eh. I think my response to this would be about the same if Palin were a liberal democrat–two parts “it’s none of my business” and one part “huh. i wonder what this tells me about the VP candidate’s beliefs about abortion, privacy, and the autonomy of female bodies?” I’m not interested in slut-shaming–just in what Sarah Palin’s public statements tell me about her views on abortion. Also, if Palin were a liberal democrat, the conflict I pointed to probably wouldn’t exist–a pro-choice Democrat could honestly support her daughter’s “choice.”

And if it were my own daughter–I would support her in her choice, but it would probably also make me confront in a more personal, immediate way my own beliefs about abortion, privacy and the autonomy of female bodies.

By: Historiann Tue, 02 Sep 2008 14:35:24 +0000 Did Palin describe her daughter’s “choice” as one to take her pregnancy to term, or her choice to marry the father and raise the child? (Link, please!) Adoption is another choice in the mix, and that may be the choice that Palin alluded to.

I disagree with you that there’s any “hypocrisy” here, even if her use of “choice” alluded to the now-legal choice between abortion and continuing the pregnancy. That seems to be splitting a pretty fine hair. Hypocrisy would be hustling her down to Seattle for an abortion because a teenage pregnancy would be bad politically for Sarah Palin. But–that’s not what’s happening!

Ask yourself: what if Palin were a liberal democrat? What if Bristol were your daughter? What makes this OK because Palin is a right-wing Republican?

By: Beth Tue, 02 Sep 2008 14:29:33 +0000 While I agree whole-heartedly that sex and reproductive lives of candidates and their families should be totally off-limits, it does seem (to echo a point made over at Feministing) that one thing can be said in relation to Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. In her initial statement, Sarah Palin described Bristol’s “choice” to take the pregnancy to term. Given Palin’s pro-life stance, this a “choice” that she believes her daughter should not legally be allowed should to make. That kind of hypocrisy–getting mileage by framing the decision as a choice while believing the choice should be illegal–seems like something we can talk about.

But not for very long. Because once that’s been said, there’s not a whole lot else to talk about it in regards to this issue. Time to move on to health care, global warming, torture, income inequality, the mortgage crisis, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and warrantless wiretapping–all issues me and my lady-brain care a whole lot more about….

By: Historiann Tue, 02 Sep 2008 02:55:38 +0000 Palin is a serious candidate because SHE IS THE REPUBLICAN VP NOMINEE. You may not like her or her policies, but mocking her is not appropriate. You will never convince me that this derision and skepticism about her would be expressed about a man with exactly her experience. She may flame out, she may crash and burn–but going after bogus rumors is not helpful.

I am surprised that so many of you seem to care more about her sex life and her daughter’s sex life! Just please consider: what would you say about Republicans and right-wing websites ginning up this kind of rumor mill for a liberal democrat? I don’t think you’d be so happy to hop on the bandwagon.

By: Susan Tue, 02 Sep 2008 00:26:57 +0000 Historiann,
I’m a cynical historian, and I don’t believe anyone. So I’m not completely convinced that the story about Trig isn’t true — there are enough weird bits (Palin’s waters broke & she got on a plane for 8 hours? She was carrying a 6 lb baby and was barely showing?). I suppose we’ll see when Bristol has the baby, right? Now, if the scuzzy rumors are true, what disturbs me is NOT that Bristol is pregnant etc., but the attempt to hide it. The whole sex/shame thing is part of what we still struggle with.

And yes, Biden’s attempt at humor was lame. Like you, I wish people would deal with the issues — that Palin is uninterested in issues like health care, thinks oil drilling=energy policy, etc.

By: Rad readr Mon, 01 Sep 2008 22:39:51 +0000 I don’t think you can blame the Dems for all of the “panty-sniffing.” The web is packed with that stuff, not to mention that the National Enquirer now actually leads some of the mainstream media on coverage of certain issues. Troopergate was a story before she was named VP candidate.

She’s not a serious candidate because she hasn’t been vetted to deal with the pressures of the blogosphere and other spheres. The other contenders were more serious because of experince and prominence in national politics. Even Dan Quayle had a run in the Senate. In terms of issues, yes, she wants to teach creationism (good for debate in English class), and she doesn’t believe in global warming. Finally, in terms of issues of concern to certain religious voters, don’t they oppose premarital sex? Won’t it affect Palin’s ethos in defending abstinence only if she can’t even get her daughter to listen.

By: Historiann Mon, 01 Sep 2008 22:10:17 +0000 Rad–I don’t like Palin’s policies any more than you do, but I wish Dems would 1) treat her like the serious candidate she is, and 2) stop the panty-sniffing and slut-shaming! She’s done more good for McCain in three days than McCain did all summer–and having to come out and announce her eldest daughter’s pregnancy? Well, who do you think will win the sympathy of the American people–a 17-year old girl, or a bunch of creepy Dem bully-bloggers who couldn’t contain themselves in their fantasies about her sex life and her mother’s sex life?

I have been counseling Dems since my first post to stick to the issues–and Palin gives us plenty of those.

By: RadReadr Mon, 01 Sep 2008 21:48:54 +0000 Historiann- it sounds like you are defending an car-carrying NRA member who opposes choice and wants to drill more than what has already been allotted to the disaster capitalism crowd. Is focusing on Biden’s comments sticking to the issues? And I disagree with Ortho that the stupid comments people make “teach us how to identity and fight oppressive systems.” That type of thinking leads us to the failure of identity politics, which brought us first Clarence Thomas and now Palin, who is the ultimate insult to Hillary.

It’s time to let it go and get focused again!!!

By: Historiann Mon, 01 Sep 2008 21:05:30 +0000 Ana, good points. Obama has called off the dogs, and is reminding them that his own mother gave birth to him at age 18.

I guess what many of us in the blogosphere find so disappointing is that blogs we formerly read and enjoyed, like DailyKos, Americablog, and Talking Points Memo, were mobbed by Hillary Clinton haters, who seem to have morphed into Sarah Palin haters. (See this roundup at Tennessee Guerrilla Woman.) Furthermore, these voices are dominant over those of us who are committed to women’s rights and keeping the discussion on the issues. It’s not just the misogyny–although that would be bad enough–it’s the fact that I think this poison is just crappy politics!

But, thanks for stopping by to comment. Please don’t explode in the face of the stupidity! We need you.