Saturday, 30 August 2008

Sarah Palin: No Feminist

Meet John McCain's choice for a running mate in this November's presidential elections. Considering his position, there was probably nothing more he could have done to steal Barack Obama's thunder in the week the Democrats met for their presidential jamboree, than pick Sarah Palin (pictured). She's (comparatively) unknown and ... she's a woman! And what a surprise! The Republicans have started to milk it already, including Palin herself. In her acceptance speech (flanked by a very uncomfortable-looking McCain), Palin said "it was rightly noted in Denver this week that Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America. But it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all." Pass me the sick bucket.

However, if McCain was hoping the choice of Palin was going to scoop up disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters, he has probably miscalculated. Ann Friedman of Feministing has this to say:
She's super anti-choice. The forced-pregnancy crowd is thrilled today! (She recently had her fifth child, who has Down's syndrome.) She's against marriage equality and supports a federal gay-marriage ban, but has made sure to note that she "has gay friends." Though she has signed on to same-sex partner benefits. She believes schools should teach creationism. She's also pretty terrible on environmental issues, and is a huge advocate of drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.
I can't see too many Clinton supporters warming to these politics, regardless of how much they feel "betrayed" by Obama. Woman or no, Palin is a hard right ideologue of the worst kind. She is to feminism what Fox News is to balanced journalism, and is therefore an enemy to progressive people everywhere.


BenSix said...

I think that she could gain some Hilary voters. Not really because she's a woman, but because she is promoted as one who represents change in the Republican Party - her previous campaigning against unethical practises, for example. This could support the 'maverick' theme and be seen as a 'break from Bush'.

There is, however, a lot of detail. McCain has only met her once, two months ago she didn't know what a VP was for and the most substantial piece of her foreign policy record is a brief comment on something that she saw on the news. In some ways a clever choice, but also a very cynical one considering that she'd be a heart beat - or, as some have speculated, heart attack - away from the Presidency.

brother g said...

Tactically, Palin isn't a bad pick. Firstly, she is an excellent choice to help mobilise the Republican base which was previously concerned by McCains so-called 'maverick' streak and lack of conservative credentials. Naturally a pro-life, anti-gay creationist who has already been implicated in an ethics scandal during her time as governer is much more in tune with the traditional Republican values of ignorance, bigotry and sleaze. However, in a year when statistics indicate more democrats than republican this may not be the most effective tactic, and Palin will undoubtably scare away large numbers of left-leaning independents.

Secondly, while I hope the majority of Clinton supporters will have the good sense to see past Palin's gender come election day (and Hillary will no doubt push this along soon enough), I daresay there will be a number still bitter or deluded enough to side with McCain for the reasons Bensix has described. As much as I hate to sound like a cynic, it has been said before that nobody ever went bust by underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

On the other hand, she has no real experience, which immediately removes the experience card that McCain has preveiously been targeting Obama with from play. It also means that Biden will eat her alive in the VP debates, expecially in the area of foreign policy.In addition, McCain's age carries with it the very real possibility that the VP is one heartbeat away from the most powerful position in the country. I can't see many people wanting an inexperienced, unknown governer with an accent straight out of Fargo suddenly finding herself the figurehead of the United States.

Stephie said...

I think the fact that the Republicans picked Palin is very telling of the general view they have of women; they are going for the Clinton vote and this totally neglects the idea that women who vote (and supported Clinton) might, just might, actually care about the politics behind it and not just the fact that she's a woman. It's a cyical ploy alright.

Vicky said...

Have you heard her 17 year old daughter's pregnant? BBC news says "Mrs Palin, a social conservative who is opposed to abortion, said in a statement her daughter Bristol would keep the child and marry its father." Now there's a surprise :)

Phil BC said...

Brother G, your curmudgeonly cynicism is always welcome here and I pretty much agree with all that you say, though being a good Marxist and right-on lefty, I'd never describe the American public in those terms ;) I do look forward to seeing her and McCain get a drubbing when they have their presidential bitch-offs.

Stephie, it just reinforces my idea that Republicans are a bunch of muppets. Except nowhere near as amusing, or cute. But that hasn't stopped bigots like Rush Limbaugh from boasting that "we [the GOP] have the babe on the ticket!" and branding Palin the 'GILF' or 'VPILF'. Yuck.

Got to feel sorry for Bristol (what a name!) though. She's not due to give birth before the election is she? I can imagine all the horrid photo ops with Palin and "Uncle" John, and it's sent me all a-shiver.

Btw v good post/photo thing by Jim Jay on Palin here

Nuzz Prowlin' Wolf said...

Looks like the only thing that's gonna stop Obama is an assasins bullet, cos that Palin shit, is just couldn't make this shit up politics, and I hope the American people are seeing through the shit.

Benjamin Solah said...

Far out, she's really made it worse for the GOP, if it could get any worse. Who could've predicted that an advocate of abstinence only sex education would have to reveal that her daughter is pregnant? Proves abstinence doesn't work.

Phil BC said...

I know. I remember when Britney Spears younger sister got pregnant out of wedlock. The Christian types weren't very chuffed with her mum's parenting skills, and I think she lost a book contract with a religious publishing house or something. With any luck, this will have a similar effect when it comes to Palin.

butterflywings said...

Good post.

Agree with stephie.
"Ha! Women are so stupid they just vote for anything with a vagina! They don't care about actual, you know, policies!" *vomits*.

And - she's JUST had her 5th kid at what, she's at least 50 right? and her 17 year old daughter is pregnant? *vomits again* 'cos women should spend their ENTIRE HEALTHY ADULT LIVES from 16/17 to 50 being pregnant! Which IS what she believes, right?
(and yes *snort* abstinence works!)