Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain/Palin: A Bad Choice For Women

I've gotten quite a few e-mails asking what I think of John McCain's choice of Governor Palin for his VP. Here are my initial thoughts.

First, Barack Obama gave an historic speech last night. It was soaring, it was grounded, it was inspirational, it was lethal to the Bush junta, and I was feeling very honored to have lived long enough to get to hear it. And, second, no woman should vote for McCain/Palin. He and she are anti-choice, anti-woman, anti-polar bear, anti-Social Security, neo-cons. They'll give us 16 more years of Bush policies and we can't take even 16 more months.

That said, I disagree with the majority of liberal bloggers (whom I've been able to read so far) who think Palin was a dumb choice. I think she was a smart choice and one that points out that, as I've maintained all along, Biden was a dumb choice. (She was on my short list until she gave birth a few months ago to a child with Downs Syndrome, which I assumed meant that she wouldn't be interested in the job.)

Palin's young, attractive, middle class, a sympathetic figure as the new mother of a child with Downs Syndrome and the mother of an 18 year-old son about to be shipped to Iraq. She hunts and fishes and is married to her childhood sweetheart. She's going to suck up a huge amount of media attention and comparisons to Geraldine Ferraro are going to keep opening wounds in the Democratic Party and give Ferraro, who's had almost as big a problem running off her mouth as does Biden, more air time. Lots of rural, Southern, and working class voters -- the one group that has yet to really warm up to Obama -- are going to like her. I include men from those groups; the large population in the racist and sexist overlap of that Venn Diagram will pick the anti-woman pretty woman over the black man. She undoes some of the damage that being married to a millionairess with a jillion houses has done to McCain. Elections aren't won or lost based on the VP debate, but Biden's going to have a tough time debating her and, if he mistreats her or patronizes her, that could have larger ramifications. Let's hope he's learned something since the days when he treated Anita Hill like the dirt on the bottom of his shoes.

Will she attract some votes from women because she's a woman? As I said above, women should not vote for her. But consider this. If the situation were reversed and Clinton had won after a long and emotional primary battle against Obama and had then chosen Biden for her VP, indicating that she didn't see any need to give African Americans the VP slot, and then McCain had picked an African American VP, would you expect some African Americans to be tempted to vote against Clinton/Biden? I would.

Obama made this problem for himself. If he'd picked Clinton or Siebelius or McCaskill or any of a dozen other good Democratic women for VP, McCain would have picked Romney or Lieberman or some other man. So, once again, if I were advising the Obama campaign, and, Goddess knows, they never listen to me, I'd advise them to find some new and important ways to reach out to women. Endorse the ERA. Announce some early cabinet picks and make them women. Democrats always count on the "women's vote" -- they can't win without it. The difference this time is, they shouldn't continue to take it for granted.


Vicki said...

Well...your points are well made.

But the lack of experience scares me.

And I can't get past the fact that this is a very cynical pick on McCain's behalf: He's using her because he thinks there's an opening. He would not have picked her had Obama picked Clinton or MacCaskill, I agree with you.

Anne Johnson said...

Very interesting commentary. I know nothing about her but assume that no one who cares a fig about polar bears would ever be elected governor of Alaska.

Ericka said...

I think she was a smart choice and one that points out that, as I've maintained all along, Biden was a dumb choice.

Like I mentioned to you the other night, in the last days and hours before the leak of the Dem VP pick, I feverishly hoped for Clinton. I was naive, and Biden felt like a slap in the face. The safe choice. And today, I feel a little stung as well. McCain, while I doubt his reasons were noble, did do something historic. I'd never, ever vote for that ticket, but I'm left wondering why we are still moving to the middle? When will we have our women and progressives and liberals proudly out in front leading us?

While I agree with none of her policics, I do admire Palin's ambition. And it makes me sad to think that she's been picked to offset Biden.

ntodd said...

Great post and I referred to it in today's PaxLive! Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

First off, Goddess bless, woman! Thank you for this post. You are a talented writer and thoughtful, wise blogger.

Second, as Jane Hamsher @ FDL wrote today, "women's issues will be front and center for this campaign." Whether Mavericky or PanderBear in his intent, McCain has lifted the other side of the yoke borne by Hillary this election cycle, and the fields are ripe for the tilling.

Lastly, what is stark and out in front for voters is this: Are we at a place in our awareness where substance will, for once, matter over style/packaging? On the Left we have two men who are pro-choice, pro-equal pay, pro-gay rights, pro-environment, and to Biden's credit, the Democratic ticket features a prominent sponsor of VAWA. On the Right we have an accomplished, strong and savvy woman, whose personal and professional credentials in an off-the-beaten-path, old boys' network political climate of a state like AK withstanding, does herself stand on the wrong side of pretty much every woman's issue.

So will we, as a nation, recognize that two men, Obama & Biden, can carry the mantle of women's issues and are perhaps the best chance we've got?
Will we hold their feet to the fire, asking them to tip their hand before Nov. 4, revealing a few high level women appointments? Indeed, it may even be fitting at this moment in history, following the cowboy administration, that two men are tasked with leading the charge on women's issues into the 21st Century. Kind of yin-yang-yang-yin, if you get what I'm trying to say.

Angela-Eloise said...

Thanks Hecate! I've been clicking here all day waiting for your thoughts. As always, smart and insightful.

I think that the motives behind McCain's choice are fairly transparent and agree with all of those who say that no one is stupid enough to support this ticket just because Palin is a woman. But I'm also not one of the Democrats who are crowing that this election is now in the bag. While the Republicans are distasteful to say the least, they're generally not stupid when it comes to strategy. We can only wait to see how this plays out.

I do believe that the Democrats can win this election and will do whatever I can to help make that happen.

Kathleen said...

The announcement really killed my post-Obama speech buzz. So reluctant props to McCain. Luckily since she is diametricaly opposed to me, including teaching creationism, I'm not going to lose any sleep for not supporting her.

BTW Shakespeare's Sister is doing a misogyny watch for her because what's feminists do.


Lesley said...

This came in today from an acquaintance in Alaska.

August 29, 2008

Shocking Choice by John McCain

WASHINGTON– Senator John McCain just announced his choice for running mate: Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. To follow is a statement by Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

“Senator McCain’s choice for a running mate is beyond belief. By choosing Sarah Palin, McCain has clearly made a decision to continue the Bush legacy of destructive environmental policies.

“Sarah Palin, whose husband works for BP (formerly British Petroleum), has repeatedly put special interests first when it comes to the environment. In her scant two years as governor, she has lobbied aggressively to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, pushed for more drilling off of Alaska’s coasts, and put special interests above science. Ms. Palin has made it clear through her actions that she is unwilling to do even as much as the Bush administration to address the impacts of global warming. Her most recent effort has been to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the polar bear from the endangered species list, putting Big Oil before sound science. As unbelievable as this may sound, this actually puts her to the right of the Bush administration.

“This is Senator McCain’s first significant choice in building his executive team and it’s a bad one. It has to raise serious doubts in the minds of voters about John McCain’s commitment to conservation, to addressing the impacts of global warming and to ensuring our country ends its dependency on oil.”


The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund ( provides a powerful voice in Washington to Americans who value our conservation heritage. Through grassroots lobbying, issue advocacy and political campaigns, the Action Fund champions those laws and lawmakers that protect wildlife and wild places while working against those that do them harm.

Anonymous said...

Hecate has arrived on the scene on her day and she isn't recognized. What a shame!

Anonymous said...

I see the questions about the Palin choice falling roughly into two groups: what does it mean in terms of campaign strategy, and what does it mean in terms of over-arching reality? By the latter I mean: if the Reps win, what would that mean for the real US, the real inhabitants thereof, and the rest of the real world?

Seems to me that latter group is the important one. I don't care how many of which chromosomes the gov. of Alaska possesses: she is a disaster from almost every policy point of view. She loves Big Oil, she thinks human activity has NO influence on climate change, she is anti-reason and anti-science, she thinks all abortion should be OUTLAWED, no exceptions.

Her local reputation is as an anti-govt-corruption crusader, obviously much appreciated in Alaska. Yet she attempted to use her power as governor to fire a state commissioner who didn't obey her order to fire a state policeman whom she dislikes and disapproves of because he is her sister's abusive ex-husband. For this she is currently under investigation by the state legislature.

The idea that she might actually occupy any significant position of national power is bad enough. The idea that - as Doghouse Riley says - she could be "one minor anesthesia misshap during a ... tumor removal away from the Presidency" should fill any woman, any person who values reason, scientific fact, or the future of this planet with cold fear.

The fact that McCain either knows this and doesn't care, or thinks it doesn't matter next to his winning, or agrees with her, should also fill us with cold fear.

Li'l Innocent

pie said...

Well, Hecate, I have to tell you I was absolutely shocked when I'd heard that she was the choice. She was always mentioned, but people kept referring to her scandal (we'll see how that turns out) and that she wouldn't be the one.

After reading comments all over the place since yesterday, I'm having a horrible deja vu moment.

People have learned nothing. Some women have learned nothing.

No fun to be a democrat these days. No fun at all.

Anonymous said...

I think that the choice of VP is awful. What would happen if McCain fell over from a heart attack? Picture someone with NO international experience running the country.

The VP should not be chosen to appeal to certain 'voting groups.' The VP is the 'second in command' the 'sounding board' for the president.....not someone to get more votes.

If McCain gets in we are ALL doomed!!!

genexs said...

EEK! What a hideous pic! That's a face that would turn Medusa to stone!
Please, if you post any more images of her, warn us so we get our shields out.

Tarot cards said...

Hmm Well I was just searching on Google for some Tarot readings of some Tarot reader
and just came across your blog, generally I just only visit blogs and retrieve my required
information but this time the useful information that you posted in this post compelled me
to reply here and appreciate your good work. I just bookmarked your blog