Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Betrayed?

I hope Sarah Palin checked for any knives in her back when this photo was taken. Or at least had someone look for the "Kick Me" sign.

I'm about to shock the heck out of my regular readers/friends with what I'm about to say . . . y'all, I feel sorry for Sarah Palin! During what should be a pretty heady time in her life, she is inundated with rumors, innuendo, and the revelation of some pretty private, embarrassing information. No matter what I might think of her idealogically, I feel bad for her, particularly the onslaught of criticism heading her way in light of the pregnancy of her 17-year-old daughter Bristol. Bloggers and political commentators are questioning her parenting skills, and that's just not right. There are plenty of "good" kids from "good" homes who end up pregnant. We don't know what kind of sex talk the Palin children receive, but even kids who get the nitty gritty details spelled out for them in technicolor have accidents.

Now, I'm sure there are those who are fearful that I'm jumping on the train engineered by Laura Bush and think I'm adding my voice to the call to take it easy on Palin because she's a woman. To that I say, "One, you don't know me very well, and two, hell to the no!" Palin is, in all honesty, getting the same kind of treatment a man would get in the same situation. (Although do fathers have to pin the scarlet P -- for pregnant teen -- on their jackets when their daughters get pregnant the way that mothers do?) On a certain level I applaud the press for not taking it easy on Palin.

No, my real argument here is with John McCain and his vetting team. Either they did a half-assed job of vetting this woman and did not uncover things that should have raised some serious red flags about her candidacy OR they decided to ignore whatever they uncovered and throw Palin to the wolves anyway. It's been made obvious to us that Palin was McCain's third choice at best (after Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge), and there's the implication that McCain's attitude when he didn't get his way over Lieberman was "I don't care. Whatever." Nice way to govern, dude. The McCain team seems to have looked at one thing in making their choice -- Sarah Palin's gender -- and decided that either the rest would remain cozily hidden away (although Bristol's growing bump would surely have started to show by November) or weren't significant enough to make a difference, that people would vote for her regardless because of that whole vagina thing.

In the meantime, this woman has been devoured by the press and potentially had her career irreparably damaged. Yes, Sarah Palin did make the choice to accept the offer knowing there were all these skeletons hanging over her head, but as many people who've appeared on Meet the Press have said, how do you turn down that call when it comes?

McCain and the GOP have set this woman up as a sacrificial lamb and sent her to the slaughter with no seeming concern for her welfare. Maybe Mike is right and she was never meant to make it to November, that she's been set up as a sort of Eagleton so that when McCain gets the choice he really wants, it won't piss off the right as much. Or maybe this will all blow over and be barely remembered come November. Maybe the hope was that the news about Bristol would attract even more women to the McCain/Palin ticket. Nothing like using a 17-year-old pregnant girl as a gimmick to get votes.

And yeah, okay . . .maybe this does piss me off a little more because Sarah Palin is a woman. But it's more because I worry that this is just going to be one more thing that will make it harder for women to aspire to power and give those who think that a woman has no place in the White House (except when she's picking out china and hosting teas) all the more "proof" that they need. And maybe, too, it will become a deterrent for women, that they'll shy away from seeking higher office because they don't want their parenting skills called into question.

No matter what, this is a historic election. The question is whether it will be a history we want or dread.

9 comments:

Jen said...

I have to say that I agree. I think the McCain camp made a fundamental miscalculation in not understanding how the internet age turns the normal process of finding out about anything that could be construed to be dirt, which was always cutthroat, into a blender full of razor blades. I'm not sure they even understood what they were tossing Sarah Palin into, and I have my doubts if they knew about all the stuff that every blogger in the Western Hemisphere is now gleefully digging up. Add that to the fact that she is fresh meat to a campaign that has already been over the flaws and foibles of Obama, McCain, and Biden, and she's like an ant under a magnifying glass.

That having been said, you don't have to bring up her parenting to raise some serious questions about what kind of VP she would make, and I applaud the press for going after that information vigorously.

Don't you get the feeling that if the Gary Hart thing happened today, they'd have that picture of him with Donna Rice on his knee up on the internet in less than half an hour?

Mel said...

Totally! Can you imagine the Nixon administration working in the internet age? Holy cats!!!

dbz said...

it's the price you pay ... I just saw two latest covers of US Weekly and OK Magazine, both of which have her as the main celebrity on the cover with the "scoop" headline about a pregnant daughter. US Weekly also has a smaller picture of David Duchovny with the headline that he is a sex addict; OK Magazine has a smaller picture of Katie Holmes with the headline Why doesn's she have any friend?

Welcome to being a celebrity Mrs. Palin ... we don't treat 'em well but if you're lucky, you won't have to share a room with Brigette Nielson when you get to the Surreal Life set. Watch out for Vanilla Ice, he has a temper.

Danielle Mari said...

Wait wait wait. Are you guys all watching the same coverage I'm seeing and hearing? Sure, the "liberal blogosphere" is licking its chops and crunching her bones... but have you listened to the starry eyed delegates at the 'Pub Convention? They love it! They love her for it... "She's so Pro Life... what a brave woman... she's energized us... this just makes her so much more real..." For my money, she's shown herself to have a pretty thick skin (note her record for taking on her own party in several corruption cases) and will come out of this just fine. In fact, how many of us knew her name before McCain's panderous (is that a word? it is now) announcement. I think we're supposed to feel sorry for her. (It's the daughter that gets my sympathy.) But miscalculation? Try calculated risk. They knew just what they were doing. And they knew about the internet's tendency to spin (um... Swift Boat?)

Look, I agree that her family, as Obama keeps repeating, should be off limits. But sad truth (and expected truth)- we can't keep our mitts off this stuff.

Is it wrong of me to wonder whether or not Palin's assessment of her up-to-now-supported abstinence only education has at all changed?

Oh- PS-- I heard a GOP delegate on NPR excitedly chirping about how exciting it is to be a Republican... what with Palin's pregnant unwed daughter and the hurricane... "We've had a little bit of everything!" And she was SERIOUS.

Jen said...

I know, I know, but these days the blogosphere is one step ahead of the news...and those starry-eyed folks aren't the ones who would have ever voted for Obama. More is coming.

I do think that some independent voters will be uncomfortable with the idea that a "family values" candidate would be "proud" to have her teenaged unwed daughter giving her a grandchild. (Geez, who writes their statements, anyway? Couldn't they just have said that they would welcome the new addition to their family with love and leave out the pride? I can only imagine how I would feel if one of my boys became a father at that age, but "pride" isn't one of the emotions that comes to mind.) And the original rumor that the announcement was supposed to squelch isn't dying, either.

If you want to feel better, check out the clip of Campbell Brown grilling Tucker whatever-his-name-is about Palin's role as commander in chief of the Alaskan National Guard.

Mel said...

I guess my real problem with the whole thing is just how negligent it seems the McCain camp may have been. Okay, it was a calculated risk, but it was also an unnecessary risk. If he wanted a woman on the ticket, there are a lot of qualified GOP women out there who don't come with all this baggage.

There's also more to this story than Bristol Palin (whom I feel horribly sorry for as well) what with this firing scandal and some other more questionable allegations about her governance of Alaska.

I really think this woman has been set up -- and I don't think she had any idea what was ahead of her. I mean, I still can't stand her and I'm still furious that she exists, but I think she was deceived in a really crass manner.

Jen said...

I still think that the McCain camp didn't quite get it. They may have expected that every single one of these items would become public knowledge in some way; I don't think they expected it all at once. It's been less than one week!

And I agree. I loathe what this woman stands for, and the more I find out, the less likely I would be to vote for her. Doesn't mean I don't cringe when I find doctored photos supposedly of her in an American flag bikini holding a rifle floating around the internet.

Danielle Mari said...

And I still don't think any of you get it. I know that surrounded by your lovely liberal (and probably educated) public in Cali and Illi, you believe that the world is shaking its head at McCain's miscalculation. I can tell you that here in the conservative buckle of the bible belt, people are NOT upset with McCain. In fact, those who used to be appalled at him because of his pro-choice, anti drilling in ANWAR, bipartisan independent record are now completely in his corner because he has his gun-toting Annie Oakley with her little baby within a baby and now the baby daddy. The women here who hated McCain and wanted Hilary are thrilled.
There's a blogosphere here, too. It's filled with glee at a veep candidate with "more executive experience than the whole Democratic ticket put together." And it's obsessed with Obama's involvement with the "terrorist" Bill Ayers and his alliance with "his" racist preacher. And the indies here in this *swing state* who were going to shrug and vote for Obama because McCain made them mad, are now seriously rethinking their initial reactions... Palin the hunter/corruption fighter/pro-choice/uber-mother/hot milf will vote as they would.
Don't get compliant and smug. Get out there and talk it up. And for goodness sakes, vote. Fascinating how different this race looks depending on where you sit. Remember that the last election was decided in Ohio. And look how that turned out...

Danielle Mari said...

Um. Duh. I meant that Palin is pro-life... not pro-choice, obviously. My liberal roots are showing! (The conservatives here see her pregnant daughter as a statement of pro-life, btw.)