For one, and only one day I wish I were a woman so I could fully snark it up about Sarah Palin. But sense I’m gender-constrained, it would only be half-snark, and so what’s the fun in that? I’m much more interested in the comentary of women on McCain’s selection.
Let’s start with Gail Collins in the Times, under the headline, “McCain’s Baked Alaska.”
McCain does not believe in pandering to identity politics. He was looking for someone who was well prepared to fight against international Islamic extremism, the transcendent issue of our time. And in the end he decided that in good conscience, he was not going to settle for anyone who had not been commander of a state national guard for at least a year and a half. He put down his foot!
The idea that women are going to race off to vote for any candidate with the same internal plumbing is both offensive and historically wrong.
This year, Hillary Clinton took things to a whole new level. She didn’t run for president as a symbol but as the best-prepared candidate in the Democratic pack. Whether you liked her or not, she convinced the nation that women could be qualified to both run the country and be commander in chief. That was an enormous breakthrough, and Palin’s nomination feels, in comparison, like a step back.
Ann Friedman in the American Prospect, under the headline McCain’s Sexist VP Pick:
Palin’s addition to the ticket takes Republican faux-feminism to a whole new level. As Adam Serwer pointed out on TAPPED, this is in fact a condescending move by the GOP. It plays to the assumption that disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters did not care about her politics — only her gender. In picking Palin, Republicans are lending credence to the sexist assumption that women voters are too stupid to investigate or care about the issues, and merely want to vote for someone who looks like them. As Serwer noted, it’s akin to choosing Alan Keyes in an attempt to compete with Obama for votes from black Americans.
Why is this a pander? Because Palin is not a woman who has a record of representing women’s interests. She is beloved by extremely right-wing conservatives for her anti-choice record (fittingly, she’s a member of the faux-feminist anti-choice group Feminists for Life). Palin supports federal anti-gay marriage legislation. She believes schools should teach creationism. Alaska is currently considering spending more on abstinence-only sex education. And when it comes to a slew of other issues of importance to women, such as equal pay, she’s not on the record.
After all, most of us understand that a woman candidate is not the same thing as a woman’s candidate.
Michelle Cottle in The Plank, the staff blog of the New Republic:
Let’s traffic in some gender/political stereotypes for a moment: Obviously, Palin is a risky pick for McCain because she is approximately as qualified to serve as commander-in-chief as my Great Aunt Ruby (who has, full disclosure, been dead for several years now.) Indeed, I just finished listening to Linda Wertheimer on NPR grouchily voicing complete befuddlement over how McCain could pick someone so clearly unprepared in light of the senator’s advanced age and questionable health.
And finally, there’s this inexplicable exchange between Goveror Palin and a couple of righty talk show hosts (my mental picture is Bevis and Butthead), dug up by Daily Kos