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Home » Girl Gone Wonk, News

So Palin’s a mom and a former beauty queen. So what

Submitted by on Saturday, 30 August 2008 No Comment
Of all the things said today about Sarah Palin, what amused me most was the surprise, not that a mother is running for vice president, but that a woman with a 4-month-old is on the Republican ticket.

""What kind of mother is she?""

Well, one who's roaring back after giving birth, in sharp contrast to every woman who's returned to the office to see herself marginalized after maternity leave.

Then came critics honing in on her appearance and her long-ago status as runner-up in the Miss Alaska Pageant. "John McCain knows how important it is to have a trophy wife Veep on his arm,"" an America OnLine blogger wrote. ""Pinup girl for the right wing,"" snorted another blogger.Did anyone call Dan Quayle a trophy 20 years ago?

McCain came close, but without sinking to such a dismissive level. "I can't believe a guy that handsome wouldn't have some impact,"" McCain said at the time.

And then there's the theory that disaffected Hillary Clinton PUMAs -- which stands for Party Unity My A**"" will flock to Palin because she's a she. As if women are incapable of enough rational thought to vote other than along gender lines.

Historic announcement, as McCain called it? Hardly. Remember Geraldine Ferraro? Maybe McCain meant it was historic for Alaskans.A chance, as Palin said, to ""shatter that glass ceiling once and for all."" I suppose, if the glass ceiling stops at the floor below the penthouse.

Besides, there's already a woman a heartbeat (and a faulty pacemaker battery) away from the White House. Sarah Palin, meet Nancy Pelosi.

Women who have tried for the top slot have, of course, faced just as much unfair scrutiny as Palin. Just ask former U.S. Rep. Pat Schroeder, who at least was able to hold it in until the bitter end.

When Schroeder embraced her husband and cried after withdrawing from the 1988 presidential race, the right had a field day -- would you want the hand with the hanky answering the red phone? The left didn't know what to do. Damnit, why'd she have to go and show she's a girl?

""Guys have been tearing up all along and people think it's marvelous,"" Schroeder told The Associated Press in December, a full 20 years after her Kleenex moment.

Two decades later, witness those who screamed ""Hillary meltdown"" after Clinton choked up momentarily in a New Hampshire restaurant. You would have thought she'd smashed water glasses and punched servers.

Heaven help Palin if she shows even a trace of a tear in the next two months. She will be scrutinized more closely than her Democratic counterpart anyway, and justly so. Joe Biden is a known quantity. Palin has served two years as governor of a state with less than a half million people.

The scrutiny should be based on ability, though, rather than on how she looks and how often she reproduces.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Forgetfulone said:

    “This is my first time to your blog. Came here from Mom Bloggers.

    I remember Ferraro. I voted against her. I will vote for Palin, but not because she’s a woman. Why do people think that just because someone is a woman, a woman will vote for her? I wouldn’t have voted for Hillary. No way, no how, so that assumption that women will vote based on gender is ridiculous!

    Your post was very well-written, and though you say you don’t blog politics much, I don’t think this post will be a traffic killer. I liked it, and I don’t blog about politics, nor do I really read about it much (because my opinions are too strong and it makes me mad). Anyway, great post.”

  • Debra said:

    “Thanks, forgetfulone!

    I should probably stay away from politics, too — bad for the blood pressure! But I think I’ll still wind up blogging about it occassionally through at least November.

    There are a lot of issues out there that hit families, so I suppose it fits with my blog.

    Oh, wait. I’m not supposed to think about issues. I’m just supposed to put a check beside the women’s names because that’s how us girls decide.”