Don’t Go There

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McCain-Palin

There’s a lot of talk about what we can and cannot say about Sarah Palin. There are some who seem to think any criticism at all of Palin amounts to sexism, an attitude that strikes me as sexist. It says that women can’t be taken seriously in the political world and treated the same way men are treated. It’s like the high school coach who puts girls on the boy’s varsity team not because he thinks they are good players, but because he thinks the opposing team will hesitate to rough them up. (Which, come to think of it, might explain McCain’s choice of Palin.)

I argued yesterday that it’s absurd not to talk about Palin’s inexperience. Anyone who says that talking about her inexperience requires imposing a double standard is, um, imposing a double standard.

However, I will not criticize her as a mother or suggest she has too many small children to take care of to be VPOTUS. I haven’t seen any such criticism personally, but I understand there was some such carping among a few Daily Kos diarists, leading to the Times of London to report a “Left-wing websites such as the Daily Kos are leading the chorus of disapproval.”

It’s not much of a chorus; more of a small chamber ensemble. In any event, don’t go there. The late Benazir Bhutto gave birth while she was President of Pakistan, for pity’s sake.

And yes, I’ve heard the rumor that Palin’s youngest baby isn’t hers. I’m not going there, either, unless more evidence shows up. Making wild accusations that turn out to be stupid makes you look like a rightie.

On the other hand, Josh Marshall explains in detail why Palin’s troopergate issue needs to be discussed.

We rely on elected officials not to use the power of their office to pursue personal agendas or vendettas. It’s called an abuse of power. There is ample evidence that Palin used her power as governor to get her ex-brother-in-law fired. When his boss refused to fire him, she fired him. She first denied Monegan’s claims of pressure to fire Wooten and then had to amend her story when evidence proved otherwise. The available evidence now suggests that she 1) tried to have an ex-relative fired from his job for personal reasons, something that was clearly inappropriate, and perhaps illegal, though possibly understandable in human terms, 2) fired a state official for not himself acting inappropriately by firing the relative, 3) lied to the public about what happened and 4) continues to lie about what happened.

There’s a difference between criticizing people professionally and criticizing them personally. Criticizing Palin’s stands on issues, yes. Discussing her record as a mayor and a governor, yes. Pointing out her lack of experience, yes. Ridicule of her appearance, family or personal lifestyle choices, no. I hope we’re clear.

Let’s not forget that the real focus needs to stay on John McCain. Todd Gitlin writes,

McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin is not a weird anomaly. It’s of a piece with his standard modus operandi. He’s impulsive, erratic. Put him in a jam, he leaps from petulance to exuberant nose-thumbing. He may be old, but he’s unseasoned–he’s childish. He jumps outside the box and takes pleasure in his insouciance. Faced with a foreign policy problem, he thinks: Bomb. (Sometimes he blurts it out, as in: Bomb bomb Iran.) Faced with energy crisis, he thinks: Drill. Faced with Russia-Georgia-Ossetia, he thinks: Let’s get the Cold War on. Bomb and drill, drill and bomb–this is not a steady hand at the wheel; this is a go-for-broke gambler playing the game as he loves to play it.

Whenever I see polls that say a majority think McCain would be a better commander in chief than Obama, I want to scream. We need to find a way to flush this jerk out into the open so the American people can see him for what he really is.

Update:
Ta-Nehisi Coates writes,

The entire Sarah Palin pick comes down to one thing–the hope that George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, or (God forbid) Will.I.Am. will make a joke about moose-burgers. At that point, the McCain campaign will cut an ad which says They’re laughing at you. Vote for McCain and you can show the world. You can show them all! Of course said ad will never appear on television but will be screened only for the media–who will then do their job and turn the cable news into giant echo chamber in which the “Real Americans” yell They’re all gonna laugh at you! They’re all gonna laugh at you! Welcome to Victimology 101–the White Working Class Edition.

Watch the Obama-Biden ad. Nice.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. calling all toasters  •  Aug 31, 2008 @5:01 pm

    Amen to all that. But, please, let’s go here: John McCain is a creepy old horndog.

  2. erinyes  •  Aug 31, 2008 @5:49 pm

    http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/gull_island_oil.html
    here’s something I’d ask Mrs.Palin.

  3. Gordon  •  Aug 31, 2008 @5:52 pm

    Matt Yglesias points out that eating mooseburgers doesn’t exactly make you salt of the earth.

  4. Swami  •  Aug 31, 2008 @6:01 pm

    Is criticizing her PTA bake sale organizing experience acceptable?

  5. moonbat  •  Aug 31, 2008 @6:49 pm

    You’re so damn right. And the higher we go in the political food chain, the more true. I’m certain Obama will have the skill to deal properly with Palin, I’m less certain about our shoot-off-the-mouth VP, Biden. The VP debate we’re all waiting for may have a few surprises, and not to our liking. Further down the list, I saw a lot of diaries all over the map on Daily Kos, and thankfully a good bit of policing along the lines you suggest. It isn’t going to be easy.

    For an example of someone high up in the media food chain, who’s able to get away with crossing over into the personal, check out this op ed, Vice in Go-Go Boots, by Maureen Dowd. We’re going to be hearing all kinds of things about Palin, especially given her light resume. Your message needs to be repeated often in the coming months.

    Agree, that somehow we have to bring this back to McCain’s penchant for reckless, hotheaded decisions. Palin is part of the pattern.

  6. calling all toasters  •  Aug 31, 2008 @6:55 pm

    OkK, my comment was supposed to have a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RN5xbWtNSU

  7. bruce  •  Aug 31, 2008 @8:06 pm

    I understand your reluctance to ‘go there’ about whether her youngest baby is hers, but the story as detailed at dailykos sure seems worth further investigation. My wife, who has a far better-developed nose for truth than me as well as a woman’s eye for pregnancy, found it to be credible that the baby belongs to her daughter. I wouldn’t care myself, but seems like some of her fundie groupies might. I’m just sayin’…

  8. maha  •  Aug 31, 2008 @8:36 pm

    Bruce — you can investigate all you like. I’m asking you to refrain from accusation, innuendo, or public speculation until you’ve got a damn solid case, which I have not seen so far. Until then, discussing this rumor publicly just makes us all look stupid and desperate. I don’t think we’re stupid, and there’s no reason to be desperate.

  9. Kevin K.  •  Aug 31, 2008 @10:55 pm

    One point I haven’t seen anyone make is that the hole in the Pentagon didn’t look like it could have been made by a passenger jet. This latest rumor seems to be riding on the same kind of critical “analysis.” The libosphere would do well to back off of this nonsense. As maha said it makes us look desperate and if it’s disproved, it could potentially swing the whole election.

  10. Ian  •  Sep 1, 2008 @3:29 am

    I agree that this conspiracy theory stuff is definitely “don’t go there” material … BUT … in reading the arguments, the sequence of events struck me as fairly relevant and important. I think this is the sequence of events as she tells it … please let me know if it’s not, because as it stands I’m having a real hard time wrapping my brain around it…

    She knows she’s having a baby with down’s syndrome, she knows it will be low birth weight, she knows there’s a good chance that some sort of medical assistance will be required at birth. She also knows, I’m sure, that if this is your fifth pregnancy, labor is not likely to be protacted.

    OK, so according to her own telling of the timeline …
    At like 3 am, she starts leaking amniotic fluid. For someone with a pregnancy as advanced as hers, that’s a good sign labor may be coming soon.

    She decided to go ahead and give her scheduled speach the next day … no real problem there, but her water breaks during the event.

    So she’s actually IN labor … and she gets on an 8 hour plane ride in order to have the kid in Alaska.

    ???????

    That is either incredibly stupid, or incredibly irresponsible … or some part of the story is a lie. If she really was in labor, she had absolutely no business getting on that plane. It was a stupendously bad decision, show stupendously bad judgement.

    This is extremely relevant to her qualifications to be VP … one of the most important personal decisions she’s made in her life, and it was either stupid, irresposnible, or a lie … none of this is stuff we can tolerate in a VP.

    -me

  11. Bucky Blue  •  Sep 1, 2008 @8:45 am

    Excellent points Ian, I am sure she flew to Texas against her doctor’s advice. Flying eight hours away during the last month of a high risk pregnancy is reckless. I’m just not sure how much hay we can make out of it. I believe one of the things we should take away from this is that this is an extremely ambitious woman, and we view her more as a soccer (hockey) mom than a serious candidate at our peril. She is bright, speaks well (much better than McC)and there are very low expectations. This could get tricky.

  12. mr5roses  •  Sep 1, 2008 @9:47 am

    To me, if the baby is her daughter’s, the important questions are: Did Palin perpetrate this falsehood to protect her daughter? And if so, did she take into account that the falsehood might be revealed if she accepted the VP nomination? In other words, did she put her political opportunity over what she saw as her daughter’s good? And, if the story is true, was Palin too arrogant or too foolish to believe it wouldn’t come out once she was nominated?

  13. Diane  •  Sep 1, 2008 @9:49 am

    I too am suspicious of the Texas to Alaska flight.
    I had a 1 moth premie and I’m telling you, Dr.’s DO NOT FOOL AROUND especially OB/GYN.
    But that can be easily verified by the stellar press. It will say alot about the GOP and the Religious Right if this is her daughter’s baby and they allow her to continue.

    But what is bothering me more then anything is where are the GOP that supposedly LOVE this country. Why are they not breaking with MCCain and standing up to be counted and saying.
    You are endangering our country, she is not fit to lead.
    If they don’t, then the point by the Democrats should be
    If something should happen to McCain in office, WHO will be running this country?
    Will we have another shadow government?
    That would be my first campaign ad.

    And what does that say about the Religious Right?
    That abortion is more important to them then being safe?
    Who are the real traitors to this country????

  14. maha  •  Sep 1, 2008 @9:50 am

    mr5roses — exactly what part of “don’t go there” do you not understand?

  15. mr5roses  •  Sep 1, 2008 @10:06 am

    Sorry, maha, I phrased it conjecturally and focused on the political (not personal) import of the whole thing, if it’s true. I respect the desire to keep the conversation here (and in general) civil, and I’m sorry if I did, indeed, go “there.”

  16. jerri  •  Sep 1, 2008 @10:31 am

    Palin reminds me of Alan Keyes. The Illinois repugs were so afraid of Obama, no one would run against him for senator. They had to import Alan to represent them in the senate race. Alan was totally unprepared to represent Illinois in the senate. His campaign was based upon religous beliefs. The repugs even threw him under the bus when Alan started making some hateful remarks about cheney’s daughter.

  17. A Canadian Reader  •  Sep 1, 2008 @11:15 am

    Reading the newspaper this morning, I realized once and for all that you cannot argue, much less change the mind, of a fundamentalist Christian. And as long as the Republican party has as its cornerstones a blanket opposition to abortion and an undying love of guns, with a chaser of creationism on the side, there is not a snowball’s hope in hell of getting the vast majority of fundamentalist Christians to vote Democrat.

    How else can one explain that Republicans constantly advocate policies that fundamentally (pardon the pun) go against the needs and well-being of a majority of Americans? Give ’em anti-abortion and pro-gun rhetoric and they’ll follow the Republicans off any cliff offered to them.

    Sarah Palin is nothing less than a perfect choice for the Republican voting base.

    The only (albeit slim) hope of Democrats winning the upcoming election lies in ensuring that EVERY Democratic voter gets out and votes on Nov. 4. And even then, with voting machines being what they are, I have my fears.

    Good luck, guys. You have your work cut out for you.

    P.S. The rest of the world is watching and hoping for an Obama win. We just don’t have a great deal of hope, considering how much spiked Kool-Aid a significant proportion of Americans drink every day.

  18. Sachem  •  Sep 1, 2008 @11:19 am

    Before you decide to write this off entirely, check the ArcXIX update including photos of her previous pregnancy with Track in 1989.

    My wife has had five children and points out a variety of odd inconsistencies that cannot just be swept aside, like wearing a belt, sitting with knees near chest, etc. in the various photos.

    The “don’t go there” is that Todd is the dad. What is in front of us is evidence that requires refuting that Ms Wasilla may have forced her teenage daughter the carry a child to term. And that she may have done that to avoid embarassment that would have compromised her career.

  19. maha  •  Sep 1, 2008 @11:55 am

    Sachem — again, if you want to quietly poke around and come up with more solid evidence than some possibly misdated photos, you are welcome to do so. I’m saying that UNTIL there is more solid evidence, we really, really, really do not want to be publicly speculating about this. We need to focus on the serious issues.

  20. biggerbox  •  Sep 1, 2008 @12:34 pm

    Part of the difficulty in remaining focused on serious issues is that the Palin nomination is so essentially un-serious. It really shows McCain’s contempt for the electorate, though it was quite likely motivated by petulance in the face of party leaders who told him he couldn’t have Joltin’ Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge.

    It’s a waste of energy to worry about her pregnancies or whether living in Alaska makes you an expert on Russia or any other specific nonsense. The very nomination is nonsense, and should be treated as the laughable insult to the process that it is. We must avoid accepting the basic premise that she has enough merit to bother discussing the details.

    I can’t help but think of Jon Lovitz’s old character Tommy Flanagan, the Pathological Liar. Here’s John McCain, saying “My vice-president will be … Morgan Fairchild! Yeah, that’s the ticket! Me and Morgan Fairchild. She’s got … executive experience, see? and, and, she knows about … Russia! Yeah, Russia. That’s the ticket!”

    Barack Obama has respect for the strength, decency and intelligence of the American People. John McCain wants to ‘punk’ them.

  21. mr5roses  •  Sep 1, 2008 @12:55 pm

    There’s nothing in the record to make one think that incest is involved. That’s my own “don’t go there.”

  22. maha  •  Sep 1, 2008 @12:58 pm

    Um, peeps, latest news — Bristol Palin is pregnant now.

    http://www.mahablog.com/2008/09/01/a-real-palin-pregnancy/

    The McCain-Palin campaign says 17-year-old Bristol is five months pregnant now, so she can’t very well have given birth four months ago.

    Make of this what you will.



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