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.