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Kill this rumor: Hillary as VP in 2012

The Washington Post says the Hillary Clinton for VP in 2012 rumor just won’t die.

It won’t die because troublemakers like the Chris Cilizza at the Washington Post keep bringing it up.

I guess the expectation setting that reporters and party leaders tried recently that if we just let Barack win this year, we’ll get to vote for Hillary in 2016 wasn’t working, especially with women in full panic and fury mode. We could almost hear Pelosi’s syrupy voice saying, “And won’t that be nice for all you ladies?  Here’s a biscuit, {{pat, pat on head}}, now go take an old, cold tater and wait.”

To which I say, “Ok, then I’ll skip voting for president this election cycle and wait.  You sound so SURE that she’s going to run.  I wouldn’t do it in 2016 if I were her.  I mean, if she ran in 2012, it would be like running for her second term but in 2016?  Ehhhh, I’m just not diggin’ it.  She’ll be 68, not that it’s old but at some point, you have to retire just to get a nice afternoon nap once in awhile.  And by then, the new generation of voters will not remember the Clinton years.  She’ll be like Andropov or Chernyenko, who they also probably don’t remember.  So, you know, I’m a skeptic about 2016 but if Nancy says it’s true and she’s not just pacifying us, thinking we’re too stupid or naive to figure things out, well, ok, I’ll call her bluff and wait until 2016 because there is no f^&*ing way I am going to vote for that misogynist in the White House. Nah-gah-happen.”

But there’s a bigger reason why I doubt you could make her take the VP slot in 2012.  I don’t think she wants it.  And I don’t think she wanted it in 2008, which is probably why she made the pre-emptive move and asked for State first.  I’m guessing that Joe Biden was destined for State but the positions got flipped.

And why would she want to pass on VP?  Biden, who??  What has he done in the past 4 years?  Sure, there may be some women who temporarily (because we would quickly set them straight) might fall for the Hillary as VP gambit as being a big win for women.  But as VP, she’s going to be deep-sixed.  Unless she rings some concessions from the party and Obama, she will be treated like an ornament, brought out like some shiny, mesmerizing object whenever Obama needs to silence the grumbling of dissatisfied women.  Why the hell would she ever sign on to something so utterly beneath her formidable talents and contrary to her personal convictions?

So, if the Washington Post wants to continue playing this game, go right ahead.  What it is REALLY saying is that the Republicans have analysed the electorate pretty well, are going to divide and conquer the women’s vote and Obama will start to see his re-election chances slipping away because women are not united for the Democratic party.  Thanks for confirming that.

Of course, the party could always go bold and swap out Obama for Hillary.  The Republicans have analysed this too.  They’re probably guessing that the Democrats don’t have the cojones to do it.  So, they’re going to try to win by the skin of their teeth than make a bold move.  That means they’re going to pander to every group imaginable and go with no particular Democratic platform in particular.  Whisper sweet nothings in the ears of each constituency and hope they don’t compare notes before the election.

And that, dear friends, is the end of the Democratic party as we have known it.  They have just mutated themselves out of existence.

Have I got that right?  My record has been pretty good in the last 4 years so…

Romney and Obama statistically tied in Gallup Poll

Well, so much for women helping the Lightbringer out this year:

According to Gallup, 47 percent of voters polled are backing Romney, compared to 45 percent who prefer Obama. That’s well within the poll’s margin of error, which is plus or minus 3 percent.

While both men are doing well within their respective parties, the most notable finding came among self-described independents, a swing voting bloc that could very well determine the outcome of this fall’s election. According to Gallup, Romney leads Obama among indie voters by 6 points, 45 percent to 39 percent.

If I might venture a guess, I might imagine, hypothetically, that the “indie” voters are actually former Democratic working class women of a certain age that Obama and the Democrats blew off in 2008.  Some of those women went to the right or ended up supporting Sarah Palin. They’re probably more interested in economic issues than birth control and life is about to get a lot tougher on them this summer when gas prices skyrocket.

What goes around comes around.

Tuesday: Stupid Girls

The Obama 2008 campaign certainly brought out the best in Americans didn't it?

Update from Ugsome: “The way I look at it, the Democrats are so far to the right on women’s issues that the only way the GOP can differentiate itself is with witch burnings and scarlet letters.”

There’s more than a kernel of truth in that sentiment.

r u reddy pointed me to this article in the NYTimes that describes how Obama’s campaign was going to roll out it’s initiative to sweet talk women on March 23 but Rush Limbaugh’s timely little Slutgate rants made them move up their timetable.  Why waste this golden opportunity?  Obama and Jon Favreau must be peeing themselves over this.  They don’t have to do anything for women, not even make any particularly strong statements.  All they have to do is open their arms and say, “Come to papa, we understand.”

By the way, has anyone seen this video of the Obama Staff inaugural ball from January 21, 2009?  You know, the one where JZ and the staffers sang “I’ve got 99 problems but a bush ain’t one”?  Yeah, no double entendre there.  The bitch version used to be one of Obama’s traveling campaign theme songs during the primaries.  You know, the primaries against his opponent who happened to be a bitch or a sweetie or a honey or some other stupid word:

As Ugsome says, “Cynical. If he’d done squat for women’s rights he wouldn’t have to focus his tender attentions like this.”

Let’s put it this way, the Republicans wouldn’t have turned up the crazy like this if they didn’t sense some weakness in the Democrats on the issue of women.  And that weakness goes back to 2008.

All you’re going to get from the Democrats is cynical game playing in an election year.  Remember, these are the people who used misogynism against not one but two female politicians in 2008.  They know that if Obama has to make a choice, he will sacrifice women to get the evangelical vote.

Don’t think we’re not watching, Democrats. Democratic congresswoman, Chellie Pingree, in Maine wanted to run for Olympia Snowe’s Senate seat but decided against it when a former governor who is running as an independent got the backing of the Democrats.  If that slap in the face doesn’t get your attention, nothing will.  Even the excuse she was forced to give for the betrayal by the Democrats makes no damned sense because if Olympia Snowe had not decided to resign, she would have been a sure vote for the Republicans when it comes to Supreme Court nominations. So even if Pingree had lost, there would have been no net change in votes.  In other words, Chellie Pingree was guilted into leaving the Senate race because the whole responsibility for future Supreme Court nutcases was going to be on her head if she lost to a Republican.  Does anyone really believe this steaming pile of horsesh*$?  If Obama and the Democrats really wanted to reach out to women for their votes this year, the disaster in Maine was not a good start.

Well, I’m just a single voice in the wilderness and the rest of the women in the left blogosphere are too afraid to challenge their brethren about Obama.  The guys will pull the same guilt trip on them and they’ll hold back, the chickenshits.  But let me just tell them now that they are going to be responsible for what happens to women if they don’t speak out and demand something from Obama and the Democrats right now, *before* the election.  If you make it easy for him, he will owe you nothing.  This is a good time to test the commitment of your male blogger colleagues.  Either they are with women or they aren’t.  Demand that Obama come out and declare his unequivocal support for women to make their own choices without any patronizing language.  Demand that he risk pissing off the religious.  Demand that he tell extremists where to shove it.  Demand that he enthusiastically support women’s equality and reproductive rights.  Make him promise that he will put the full force of his office behind enforcement of those rights.  Make him get rid of the conscience rule right this minute.  And make him swear in public that he will never, ever again cut a deal with any politician to sacrifice women’s rights in order to pass a piece of legislation.

If you can’t make him do those things, then he doesn’t deserve your support.  He is either with 53% of the American public or he isn’t.  He either needs you and will do everything he can to get you or he’s no good, he’s no good, he’s no good, baby, he’s no good.

And he’s also down in the polls.  His approval rating has dropped steeply since last month from 50% to 41%.  It’s supposedly due to gas prices but there are also intimations that the public isn’t buying all the rah-rah over the economy.  They don’t believe it’s getting better.  I’m with them on that.  Women are also among the chronically unemployed and they are watching.  We are not amused to be the pawns in some political game that has been designed to get Obama votes. He’s on the ropes and he’s looking vulnerable.  Now’s the time to get him to commit.  Make him pay for every vote.  Make him grovel.  If you don’t, you’re just a bunch of stupid girls.

And that goes doubly for NARAL, the Feminist Majority and any other bunch of stupid girl activists who have pledged to work for Obama in 2012 without getting anything in return.  During Slutgate, I scrupulously avoided signing my name to any useless online petition for those organizations.  The last thing I want is to be ashamed of these organizations emailing me to support Obama after he’s used them.  He’s no better than Romney and Santorum and he doesn’t deserve your support until he’s willing to sacrifice himself for women.  He really needs our votes because he’s lost support among white men.  Now is the time to make him put up or shut up.  It’s either us or the fundies.   By their fruit you shall know them.

The Silence of the Lambs

It all hurts. The Health Insurance Profit Protection Plan. The government mandate to fork over money to private companies. The lies. The flimflam. (“It’s called ‘Health Care Reform.’ That means ‘Health’ and ‘Care’ and ‘Reform’!”)

But what hurts worse is all the people who I thought knew which end was up, who knew right from wrong, who cared. Krugman, even, so help me God, Kristof — practically the only widely visible man out there who’s aware that women are people. All of them not noticeably conscious that women’s most fundamental right was trampled for . . . well, for the obligation to fork over money to private companies. For nothing.

Because that’s what this is. The right to control your own body is so basic that you can even kill in self-defense. The right to control what is done to your body is fundamental to every other right. There is no freedom of speech or thought, no life, no liberty, no pursuit of happiness, if there is no control over your body. This is an issue like slavery. It is fundamental. It cannot be harmlessly traded away for anything.

But people don’t see anything wrong. A headline on the McClatchy site is about the eventual silence of the Tea Partiers. The delusions of a few paranoids are visible. The human rights of half the population are not.

Knowing right from wrong is like knowing which way is up. It’s essential to digging out of a hole.

How did we come to this place where women get shoved further and further down, and even women barely notice?

That hurts worst of all.

Could Sarah win? Oh you betcha!

Pop quiz:

Name the top five contenders for the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination

1. Sarah Palin

2. some white guy

3. some white guy

4. some white guy

5. some white guy

There aren’t any official candidates yet, but there are several prominent Republicans trying to raise money and collect IOU’s from GOPers around the nation in preparation for announcing their candidacies a year from now. It’s gonna be tough for all those white guys to start running with Sarah Palin sucking up all the oxygen.

Sarah got a big boost this week, but most of Obamanation was too busy giggling about “hand jobs” to notice. David Broder:

The snows that obliterated Washington in the past week interfered with many scheduled meetings, but they did not prevent the delivery of one important political message: Take Sarah Palin seriously.

That was the guy they call “the Dean of the Washington press corps.” Several people found his column amusing, but the Beltway media take their cues from him. Back in 2006-2007 the media decided an inexperienced freshman senator from Illinois was a serious candidate for President, and also wrote off two more experienced senators, two governors and two members of the House of Representatives. Did Broder’s column signal a change in the media conventional wisdom about Sarah Palin?

Greg Sargent:

Excellent timing! David Broder’s column says Sarah Palin must be taken “seriously” and places her in the company of other successful “populist” presidential candidates — on the same day that new WaPo polling finds 71% say she’s unqualified for presidency.

Mr. Broder, with all due respect: Palin will only remain successful if she confines herself to her current well-insulated role of celebrity quasi-candidate. If she ever sets foot in the presidential ring in earnest — a very big if — she will rapidly implode under the genuine scrutiny she’s now being spared.

A couple a problems with Greg’s thesis. That same poll reflects a bigger problem for Barack Obama – his approval rating is dropping like a rock. I don’t know what planet Sargent has been living on but we know more about Sarah than her husband, mother, father, best friend, hairdresser and gynecologist put together.

If the media haven’t found a way to knock her out by now they’re not gonna. And if she starts getting treated seriously by the media like Broder suggests her approval ratings will go up.

Sarah Palin is not running for President yet. She is running for the GOP nomination, and she is following Nixon’s advice and running to the right towards her base. With the way the GOP “winner take all” primaries are set up a sizable minority of motivated voters could easily produce plurality victories in a crowded field of candidates, giving her early victories and momentum.

With Mike Huckabee out of contention Sarah should do very well among the religious conservatives that comprise a big chunk of GOP voters. (Mitt Romney has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the fundie votes) The Tea Partiers like Sarah as much or more than they like any other contender, and her book signing tour demonstrated that she’s got lots of supporters in the GOP rank and file.

The biggest obstacle for Sarah is the GOP establishment who will favor someone like Romney. The last thing they want is a nominee that’s a real maverick reformer. If Sarah convinces them to support her (or at least not oppose her) then she has an excellent shot at winning the nomination.

Sarah has been collecting establishment IOU’s by making appearances in support of GOP candidates around the country. Expect to see her doing a lot more of that this year. What you won’t see will be the private meetings and dinners she will be having with GOP power brokers and big money donors.

Lets assume for a moment that she wins the GOP nomination. That’s the easy part. It’s hard to make long-range predictions about the general election because there are a couple major variables.

The first variable is Barack Obama. I fully expect him to run for reelection and to be the Democratic nominee. I’m not going to go into all the possibilities if he isn’t.

That means the 2012 election will essentially be a referendum on Obama. If the economy remains in the toilet along with Obama’s approval ratings then he’s toast just like Carter was in 1980. If the economy has rebounded and there hasn’t been a major crisis or scandal, Obama will probably be reelected, much like his hero Ronnie Raygun was in 1984.

The misogynist frat boys of Obamanation seem to think the key to defeating Sarah Palin is mockery:

We must never stop mocking her unbelievable lack of smarts, veracity and substance.
When we stop mocking her, when the press and the netroots and the Democrats begin to say, “Enough with the Palin is stupid remarks,” that’s when she begins to be taken seriously. That must not happen.

The angry chihuahuas of Obamanation are completely clueless about the fact that their actions are not just ineffective but are counter-productive. When Joe and Jane Bagodonuts see a wankfest like the one over Sarah’s hand-writing they might say “That is so stupid” but if they do they aren’t referring to Sarah.

Most people outside the political blogosphere are not paying close attention right now to what Sarah Palin says in her speeches and interviews or to who she endorses. The people that are paying attention already have pretty firm opinions about her.

By the time most people are paying attention she will either be the GOP nominee or will be out of the race. If she is the nominee she will not sound like a religious fanatic or a radical reactionary and by then she will have lots more practice at doing interviews and debates.

When Obama began running in 2007 he was egregiously bad in the debates and his policy positions were mostly copied from Hillary’s. His only real skill was at reading speeches from a teleprompter. Despite massive financial support from Wall Street and media favoritism he lost the popular vote in the primaries and only became the nominee because the Democratic leadership rigged the outcome.

The 2008 general election was mostly a referendum on George W. Bush and pretty much all of the people who voted for Obama that November would have voted for any of the Democratic contenders except maybe Vilsack and Gravel. There were even polls that showed that Hillary would have likely beaten McCain by a larger margin.

The Democratic party has a long history of nominating smart guys who lose to genial buffoons and charming mental light-weights. In 1952 and 1956, the intellectual Adlai Stevenson lost to “I like Ike.” Al Gore is one of the smartest politicians of our generation but thanks to SCOTUS he lost to a guy that people wanted to have a beer with.

In 1966 Pat Brown was running for a third term as governor of California. He was fairly popular, the economy was doing well and his two terms were generally considered successful, so he didn’t take his GOP opponent (a former “B” movie and television actor who had never held political office before) seriously. Brown lost, 42%-58% and Ronald Reagan became governor.

In 1980 Jimmy Carter tried to portray Reagan as a dangerous reactionary and got his ass handed to him by the Electoral College. In 1984 Walter Mondale’s campaign tried to suggest that Reagan was senile and Mondale got beat like he stole something.

Sarah Palin is a mainstream conservative Republican politician. She may not be a rocket scientist but she’s not a brainless airhead either. She’s got charisma, magnetism and the ability to connect with people.

She’s also got something else going for her – she’s a woman. Women make-up about 52% of our population and tend to vote Democratic. In 2008 the Democratic party forgot that fact and tossed women under the bus.

Will 2012 be the year they find out how big a mistake they made?

Why It Will Never End (Part 1)

Don't let their Vaginas eat you!

Don't let their Vaginas eat you!

Sarah Palin is not qualified to be the President of the United States. She is dreadfully inexperienced. She is a Fundie. That alone is normally a disqualify, but let’s continue. When it comes to women’s reproductive freedoms and choices, she disappoints. Her energy policies are mediocre at best, and her obsession with drilling in ANWR is at times annoying. She doesn’t get that there isn’t much oil there to begin with, and drilling there will degrade the natural habitat. She is not as supportive of LGBT rights as she should be, and she would probably sell out our Health Benefits to jackoffs in the Insurance Industry, given the opportunity. I could go on, but you get my point.

But she has also, correct me if I’m wrong, taken on her own party Establishment and been elected as the youngest and first lady Governor of the largest and most beautiful state in the union, raised taxes on oil companies and created a state budget surplus, which she gave back to Alaskans. Her first veto in office was a bill that would deny gay couples health benefits (and you know how those lesbians love Alaskan Cruises. Good call, Sarah!). She appointed a pro choice member of Planned Parenthood to the Alaskan Supreme Court in favor of a bible humping Fundie Blowhard, and she supports funding Head Start. She is, contrary to popular belief, pro-contraception, and has said so many times. She is a Feminist. Her husband is an Eskimo Union man who owns a commercial fisherman business. She is personally socially Conservative, but based on her performance as Governor, does not use her office to inflict those beliefs on her constituents. She has stated that she believes in Science and Evolution. In fact, her father was a Science Teacher and track coach, and her mother was a school librarian, so she likes books too.

Let’s face it: Bible Spice isn’t all that Conservative. Oh sure, she says she’s a Conservative, but in today’s political environment, that’s what you say if you’re a Republican. The word “liberal” has probably not been uttered by any politician for about 40 years. Not to say that Sarah is liberal, Goddess no. “Maverick” is code for “Moderate.” Like Riverdaughter always says, we have to pay attention to what politicians say. But honestly, it’s more important to pay attention to what they do. If Teleprompter Jesus taught us anything, he taught us that.

On the fourth of July, Violet Socks said it best when she marveled at the phenomenon that is Sarah Heath Palin.

The only thing Palin is commonly accused of that is actually true is her anti-abortion stance, though, as I’ve pointed out several times, her political position is that “the will of the people” should decide the law. She has also expressed sympathy for women choosing abortion and has said that she is totally opposed to any woman ever being criminalized for it. I’m not pretending she’s anything other than what she is (an adamant “pro-lifer”), but I am trying to be as clear and honest as I can be about her actual stance.

The fact is, that stance alone is not enough to explain the kind of frenzied hatred and feminist repudiation that Palin has attracted. Notice the example of Hugo Schwyzer, who, as I pointed out in my comment at IBTP, is allowed to call himself a feminist and even cross-post at RH Reality Check — while Sarah Palin is endlessly slandered and ridiculed for having the same beliefs. Notice, too, that the Republican Party (and even the Democratic Party) is full of other “pro-life” politicians, none of whom have ever been crucified and slandered Palin-style.

Speaking of slander, that brings me to my next big puzzlement: what is it with the feminists who just freely make shit up about Palin? The lies had to start somewhere, and they didn’t all hatch in the bowels of the Obama campaign (though a bunch of them did). Some of them were incubated by feminists, particularly the ones about Palin being an anti-sex “purity queen,” the kind of batshit Christian who believes in Purity Balls and abstinence pledges and is opposed to sex ed. None of that is true.

When I first started investigating Palin, I was very relieved to discover that she’s not nearly as nutty as she might be, given that she’s a Christian. I was pleased to learn that she’s not one of those fundies who thinks wives have to submit or that Adam and Eve rode on dinosaurs. She’s not into that whacked-out purity or abstinence-only stuff. That’s good. It’s good that she’s not a nutjob. So…why aren’t other feminists also happy that she’s not a nutjob? Why do they, in fact, spread lies to make her seem worse than she is?

Are people simply confused about the differences between Christians? Do they think all Christians are alike? I doubt it. I’m no godbag and I personally wish that Christianity would evaporate from the face of the earth, but I still recognize that not all Christians are alike. I think most other people do, too. I think most people in this country understand that Tennessee snake handlers don’t go to Catholic mass, and that the Quiverfull people are not the same as the Episcopalians. Being a Christian, even a conservative Christian, doesn’t automatically mean you’re a young earth creationist in a calico dress with a purity ring on your finger.

But to get back to the original point, Sarah Palin is not qualified to be President of the United States. And I think most everyone here, including me, would probably not vote for her, depending on the alternative. She is qualified to be VICE President of the United States, as is our current Disappointment in Chief. When we all thought the Democratic Nomination wasn’t going to be jacked from Hillary in a rigged nominating process, many of us here thought he would make a good VPOTUS. He could run around on Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, making fun of the Special Olympics and talking about who would win in a fight (Ninjas or Pirates?!) while Hillary busied herself with ramming Single Payer Healthcare through Congress and down all of our collective grateful throats. So vital were his potential talents for distraction.

To reiterate, Sarah Palin is, in fact, no more qualified to be President of the United States than Barack Obama is. As David Harsanyi says

Can you believe the gall of these Sarah Palin cultists? Presidential aspirations? This is a woman who named one of her kids “Track,” for God’s sake. (Well, if it really is her kid.)

William Buckley once wrote that he rather would “entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.”

But running government is no longer a suitable vocation for the bumbling proletariat. It’s for folks with schoolin’ and such. It’s a job for herculean thinkers with degrees from Ivy League schools. In other words, no one from Alaska need apply.

Former sports reporters certainly won’t do. We need former constitutional scholars. Who else, after all, has a better understanding of how to undermine the document?

He’s right of course. Our last “Herculean Thinker” President from an Ivy League School was Dubya. And he was the greatest a great President. So the fact that Governor Palin doesn’t have a pretty Harvard degree is just a point against her, as far as America is concerned. In fact

If Palin were president, chances are we’d have a gaffe-generating motormouth for a vice president. That’s the kind of decision-making one expects from Miss Congeniality.

The job of building generational debt is not for the unsophisticated. Enriching political donors with taxpayer dollars takes intellectual prowess, not the skills of a moose-hunting point guard.

The talent to print money we don’t have to pay for programs we can’t afford is the work of a finely tuned imagination, soaring gravitas and endless policy know-how.

Palin is so clueless she probably would have rushed through some colossal stimulus plan that ended up stimulating nothing.

If Palin were president, no one doubts this nation would have continued the Bush-era policy of indefinite detention of enemy combatants and the CIA’s program of transferring prisoners to other countries without legal rights. Be thankful you have a president who makes you think this nation doesn’t.

If Palin were commander in chief — and, again, can anyone imagine anything so preposterous? — the United States still would be fighting endless and expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It’s true that Palin’s first veto as Alaska governor was of a bill that would have blocked state employee benefits and health insurance for same-sex couples, but does anyone doubt her true intentions?

If she were president, brave American soldiers still would be living under the dark specter of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Palin even might have instructed her Justice Department to file a brief in defense of the Defense of Marriage Act. Such is the depth of her depravity.

Does anyone believe that Palin possesses the competence to nationalize entire industries without the consent of the people? A housewife from Wasilla isn’t equipped with political brawn to shake down banks and bondholders.

Palin never would be able to convince Americans that a trillion-dollar government-run health care plan would save taxpayers money or have the rhetorical ability to convince even a single person that a European-style cap-and-trade scheme has any benefit at all.

Palin is such a goofball that she probably believes oil will continue to be a vital American energy source.

And how is anyone as simplistic as Palin going to help change the habits of all these fatsos in America? We need a mommy … but, you know, not a real mommy.

It’s fairly obvious to everyone with a shred of certifiable sanity that Obots are one fry short of a Happy Meal. Projection is a common psychological phenomenon, and Obots seem to use it often. They have called Sarah Palin silly, narcissistic, bumbling, rambling, and an intellectual lightweight who cannot utter three consecutive sentences without the aid of a teleprompter. Gee. I think one could make a lot of money in this recession by declaring themselves kool aid prevention counselors.

Ever since Sarah Palin resigned (and again since she gave her farewell speech) an enormous, slightly pointless debate has erupted on the PUMAsphere about Sarah Palin. It is very easy to say, “I do not support Sarah Palin politically, even though I like her and will defend her against personal, misogynistic, and unfair attacks.” Bam. Done. Simple Pimple. In fact, I have yet to meet anyone on this blog who has not stated that as their official Palinpalooza position.

The fact is, Sarah Palin, like Hillary Clinton, is provocative. I don’t mean their personalities are provocative. They both seem to be pretty normal, straightforward women. Hillary taught Sunday School at her Church in Little Rock, and she grew up in 1950’s Suburbia, playing softball, wearing poodle skirts and trying to convince her dad to let her go on dates. She goes shopping with Chelsea and watches Hospital Dramas with Bill on weekends.

Sarah Palin was a point guard basketball champ. She won the “Miss Congeniality” Award in the Alaska Beauty Pageant, which helped her pay for college. She eloped with her childhood friend because she was in a family way, and it would have embarrassed her dad. She goes to a normal Fundie Church, emails her mom on her blackberry and listens to Gretchen Meyer on her morning jogs.

But like Violet Socks says

it is striking to me how much of the political discourse in 2008 revolved around people who don’t exist. The main players last year, if you recall, were Obama, the genius messiah whose perfection and purity would save the planet; Hillary, the evil racist lesbian who killed Vince Foster with her bare hands before plotting the Iraqi invasion and then attempting to have Obama assassinated; and Sarah Palin, a crazed dominionist who hates polar bears and personally arranges for Christian girls to be raped by their fathers just so she can charge them for their rape kits.

Think back to the reactions to Sarah Palin’s speech at the convention. Remember the gal at Jezebel whose head throbbed with hate blood as she listened to Palin speak? The one who said she wanted to “murk that cunt”? What the hell is that? I cannot figure it out. I look and look, and it’s like trying to see someone else’s hallucination. No matter how hard I squint, I can’t see whatever it is they’re looking at. What is so horrifying?

Violet couldn’t wrap her head around it, and neither could her commenters. What is it about Sarah Palin (and even Hillary Clinton) that drives people into such frenzies of lunacy? So many took a crack at it. It’s Sarah’s working class background. It’s her hot husband. They’re upset because she chose to have her child.

The truth is, it’s not any of those things. Hillary and Sarah are two very different people who evoke the same violent, misogynistic reactions from people. I call bull shit on people who claim Sarah has it worse than Hillary did. Bull. Shit. Not that it matters, since misogyny is something that has to be called out no matter how varying the degrees.

Remember the Nineties? Remember Rush Limbaugh holding up a picture of Chelsea and saying she was the White House Dog? Remember all those reporters sniffing through Arkansas (the same way they would later sniff through Alaska) looking for dirt and a list of Hillary’s lesbian lovers? Remember John McCain calling Hillary and Chelsea ugly pigs? Remember the Internet graphics showing Hillary being raped by a donkey and flying on a broom? Remember Newt Gingrich’s mother calling her a bitch? Remember Hickman Ewing, one of Ken Starr’s goons, saying she was “a little woman,” and claiming the whole Whitewater “scandal” was just a cover up for her love affair with Vince Foster, who she later murdered? Late night comedians have and still do make countless nasty, unfunny jokes about her. I could go on and on, but that’s only the Nineties. 2008 was worse, as we all know.

And it will never end. Sarah Palin suffers the same fate as her. I could list the offenses against her too, but it was exhausting enough listing the ones against Hillary, and I don’t want to be in a bad mood. The point is that it is a fate Sarah Palin will continue to suffer, for as long as her political career lasts. But why?

Never fear, I have the answer for you, but I’m not telling yet. You’ll have to wait for Part 2.

To Be Continued….

Cross posted at Age of Aquarius

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Finding Common Ground on Abortion Rights?


After weeks of controversy, President Obama gave the commencement speech at Notre Dame today. Anti-abortion activists and many Catholics have objected vociferously to Notre Dame inviting Obama to give this speech and to the university’s decision to award Obama an honorary law degree. So what did our fearless leader have to say about a woman’s right to an abortion? If you guessed, “absolutely nothing,” you are correct.

Here is the relevant passage from today’s speech:

“Maybe we won’t agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make, with both moral and spiritual dimensions.

So let’s work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term. Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women.”

At least he didn’t spout his usual nonsense about women getting permission from their husbands, doctors, and religious advisors. We don’t yet know what he will do with Bush’s “conscience rules” that allow health care providers and pharmacists to refuse to treat people seeking abortions or birth control, but it appears that the rules will not simply be overturned, as was originally announced. Obama clearly implied that in the Notre Dame speech, and Kathleen Sibelius also indicated as much in her confirmation hearing testimony.

But as Politco noted,

In the speech, Obama…never substantively addressed why he believes a woman has the right to abortion.

Instead, Obama’s speech largely focused on the rhetoric from both sides. Obama made the call for “common ground” three times and said that only comes “when we open our hearts and our minds to those who may not think precisely like we do or believe precisely what we believe.”

You know, words. Just words. Continue reading

Barack Obama; Martin Luther King, Jr.; and the rest of us

[A slightly different version of this post appears at Heidi Li’s Potpourri.]

I was asked today if I did not think I should be happy about President-elect Obama’s election because he will be our first black president. My questioner was somebody who clearly is happy about President-elect Obama’s presidency for precisely this reason. According to him Martin Luther King, Jr. would be similarly pleased. Furthermore, according to my questioner, it is insulting to Dr. King’s memory that I regard Dr. King as a teacher in my own quest to resist peer pressure, mobocracy, and authoritarianism in my own small, nascent efforts to seriously fight for the full civic and social standing of women in America and elsewhere.

In my conversation, I explained that I am extremely happy for those people of color, particularly black Americans, who feel more fully validated as Americans by living in a country led by a black person. (This post – just like the conversation – does not present an occasion to debate who counts as black or a person of color; such distinctions were out of order in the conversation.  They would have been insulting to my questioner, who is black and would rightly point out that in most of this country most people have no problem saying who counts as such, despite the complex ways that individuals come to be seen as black or brown or white or whatever. I mean that: please do not use this post as an occasion to debate what it means to be black.) I then explained that beyond this very great happiness, the color of Mr. Obama’s skin has nothing to do with whether the prospect of his presidency pleases me or dismays me.  That was all that time permitted in this brief interlude of discussion during the day. But I have thought further on the matter.

With regard to Martin Luther King, Jr. I would not presume to surmise how he would have reacted to Mr. Obama. Dr. King was sometimes critical of other black leaders and nothing in his writings suggests that all black people are superior to all white people. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of a type of equality, a society in which the color of one’s skin was neither cause for shame or pride and where people, including his own children, were judged by the content of their character. As Dr. King so famously noted this dream is an American dream, not a black dream or a white dream.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

To the extent that  Barack Obama’s election represents the realization of  Dr. King’s dream, his election is an awesome, mighty event.

Yet Dr. King was, as we all are, a person of his time. So in this speech, given in 1963, he does not single out women as  group separate from men who need to be included in the new age of equality that he envisioned. He refers over and over to men, not to people, but that again was the language of his time. Confusing language, but the language of the time. King knew of hatred between black men and white men, between Jews and Gentiles, and between Protestants and Catholics, knew all too well how this hatred was so often used to justify inegalitarian treatment by one group toward the other. King rejected the hatred that drove such inegalitarianism.

I share with King a delight in the idea of a day when people will be judged by the content of their characters. I dream of a day that may come as more people come to realize that nobody yet has championed the cause of full civic and social standing for women in the face of hatred against them,  a day when people are judged by the content of the their character rather than the kind of genitalia they possess.

In 2008, I saw a man stand idly by en route to his winning the White House while his supporters called women who ran against him or on a ticket against him, “ho” and “c*nt”. He stood idly by while members of the press intimated that the adult daughter of one his opponents was prostituting herself by campaigning for her mother. That he stood by so idly had nothing to with the color of his skin. Plenty of white men in positions of political power or prestige also stood idly by while this went on. Some women of all colors stood idly by as well.

I have gone on to see the man who won the White House include in his inauguration another man, one who preaches hatred of gay people, the doctrine of wifely submission, and the comparison of the exercise of a woman’s Constitutional right to an abortion to an act of Nazism. I have seen him refuse to disassociate himself from a speechwriter who, however stupidly, evidently had a great time pretending to cop a feel of the future Secretary of State – something he would not have done, I suspect, were she a man whose cardboard cutout just happened to be at the party he was attending.  Both the preacher and the speechwriter are men, white men, so skin color does not come into the hatred  and disrespect of women indicated by either man’s words or gestures.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was, as we all are, a person of his time. So I do not presume to know what he would make of a man who stood idly by while women who ran against him or his ticket were exposed to hate speech; or what he would make of the inclusion of a woman-bashing preacher in a Presidential inauguration; or the retention of a sophomorically sexist speechwriter on a President’s staff. But I find nothing in King’s life or writing that suggests I as a woman am in any way disrespecting him when I take him as a model of a person who staunchly refused to accept arbitrary inegalitarianism and saw it as an obstacle to liberty, particularly liberty as understood in the American tradition.  So far, I have not seen from Barack Obama a commitment to the elimination of the arbitrary inegalitarianism in the way men and women, boys and girls, are treated in America or indeed the world today. Unlike Martin Luther King, Jr. Barack Obama has not made the cornerstone of his life or his political career the elimination of arbitrary inegalitarianism of the sort that makes the legitimate pursuit of liberty impossible. So Barack Obama does not provide me with a model for how to fight the fights I think need fighting: the overcoming of hatred of women, the effort to have people see women as people deserving of their full and rightful place in American society and around the world.

Martin Luther King, Jr. does.

It is hard for an empty suit to take a stand – or perhaps even to understand what it means to take a stand

[Cross-posted from Heidi Li’s Potpourri]

Richard Cohen’s sister is canceling her inauguration party because of President-elect Obama’s choice of Rick Warren to bless Mr. Obama’s taking the office of the Presidency of the United State. According to her brother’s column in the Washington Post, what made her do this is the way in which Mr. Obama’s choice to pick this pastor for this occasion serves as a special sort of condoning of Mr. Warren’s views about gays and lesbians. I agree with Richard Cohen, and apparently his sister, that these views should be regarded as totally unacceptable by anybody who has any sense of the importance of civil rights and indeed of human rights. I also agree with Richard Cohen’s view that as a somebody running for the office of President and who was at the time a U.S. Senator, Mr. Obama had a particular responsibility for denouncing his then-pastor’s church, Trinity United Church of Christ, for giving the anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan a special award during the primary season. I find it troubling that neither Mr. Cohen nor apparently his sister have not been, as far as I can tell, overly concerned by President-Elect Obama’s equally eloquent silence and inaction regarding the sexism and misogyny directed at Senator Clinton and her supporters, particularly the sophomoric expression of these attitudes by Jon Favreau, the man writing President-elect Obama’s inaugural address. (I shudder to think what the reaction of the Cohen family would have been if Favreau had been found on YouTube horsing around calling somebody a “homo” – maybe then Richard Cohen’s sister would join us in our demand that the President-Elect fire this sophomoric bigot as his chief speech-writer. Whether a bigot is slick (Warren) or juvenile (Favreau), he is still a bigot.)

It is tempting to forget in this sort of dynamic who the real problem is. As is clear from what I have written so far, I wish Richard Cohen and his sister would be, respectively, writing about and canceling inauguration parties as much over Mr. Obama’s inaction in the face of sexism and misogyny as they are in the face of anti-Semitism and gay-bashing. And yes, I wish that Richard Cohen’s sister had paid attention to and given greater weight to the fact that she had the option to work to elect somebody who, both as a Senator and as a Presidential candidate, repeatedly marched in Pride parades and met with editors of gay newspapers across the country rather than working for somebody who would not even have his photograph taken with Gavin Newsome.

But I am not falling into the trap that lies that way. Just because people got it wrong before does not mean they cannot help matters now. People can learn. So despite the bit of complaining above, I am not going to point a finger at Richard Cohen’s sister (or, for that matter, at Katha Pollitt for decrying the misogyny involved in the Warren choice when Pollitt, like Richard Cohen’s sister, opted to support Mr. Obama for the presidency when it was already obvious that he was complacent, to say the least, about sexism and misogyny). I am just pleased that they are starting to pay attention now and apparently coming to understand better who they voted for. To quote Richard Cohen: “The real problem has nothing to do with ministers and everything to do with Obama’s inability or unwillingness to be a moral leader. Sooner or later, he just might have to stand for something.”

Aye, there’s the rub. During the primary season and the general election a friend of mine who spent some considerable amount of time listening to me lament the Democratic Party’s poor judgment in making then-Senator Obama their poster-child, kept saying to me that the real problem with Mr. Obama is that he is an “empty suit”.

That term seemed to me too tepid back then. But I have come to see it as the essential problem behind the problem of Mr. Obama’s inability or unwillingness to be a moral leader, and possibly any kind of leader. To be a moral leader, to stand for something means that you have to fill out your suit, your office, your position. To be an “empty suit” is to be a person who cannot draw a line in the sand, precisely because you do not have an arm and hand within that suit to use to reach out and draw that line. To be an “empty suit” is to be devoid of the weightiness that real leadership requires, including the gravitas to admit to a mistake and change one’s position (drop the bigoted minister and lose the bigoted speechwriter; say you have been wrong to dig in your heels rather than listen to the concerns of so many of the people who worked so hard to elect you). To be an “empty suit” is to be a moral vacuum.

I refused to vote for John McCain for a number of reasons but among them was the fact that while I knew he had the capacity for moral leadership, I did not care for the directions toward which his moral commitments would lead my country. I refused to vote for Barack Obama because I knew he came up empty on the capacity for moral leadership.

In some ways, moral emptiness, especially in a President, is worse than moral wrong-headedness. The morally wrong-headed leader takes a stand, e.g. George W. Bush’s legitimization of torture, and one can rally people against the stand she or he takes. The morally empty leader takes no stand. Under these circumstances, her or his silences often allow people to forget that the blank that exists in lieu of a leader is the appropriate target of criticism. After all, it seems easier to go after people who actually do take stands (Rick Warren, for example) rather than the person who silently enables wrong-headed person to gain in stature. But this is sleight of hand. The real problem is the enabler, the person who allows the sophomoric sexist to put words in his mouth, the person who lets bigoted clerics and their churches affiliate with him.

So, to Richard Cohen’s sister and to Katha Pollitt, I say welcome to my party – the one that got lost in 2008, the one that expected moral leadership of a certain kind from a Democratic president. Now that you are here, I hope you can help me figure out what we are going to do with the empty suit about to occupy the Oval Office. If that empty suit thinks he can pick up sufficient evangelical money and votes in 2012, he is not going to listen to bloggers and op-ed columnists whose votes and followers he thinks he can replace with the support of the evangelicals, regardless of the detestable content of many of their views and some of their conduct. Personally, I do not think we can give the empty suit the backbone necessary to resist the lure of that support. If we cannot give this empty suit some backbone, we need, as I have written before, to start figuring out how we can have a better candidate on offer in 2012. So to the people who are canceling their celebrations, may I suggest that they use the time and effort saved to start solving that problem. We need to coalesce now around somebody who can fight for a nomination by a major Party – probably the the Party formerly recognizable as the Democratic one – who is what Obama’s supporters hoped he would be and what I fear he is not.