Ugh, here we go: On McCain's VP pick

So by now we all know the basics about Sarah Palin, first-term governor of Alaska and John McCain's utterly transparent pick for running mate: She's a self-described "hockey mom," an avid proponent of drilling in Alaska and an equally avid opponent of abortion and gay-marriage rights. (She's also so unknown as a politician that Fox News has repeatedly been referring to her as "Susan" Palin—though admittedly, getting facts right has never been the forte of that particular outlet, has it?)

Simply put, this cynical, calculated choice by the McCain camp — she's a woman, so she'll get the votes of all those cranky old bags who were pulling for Hillary! — is going to mean another round of headaches and frustration for feminists. Yes, many of us were excited at the prospect of a woman in the White House; no, not any woman will do. And, unfortunately, the folks who are supposedly on "our" side who want to drive home how bad a choice Palin is will do so with sexist commentary about her beauty-queen past, her smarts, her lack of any sort of foreign-policy experience, and, undoubtedly, her hair and wardrobe. And women who find Palin's politics odious, but who are equally offended by the media's treatment of her, will be in the always-awesome position of hearing from all corners how unfeminist they are for not supporting the sisterhood.

Hey, whaddya know? The Wall Street Journal already has an in-depth article on deck about Palin's fitness routine! And so it begins...

by Andi Zeisler
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Andi Zeisler is the cofounder of Bitch Media and the author of We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement. You can find her on Twitter.

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14 Comments Have Been Posted

In-depth article? WSJ's?

The link you sent says "[c]oming Saturday Sept. 6 in the debut issue of WSJ. Magazine, a conversation with Gov. Sarah Palin about her unusual workout and fitness routine. " Weekend Magazines and their styles are much different from their respected papers and should be acknowledged as such. And yeah, every since Clinton had numerous articles on his fitness routine I think every candidate has one, but with someone on the race who is say 72 or who eats McDonald's like there is no tomorrow, health is important.

Still have yet to hear

Still have yet to hear ANYTHING about Obama's routine, or McCain or Biden's for that matter??

Yes we have

Obama works out in the gym most nights and plays basketball regularly. This was particulally written about when the "gym" verses the "troop visit" spot by the McCain camp came out. Since then it was address that he works out but was not gone in as much depth because of the association with the "troops" scandal. Obama was even interviewed here in Portland, Ore, on our sports station and talked about such things. As for McCain, his health was discussed when he release the 100's of pages on his medical record and it was boring. Eitherway, both tops have had their health matters covered. While Obama's workouts have been covered, McCains is a touchy subject because of his age and avoided other than when he released the records.


That's exactly what I was thinking. And the worse part is that she is going to be picked apart and scrutinzed for all of these "feminine" qualities, which will backtrack any success Hilary made in women being taken seriously in the White House. People won't remember Clinton, or at least that memory will be shaded by all of the misgivings of Palin. Radio said she's under investigation in her own state. Way to go McCain on a completely vain attempt at being progressive. Have you ever had an original idea or is that a prerequisite for running Republican?

Pundits today were

Pundits today were discussing whether or not she would be up to the rigors of the job since she has a baby with Down's Syndrome. I mean, she is totally not qualified for the job, but NOT because she has a child with a disability. Criminy.

(to the question above, Obama's workout routine and eating habits have been much discussed in the press as a way of "feminizing" him.)


This move by the GOP seems almost as pathetic as when the Republicans got Alan Keyes to run against Obama in the Senate race. Same meaningless pandering, no?

Or, perhaps I could see this in another light: a major presidential ticket with a traditionally "feminine" female on the ticket! Wow, she even wears her hair long, has fabulous earrings and wear "designer glasses" (as several articles have informed me). Her very appearance and self-identity ("hockey mom") exudes with Anglo-American contemporary concepts of "femininity," all of it rolled up in a single lady, standing next to big, macho, Country-First McCain. NOW: Is that progress? Is this a good thing or a bad? Or a bit of both?

One thing I think most progressive can agree on, is that we hope she nor her 72-year-old running mate will be elected...

Reality is nuttier than parody!

<p>This seems like some sort of political parody on <i>The Daily Show</i>. The choice is SO blatant in its aims. The thing is, it looks like a LOT of conservatives are really responding to it!</p><p>This 'by any means necessary' choice means that if 72-year-old McCain were to be elected, then croak--a person with incredibly limited experience (1st term governor and mayor of a really small town) would be president! President! A risk he seems happy to take in order to get in to the Oval Office. Lovely.</p>


<cite> it looks like a LOT of conservatives are really responding to it! </cite>

I hope you're wrong. If only the conservative masses could see how transparent and ridiculous this move is.

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conservatives like Palen

Senator John McCain raised $47 million in August, more than double his previous best fund-raising month, driven in large part by $10 million in contributions that have come in since he named Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin his running mate on Friday, campaign officials said. - NY Times

So much for the supposition that she was only picked to get Hillary fans; I do not think Hillary supports raised those funds in such short time.

"her beauty-queen past, her

"her beauty-queen past, her smarts, her lack of any sort of foreign-policy experience, and, undoubtedly, her hair and wardrobe"

Her lack of foreign policy experience does not belong on this list! Foreign policy is not prominent right now just because it's macho--we've seen the human toll of misguided foreign policy in the last 6 years. And Palin doesn't just lack foreign policy experience. She was the mayor of a town of about 6,000 people less than two years ago. Given the overarching theme of McCain's campaign up till now ("experience!!! experience!!!"), isn't this a big part of what makes this pandering selection such an insult to women voters? At the age of 72, he has selected as a VP someone who by his own standards (and Clinton's, from her campaign) is terribly under-qualified as for President.

Any progressive, social justice voter ...

... should be very, very wary of <a href="">her</a>.

<a href=" is NYT columnist Gail Collins' take on Palin's nomination. Just because women are "all built the same," doesn't mean they always vote for other women.

A few years' ago, Lisa Jervis wrote a brilliant essay that was not published in <i>Bitch</i>, but the late-lamented <i>LiP</i> called <i>If Women Ruled the World, Nothing Would Be Different</i>. It used to be featured in LiP's website, but disappeared (After looking at the archives) when LiP's book <a href="">Tipping The Sacred Cow</a> (click "ORDER" link for more info) came out (It is featured in it). Hearing of Palin being McCain's VP pick on Friday reminded me of that article. It is required reading - especially for those still-disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters - and anyone else who believes that Palin's nomination is a good thing.

Note: This is not an expression of favorable preference for any particular candidate. Don't like Obama? There is no law at all that says you must vote either Democratic or Republican. Other choices include Ralph Nader (yes, again) and Cynthia McKinney. I think voting should be about the issues, who is best-qualified to lead on the issues, and not the personalities. Unfortunately, in this personality-driven culture, it's coming down to personalities and not much else. No matter who is elected on November 4 ... social justice activists' work will never, ever be done.

Following up ...

Good to hear it's still online. I admit I assumed it was taken down because of the book when my searching efforts took me into some oblivion.

Another worthwhile read- <a href="">Jane Smiley</a> says it's ok to "take Palin on" if we so must.

The link is to Alternet, but it's also at Huffington Post ... another oasis of delightful reading.

I wonder if Smiley has ever heard of this <i>Bitch</i>??

What bothers me the most...

What bothers me the most, I think, is the fact that I even bought into the guilt-trip for a moment. When I heard his pick, I was furious and insulted, and I don't like those feelings, so I tried to look at it from a different perspective. Couldn't I be happy that a woman had made it to such a position, regardless of how her politics differed from from mine? While pulling such a stunt X # of years ago might have equalled political suicide for McCain, now picking a female VP could perhaps add to his legitimacy and prove to us that he does value women's issues? Maybe... I could be happy and content?

But then I put down my crack pipe.

I'm back to being furious and insulted, and it never felt so good. Respect diversity and value the opinions of others, is what my momma always said, but I can't respect the opinions of people who make laws that take away my and others' freedoms, even if we do share similar gentitalia.

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