Monday, September 01, 2008

Pale in Comparison

These are some things I know so far about Sarah Palin, whom John McCain chose as his vice-presidential candidate.

1. She is under investigation for ethics violations as governor of Alaska. A bipartisan commission in Alaska is investigating her role in firing the highway patrol director who refused to fire ex-brother-in-law. This is a reformer??

2. The parent of a five-month-old baby with Downs Syndrome has accepted a position that will require her full attention. Although Palin said she doesn't even know what are the responsibilities of Vice President, I think we all know it's a job that takes way more than 40 hours per week. Does this mother of five who claims to be a "family values" politician really believe she can fully attend to her parental responsibilities while attending to the duties of the office of Vice President? Family values??

3. When Sarah Palin's water broke with her youngest child, she was in Texas making a speech to the Republican governors conference, and she chose to make the 11-hour flight home to Alaska rather than seeking OB/GYN consultation immediately. HUH??? Can any of you mothers imagine doing that? As someone who has never been pregnant, I just can't imagine it. Family values??

4. Palin's 17-year-old daughter is 5 months pregnant. I'm not going to pass judgment on that young woman. But for those of you who are parents: Is that a time you would run for national office? Would you expose your 17-year-old child to this public scrutiny? Or would it be a time when you choose to focus on your family and its very great emotional needs? Family values?

5. Like McCain's current wife, Sarah Palin is a beauty pageant queen. I gotta wonder about a guy who chooses his women in that way. [Yes, I intend that to sound as un-politically correct as it does. But I think "chooses his women" is a fair phrase to use about McCain's decision-making.]

What does all this say about John McCain, who would choose such a woman? John McCain met with her for 15 minutes, but apparently none of this affected his judgment. What does this tell you about his judgment?

I'll confess there is one more question that keeps coming to mind for me. Sarah Palin is a "Christian evangelical." I could probably deal with that. But now I learn she lives in the Assemblies of God portion of the Christian family. I don't know about you, but the AoG folks scare me. Those I've known have been knee-jerk fundamentalists, in the very worst sense of the terms.

If John McCain wanted to choose a woman as his running mate, I can think of several strong, experienced candidates. Elizabeth Dole. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Christine Whitman. Olympia Snow. I disagree with their politics very strongly. But at least they could command respect instead of giggles or scorn.

As a Democratic voter, my greatest fear was that McCain would choose a strong vice-presidential candidate. Fortunately, he failed that test.


Blogger Christopher said...

But he's energized the base, and he can himself turn to the center and left. This deserves close watching.

I come out of the AoG and Foursquare, and you're right to be scared.

9/01/2008 11:04 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Ah, yes, Christopher: He's "energized the base." Isn't that a marvelous trait in a presidential candidate who couldn't energize the base himself, but found a Barbie to do so?

Thanks for what you said about the AoGs. I grew up alongside them.

9/02/2008 12:09 AM  
Blogger Cany said...

As far as her daughter being pregnant, I think that this says a great deal about "abstinance", doesn't it?

Health workers know it doesn't work, and it certainly didn't work here. Sarah Palin, nonetheless, supports it.

Nothing like failure to prompt you to continue a failed belief.

9/02/2008 1:14 AM  
Blogger FranIAm said...

What a great post Lisa.

However, she scares me. I think that in a most reactive manner, much of the Right will move to cover and protect her and to advance her case.

A little later this morning I will post a video of her being defended by the RNC... vociferously! It is very scary.

We must be vigilant and we must get Obama elected. I do not come out of AoG or that sort of tradition, but I do know enough about it to scare me.

Anyone with such a hankering for Armegeddon should never be anywhere near those buttons.

That's my take anyway.

9/02/2008 7:02 AM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

Okay. Call be the skink at the garden party.

If it were the dad of a five-month old Downs Syndrome baby, nobody would say a damned thing.

A wife-time ago, my first wife ran for an NDP nomination in Saskatchewan. She finished dead last. Please note that, even during the ugliest period of our divorce proceedings, I still told people she was far and away the best candidate.

Why did she lose?

Not because she was a woman, as many people told her, but because she was pregnant.

But, even though I was every bit as much an expectant parent, had I run for the nomination, I know I'd have been unopposed.

There are lots of good criticisms of Sarah Palin's qualifications. The fact that she is the mother of a special needs child ain't one of them.

9/03/2008 12:25 AM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

Um, that first line was supposed to be "call me the skunk at the garden party."

9/03/2008 12:27 AM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

From the Boston Herald:

WASILLA, Alaska - Sarah Palin’s controversy-splashed arrival on the national stage continued as her own mother-in-law revealed she doesn’t know who she’ll vote for in the election.

Faye Palin admitted she’s a Barack Obama fan and wasn’t sure what the mother of her five grandchildren adds to McCain’s campaign.

“I’m not sure what she brings to the ticket other than she’s a woman and a conservative. Well, she’s a better speaker than McCain,” Faye Palin told the New York Daily News.

9/03/2008 12:28 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Malcolm, I know you're a friend and ally of this blog.

In my view, there are about a hundred reasons to scoff at Palin's nomination. The woman is a featherweight and a charlatan. She pretends to be against "pork barrel politics," but the facts prove she's benefitted from pork-barrel spending. She pretends to be for ethics, but she's under an investigation for ethics violations in Alaska. And on and on it goes.

Now ... you want to charge me with sexism. I've pondered this for several hours now. There's a man in my parish who comes to mind. I try to imagine how he would respond if he was now a parent of a 5-month-old baby and a daughter who's now pregnant. There is NO WAY I can imagine him saying "yes" to a VP invitation. He cares too much about his family. It's not about gender. It's about caring for family. And Sarah Palin flunks that test miserably.

Over to you.

9/03/2008 11:05 PM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

As it was said in a discussion at Praeludium, in saying that a criticism was sexist one does not necessarily accuse the one levelling the criticism of being sexist. The former assesses the comment. The latter assesses the person and the intent. I was more inclined to think you were caught up in the moment.

While one might level the question without sexist intent - and while one might even level the same question against a man in a similar circumstance - the fact remains that most would not. This criticism would not have legs if it were Sam Palin, whose wife just had a baby and whose teen daughter was pregnant. Sam Palin would not be expected to set aside his ambition and pass up on an opportunity - at least not by most of those who've raised the issue about Sarah Palin.

When Diana, Princess of Wales died, the reaction in Britain (and much of the rest of the world) was over the top. I mean, expecting Mrs. Windsor to wear sackcloth, rend her garments, beat her breast and cry in anguish because her son's ex-wife was dead?

My mother even got caught up in it - until I asked her how she thought she'd feel if it had been my ex-wife as opposed to Chuck Battenberg's.

One of the strangest yet most intelligent articles about at the time appeared in The Scotsman. It was by a Scots republican (ie, one who wanted to abolish the monarchy and establish a republic - not at all like an American Republican.

He defended Mrs. Windsor and her brood and declared that they had aquitted themselves admirably - in the face of hysterical and frankly ridiculous criticisms.

He closed by observing that there were an infinite number of reasons to abolish the monarchy, "but this is not one of them."

However honestly some may mean this criticism of Sarah Palin, for most it is driven by a sexist double standard. There are enough solid and unambiguously non-sexist reasons to criticize her. Why even go here?

9/03/2008 11:56 PM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

BTW, thank you for acknowledging me as a friend and ally. I hope this little spat doesn't change that.

9/03/2008 11:59 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Yes, Malcolm, I see you as a friend. But I don't understand what's this diatribe about Diana. I return to what I said above: No good parent I know (male or female) would have accepted the VP nomination at this stage. None of them would have subjected their families to this agony. But Palin does not care about what this costs her family.

9/04/2008 12:06 AM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

The cultural struggle of the last 50 or so years has been, in part, about giving people permission to make choices about their lives - including ensuring that women in particular do not need to choose between the false dichotomy of family and career. There is a disconnect, it seems to me, in saying that women have such choices and then criticizing a woman who makes such a choice.

My Diana rant was mostly the story of my mother realizing that she was carried away with a criticism that, on consideration, she didn't really agree with, and the republican's line about "this isn't one of them." I suspect if I try to explain it more I'll simply be drawn deeper into my own web of obscurity.

I don't think we're going to end up agreeing on this. But that's okay. Part of our shared analysis of the present "troubles" in the Communion is that friends don't actually have to agree about everything.

9/04/2008 11:13 AM  
Blogger Lindy said...

You rock LIsa. You just totally rock with this post. And you are spot on! As usual.

9/07/2008 10:52 AM  

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