My colleagues in the American liberal press had little to fear at the start of the week. Their charismatic candidate was ahead in virtually every poll. George W Bush was so unpopular that conservatives were scrambling around for reasons not to invite the Republican President to the Republican convention. Democrats had only to maintain their composure and the White House would be theirs. During the 1997 British general election, the late Lord Jenkins said that Tony Blair was like a man walking down a shiny corridor carrying a precious vase. He was the favourite and held his fate in his hands. If he could just reach the end of the hall without a slip, a Labour victory was assured. The same could have been said of the American Democrats last week. But instead of protecting their precious advantage, they succumbed to a spasm of hatred and threw the vase, the crockery, the cutlery and the kitchen sink at an obscure politician from Alaska.For once, the postmodern theories so many of them were taught at university are a help to the rest of us. As a Christian, conservative anti-abortionist who proved her support for the Iraq War by sending her son to fight in it, Sarah Palin was 'the other' - the threatening alien presence they defined themselves against. They might have soberly examined her reputation as an opponent of political corruption to see if she was truly the reformer she claimed to be. They might have gently mocked her idiotic creationism, while carefully avoiding all discussion of the racist conspiracy theories of Barack Obama's church.Palin rises above shrill media
But instead of following a measured strategy, they went berserk. On the one hand, the media treated her as a sex object. The New York Times led the way in painting Palin as a glamour-puss in go-go boots you were more likely to find in an Anchorage lap-dancing club than the Alaska governor's office.
On the other, liberal journalists turned her family into an object of sexual disgust: inbred rednecks who had stumbled out of Deliverance. Palin was meant to be pretending that a handicapped baby girl was her child when really it was her wanton teenage daughter's. When that turned out to be a lie, the media replaced it with prurient coverage of her teenage daughter, who was, after all, pregnant, even though her mother was not going to do a quick handover at the maternity ward and act as if the child was hers.
Don't feel bad for the Democrats. They asked for it. The bunch that President Bush aptly described as "the angry left" has been high-sticking Palin since Day One with a series of assists from their friends in the news media.As you may have noticed, this has not been the fourth estate's finest hour. Reporters, anchors and pundits have mocked Palin and belittled her accomplishments. They've turned tabloid by going nuts over her pregnant teenage daughter, even demanding -- according to top McCain strategist Steve Schmidt -- DNA and blood tests to see if there is truth to the blogger-conceived conspiracy theory that Palin's youngest child really belongs to her oldest daughter. Some even shamefully descended into sexism by calling her a product of political affirmative action, depicting her as a pretty face with no substance -- McCain's "trophy vice," according to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd -- and asking 1950s-type questions about how she expected to balance family and a new gig as vice president.Rallying the Right, Confounding the Left
The sexism continued after Palin's speech. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the speech "shrill and sarcastic." That brought some members of the media back to their senses. CNN's Campbell Brown and Gloria Borger were among the female journalists who cringed at the word "shrill" and pointed out that -- while that was a term leveled at Hillary Clinton -- you don't often hear it directed at a man.
True believers even amended their dogma. Palin prompted the left to reveal a distaste for mothers in politics with young children at home. When did they start telling their daughters they could grow up to be president of the United States, but only after their children reached an undisclosed age?Palin's judges attached no corollary for men in public life. Forty years ago, Robert Kennedy exulted in announcing during his presidential campaign that his wife was expecting their 11th child.Gee, and I wonder why someone wouldn't grant an interview request for this nonsense. I have no doubt it will continue and yes, the regular folks out there absolutely hear and get what the media is doing. No candidate is going to contribute to the attempts to smear them by the media.
It was open season Monday when the Palins announced that their 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. Advocates of a sweeping application of the right to privacy decided no opinion or inquiry was too intrusive if it could damage the candidate.
Palin's critics applied some new math. Five children, including a baby with special needs, and a pregnant daughter was too much. And, if John McCain had really known about the pregnant daughter, he would not have chosen the egregious mother under their calculus.
The New York Times disagreed with Obama's merciful statement that children are a no-go zone and put three stories about the pregnancy on Tuesday's front page.
Palin has only herself to blame. She refused to buckle. Worse, she returned fire with jocular cheer. The Volkswagen-driving diva, who took the stage Wednesday, ignored the pathos and launched into an aria about the joy of her common life. She is not aggrieved. No millionaire's refrain — mewling over the cost of dance lessons — for her.
The left began baffled and tumbled into incomprehension. Ideology's enforcers don't understand how a woman, any woman, could be a conservative. That a Republican convention, their capitol of misogyny, would not only nominate this woman but be dizzy with enthusiasm for her is an abomination inside the hive. A spokeswoman for the National Organization for Women accused Palin of being more of a "white man" than a woman. Deviation breeds contempt. The Washington Post's Richard Cohen sounded deranged when he reached into antiquity to liken Palin to Caligula's horse, the crazy emperor's choice for consul.
The Alaska governor should brace herself for worse, especially if someone turns up proof she's a denizen of the local Wal-Mart. In the smartest zip codes, they'll turn puce from angry condescension.
Palin should strike fear
Journalists last week cast aside the mask of objectivity to reveal they are so deeply in the tank for Mr. Obama most have grown gills. For six days, Sarah Palin and her family were subjected to a relentless barrage of innuendo. Journalists were trying to "define" her before she had an opportunity to introduce herself to the people in the lower 48. She was portrayed as an ignorant redneck from a hick town who should be home caring for her children instead of running for high public office.Then Sarah Palin got her opportunity to speak, and her enemies learned firsthand why her nickname is "Sarah Barracuda."A feminist's argument for McCain's VP
Dismiss if you will the rapturous response to Ms. Palin's speech by the delegates in the convention hall and the posters on conservative blogs. The best testament to its power was the lame response of the Obama campaign. They noted she had the help of a speechwriter (the very talented Matt Scully) in preparing her remarks. Well, duh. Every major political figure has speechwriters. Sarah Palin works fine without a script. It's Barack Obama who ums and ahs without a teleprompter.
In my lifetime, I've only heard three or four speeches (all by Ronald Reagan) that I thought were as good or better than Sarah Palin's. She's as much a natural in politics as Michael Jordan was in basketball.
"Several moderate Democrat friends of mine have been e-mailing -- few if any would ever vote for McCain -- but all agree Palin was very strong," Michael Crowley wrote on The New Republic's blog. "The more liberal among them are a little panicked."
With good reason. With a smile on her face, Ms. Palin sliced and diced Barack Obama with the skill she dresses a moose she just shot. There were a host of good lines which I'm sure we'll see in McCain commercials in the near future. But ultimately the most effective may be this one: "In small towns, we don't know quite what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren't listening."
Clinton voters, in particular, have received a political wake-up call they never expected. Having watched their candidate and their principles betrayed by the very people who are supposed to be the flame-holders for equal rights and fairness, they now look across the aisle and see a woman who represents everything the feminist movement claimed it stood for. Women can have a family and a career. We can be whatever we choose, on our own terms. For some, that might mean shooting a moose. For others, perhaps it's about shooting a movie or shooting for a career as a teacher. However diverse our passions, we will vote for a system that allows us to make the choices that best suit us. It's that simple.The rank bullying of the Clinton candidacy during the primary season has the distinction of simply being the first revelation of how misogynistic the party has become. The media led the assault, then the Obama campaign continued it. Trailblazer Geraldine Ferraro, who was the first Democratic vice presidential candidate, was so taken aback by the attacks that she publicly decried nominee Barack Obama as "terribly sexist" and openly criticized party chairman Howard Dean for his remarkable silence on the obvious sexism
Ironically, all this at an event that was negotiated and twisted at every turn in an astounding effort not to promote a woman.Virtually moments after the GOP announcement of Palin for vice president, pundits on both sides of the aisle began to wonder if Clinton supporters - pro-choice women and gays to be specific - would be attracted to the McCain-Palin ticket. The answer is, of course. There is a point where all of our issues, including abortion rights, are made safer not only if the people we vote for agree with us - but when those people and our society embrace a respect for women and promote policies that increase our personal wealth, power and political influence.BOOOOOM
Make no mistake - the Democratic Party and its nominee have created the powerhouse that is Sarah Palin, and the party's increased attacks on her (and even on her daughter) reflect that panic.The party has moved from taking the female vote for granted to outright contempt for women. That's why Palin represents the most serious conservative threat ever to the modern liberal claim on issues of cultural and social superiority. Why? Because men and women who never before would have considered voting for a Republican have either decided, or are seriously considering, doing so.
They are deciding women's rights must be more than a slogan and actually belong to every woman, not just the sort approved of by left-wing special interest groups.
Palin's candidacy brings both figurative and literal feminist change. The simple act of thinking outside the liberal box, which has insisted for generations that only liberals and Democrats can be trusted on issues of import to women, is the political equivalent of a nuclear explosion.
On the day McCain announced her selection as his running mate, Palin thanked Clinton and Ferraro for blazing her trail. A day later, Ferraro noted her shock at Palin's comment. You see, none of her peers, no one, had ever publicly thanked her in the 24 years since her historic run for the White House. Ferraro has since refused to divulge for whom she's voting. Many more now are realizing that it does indeed take a woman - who happens to be a Republican named Sarah Palin.Keep denying it. Keep spinning it. Palin is going to help change this election. Obama claims to represent change and for his first and most important choice chose a 35 year serving, 65 year old white man who, while nice has the sorts of slips and quips that reflect the thinking that goes on behind the PC platitudes. Obama chose the past.
McCain chose the future. He chose the new and the different. Those who claim to want different showed with their scorn and disdain that they want the same old thing and they used the same old sexist, misogynistic arguments to slap at and attempt to define the true change in this campaign. That first decision really did reveal a lot about each man.
Can anyone tell me how a state governor, any state governor gains experience in foreign policy while serving their state? Executive experience is what counts and that is why we seldom if ever select senators for president and often elect governors. In this instance we can't elect a governor but I know which I would rather put a heartbeat away.
Every hurdle screamed about with regard to Palin will be approached, met and cleared. The left knows this and it is what has them in such a panic. They can scream about it early and often. They can demand their made-up checklist of priorities be met and that the people we elect to lead somehow follow their priorities and timelines. It won't happen. Reporters can cast their disdain and scorn around forgetting that they are to report the news instead of creating it. The profit reports will show rivers of red ink. Their spin will not alter the reality, and in the end, the electorate will not buy their lie.