Tag Archives: i am depressed about sarah palin

Enough of the Palin feeding frenzy

IN POLITICS, cheap shots and invective are occupational hazards. But when have we seen anything to match the frenzy of rage and contempt set off by the nomination of Sarah Palin?

Virtually from the moment John McCain selected her, Palin has been under assault. There has been legitimate criticism, of course. But there has also been a gusher of slander, much of it – like the slur that she isn’t the real mother of her infant son, Trig – despicable.

For someone who has been in the national spotlight for only three weeks, Palin has been the victim of an astonishing array of falsehoods. Voters have been told that she slashed funding in Alaska for special-needs children. That she tried to ban books from Wasilla’s public library. That she was a member of the secessionist Alaskan Independence Party. That she links Saddam Hussein to the attacks of 9/11. That she backed Pat Buchanan for president. That she doesn’t want students taught about contraception. That she called the war in Iraq “a task from God.” All untrue.

Hillary Clinton’s supporters complain that coverage of her campaign was tainted by sexism, such as the Washington Post story that focused on her cleavage, or Mike Barnicle’s description of her on MSNBC as “looking like everyone’s first wife standing outside a probate court.”

Obama too has suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous comment – the Fox News segment that captioned a picture of his wife “Obama’s Baby Mama,” for example, and the infamous New Yorker cover showing the Obamas as terrorists in the Oval Office.

But the left’s onslaught against Palin has been of a different order of magnitude.

“Ideologically, she is their hardcore pornographic centerfold spread,” columnist Cintra Wilson wrote in Salon. “She’s such a power-mad, backwater beauty-pageant casualty, it’s easy to write her off and make fun of her. But in reality I feel as horrified as a ghetto Jew watching the rise of National Socialism.”

On the website of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, commentator Heather Mallick was even cruder. Palin appeals to “the white trash vote” with her “toned-down version of the porn actress look,” she wrote. “Husband Todd looks like a roughneck. . . What normal father would want Levi ‘I’m a [bleeping] redneck’ Johnson prodding his daughter?”

From radio talk-show host Randi Rhodes came the smutty suggestion that the governor of Alaska has an unhealthy interest in teenage boys: “She’s friends with all the teenage boys,” Rhodes told her audience last week. “You have to say no when your kids say, ‘Can we sleep over at the Palins?’ No! NO!”

The smears and sneers have been without end. One liberal congressman likened Obama to Jesus – and Palin to Pontius Pilate. A Democratic state chairman declared scornfully that Palin’s “primary qualification seems to be that she hasn’t had an abortion.” A University of Chicago professor seethed: “Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman.”

The national media, meanwhile, have only further eroded what remained of their reputation for objectivity.

For months they refused to mention the infidelity of John Edwards, yet they leaped with relish onto Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. Ravenous for any negative morsel on the GOP running mate, they deployed legions of reporters to Alaska, who have produced such journalism as the 3,220-word expos√© in Sunday’s New York Times that upon winning office, Palin – gasp! – fired opponents and hired people she trusted.

Yet the more she has been attacked, the more her support has solidified. In the latest Fox News poll, Palin’s favorable/unfavorable ratio is a strong 54-27. She is named by 33 percent of respondents as the candidate who “best understands the problems of everyday life in America,” more than those naming Obama (32 percent), McCain (17), or Joe Biden (10). Among independent voters, Palin’s lead over Obama on this measure widens to 13 points. In a recent Rasmussen poll, 51 percent of voters said the press was trying to hurt Palin through its coverage, versus just 5 percent who thought it was trying to help – a 10-1 disparity.

Millions of Americans, not all of them conservative, instinctively identify with Palin. That is why the left’s scorching assault, so ugly and unhinged, is backfiring. The longer it goes on, the more it undermines the Democratic ticket – and the more support it builds for McCain, and his refreshingly normal running mate.

By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist / September 17, 2008

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Revoke my feminist card — I like Palin

Hmmm. Maybe . . . I am not a feminist after all.

Maybe . . . working in a man’s world for 42 years and busting my butt to beat them up the ladder deletes me from the feminist category.

Perhaps . . . struggling to be a good single mom in a very married world — yet meeting my five-day-a-week column deadline — doesn’t earn me a feminist handle either.

Certainly . . . because I’m not appalled or sickened or shocked by Sarah Palin’s stealing the thunder from Obama the orator, I am not a feminist.

Give me a break.

I’m tired of women working hard for a hammer that never breaks the glass ceiling; disgusted when Hillary Clinton, an incredibly capable, brilliant woman, lost the fight of her life; disheartened by other countries throughout the free world being led by formidable women before America is.

Only this time, it was an amazing orator named Barack Obama who was stealing our thunder . . . and I was . . . well, you know. Pissed.

And then along came Palin, a woman of the tundra who could be America’s next best frontier story — and I was pleasantly surprised.

Hell, I was delighted.

So what if she’s a Republican? I tend to vote for Republican presidents.

So what if she didn’t know the definition of the Bush Doctrine? Her performance was a Western draw. Bravery in tact. But no one shot.

So I asked myself — what fault is there in admiring a woman who is against abortion — even though I believe in freedom of choice?

What’s wrong with huge respect for a woman who chose to give birth to a Down syndrome child knowing full well what was in store for her and her family?

And if appreciating a woman who chose a husband who supports her ladder-climbing skill puts me in the non-feminist category, well maybe that’s where I belong.

To be blunt, Palin is like a zephyr blowing across the prairie with a retro hairdo tied back like a sheaf of wheat.

She is real. She is rural. She may not be a brilliant tactician, but she’s got street sense. Palin is so unlike the very controlled Hillary Clinton, who would never be caught dead in red heels.

Thus, it now appears Palin has emerged as “everywoman” to a huge portion of our female population; a woman never really identified with what we thought was our quintessential role model — a highly educated woman who wears tailored suits, whose voice is never shrill and who has a husband who makes more than she does.

I don’t know what perfume Palin wears, but to me she smells of the soil.

Our huge land once had the call of the frontier for a new start — and Alaska became the last of it.

Palin’s kind of grit and savvy is akin to a frontier story: a young woman who was raised in a land of big sky and the midnight sun, a metaphor of sorts for being able to spot trouble a long way away.

In the next two months, Palin may be able to forge a hammer big enough to crack the glass ceiling. Maybe not.

And no Palin moose gun may be powerful enough to pursue critics of John McCain, who — rightly or wrongly — may be tarnished by our economy.

But McCain did choose a tough and savvy woman as his running mate . . . and it is refreshing to think, at least for a while, a little air from the Alaskan aerie wafted through America.

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I am a liberal, but I’m blown away by Sarah Palin’

As American women are drawn to the Republican vice-presidential candidate, US writer Rebecca Johnson explains her appeal

When my cell phone rang on vacation, I eyed the phone number wearily. It was my employer, Vogue, calling. My four-year-old, just out of the ocean and covered in sand, was whining for a shower. My three-year-old was thirsty. My hedge-fund husband was upstairs on his BlackBerry making plans to buy Dubai. I picked up the phone.

It was the publicist from the magazine calling to say that CNN wanted to interview me about Sarah Palin. My initial response was cool. “What do they want to talk about?”

“You’re one of the few people who has interviewed her for a national publication,” the publicist answered, referring to an article I had written earlier this year profiling the governor of Alaska for the magazine.

“Is she dead?” I asked worriedly. Alaska is notorious for small plane crashes – that’s how the politician father of the writer and journalist Cokie Roberts died – and I knew Palin owned a float plane.

It never really occurred to me that she might be the vice-presidential candidate. ¬†With so little time in office, even Alaskans hadn’t yet made up their mind about Sarah Palin’s job as governor of the state.

After the publicist set me straight, I ran down to the beach to find my mother. A left-leaning Quaker who is president of the League of Women Voters in her Texas town, my mother is the least likely person to celebrate the election of a Republican to national office.

But as a young woman she had lived in Alaska, teaching English to natives and living on a houseboat. It was the place she had gone to escape her Southern Baptist country club-attending, bridge-playing parents and it loomed large in our family as a mythic paradise, a place where you could escape the chains of civilisation and reinvent yourself.

As soon as my mother retired from her job as a professor at a community college, we drove the Alaska-Canada highway together, revisiting the site of her early bliss. During that month-long trip, I glimpsed what she saw in the state.

A whole day could go by without us seeing another soul: a solitude that complete could scrub the worst personality clean. The people we met were prickly, opinionated and original. Gore Vidal once famously said that California was so full of oddballs it was as if somebody had picked up the country and shook it so that all the loose pieces landed in the west. These days, the pieces are landing in the north.

With so few people around, conventional wisdom seems irrelevant and laws have a way of seeming arbitrary. When we were ready to sleep, we’d pull off the road and pitch a tent. But the harsh calculus of wilderness also reveals what is essential.

You don’t plan well, you don’t make it through the winter. The wood pile outside Sarah Palin’s parents’ house is half a city block long for a reason. Forget New York City. If you can make it in Alaska, you can make it anywhere. When Sarah Palin says she doesn’t care what we east coast liberals think about her, she means it.

“Sarah Palin is the vice-presidential candidate,” I told my mother when I found her under a beach umbrella.

We hugged each other joyfully. Politics be damned, Palin was a woman and she was an Alaskan! Moreover, I had been impressed with her when I interviewed her – not for her politics (I’m one of those east coast liberals she doesn’t care about) but for the other things that people across the country are responding to right now:her warmth, her work ethic, her “can-do” attitude.

  • If life is simply a reprise of high school, Palin was the jock who attended church faithfully, ran the soup kitchen, and organised the bake sale. If her paper on the Lincoln-Douglas debate wasn’t the most nuanced, so be it. Something has to give.

    In my article, I wrote about how hard it is for Palin not to smile. The American media has been dismissive of that beauty-queen smile but Palin really did enter the Miss Wasilla contest for the scholarship money. (To make extra money, her retired parents currently shoo the birds off the runway at the Anchorage airport so the birds’ bodies don’t muck up the engines’ turbine.) Even then, Palin didn’t like the pageant and was appalled when they asked her to turn around and show the judges her behind.

    Once upon a time, I also would have been contemptuous of Palin’s incurable optimism but, having been knocked around by life a bit, I now understand what a gift chronically happy people are given.

    Life hands them difficulties -a Down’s syndrome baby, a 17-year-old daughter pregnant before her life as an adult has even begun, a much-needed job on the oil and gas commission that comes with too many strings – and she is not flummoxed or depressed or angry or self-pitying. She endures.

    My liberal friends were outraged when rumours about Barack Obama attending a Madrassa or being a Muslim surfaced on the internet, but all week they have been gleefully trading emails of Sarah Palin distortions.

    There was the doctored picture of her carrying a rifle, wearing a stars-and-stripes bikini while a man in the background drank Schlitz beer. Or dopey quotes about God, creationism and moose, all of which have been subsequently debunked.

    There have also been snide remarks about Wal-Mart and K-Mart, as if there is something shameful about trying to save money. The week before Palin’s nomination was announced, people were talking about John McCain’s inability to remember precisely how many houses he and his gazillionaire wife own. A few weeks before that, the news was Cindy McCain’s $250,000 American Express bill (those lime-green shifts aren’t free).

    Todd Palin earns an hourly wage at his job on the North Slope oil field; Sarah Palin makes $125,000 a year as governor of Alaska. They’re not poor, but Alaska, where most things have to be flown or shipped in, is an expensive state and they have five mouths to feed.

    Palin isn’t shooting moose for sport; her family eats what she kills. If she shops at Wal-Mart for diapers, the vast majority of American women can relate.

    It’s no wonder the latest Washington Post poll shows an unprecedented shift of 20 points among white women towards McCain since he announced Palin as his running mate. Times are hard and getting harder.

    In a perfect world, people would vote based on issues. Care about a woman’s right to choose her own biological destiny? (so killing a different humanbeing is choice?) Vote pro-choice (vote to kill babies just because it’s in a womens womb? ). Unfortunately, life is still a lot like high school. We vote for people we like, people who make us feel comfortable and heard.

    Having watched folksy George W trounce the patrician Al Gore and John Kerry, you’d think the Democrats would have learned this.

    Deriding Palin’s modest background and lack of Ivy League credentials will only turn voters off. We should celebrate what is groundbreaking about Sarah Palin: a card-carrying member of Feminists for Life is a big step forward from Housewives for Life. And then we should talk about the issues.

  • Rebecca Johnson, Telegraph, UK,11/09/2008

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