Monthly Archives: October 2008

The Post-Palin Feminist Manifesto

I am scared for the women of America. Really scared. And disturbed, too.

Two days ago, I chatted with an old friend who will not be voting because she hates Obama for being a racist and the Democratic Party is just as evil. She holds the Democrats and Obama responsible for Hillary’s loss and attributes it to deep seeded sexism in the party. Then she puts Hillary and Palin in the same sentence attributing all the things that have been said about Palin to this same Democratic Party sexism. Palin is not deserving of any of the criticism and Obama is to blame for not coming out and giving a speech to stop the sexism. See my previous post.

Then yesterday, I was on Huffington Post and came across an article (a link to The Daily Beast) about how a former Democratic Party speech writer (for Edwards, Obama and Clinton) has decided to back McCain because the Democrats are mean to Palin (and Joe the Plumber.)

Since I started writing speeches more than ten years ago, I have always believed in the Democratic Party. Not anymore. Not after the election of 2008. This transformation has been swift and complete and since I’m a woman writing in the election of 2008, “very emotional.”

Wait a minute, because I am a woman, it is “emotional?”

When I entered this campaign, it was at the 2006 Edwards staff Christmas party. My nametag read “Millie Worker.”

Why? Her name is Wendy Button, huh?

When former Senator John Edwards read it, he laughed and said, “That makes you like my parent.” He went on to say, “Would you please come down to Chapel Hill so we can talk about what’s coming up.” I sat in John and Elizabeth’s living room for two and half hours. I left North Carolina, energized about politics for the first time in months.

I didn’t hear from anyone for three weeks.

When I finally received the official offer, it was the kind of political offer that said, “Go away.” That happens. It’s their campaign and I just assumed that I had been pushed out. The problem was that I had canceled a number of freelance writing jobs because I had assumed that when John said, “Start right away” I would. I needed a job right away and so I took the one in front of me with Senator Barack Obama.

The first strike against the Democratic Party. Edwards changed his mind about a speechwriter, snubbed her.

When we first met, Obama and I had a nice conversation about speeches and writing, and at the end of the meeting I handed him a pocket-sized bottle of Grey Poupon mustard so he wouldn’t have to ask staff if it was okay to put it on his hamburger.

Is it just me or is this a really strange exchange. Why would he have to ask his staff if it was okay? And why was she carrying around pocket-sided bottles of Grey Poupon and bringing them to meetings to hand out to prospective clients?

At the bottom of the bottle was the logo for “The South Beach Diet” and he snapped, “Oh so you read People magazine.” He seemed to think that I was commenting on his bathing suit picture.

This is strange, too. Strike number two. Obama “snapped” at her, thinking she was saying he was fat(?)

I helped with his announcement speech and others. I worked in the Senate when he was in D.C. One day after a hearing on Darfur, we were walkig back to the office. I was still hobbling from a very bad ankle injury and in a very kind and gentle way he offered his arm when we approached the stairs. But later in debate preps and phone conversations and meetings, I realized that I had made a mistake. I didn’t belong. No matter how hard I tried, my heart wasn’t in it anymore.

And we are to just fill in the blanks about what happened between the offering of an arm and her heart not being in it anymore?

See campaigns get complicated when you’ve written for so many Democrats. Not only had I written for Senator Edwards, but I had also been Senator Hillary Clinton’s speechwriter. Senator Joe Biden is a “good looking” man

What is this about? Is this her little sexist joke?

and his care after my father almost died from an aneurysm is the kind of kindness you never forget. When I saw Edwards at a traffic light in D.C. about a year after our meeting, he asked for help and I did and it was an honor to help him with his concession speech.

Excuse me for asking but did Edwards ask her to write his concession speech at a stop light?

And when the primary ended, it was a privilege to help Michelle Obama with a stump speech, be considered as a speechwriter for the V.P. nominee again, and send friends in Chicago ideas until the financial crisis hit. This is what the Democratic Party has been for me; it’s family. Now, it doesn’t even feel like a distant cousin.

This drift started on a personal level with the fall of former Senator John Edwards. It got stronger during the Democratic National Convention when I counted the substantive mentions of poverty on one hand and a whole bunch of bad canned partisan lines against Senator John McCain.

Oh, evil Democrats for being partisan at their convention. I’m sure Palin didn’t do that at hers. And I don’t remember the Republicans’ dozens of substantive mentions of poverty. Maybe I sneezed and missed that. Is she kidding? So community organizer is not worried about poverty enough, but Palin who actually mocked community organizers is your choice?

Some faith was lifted after Senator Hillary Clinton’s grace during a difficult hour. But that faith was dashed when I saw that someone had raided the Caligula set and planted the old columns at Invesco Field.

Foul ball. Theatricality is so Anti-American. Thank God, the Republicans only went with a catwalk in front of a huge green screen onto which they mistakenly projected a mansion instead of Walter Reed Hospital. So you switched parties because they put on a better show?

The final straw came the other week when Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher (a.k.a Joe the Plumber) asked a question about higher taxes for small businesses. Instead of celebrating his aspirations, they were mocked. He wasn’t “a real plumber,” and “They’re fighting for Joe the Hedge-Fund manager,” and the patronizing, “I’ve got nothing but love for Joe the Plumber.”

Strike three. Yer out!!! Joe the Plumber is above reproach. When you (meaning the press) make fun of him and you make fun of all Americans. I guess Obama’s talking to him sensibly there on the spot and explaining his tax plan was disrespectful? Who was it that brought him up over and over without vetting the man in the debates? Who has pushed this tax-evading liar into the media and uses him on campaign stops now? Who’s tax plan would be better for Joe?

Having worked in politics, I know that absolutely none of this is on the level. This back and forth is posturing, a charade, and a political game. These lines are what I refer to as “hooker lines”—a sure thing to get applause and the press to scribble as if they’re reporting meaningful news.

I believe you should be more sensitive and call them “sex worker” lines.

As the nation slouches toward disaster, the level of political discourse is unworthy of this moment in history. We have Republicans raising Ayers and Democrats fostering ageism with “erratic” and jokes about Depends. Sexism. Racism. Ageism and maybe some Socialism have all made their ugly cameos in election 2008. It’s not inspiring. Perhaps this is why I found the initial mocking of Joe so offensive and I realized an old line applied: “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left me.”

So no matter what the Republicans have said and they have sunk to the lowest tactics in my memory, the Democratic Party left you?

The party I believed in wouldn’t look down on working people under any circumstance.

And you have bought entirely into the lies of the Republicans about what it the narrative here. You walked away from the party that has fought longest and hardest for working people.

And Joe the Plumber is right. This is the absolutely worst time to raise taxes on anyone: the rich, the middle class, the poor, small businesses and corporations.

Yes, Joe the Plumber is the economist we should all be listening to now. How does he suggest we get out of the economic mess? Cut taxes more? Oh, it doesn’t matter to him since he doesn’t pay any.

Our economy is in the tank for many complicated reasons, especially because people don’t have enough money. So let them keep it. Let businesses keep it so they can create jobs and stay here and weather this storm.

Close down the government while you’re at it since it actually needs money to run. We don’t need infrastructure or emergency services or any of those pesky regulatory things like FDA or EPA.

And yet, the Democratic ideology remains the same. Our approach to problems—big government solutions paid for by taxing the rich and big and smaller companies—is just as tired and out of date as trickle down economics. How about a novel approach that simply finds a sane way to stop the bleeding?

The Republican party has presided over the biggest growth of government and spending in history and you are blaming the Democrats! What have you been drinking?

That’s not exactly the philosophy of a Democrat. Not only has this party belittled working people in this campaign from Joe the Plumber to the bitter comments, it has also been part of tearing down two female candidates. At first, certain Democrats and the press called Senator Clinton “dishonest.”

I am sure every word from her mouth must have been gospel. I voted for her but she is a politician and called her opponents names, too.


The other Democrats? Name names.

went after her cleavage. They said her experience as First Lady consisted of having tea parties. There was no outrage over “Bros before Hoes” or “Iron My Shirt.” Did Senator Clinton make mistakes? Of course. She’s human.

Again with the Bros before Hoes. Seems to be a hot button for Obama haters. My friends brought it up in her dismissal of him, too. Did Obama approve that message?

But here we are about a week out and it’s déjà vu all over again. Really, front-page news is how the Republican National Committee paid for Governor Sarah Palin’s wardrobe? Where’s the op-ed about how Obama tucks in his shirt when he plays basketball or how Senator Biden buttons the top button on his golf shirt?

Again, you blame the party for what the media have been talking about. If Sarah Palin were out making substantive speeches or doing a press conference, do you think it would not be covered? It would be front page, since she has been so sequestered through this campaign. If the Democratic National Committee had gone out and bought Obama 20 new Armani suits and shoes to go with and paid for it with donor’s money, do you really think that would not have been news? If he had wrapped himself in the I’m just an average Joe like you and shown up wearing a $5,000 suit, or had a couple of $400 haircuts (like your former friend John Edwards), do you really think no one would have said anything? The Hockey Mom wears Prada? And you think a man with 7+ houses and 13+ cars understands and stands for the working man?

Oh right, this story goes to the sincerity of her Hockey Mom persona. What planet am I living on? Everyone knows that when it comes to appearance, there’s a double standard for women politicians. Remember the speech Speaker Pelosi gave on the floor the day of the bailout vote? Check out how many stories commented on her hair that day and how many mentioned Congressman Barney Frank’s.

Here we are discussing Governor Palin’s clothes—oh wait, now we’re on to the make-up—not what either man is going to do to save our economy. This isn’t an accident. It is part of a manufactured narrative that she is stupid.

If she ever came out and talked to the press she would either confirm that impression or change the opinion, but she and her handlers decided not to let her. Why would that be if she is so smart?

Governor Palin and I don’t agree on a lot of things, mostly social issues. But I have grown to appreciate the Governor. I was one of those initial skeptics and would laugh at the pictures. Not anymore. When someone takes on a corrupt political machine and a sitting governor, that is not done by someone with a low I.Q. or a moral core made of tissue paper. When someone fights her way to get scholarships

Wah! Beauty contests are so hard!

and work her way through college even in a jagged line, that shows determination and humility you can’t learn from reading Reinhold Niebuhr. When a mother brings her son with special needs onto the national stage with love, honesty, and pride, that gives hope to families like mine as my older brother lives with a mental disability.

Carrying your child on stage says nothing. What was she doing for kids with special needs before she had one?

And when someone can sit on a stage during the Sarah Palin rap on Saturday Night Live, put her hands in the air and watch someone in a moose costume get shot—that’s a sign of both humor and humanity.

She looked like a moose caught in the headlights and as for humor, she was the butt of it, not a part of it.

Has she made mistakes? Of course, she’s human too. But the attention paid to her mistakes has been unprecedented compared to Senator Obama’s “57 states” remarks or Senator Biden using a version of the Samuel Johnson quote, “There’s nothing like a hanging in the morning to focus a man’s thoughts.”

Whenever she opens her mouth without a cue card, she makes a mistake. That is very different from a slip of the tongue from Obama or a slight misquote from Biden. If she were a man, think Dan Quayle, the media would be just as rough but the sexism excuse would be gone. Perhaps we should just agree that pretty and dumb is not a politically advantageous coupling.

And now that you are a Republican you can spout all the party lines.

We can talk about the wardrobe and make-up even though most people don’t understand the details about Senator Obama’s plan with Iraq. When he says, “all combat troops,” he’s not talking about all troops—it leaves a residual force of as large as 55,000 indefinitely. That’s not ending the war; that’s half a war.

I was dead wrong about the surge and thought it would be a disaster. Senator John McCain led when many of us were ready to quit. Yet we march on as if nothing has changed, wedded to an old plan, and that too is a long way from the Democratic Party.

What? She lost me there.

I can no longer justify what this party has done and can’t dismiss the treatment of women

Yeah, those Republicans are all about women’s rights and McCain’s record shows how much he really thinks of women.

and working people as just part of the new kind of politics.

Yeah, the Republican party is all about working class people and that is why the gap between the rich and the poor has widened to its widest under these 8 Bush years.

It’s wrong and someone has to say that. And also say that the Democratic Party’s talking points—that Senator John McCain is just four more years of the same and that he’s President Bush—are now just hooker lines that fit a very effective and perhaps wave-winning political argument…doesn’t mean they’re true. After all, he is the only one who’s worked in a bipartisan way on big challenges.

And like Katie Couric when she asked Palin to name some of those big accomplishments, we’re waiting to hear what they are.

Before I cast my vote, I will correct my party affiliation and change it to No Party or Independent.

Try GOP since you drank the Kool Aid.

Then, in the spirit of election 2008, I’ll get a manicure, pedicure, and my hair done. Might as well look pretty when I am unemployed in a city swimming with “D’s.”

Whatever inspiration I had in Chapel Hill two years ago is gone. When people say how excited they are about this election, I can now say, “Maybe for you. But I lost my home.”

If this article is any indication of this woman’s writing style and her abilities, then I understand why Edwards, et al let her go. She is incapable of writing a cohesive or persuasive argument. Maybe it is because she is an “emotional” woman. Or maybe it is because they put more in the GOP Kool Aid than water and sugar. But still, the fact that she got this published and that she is not alone in her looniness, is scary.
But I think it time to add some perspective from a true feminist here for a moment.

This isn’t the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It’s about making life more fair for women everywhere. It’s not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It’s about baking a new pie.

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton’s candidacy stood for — and that Barack Obama’s still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, “Somebody stole my shoes, so I’ll amputate my legs.”

Thanks Gloria.

Unfortunately though today’s article titled Sarah Palin’s a Brainiac which my brother forwarded to me was from The Daily Beast again (guess they think they are being radical and feminist somehow?), that claims that Sarah Palin is indeed a smart woman who has been mischaracterized.

The former editor in chief of Ms. magazine (and a Democrat) on what she learned on a campaign plane with the would-be VP.

It’s difficult not to froth when one reads, as I did again and again this week, doubts about Sarah Palin’s “intelligence,” coming especially from women such as PBS’s Bonnie Erbe, who, as near as I recall, has not herself heretofore been burdened with the Susan Sontag of Journalism moniker. As Fred Barnes—God help me, I’m agreeing with Fred Barnes—suggests in the Weekly Standard, these high toned and authoritative dismissals come from people who have never met or spoken with Sarah Palin. Those who know her, love her or hate her, offer no such criticism. They know what I know, and I learned it from spending just a little time traveling on the cramped campaign plane this week: Sarah Palin is very smart.

I’m a Democrat, but I’ve worked as a consultant with the McCain campaign since shortly after Palin’s nomination.

Last week, there was the thought that as a former editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine as well as a feminist activist in my pre-journalism days, I might be helpful in contributing to a speech that Palin had long wanted to give on women’s rights.

What is often called her “confidence” is actually a rarity in national politics: I saw a woman who knows exactly who she is.

Does knowing who you are translate into anything about relevant experience or practical knowledge of the world? Are we to think that a man who has written his autobiography doesn’t know who he is? And it is really too bad she has not been able to articulate to the country who she is and what she is about. Hockey Mom. Pro-Life. Pit Bull.

Now by “smart,” I don’t refer to a person who is wily or calculating or nimble in the way of certain talented athletes who we admire but suspect don’t really have serious brains in their skulls. I mean, instead, a mind that is thoughtful, curious, with a discernable pattern of associative thinking and insight. Palin asks questions, and probes linkages and logic that bring to mind a quirky law professor I once had. Palin is more than a “quick study”; I’d heard rumors around the campaign of her photographic memory and, frankly, I watched it in action. She sees. She processes. She questions, and only then, she acts. What is often called her “confidence” is actually a rarity in national politics: I saw a woman who knows exactly who she is.

For all those old enough to remember Senator Sam Ervin, the brilliant strict constitutional constructionist and chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee whose patois included “I’m just a country lawyer”…Yup, Palin is that smart.

Now as someone who is related to Sam Ervin, I take great exception to this characterization. His was an intellect cloaked in a country lawyer, a decidely non-ideological constitutional lawyer who has been unmatched in the Congress. A Harvard lawyer, a “liberal” with great respect for the constitution. I seriously doubt that Palin has read the document and as someone running for the highest office in the land, she should know it inside and out. A quick study, a photographic memory do not make her a scholar with any insight, any reference and authority.

So no simple task then, this speech on women’s rights. For the sin of being a Christian personally opposed to abortion, Palin is being pilloried by the inside-the-Beltway Democrat feminist establishment. (Yes, she is anti-abortion. And yes, instead of buying organic New Zealand lamb at Whole Foods, she joins other Alaskans in hunting for food. That’s it. She is not a right-wing nut, and all the rest of the Internet drivel—the book banning at the Library, the rape kits decision—is nonsense. I digress.)

You don’t digress, you lie. She most assuredly did agree to charge rape victims for their rape kits. And did so knowingly in the state with the highest per capita rape rates in the country.

[Media Matters] Palin had clearly signed off on a fiscal-year budget that reduced by three-quarters the amount of money the town set aside annually for rape-kit costs and that the rape-kit reduction was spelled out before the fiscal-year 2000 budget was approved by Mayor Sarah Palin on April 26, 1999.

Here’s what Palin’s hand-picked police chief told a reporter for the local newspaper, the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, in 2000 after the state outlawed the practice of billing victims for rape kits: “In the past, we’ve charged the cost of the exams to the victim’s insurance company when possible.” If they didn’t have insurance, then it was their own cost.

Yes, you read that correctly. Palin’s own police chief freely discussed how the town of Wasilla had charged “the victim’s insurance company” for the post-assault exam. (He opposed the new state law that forced Wasilla to stop.)

Trying to claim that the “liberals” are concocting a smear here is vile.

Palin’s role in this campaign was to energize “the Republican base,” which she has inarguably done. She also was expected to reach out to Hillary Clinton “moderates.” (Right. Only a woman would get both those jobs in either party.) Look, I am obviously personally pro-choice, and I disagree with McCain and Palin on that and a few other issues. But like many other Democrats, including Lynn Rothschild, I’m tired of the Democratic Party taking women for granted. I also happen to believe Sarah Palin supports women’s rights, deeply and passionately.

Here I am scratching my head. What does she support? She opposes comprehensive, medically accurate sex education. And is supporting a candidate for president with one of the most anti-women voting records in all of the Senate. He voted against the Violence Against Women Act which ensures rape survivors are not charged for the emergency exams used to prosecute their attackers. Ring a bell, Sarah? He opposes commonsense funding to prevent unintended and teen pregnancies, opposes requiring health care plans to cover prescription birth control (but Viagra is fine), and opposes equal pay legislation, saying it wouldn’t do “anything to help the rights of women.” And Sarah has not spoken out once against any of his record on these matters. Where is this feminist you speak of hiding?

Many of those—not all—who decried the sexist media treatment of Hillary Clinton have been silent as Palin has been skewered in the old ways that female public figures are skewered, as well as a host of sexualized new ways as well. Some feminists have weighed in; “Even the reportedly clear glasses she wears to play down her beauty queen credential and enhance her gravitas can’t make up for experience,” writes my heroine Suzanne Braun Levine, former editor of Ms. Oppose her on policy? Fine. But how sad for feminist leaders to sink this low, especially when Palin has worn glasses since she was 10 years old.

Last month a prominent feminist blogger, echoing that sensibility, declared that the media was wrongly buying into the false idea that Palin was a feminist. Why? Well, just because she said she was a feminist, because she supported women’s rights and opportunities, equal pay, Title IV—that was just “empty rhetoric,” they said.

That she has signed on for the Republican anti-women’s agenda doesn’t matter?

At least the blogger didn’t go as far as NOW’s Kim Gandy and declare that Palin was not a woman. Bottom line: you are not a feminist until we say you are. And there you have the formula for diminishing what was once a great and important mass social change movement to an exclusionary club that rejects women who sincerely want to join and, God forbid, grow to lead.

But here is the good news: women, citizens of America’s high and low culture, the Economist and People magazine readers, will get it. They got it with Hillary even when feminist leaders were not supporting her or doing so half-heartedly.

Again, to link Palin and Hillary is such an insult to what Hillary stands for and what Palin wants to take away from women everywhere. This idea that Palin by virtue of saying she is a feminist, is helping women, absent any action on her part it ridiculous.

Yes, Palin is a harder sell, she looks and sounds different, and one can rightfully oppose her based on abortion policies. If you only vote on how a person personally feels about abortion, you will never want her to darken your door.

Except for abortion you can go along with her? Really? All of the rest of the her views on women’s issues you’re fine with? Abstinence only? No sex ed? Shooting wolves from airplanes? Lying about her record on spending? Ethics?

If you care about anything else, she will continue to intrigue you. As Time’s Nancy Gibbs noted a few weeks ago, quoting bioethicist Tom Murray, “Sympathy and subtlety are seasonings rarely applied to political red meat.” Will Palin’s time come next week? I don’t know. But her time will come.

I hope this is wrong. Palin and feminism do not go together. You do not make rape victims pay for their own rape kits and call yourself a feminist. You do not preach to young girls that abstinence only is better than real sex education and then deny them abortion if they get pregnant and call yourself a feminist. You do not force young rape and incest victims to bear the children of their rapists and call yourself a feminist. You do not ride the coat tails of a well known misogynist into the White House and call yourself a feminist. You do not belittle other women who are battling their way to the office as “whiners” then hide behind your handlers and call yourself a feminist.


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Do over Palin

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Smart Women No Vote

Today I chatted with a friend to whom I have been sending various and sundry political articles for the past few months assuming that she was as much for Obama as I, and was entirely shocked to hear, “I think the man is a sexist racist ass.” She is the second Hillary supporter I know who has this antipathy toward him. My first instinct was to feel totally adrift; how could someone who I see as an astute, thoughtful woman see the same person as such a horrible man? Why?

Based on the way he treated Clinton … saw that with my own eyes during the debates … the language he allowed his supporters to leave on his website … “bros before hos” …… allowing all of his followers Clyburn and others to brand Bill and Hillary Clinton racists …. the list can go on and on and on. No one is allowed to say anything negative about Obama ….

I reminded her that people say all kinds of things that are negative about Obama. Bill and Hillary said all kinds of negative things and now they are saying all kinds of positive things. In fact, I was totally for Hillary in the primaries, but when she lost, she and I both moved on to what we thought was the best candidate. “Do you think he won’t be a good president?” I asked her.

I have no idea if he will be a good president. What past job experience do I have to judge him by? Can’t really see anything he has ever done. I don’t think McCain would be a good president either.

She is taking her answers from the Hillary and McCain playbooks. In terms of experience, many would say that Obama is pretty much equivalent to Hillary. Time wise, no one can beat McCain, but I don’t think that years served beats soundness of judgment or ability to lead. I asked if she would be voting.

There is no one to vote for in my opinion.

At this point I was so totally depressed. Because she is someone whose opinion I value and because I know that there is nothing I can say that will make her feel otherwise.

I’m used to being the only non-Obamaphile around. I know he will be elected. Once in office I hope some of the crap will stop and things will normalize.

I just don’t understand the hatred. I’ve seen this from Republicans, but what explains it from Democrats? I know we don’t need to be in lock step together just because he is the candidate. It is sad that things turned so personal in the primaries, but Obama’s policy positions and Hillary’s are so similar, and so they had to differentiate themselves from one another and turned to the negative. But after a slug fest, can’t the competitors agree that it was a good match and move on? I think Obama and Hillary did, but many of the Hillary followers could not accept it. For many, it is not about policy, or anything Obama is saying now; this is personal. Hillary represented them, and anything that was said against her was taken as an affront to them.

I know there is a lot of sexism in the world. It exists and there is nothing that can be done about it. I always thought the members of the Democratic Party or the leaders of it at least were above it. To see how strong it is in the Party was really heartbreaking. I have struggled with this. I felt like I was getting a divorce. You know Obama gave a very eloquent speech on racism in America. What would it cost him to give one on sexism? Forget his brushing Hillary off his shoulders on a televised debate, but why not since he is just waiting on a coronation, not address his young “followers” about all of the horrible Sarah Palin blow up fuck dolls and cunt t shirts and video porn movies they are making and ask them to stop? If he is a leader, why doesn’t he lead on this topic? ….. Why is a Democrat letting this happen? I just feel as if decades of feminist advances disappeared and it was open season on women.

I guess I just don’t see all this blatant sexism from Obama followers. The places I have seen it most are McCain supporters talking online about how hot Palin is. She is definitely unqualified to be president and she’s a joke every time she opens her mouth. There is nothing sexist in stating that. The Republicans have been sexist from day one in dressing her up in designer clothes and giving her the “hockey mom” speeches. She is just a trophy VP for McCain that has totally backfired. She is herself as anti-feminist as I can imagine and joined a ticket that has voted against women at every turn. I cannot blame Obama for that.

You know every one of the candidates are in designer clothes. Obama is wearing Hugo Boss suits, etc etc. If you don’t see the difference in how Clinton and Palin have been treated then I can’t point them out to you. I only blame Obama for the tone of his campaign and for how his operators manipulated that tone. It started against Clinton and it has free reign against Palin. (This would be the same if Palin registered A+ on the East Coast Feminist Behavior Scale)

The Democratic Party did not take Obama out and spend $150,000 of donors’ money to dress him or give him a $11,000 per week stylist. And as for it being sexist to bring it up, it was huge news when John Edwards had a couple of $400 haircuts. If Palin had any substance the GOP would not feel the need to be doing this. I am not sure how you connect this to Hillary at all. Only Palin who is an idiot and an insult to anyone who calls herself a feminist.

Linking Palin and Hillary is in itself sexist to me. Frankly, I don’t think that it would be the same if Palin were a qualified candidate. So much of what is being said about her is about her lack of information or intellectual curiosity about subjects she would have to be knowledgeable about if she were to be elected. I really don’t see a lot of sexism coming from the left, just intense fear of this aggressively ignorant candidate. Much like Dan Quayle who it now seems was eminently more qualified.

Bottom line, my point is Obama is unqualified to be president. McCain would be a horrible president. Biden is a drunk. Palin, well no. So, there are no good choices. I think we are well and truly fucked.

I know it is childish, but I told my dear friend not to ever talk to me about politics again. We see things too differently. My heart was beating too fast and my stomach was churning. I was ready to cry. I just realized what my gentile friends felt like when they found out there was no Santa Claus.

Do we see politics too differently or do we see this election too differently?

I don’t know at this point how to separate the two.

That’s why I’m looking forward to this whole election being over.

November 4th is not the end. Will all her anger just magically disappear on November 5th?

I’m just tired of all the hyped up crap. It will be refreshing to not have All Obama All the Time. He is a slick politician who managed to run an end game around a substantive public servant. Let’s hope I am going to be completely surprised. His presidency will not be one of a “cult of personality” but will instead be brilliant and will restore respect to an office sorely abused by a petty nasty horrible tyrant who inflicted horror and pain on this world. It will be a relief to have the media stop the Obama blitz.

I know I was right to suggest we never speak about this again. The slick politician vs the substantive public servant? I have so much to say, but no way to say it that won’t come out sounding like “you’re an idiot.” How can we see the same two people and see it so differently? As I said, I supported Hillary. I still hope she has a place either as the long-time Senior Senator from NY and maybe as a presidential candidate later or, should Obama find a place for her in the cabinet, she’d be great there, too. I see them both as exceptional people. But to see this as so black and white, good and evil, sexist and feminist, baffles and saddens me.

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I came, I saw, I said WTF

I went to the Palin rally. It was both a colossal waste of 4 hours and a great exercise in self-control. I am not sure how many people were there, but I am sure the GOP was happy with it. Frankly, I was bored. The difference though between what Mom saw watching it on television at home and what I experienced being there is worth noting. Mom talked about the adoring crowd, yet I was sitting betwixt and between a bunch of the faithful and I can honestly say, she was not electrifying. They weren’t all clapping and hanging on her every phrase as I expected. And surprisingly her skills with a crowd are not so great. Having seen her on television exclusively until now, I was unaware that she doesn’t really understand how the microphone and PA work. Sitting in the audience, I couldn’t hear what she was saying on more than half a dozen occasions because she started talking while the crowd was still clapping. Probably she knows that they are not really there to listen to her words. It is just about her celebrity. If they have heard her at any campaign stop on TV, they have heard it all before. It is all about the buzzwords: liberal, socialism, values, higher taxes, etc.

Before going in, I waited outside for an hour and a half in the churning sea of republican-ness. I was extremely aware that I was not one of them, but for the most part they were not taking aim at the left except for the Obama supporters across the street. At one point, yelling broke out between the two camps and I heard the end of an exchange. An Obama supporter yelled,”I have to work 3 jobs to get by.” And out of the McCain crowd a guy stepped to yell and point at her,”See, she’s taking our jobs.” I wish there was something jokey about it, but he seemed downright serious.

Back in the sea of conservatives, there was one Biltmore Forest type (I knew I’d see them there) who was bragging to a friend about a prayer circle he had participated in with Huckabee just outside the entrance to the Biltmore Estate. He was definitely feeling very superior to those Obama people, joking that he’d like to go get his car, drive up to the Obama group and honk as the other supporters had done, and then (here is his evil plan) he holds up a McCain/Palin sign. Oh, that will really get them, he giggles. He tells his friends that Palin “has the most amazing countenance — she never gets tired.” I am biting my tongue; I’d so like to ask, “Why should she look tired with a $11,000 dollar a week stylist?” Another nice woman outside, when I say I am local, says to me, “There are more of us here in Asheville than you’d think, but we just keep a low profile.” Does she think that Republicans are looked down on here in Asheville? Up by the doors someone breaks into a patriot song and the crowd joins in, “From sea to shining sea.”

The seats are mostly filled when I get inside and so I am relegated to the nosebleeds section. I sit between a large woman with her equally large daughter who stare at me (maybe they can smell the liberal on me) and a nice woman and her husband who I chat with the rest of the evening. She is a local, went to Enka High, saw George Wallace speak on the city/county plaza in 1968 and has traveled to some interesting places. As we sit waiting she remarks that it is a “good white Anglo-Saxon protestant crowd” here tonight. I am not really sure how to reply to this statement, but immediately notice one black guy sitting not too far away and imagine he must really feel like an alien here. The party volunteers have given the crowd long blow-up tubes, used for noise making and good TV visuals (makes the crowd look more active.) They gave these out at TV shows in China and it crosses my mind that these too must be Chinese. What happened to Country First/Made in America? In front of the crowd, volunteer cheerleaders lead the masses in chanting “Sarah, Sarah.” And the crowd does the wave. Thankfully my seatmate is not into the cheering or waving. A man in the audience nearby who bears an uncanny resemblance to G. Gordon Liddy yells, “No surrender!” to no one in particular.

The programs begins. First up we have a prayer for the election of the the “right” candidate. Then we are expected to say the pledge of allegiance. I don’t think I’ve done the hand over the heart thing in years, but Big Mama is giving me the eye and so I mumble along, skipping the Under God part. There is a huge whooping cheer afterwards which strikes me as odd. Isn’t that what you do at a baseball game? And then “oh, say can you see?” I cannot sing along with this crowd. This song is beautiful, but it is about more than love of the flag and I’m feeling in this crowd that “we’re bigger patriots in our narrow sense of the word than those liberals outside.” It is an almost religious patriotism. And it really creeps me out.

The first speaker of the evening is a woman who owns a local business. She explains that unless we elect McCain, the nonprofits will lose. I don’t get the connection, but she goes on to say that “spread the wealth means spread my income.” I am guessing that somehow her logic is that Obama is going to tax small business more so they won’t be able to give money to their favorite charities. Does she really think this is true? The audience believes it.

Next up is a local man who my seatmate recognizes as someone she went to high school with. I think it was Nathan Ramsey. He begins by explaining that Country First is all about real Americans. He goes through American history from the Founding Fathers to the present and shockingly, I was unaware that women’s suffrage and MLK’s “I have a Dream” speech were really all about country first. So by his logic, the anti-suffragists and segregationists were all anti-Americans. I think that might come as a surprise to many of their base. He went on to warn, “We are at a crossroads of freedom and servitude.” Wha? “It is not the words of the tree, it is the fruit it bears. Who does he hang around and what kind of fruit does it bear.” At this point G. Gordon yells again, “No surrender.” I look at my new friend next to me. She shrugs. The speaker finishes up with, “It’s about values.” This gets a huge cheer. Values? What kind of values? Seems the word itself is worthy enough for this crowd. Then he slips the word “liberal” into his closing remarks, which gets an equally loud boo.

Next up is country music star Gretchen Wilson. She sings a couple of songs I don’t know, though one of them sounds a lot like Lynyrd Skynyrd, and mostly it is more 80’s Metal than 00’s Country in my opinion. She ends the set not a moment too soon with Barracuda (which they continue to use despite the fact that Heart said they did not want it associated with Palin) and then we all know what is coming.

Palin emerges onto the catwalk with Todd in tow and is introduced by Senator Richard Burr who wants us all to know that “She’s just like us. She’s one of us.” Tonight, like all of us, she is wearing jeans. Earlier in the day at a rally in Florida, my seatmate tells me she was wearing a beautiful pink jacket. I mention that she has a lot of clothes in the belly of that plane of hers and she will probably change before this rally. “If it were a man, nobody would be talking about it,” she replies. I bite my tongue again. Palin says hello then quickly reintroduces her favorite singer and her favorite song, her theme song it turns out, Gretchen Wilson singing Redneck Woman. The woman sitting beside me agrees that it is an insulting song to sing here and a poor choice. We are definitely not redneck women. Perhaps hillbilly or mountain women, but decidedly not redneck. After the rollicking has ended she gets Gretchen up on stage to lead us all in a rousing “Happy Birthday” to her mom at home in Alaska. Aww!

Finally she is ready to speak. I am ready for her insightful, deep, well-thought take on the problems facing America today. Instead I get Plain Palin. She is less than electrifying – no charisma to speak of. There is nothing new in her speech. Nothing to this woman. I listen for a while, then take my camera and go in closer for a few more shots of Herself and head for the door. I am not the only one leaving early.

Outside, Obama supporters have morphed into Zombies. Tonight is the annual Zombie Walk. The route they take through town just happens to pass right in front of the auditorium and the timing is just right for the exiting Sarah fans to be greeted by Zombies for Obama. It is kind of the perfect end to the event.

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Even Alaska is endorsing Obama

Stick a fork in McCain/Palin. They’re done. The largest newspaper in Alaska has now endorsed Obama. Their reasons are many, but follow what many on both sides have been saying for some time. McCain sold out.

Sen. McCain describes himself as a maverick, by which he seems to mean that he spent 25 years trying unsuccessfully to persuade his own party to follow his bipartisan, centrist lead. Sadly, maverick John McCain didn’t show up for the campaign. Instead we have candidate McCain, who embraces the extreme Republican orthodoxy he once resisted and cynically asks Americans to buy for another four years.

But while they are just plain proud to have Palin elevated like this, that is not enough.

The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation.

And beyond that, Palin is in no way ready for the job.

Yet despite her formidable gifts, few who have worked closely with the governor would argue she is truly ready to assume command of the most important, powerful nation on earth. To step in and juggle the demands of an economic meltdown, two deadly wars and a deteriorating climate crisis would stretch the governor beyond her range. Like picking Sen. McCain for president, putting her one 72-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time.

I only hope that many of the people who keep using that line that she is the most popular governor in American will read this. They probably won’t but if there is one thing that separates us in this election it is that we on the left have hope. Thank you Barack.

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Palin Permission

It seems to me that Sarah Barracuda Palin’s biggest contribution to this year’s presidential race has been to lead by example and grant permission to the far right of dear GOP to speak publicly what they have probably been saying to the faithful for a very long time. The Bachman anti-American rant and more are probably nothing new to the base. But when you have someone running for the 2nd highest office in the land who feels free to characterize whole swaths of the country as less patriotic and less real American, why wouldn’t you think it is fine to voice your long held concerns that there are legions of Anti-Americans among us, even in the Congress?

People like Rush Limbaugh and his brothers at Fox have been at it for too long, but it is only now that members of Congress feel enabled to share in the hate again. I don’t remember another campaign so full of venom and divisiveness. It does remind me of the bad old days of the southern racial slurring. Why has this country moved backwards? Can we blame Bush and Cheney? Probably. And now McCain and Palin are furthering this us and them agenda. I really don’t know what they get from it. Except for the fear factor.

When Rep. John Lewis compared the McCain campaign with George Wallace, I and probably most people in the US, thought he was merely saying that they were fanning the flames of racism and culture war. But a great article in the the New York Times yesterday, explained the analogy in an entirely different and correct light. It seems Wallace was not the racist we all remember. He only became one to appeal to his base. Those of us not active in the Civil Rights Movement or aware of Wallace in his earlier years would not know it, but he turned down an endorsement from the KKK and accepted one from the NAACP. It was only when he lost his first race for governor that he turned into the racist he is remembered as.

I think Lewis was saying that the McCain he knew was like Wallace in that respect — willing to turn into whatever it takes to win, no matter what might result of his tactics. I know it is sad to see McCain now. I would not be so afraid of his presidency if he were the same man who ran in 2000. But he has sold his soul to the devil and by choosing Palin as his running mate he conceded that winning is more important to him than principles. Sure, the VP candidate is usually given the attack dog role in the campaign, but Palin with McCain’s permission has gone above and beyond. She seems to relish the role and he is just “so proud of her.”

And just for fun, I do love Letterman:

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A Different Map just for fun

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