Monday, September 01, 2008

Choices, Choices

You knew this was coming, right?

Even though Republican’ts tried to exploit America’s not-always-hidden racism against Democrat Barack Obama, first lady Laura Bush--struggling to halt criticism of John McCain’s not-ready-for-primetime veep pick, Sarah Palin--is now warning Dems against launching sexist attacks against her. That possibility is “something we all looked at,” Mrs. Bush told Politico.

Well, sorry, Mrs. Bush, but pointing out that Palin isn’t qualified to be vice president of the United States is not sexist. It’s legitimate political commentary. Chiding McCain for extremely poor judgment in selecting the Alaska governor as his running mate is not sexist. Questioning the McCain camp’s inadequate vetting of their neophyte number two is not sexist. Deriding Palin for her ideological extremism is not sexist. In fact, I haven’t seen any examples of sexist attacks on Sarah Palin, though there may be some fringe misogynists out there who think insulting women is a good idea. (Kind of like McCain making fun of Chelsea Clinton in 1998.) It’s Republican’ts who are infamous for taking cheap shots at their opponents, Mrs. Bush, and then telling others that is beneath their honor to follow suit.

No doubt Mrs. Bush is trying to head off even more criticism of Palin, now that it’s been revealed that the governor’s unmarried 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant. Can you imagine what the right wing’s reaction would be, were Barack Obama’s elder daughter 17 and bearing a child without the prior exchange of “I do’s”? They’d be calling her “black trash,” and dubbing her a “whore” and a “slut.” Or ... what’s that word McCain used to describe his own wife? Oh, yeah, “cunt.” They’d fire off every hateful salvo against the Democrat’s daughter without a moment’s hesitation or shame. But now that the baby shoe is on the other foot, what does the GOP do? It sends Laura Bush out to chide Dems for undemonstrated sexism.

Sadly, the media are suckers for this sort of shell game. They’ve been conned by Republican’ts for so long, they have forgotten what it means to think for themselves. No doubt they’ll pick up this dubious caution against sexism and go looking for it in every phantom example uttered by prominent Dems between now and November 4. Meanwhile, they’ll encourage the Republican’t double-standard bearer, McCain, to defend this woman he wants to keep down at his foot for the next four years.

As if that arrangement can be called anything but sexist ...

One other important thing: In defending Bristol Palin, the McCain campaign made special mention of the fact that she “made the decision on her own to keep the baby.” That is a bone tossed to members of the rabid religious right, who might otherwise froth at the lips over this teenage pregnancy (as they might be justified in going apoplectic over McCain’s multiple marital infidelities). However, it highlights another issue, too, which Steve Benen mentioned this morning:
[I]f McCain has his way in office, the choice wouldn’t be up to her at all. Roe would be overturned, and reproductive rights would be dramatically curtailed for every woman in America. Indeed, it’s not just McCain--Sarah Palin told Alaskans during her gubernatorial campaign that she wouldn’t support abortion rights even if her own daughter had been raped.
The best choice Americans can make is to defeat John McCain and Sarah Palin in November.

UPDATE: From Huffington Post contributor A. Brooks:
I am now hearing from the Karl Roves of the world saying that having a 17-year-old daughter get pregnant out of wedlock will sympathize Palin to millions of Americans who know the pain of that situation. But my question is WHERE WAS THE ADVICE? Do we want a president who cannot communicate with their own child that possibly having a baby a year after you get your drivers license is not the smartest thing to do? Is this the new way for women to break the glass ceiling? To have their daughters throw their babies at it? I want my president to control their children, then they can tell the Navy what to do.
READ MORE:Jerry Springer: Call the Palins ASAP,” by Joe Sudbay (AMERICAblog); “Palin, Pregnancy, and the Presidency,” by Rebecca Traister (Salon); “Palin Trooper Scandal Could Become a Problem,” by Steve Quinn (AP); “Palin Almost Recalled as Mayor,” by Eric Schmeltzer (The Huffington Post); “The Hollow Man,” by William Rivers Pitt (TruthOut).

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