Feminists Of Gilead

by digby

Roger Simon says that Palin is going to run in 2012 and all this bad press will have been explained away as sexism. And here we have an alleged feminist making a similar case. You have to love the nasty opening:

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.
Nice. She goes on:

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.

Here's the thing. There are probably many people who are smart once you know them personally, but politicians are supposed to be able to project their intelligence to the vast public. You shouldn't have to share a beer (or a mooseburger) with them to know that when they say stupid things in public it's not because they are stupid but rather ... what? Completely uninterested in current events? Is that supposed to be something we should overlook?

Now, I'll grant that George W. Bush gave the Republicans every reason to believe that appearing to be dumb as a post would be no detriment to winning national office. And he did get a freer pass than Palin. But I'm hard pressed to speak out for a female politician's right to be as ignorant as George W. Bush. Palin was an unknown and the first woman on a Republican presidential ticket and it wasn't very "smart" of her to not be prepared to even answer soft ball questions about what she reads or come up blank when asked about the Bush Doctrine. I'm sorry, it's just not sexist to be unimpressed with a female politician who cannot demonstrate the most rudimentary knowledge of politics, government and current events. Indeed, it's an embarrassment to women everywhere that she would put herself in that position and be seen byto represent the best and the brightest of women in the country. It makes it that much harder for the next one.

There have certainly been sexist smears against her. (Calling her a "Diva" for instance, rather than simply saying she's "not a team player" --- but that's coming from the Republicans!) Frankly, they were nothing to what the press rolled out against Clinton in the primaries and I would guess that the feminist outcry against that behavior was largely what has kept Palin from getting much worse than she has. The criticisms of her have largely been substantive and reasonable. (There is no double standard on the wardrobe cost issue --- ask John Edwards.)

But this is really delusional:

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. 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. 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. 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 don't have any idea what she's talking about with the sympathy and subtlety quip, but the rest is unadulterated bullshit. She only "intrigues" neanderthals. And there is no one more "exclusionary" than a right winger.

Palin is no feminist except to the extent that she is willing to walk through all the doors that feminists opened up before her and them slam them shut on the girls coming behind her. She is from the far right of the Republican party where they would see women as permanent second class citizens, at the mercy of their reproductive tracts and able to succeed only to the extent that some man "allows" them to. She caters to fundamentalist throwbacks whose adherence to their so-called traditional values always seems to result in women getting the shaft.

And it must have escaped this allegedly intelligent woman that Obama is getting far more of the female vote than Palin. The female Clinton voters were appalled that the Republicans thought for a moment that they would be appeased with someone who is a cipher compared to the competent and well-informed feminist Clinton:

McCain clearly hoped that having a woman on the ticket would sway Clinton voters. But Clinton voters here said Palin is beyond the pale. In many cases her very selection accelerated their support of Obama.

Carol Kunz, a 42-year-old attorney from Manchester, said, "To compare the two women is insulting to women everywhere."

Christine Hines, a 43-year-old homemaker from North Andover, said, "Palin's right-wing politics curl my hair. How could any Hillary voter align herself with Palin?"

Carol Crowell of Haverhill, a 46-year-old executive editor in educational publishing, said, "My husband voted for Hillary too. But the idea that Hillary supporters would support someone the political polar opposite from Hillary on healthcare, education, and ending the war just because they're women is crazy.

Just being a woman who made it in a man's world doesn't make you a feminist. (Some of the worst anti-feminists I've ever known were women I worked for --- and one of the most committed feminists was a man.) Being a feminist is not determined by what genitalia you have but rather the principles for which you fight. Palin's priorities are obvious. She's more interested aerial wolf hunting than she is in woman's equality.

I don't know if she will flame out or if she will end up being the second coming of Abraham Lincoln. But whatever happens, the fact remains that she got to where she was because of feminism but not because she was a feminist. She walked on all our backs so she could step on our throats. She's a typical right wing Republican.