I agree with a lot of what Sarah has written about the VP debate. When Sarah Palin first arrived on the scene, I regarded her as a worthy political opponent, someone who would keep the Democratic party on their toes. I welcomed the idea of a woman VP candidate, regardless of party affiliation. But a woman chosen simply for her gender is an insult. And the fact that “all Sarah Palin needed to do was to survive this debate,” an oft-repeated talking point, is an even bigger insult.
I find it funny when someone like Camille Paglia, who is forever talking about how women ought to learn how to play by men’s rules and not expect preferential treatment in the political arena, turns around and hails the Palin pick as “feminist.” Excuse me? The fact that the McCain campaign essentially argued that Palin must be shielded and muzzled by the big boys, lest the press not show her due “deference,” is somehow feminist? The fact that expectations for her are laughably low is also feminist? The fact that we are being encouraged to overlook her political background and her stance on the issues because she has a uterus is in any way shape or form acceptable?
Paglia tore viciously into Hillary Clinton, but Palin got a free pass? Why, exactly, did this happen? And do you mean to tell me that this has nothing at all to do with Paglia’s interest in looks over substance, in charm over clarity?
To be honest, I also found Paglia’s comparison of John McCain to a “vampire” to be equally ridiculous. McCain may be old, both in the sense of his age and in the sense of him representing a political party that will not embrace change at this crucial juncture in our history, but that’s not an excuse to paint him as a decrepit undead monster. If anything, it’s Palin that bothers me more.
So after this debate, all I am left with is the sense that a woman’s success, as defined by the Republican party, doesn’t depend on much. One must look good, galvanize the darling “base,” and be able to complete a sentence. A new take on “feminism” for the 21st century indeed.