Saturday, September 6, 2008

Palin redux

OK, I lied. In my last blog, I really was trying to write as if I were thinking like an independent voter, but in my heart I knew I could not. And after reading what other so-called independent voters were saying to pollsters, I was amazed that actually, I got it about right! Nevertheless, now that the dust has cleared, I have other thoughts, both about Sarah Palin and the whole convention.

First, it just amazes me that voters who have been swayed to the Republican ticket by her are voting for it because she is "just like me." When I heard that people actually make decisions based upon who is most like them, I thought I was witnessing the decline and fall of the Western world, and I still do. I mean, I think I have a healthy dose of self-regard (as does every blogger who deludes him/herself into thinking that people actually want to know what they think), but I don't think someone like me ought to be President, or Vice President, and you shouldn't either! Sheesh! Much has been written about Palin having boundary issues with her family. But really, it is the American electorate with the boundary problem if our vote is driven by our identification with their lives as opposed to their positions on the issues.

Second, as a social worker by profession, I found her belittling of community organizers offensive (and I'm not the only one). But really, it was more telling than that: it revealed her as someone with absolutely no regard for minority and low-income communities, the problems they face, and their resilience. Community organizing efforts have been the last resort of these neighborhoods when their governments fail them. It's an honorable tradition and an honorable profession, especially in Chicago, where Jane Addams' Hull House saved so many new immigrants to this country during the turn of the last century. I hope Obama slams her on this, and that the 36 (out of 2,380 total) African-American RNC delegates figure out where her allegiances lie.

Boy, I could go on and on. But I'm anxious to get to my next blog, about Bush's labelling of his opponents as "the angry left" during his speech. I thought that one was really rich.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin speech

The next time Sarah Palin walks out on a stage, they ought to play Heart's "Barracuda." She certainly lived up to the moniker given to her in high school last night. This morning, the blogs are burning and churning, every which way.

Listening to her, and then seeing her hold her baby after the speech (which even I found touching), all I could think of was that commercial with the song that goes "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan....."

I tried to put myself in the mindset of an undecided voter. It didn't work. I tried to assume the "disaffected Hillary voter" stance. Closer, but still no go. Next I went for the independent voter, who goes back and forth watching the election closely, and has made his/her mind, many times. I've done that before. That was a better fit. And here is what I came up with:

It was a speech that was undoubtedly written for a man. I thought the sarcasm was ugly. If this is who she is, she won't wear well, even if I agree with her about what a great guy John McCain is. But despite this, she gives off a gutsy gal, Annie Oakley persona that I find appealing. That is why I think I could fall in love, maybe for fifteen minutes, maybe long enough to be interested in John McCain's speech tonight. But ultimately, when I thought about who I would rather listen to for the next four years, I would remember why I dislike Bush so much, turn off the TV, and buy me an Obama pin. But not from I mean, what do you take me for?

UPDATE: My fab governor, Kathleen Sebelius, makes an excellent point in Huffington Post today: we have a lot of small towns in Kansas. Not a one of them has hired a lobbyist and gone after earmarks. But Sarah Palin, according to the Washington Post, got almost $27,000,000 in earmarks for a town not much bigger than my sons' high school. I wonder if a debate moderator can ask her about that without being vilified as sexist.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Personal is Political

I feel sorry for the Palin kids, who really have been brought up out of the spotlight. And now it's white-hot and it's shining on them, which means that Governor Palin's oldest teen-aged daughter has to have her pregnancy announced by her mother, and picked up by every newspaper, wire service, and blog.
Credit her mother with putting a positive spin on it--she spoke of her excitement at becoming a grandparent, her pride in her daughter's decision to have the baby (uh, doesn't that make her pro-choice??), and of course mentioned that the prospective parents will be marrying shortly.
Reporters covering the Republican National Convention have found delegates to be largely supportive, noting that it burnishes Palin's anti-choice credentials. "It just makes the Palin family as human as any other family there is in America," said Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt. "I think there's a big contrast between how the Obama camp has presented this issue already and the clearly pro-life, consistent message that's coming out of . . . Sarah Palin.
Honestly, the sheer chutzpah of it all is staggering. The daughter of a governor who is loudly and proudly not only anti-choice, but anti-knowledge when it comes to sex education, has managed to make unwed, teen parenthood a virtue to these wingnuts.
But I cannot help but think about what the wingnuttery would have been talking about this week, had Barack Obama had an unwed teen-aged daughter. Can anyone say with a straight face that the subtext would have been no different?
I have been looking on the web for a discussion about this, and all I can find is the faux outrage that conservatives ginned up for Obama when he alluded to abortion (and STD's) as "punishment" for a mistake (see full quote here). But I would be curious to know what other people think. Do you think that the pregnancy of an African-American teen from Chicago (with a parent on the Presidential ticket) would be greeted with the same enthusiasm by conservatives? Would it matter to the election?
Meanwhile, back to teen pregnancy as a social policy issue: As noted above, Governor Palin has been a big fan of abstinence-only sex education. So here is an inconvenient truth about it that she might want to read. It's too late for her daughter, but not for the hundreds of thousands that will be governed by decisions made in a McCain-Palin administration.