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The Sarah Palin pity party

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by WoodysGirl, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Do it for the Vine! Staff Member

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    Everyone seems to be oozing sympathy for the fumbling vice-presidential nominee. Please. Cry me a freaking river.

    By Rebecca Traister

    Sept. 30, 2008 | Is this the week that Democrats and Republicans join hands -- to heap pity on poor Sarah Palin?

    At the moment, all signs point to yes, as some strange bedfellows reveal that they have been feeling sorry for the vice-presidential candidate ever since she stopped speaking without the help of a teleprompter. Conservative women like Kathleen Parker and Kathryn Jean Lopez are shuddering with sympathy as they realize that the candidate who thrilled them, just weeks ago, is not in shape for the big game. They're not alone. The New Republic's Christopher Orr feels that Palin has been misused by the team that tapped her. In the New York Times, Judith Warner feels for Sarah, too! And over at the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates empathizes with intelligence and nuance, making clear that he's not expressing pity. Salon's own Glenn Greenwald watched the Katie Couric interview and "actually felt sorry for Sarah Palin." Even Amy Poehler, impersonating Katie Couric on last week's "Saturday Night Live," makes the joke that Palin's cornered-animal ineptitude makes her "increasingly adorable."

    I guess I'm one cold dame, because while Palin provokes many unpleasant emotions in me, I just can't seem to summon pity, affection or remorse.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm just like all of the rest of you, part of the bipartisan jumble of viewers that keeps one hand poised above the mute button and the other over my eyes during Palin's disastrous interviews. Like everyone else, I can barely take the waves of embarrassment that come with watching someone do something so badly. Roseanne Barr singing the national anthem, Sophia Coppola acting in "The Godfather: Part III," Sarah Palin talking about Russia -- they all create the same level of eyeball-squinching discomfort.

    But just because I'm human, just because I can feel, just because I did say this weekend that I "almost feel sorry for her" doesn't mean, when I consider the situation rationally, that I do. Yes, as a feminist, it sucks -- hard -- to watch a woman, no matter how much I hate her politics, unable to answer questions about her running mate during a television interview. And perhaps it's because this experience pains me so much that I feel not sympathy but biting anger. At her, at John McCain, at the misogynistic political mash that has been made of what was otherwise a groundbreaking year for women in presidential politics.

    In her "Poor Sarah" column, Warner writes of the wave of "self-recognition and sympathy [that] washed over" her when she saw a photo of Palin talking to Henry Kissinger. Palin -- as "a woman fully aware that she was out of her league, scared out of her wits, hanging on for dear life" -- apparently reminded Warner of herself. Wow. Putting aside the massively depressing implication that Warner recognizes this attitude because she believes it to be somehow written into the female condition, let's consider that there are any number of women who could have been John McCain's running mate -- from Olympia Snowe to Christine Todd Whitman to Kay Bailey Hutchison to Elizabeth Dole to Condoleezza Rice -- who would not have provoked this reaction. Democrats might well have been repulsed and infuriated by these women's policy positions. But we would not have been sitting around worrying about how scared they looked.

    In her piece, Warner diagnoses Palin with a case of "Impostor Syndrome," positing that admirers who watched her sitting across from world leaders at the U.N. last week were recognizing that "she can't possibly do it all -- the kids, the special-needs baby, the big job, the big conversations with foreign leaders. And neither could they." Seriously? Do we have to drag out a list of women who miraculously have found a way to manage to balance many of these factors -- Hillary Clinton? Nancy Pelosi? Michelle Bachelet? -- and could still explain the Bush Doctrine without breaking into hives? This is not breaking my heart. It is breaking my spirit.

    The Atlantic's Coates takes a far smarter, but ultimately still too gentle, approach to Palin in his blog. He writes, compassionately, "There are a lot of us lefties who are guffawing right now and are happy to see Palin seemingly stumbling drunkenly from occasional interview to occasional interview." Coates asserts that McCain "[tossed] her to the wolves" and notes that while she surely had some agency in this whole mess, "where I am from the elders protect you, and pull you back when you've gone too far, when your head has gotten too big."

    Where I come from, a woman -- and especially a woman governor with executive experience -- doesn't have to rely on any elder or any man to protect her and pull her *** out of the fire. She can make a decision all on her own. (Palin was more than happy to tell Charlie Gibson that she made her decision to join the McCain ticket without blinking.) I agree with Coates that the McCain camp was craven, sexist and disrespectful in its choice of Palin, but I don't agree that the Alaska governor was a passive victim of their Machiavellian plotting. A very successful woman, Palin has the wherewithal to move forward consciously. What she did was move forward thoughtlessly and overconfidently, without considering that her abilities or qualifications would ever be questioned.


    Christopher Orr writes sympathetically about the scenario that Palin may have envisioned, in which she tours the country on the wave of adoration that buoyed her out of St. Paul and through a post-convention victory lap. In his mind, she might well have continued to give winning, grinning interviews, charming the pants off regular folks all across the country, if the accursed McCain campaign hadn't nervously locked her in a no-press-allowed tower. Orr compares Palin to a talented athlete who, as a result of being over-coached, doesn't soar to new physical heights but instead gets "broken down, [loses] confidence in his game, [becomes] tentative, second guessing himself even to the point of paralysis."

    Surely if Palin's political muscles were as taut and supple as Orr suspects, the campaign would not have been so quick to put her on a special training regimen.

    It was so predictable that we would get to a pity-poor-helpless-Sarah phase. The press was already warming up for it on the day McCain announced her as his running mate, when NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell speculated that McCain's choice was designed to declaw scrappy Joe Biden, whose aggressive style would come off as bullying next to the sweet hockey mom from Alaska. Now, of course, we know about the hockey moms and the pit bulls; the more-powerful-than-expected Palin juggernaut forestalled the pity/victim/mean boy/poor Sarah phase.

    So here it is, finally. And as unpleasant as it may be to watch the humiliation of a woman who waltzed into a spotlight too strong to withstand, I flat out refuse to be manipulated into another stage of gendered regress -- back to the pre-Pelosi, pre-Hillary days when girls couldn't stand the heat and so were shooed back to the kitchen.

    Sarah Palin is no wilting flower. She is a politician who took the national stage and sneered at the work of community activists. She boldly tries to pass off incuriosity and lassitude as regular-people qualities, thereby doing a disservice to all those Americans who also work two jobs and do not come from families that hand out passports and backpacking trips, yet still manage to pick up a paper and read about their government and seek out experience and knowledge.

    When you stage a train wreck of this magnitude -- trying to pass one underqualified chick off as another highly qualified chick with the lame hope that no one will notice -- well, then, I don't feel bad for you.

    http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2008/09/30/palin_pity/
  2. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    New attack every day...
  3. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    We shall see how Palin holds up this Thrusday, I don't think she is looking for pity nor wants these liberals pity. I think she is a tough lady who can handle herself.
  4. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Do it for the Vine! Staff Member

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    Interestingly enough, trick, I didn't think it was an attack. Or maybe the points I agreed with, I didn't see as attacks.
  5. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Maybe it is just me, and I have been one of the biggest critics of Palin. But I do blame the McCain camp on a great deal of this. I also think that just because I think she is over her head or has had very bad moments in interviews it does not mean it is because she is a woman or that if I feel sorry for her at times it is not a sexist thing just because she is a woman.

    This woman could still turn things around. She could kill in the upcoming VP debate. In the future, whether the McCain/Palin ticket wins this election, she could very well turn things around and become the president and possibly one of the great ones. Nobody really knows right now.

    However I have admitted to feeling sorry for her at times. I also think some of this is due to the McCain camp. I have also expressed concerns of the McCain's camp even with McCain as I think they have really done him a disservice in some areas.

    The problem here is that sometimes you know the risks going in, sometimes you have to lay down in the bed you make. I see that more on the McCain side myself. I give Palin a little leadway in that.

    I do question if she did not join the ticket too soon and considering her circumstances with a special needs baby and a daughter who is pregnant. I make no bones about that and will not apologize for that because that is just my opinion.

    However I do think the McCain camp has in some ways hamstrung Palin and McCain himself.

    I also have to wonder if her knocking that home run out of the park in her RNC speech which was basically a coming out party and the first time most people have ever seen her and even heard of her...if that was not a bad thing.
    Hard to think of giving a knock out speech as a bad thing but you have heard the theories/rumors of them trying to lower expectations in order to look better later...wonder if they thought about that one speech too late because I think what it did was raise expectations and made it hard to top it. Think of how many people were so stoked after that speech and now how some of that initial excitement has leveled off or in some cases went way down hill.

    All in all I think they have hurt her by shielding her from the press, by not vetting her as much as they should have by accounts, by not getting her out there sooner to get practice, by not having her out there sooner to get some of this media stuff out of the way and consider old news so close to an election.

    In some ways I think her choice itself and my opinion the reason behind the choice itself is a discredit to her and not her fault.

    I honestly do not believe that if Obama had picked Hillary, Palin would have gotten the nod. I honestly do not believe that if McCain could have gotten one of the two guys he wanted that she would have gotten the nod.

    It seemed like they waited too long and she is paying for it.

    So, not that she gets off scott free, but I do lay a good deal of blame on the McCain camp.

    Either way, just because someone feels bad for her it does not make it a female or sexist thing.
  6. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    The feeling I got from the article is that if you feel pity for her or sorry for her you should not because it makes you a sexist or it takes away from a feminists power and belittles her.

    But...what do I know.:D
  7. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    She hunts moose but can't handle Katie Couric and media scrutiny? Some people have an interesting definition of tough.
  8. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    Well is Obama over his head? I don't know who he would have picked had Obama chosen Hillary but I do know many Republicans were not going to be thrilled with Romney and others did not want Huckbee yet the Palin selection seemed to make both sides of conservatives quite happy. People talk about not wanting a Washington insider well Palin is no Washington insider and I think she has the smarts to handle herself. Right now she is taking the attacks coming her way and that was to be expected and this Thursday she will get to debate a man who has served in Washington for years and so we will see what Palin is made of.
  9. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    You are a mean, sarcastic, hairy, pot bellied sexist...don't you know that...Everybody has feelings
  10. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    Obama selection Biden who tells a story of people watching the President Roosevelt in 1929 which would be a nice story had TV been invented or Roosevelt was actually the President in 1929 yet Biden is ready to take over in a heartbeat? Please only thing Biden has over Palin is the fact he has been in Washington for years something that most get criticized for as voter holler term limitation BS.
  11. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Obama could very well be over his head. That is a legit argument. However he does not look like it compared to her and I don't think anyone could make a legit argument on that.

    Not Romney, pretty sure that is the last guy McCain wanted. Don't think Huckabee either although I think they liked each other. The two he wanted IMO was Ridge and Lieberman but there was no way the Republicans would have went for it. They even floated some ideas out there to get a reaction and it was pretty obvious those were not going to be accepted by the republicans.

    And I have stated several times that she could knock out another homer.

    The point I think you missed was that I think the McCain camp guys are behind a great deal of these problems and in ways have hurt both Palin and McCain himself.
  12. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I think he took a risk but I think that risk can pay off we shall see how this plays out but in the mean time where is the same media gushing over the pity for Biden making dumb comments, when he says American will not have clean coal plants in the US despite the fact Obama supports it? He is a vet and been around and he is making dumb remarks and yet many in the media just turn the other way? Please Palin is just as qualified as that idiot Biden or Obama as far as that goes. She has actually governed something no one on either ticket has ever done in their life.
  13. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Do it for the Vine! Staff Member

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    I guess it could've seemed that way from a male perspective. I didn't see her as saying that feeling sorry for her is sexist. I took the writer as being angry at some of the pity articles that have been written and the soft handling of Palin. I thought this was a feminist article moreso than a political one.

    She acknowledged that she felt a bit of sympathy towards Palin, but that if Palin is as tough as she seems and that she's been able to get this far on her own, then you shouldn't feel sorry for her.

    The points that struck home were the handling of Palin by the McCain campaign. I don't feel like I know anything more about her and what she thinks than when she first came out.

    I think the overall point is that there are too many women like Palin, locally, state level, and on the national stage who have fought to get where she is and the McCain campaign is stunting that progression by protecting her like they have.

    I will acknowledge that the writer took some shots at Palin, herself, but I don't think she was the entire focus on this one.
  14. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    Hardly shocking when you consider the reaction of the right leaning members of this board to her nomination. They raved about republicans nominating a woman, contemptuously dismissed the notion that the republican party is sexist, and then went on and on about how hot she is and how they'd like to do her.
  15. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Or if you take the spin out of the above post. She hunts moose, she seems to be a real person. She's not used to the Washington Spin Cycle, she's not a Washington insider. Maybe she can be somebody who changes things?

    ;)
  16. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Yet at the same time the media has not went after all the gaffes McCain has said either or if they did many were just in passing and let go.

    I mean we can both come up with a butt load of gaffes by Biden, Obama and McCain but I don't think we can come up with interviews with those guys where they look as out of their league as we can the Couric/Palin interview.

    I know people want to dismiss that because she is on the republican ticket but I can not honestly believe that people have not saw those interviews and not cringed even if they are the most die hard republicans.

    And yet again, it does not mean she can not turn it around...but that does not take away from the idea she has looked very bad in those interviews and one has to logically think that the McCain Camp knows it is a problem and probably the reason behind keeping her shielded from the media.
  17. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Perhaps it would have been better that they not considered a women? That probably would have dismissed all notions that the Republican Party is, indeed, not sexist.
  18. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    Exactly.

    Pitbull.

    Barracuda.

    I can kill a Moose with a rifle.

    Oh geez...I can't handle the God Awful look of that tyrant Gibson.

    And don't even mention Katie Couric...Gibson's got nothing on her!

    Oh Brother.

    :laugh2:
  19. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Dave were fictional.
  20. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    Because they put on a better show? As I said she will get a chance to show herself in the debate. Was she smooth like a polished politician maybe not? Hell could be she has not learned the art of smiling at your face while lying her ars off as many others have. Hopefully she never gets good at that art

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