Thursday, November 6, 2008

Let the Republican Cannibalism Begin!

Ah, schadenfreude. I bathe in it like...I don't know, dirty bath water? Mud?

But still, I mourn Palin's performance and her treatment by the McCain campaign(both during the campaign and now, post-mortem). Can't help but feel that a bunch of those 18 million cracks have been patched over.

It's 100% clear to everyone with eyes that she should never, ever have been tapped for VP. VPILF notwithstanding, she was the cement shoes on the bloated corpse that was the McCain campaign. We know this. But this trend among the conservative punditry to lay blame for the loss at her feet (begun even before Nov 4th) is worrying to me. Yes, she is an easy target, yes that Couric interview was a disaster yes, she absolutely terrified the independent voters. But bottom line, she was simply a base pick in a non-base election. If this had been 00/04, and Bush had been her running mate and the world was what it was then, they would still be positively drooling over her. Awful as she may be, the scary thing is that she could have won campaigning exactly they way she did did if the election had been in another year, another context. So to me, that makes this avalanche of criticism from her erstwhile adorers disingenuous in the extreme.

But what really bothers me is the language used to rip her apart. Which is to say, decidely gendered and infantilizing. Take this video. Apart from the bitchy backstabbing nature of the McCain staffers releasing these anecdotes about NAFTA and the continent of Africa (lol @ both, if true), my red flag went flying up the moment I heard the word "tantrum." They say she was "hard to handle, emotionally." And I suppose McCain was the very manifestation of calm reason?

McCain has a legendary temper, but you wouldn't hear the word "tantrum" ascribed to him too often, at least not by FoxNews types. "Explosions" "tirades" "manly bursts of testosterone" yes, "temper tantrums" no. Disgruntled campaign managers call her a diva. These are inescapably gendered words with specific connotations that, frankly, I do not want ascribed to ANY female politicians, no matter how nut-jobby. The attention to the clothing and appearance of female politicians I have come to terms with. After all, its not as though the men are exempt. But come on, when Palin began her campaign she was kept shielded from the media like some delicate flower (cute, but sooo dumb- don't let her near those mean ol reporters!) and then when she tried to stand on her own feet (albeit without the policy knowledge or center-appeal to make it worthwile), suddenly it was Attack of the 50ft Rogue Diva. She and the ONLY OTHER visible woman in the campaign, Nicole Wallace, took the flack for Fashiongate, but dammit its not like she just went wild with Daddy McCain's credit card! McCain's campaign dressed her in a very specifc way with a very specific intent- summed up as VPILF, to be seen but not heard. She is like a political version of the virgin/whore complex.

Anyway, sigh. Sometimes it seems like between Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin the credibility of female politicians under public scrutiny is dead forever. Here's to the next generation I guess. Its all a process...slow progress until we reach a tipping point of common sense and equality.

In non-depressing, non-Palin news there's this. Rwanda becomes the FIRST IN THE WORLD to have a parliament where women are the majority.

1 comment:


    I think that really points it out, and really says alot about the causes of failures of the McCain campaign.