What Digby Said

Re: criticism of Sarah Palin:

…She’s obviously a disaster from my perspective — her extreme social conservatism is an immediate disqualifier for any office, much less the vice presidency. But I really hope the Obama campaign does not take to heart some of the “advice” it’s getting about going after Palin with snappy slogans over her picture that say “this is what McCain thinks is ready to lead?” After all the talk in this election about feminism, I think the Obama campaign is sensitive enough to know that that reads like a sexist dogwhistle loud enough to shatter the sound barrier. This is not a good approach.

I don’t think that many Hillary followers will vote for an anti-choice zealot, but there is no point in unnecessarily suppressing the female Obama vote by thoughtlessly pushing buttons that don’t need to be pushed. McCain chose Palin partially because they wanted to keep open the wounds of feminist discontent and there’s no reason to help them by picking at the scabs. There are many things on which to attack her — her social conservatism, her anti-environmental extremism, her bad policies, even her potential corruption, but her inexperience has to be handled very deftly. (To me the single best way to discredit Sarah Palin among female voters, is to attack her as a heartless extremist who would let the polar bears drown rather than admit that global warming exists.)

In truth, she doesn’t really have enough experience, but a lot of the criticism I’m seeing could easily be read as both sexist and elitist…

A friend asked me jokingly yesterday if I was going to vote for McCain “now that he’s put boobies on the ticket.”  He was, of course, referring to the obvious ploy to attract Clinton supporters, but I can’t support reducing any woman to her anatomy alone, even if I’d never vote for her in a million years.  We had a spirited discussion about the stupidity of progressives going there, and I think he got the point.

Not so some of the big boy bloggers, who are busy panty-sniffing in a fashion that would make the rightest of the religious right mullahs proud.  I don’t want to link because the rumor-mongering is so foul, but you can surf on over to Americablog or numerous diaries at Kos if you want some examples.

Call her out on issues, people, not on speculation about her sex life.  And for God’s sake, leave her children out of it.  We. Are. Better. Than. That.

26 Responses to “What Digby Said”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Call her out on issues, people, not on speculation about her sex life. And for God’s sake, leave her children out of it. We. Are. Better. Than. That.

    AMEN SISTER!!!!!!

  2. Almod says:

    Sarah Palin telling you in her own words exactly WHY she should not be the second most powerful person in the U.S.


  3. Kathy says:

    That sounds like an expression of disinterest to me, which in an ideal world would take someone out of the running. Hillary Clinton learned the hard way, though, that women aren’t supposed to be too up front about wanting the job — it gets them called nasty names.

    Palin probably should have said no when McCain asked — that would have shown good judgment re: her qualifications at this point in her life — but how many people would be able to turn down the opportunity?

    Lest it sound like I support her, I couldn’t possibly support anyone who espouses her political views. I just don’t like the piling on. Pile on McCain — he really deserves it.

  4. What a great post, kathy!!!!! I was wondering myself, if John might have chosen Palin for the very same reason. Maybe he should have chosen his own wife. (can he do that? lol). Anyway…YOU GO GIRL!!!

  5. Almod says:

    I dunno about the not piling on. I intend to treat her and criticize her just as harshly as any male candidate.

    There are a few things I like about her. The fact that she doesn’t like Ted Stevens is always a plus. But there’s too much I don’t like:

    She swings too far to the right, particularly on important women’s issues.
    She’s already being probed for corruption in her home state.
    She was for the “Bridge to Nowhere” before she was against it.
    Just a few months ago, she was actively bashing Sen. Clinton and calling her a whiner.

  6. Kathy says:

    ALMod, that’s not piling on. Counting the days from her marriage to the birth of her first child, attacking her for her decisions surrounding the delivery of her youngest child, implying that her youngest child is actually her daughter’s baby and she somehow managed to pay off everyone at the hospital to keep that quiet, claiming that her husband committed incest with her daughter, claiming that her daughter is an alcoholic who gave her baby fetal alcohol syndrome — that’s piling on. And I’ve seen every bit of this crap in the so-called liberal blogosphere.

    And now they’ve moved on to slamming Palin as a bad parent because her 17 year old daughter actually is pregnant, comparing the daughter to Britney Spears, and even speculating that she isn’t really five months along but actually only three because her little brother is still really her son.

    This is what I’m talking about, and it makes me nauseated that people who call themselves progressive are salivating over it.

  7. Almod says:

    Yeah, I’d seen the story about Trig just before this new story about her daughter being pregnant came out. I thought it went right up there with the 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Some of that other stuff I hadn’t seen.

    Truth is, the one they’re hurting with this crap is Barack Obama, because you know the right-wing nutjobs are already saying he’s behind it. (Because you know that John McCain writes scripts for Rush Limbaugh and is behind the “Obama is a secret Muslim” nonsense.)

  8. Bill says:


    I understand your point about hurting Obama. However, he did more with his comments yesterday to get the respect of this disaffected Clinton supporter than anything he has done to date. His repudiation of the attacks on a 17 year old was very presidential in my book.

  9. bhmhomeboy says:

    Is it “piling on” or asking for honesty from people who say they want to be our leaders? Is it about “piling on” or is it about hypocrisy? The McCain campaign narrative is of Palin a mother of 5 “choosing to give birth to a baby with down syndrome” highlighting her “pro life” viewpoint. She is also pro abstinence education and anti sex education in schools. I don’t think it’s “piling on” to question the narrative or to point out the hypocrisy of Sarah Palin , getting to choose when she isn’t for all woman having a choice, or her teenage daughter not being abstinent and getting pregnant when she doesn’t want other teens to be taught sex education. There is also evidence she supported Ted Stevens before she was against Ted Stevens. So in my view it’s about the hypocrisy not about “piling on” or dragging the children through the mud. The McCain team raised the issue. In actuality they are the ones that made the children an issue.
    We know how the right wing likes to make up these narratives for the media that are often just fairy tales. Remember Jessica Lynch? Remember Pat Tillman? Remember WMD in Iraq? If something is reported in the media about a candidate shouldn’t it be the truth?

  10. Kathy says:

    Yeah, and the right-wing nutjobs wouldn’t be voting for him anyway. Although I suppose there are swing voters who listen to Limbaugh.

  11. Kathy says:

    And I agree with Bill; I was very pleased with Obama’s remarks.

  12. Kathy says:

    bhmhomeboy, I think I laid out in vivid detail what I consider piling on. I have no problem with people going after Palin over her stand on issues, her support and then lack of support for Stevens, etc. There is plenty of legitimate material to use against her.

    Her reproductive decisions and her children should be off limits. I don’t care what right-wingers actually do or what they might do if the situation were reversed. We are supposed to be better than they are.

  13. Bhmhomeboy says:

    Bingo Kathy, her reproductive decisons and her children should be off limits, just like every Americans should. Sarah Palin doesn’t support a womans right to decicions over her reproductive system. That is where the hypocrisy come

    The GOP like to talk about and look down unmarried teens and call those that need assistance Welfare Queens but don’t want to fund Planned Parenthood Clinics or fund sex education in schools. There again is the hypocrisy. Sarah Palin’s daughter is one of those teens who may have not been in this situation if she had access to birth control. Sarah Palin says one thing but lives the opposite way.

    I’m hesitant to speak on the “vivid rumor” laid out in detail, but I will say, the practical side of me has a problem with an 8 month high risk pregnant woman who doesn’t go immediatly to the nearest hospital when her amniotic water sac breaks. The McCain campaign rolled out the narrative of Sarah Palin. If that narrative is not true don’t we have the right to know?

    Remember the rumor that Barack Obama was a muslim? Remember the rumor that John Edwards had an affair and possible fathered a child by his mistress? Remember the rumor that Bill Clinton was having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky? Remember the Michelle Obama “whitey” video rumor? Some of those rumors turned out to be true and some turned out not to be true.

    Sarah Palin put her children in national spotlight. She knew her 17 year old daughter was pregnant when she accepted the VP position (?). She is also the one that put the 5 month old baby with Downs Syndrome in the spotlight. She is the one that put her son, who is heading for Iraq in the spotlight. So it’s kind of disengenous for her to feel as if they should be off limits after using them as props in her narrative.

    I don’t think it’s “piling on”, it’s about the truth, at least it is for me. If the vivid rumors are true or not don’t you believe we the people have the right to know?

  14. Renee says:

    It’s just hard for me to grasp how someone could still be an “abstinence only” advocate when one has clear, personal evidence that it doesn’t work!!! Duh!

  15. Kiki says:

    I don’t care about her personal life or that she’s a woman–the first thing I heard about her was that she is a gun nut and is anti-choice for women–I didn’t even hear about the anti-sex education. Not too mention, things are pretty quiet and insulated up there in Alaska, except for the drilling question, which of course she supports, and I don’t see her having any experience (she makes Obama look really ‘old” that way, if you ask me)I don’t care that she’s a woman herself, the way she handles herself certainly does not influence me–and I wouldn’t want it to influence my daughter’s either–I think this might help me make a decision now about who to vote for as far as a team….

  16. Del says:

    Kathy, what about the bizarre story of her long flight home to Alaska to deliver Trig after her water broke in Texas? So far as that reflects on her judgment, I don’t think rehashing the story is intruding on her personal life.

  17. Kathy says:

    Del, I’ve heard and read so many different versions of that story I don’t know what to believe. It’s ranged from “she noticed a little amniotic fluid” to “OMG, her water broke and she flew home in labor!” The people who are flogging the latter tale seem to have missed the part where she was induced after she got back to Alaska. And some of them are the same ones insisting that she faked the whole thing. I can’t question her judgment on that because I don’t know what really happened and I don’t know what her doctor advised her to do.

  18. Kathy says:

    bhmhomeboy, by your logic the right should have free rein to go after Sasha and Malia Obama because their father chose to run for president. After all, he put them in the spotlight — they’ve even made some campaign appearances with him — and he holds positions with which the right disagrees. Please try to think this through instead of foaming at the keyboard. One more time: Sarah Palin’s policies are fair game; her children are not.

  19. Thanks for this excellent post, Kathy. I’m tempted to quote it on my blog except that I made an important decision. When Palin’s selection was first announced, I decided it was a distraction, that we have to keep our eyes on the prize–no matter what.

    I agree: let’s follow the best instincts of Obama and focus on the real issues.

  20. Kathy says:

    Thanks, Naomi!

  21. Bhmhomeboy says:

    Kathy, if there were rumors that Sasha and Malia weren’t Michelle Obama’s natural children, it would be fair game. If Sasha or Malia were unwed and pregnant it would be fair game.

    Kathy out of respect for you and your blog I really try and present my point of view in a respectful and courteous manner. It is my philosophy that we can agree to disagree without being disagreeable. I find your “foaming at the keyboard” remark offensive, insensitive and uncalled for.

  22. Kathy says:

    Kathy, if there were rumors that Sasha and Malia weren’t Michelle Obama’s natural children, it would be fair game. If Sasha or Malia were unwed and pregnant it would be fair game.

    No, it wouldn’t. And fair game for what, anyway? Your prurient interest? Anyone can make up a rumor. That doesn’t make it okay. And a 17-year-old girl’s decisions about sex and reproduction are NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS unless she’s your daughter.

  23. Del says:

    Well, there’s the one I read this afternoon about her thinking the Founding Fathers wrote the Pledge of Allegiance. That one’s well outside of the lingerie drawer.

    Scroll down the Eagle Forum questionnaire from when she ran for governor. Thank goodness for Google cache; all the links I followed (from Kos, I think, and elsewhere) seemed to be dead.

    OTOH, we are not to underestimate her appeal to the average voter, as Mac’s site pointed out. And no doubt there are many average Americans who like to picture the Founding Fathers reverently placing their hands over their hearts to recite the pledge, before they got down to the tough business of the Continental Congress. Not to mention Davy Crockett proudly leading the other boys in the Pledge just before their gallant, doomed defense of the Alamo.

  24. Del says:

    I shouldn’t have mentioned Mac’s blog without a link. Sorry.

  25. Kathy says:

    Del, the Pledge thing leaves me shaking my head at the stupid. The average voter might not be aware of the history of the pledge, but anyone who’s interested in politics should know it. Particularly someone who is a darling of the religious right and apparently on the forefront of the battle to defend paying lip service to God at every opportunity.

  26. Almod says:

    …and now we get to relive the comment that John McCain himself made at a 1998 Republican dinner where he referred to Chelsea Clinton as “ugly” because Janet Reno was “her father.”

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