Friday, August 29, 2008

Musings: Political Sexploitation

It seems that Sen. John McCain and his campaign have sunk to a new low in their choice of Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

It’s one thing to pick a woman in an obvious attempt to pander to disgruntled Hillary supporters. That's to be expected. It’s quite another to pick a woman who has no political experience aside from being councilwoman and mayor of a teeny, tiny town and spending just two years as governor of Alaska, a state that’s as much an inconsequential political backwater as Hawaii.

Let’s face it. Gov. Palin was chosen for the same reasons that women are consistently exploited: she’s pretty (a former beauty queen) and young, especially compared to McCain. And oh yes, she has one key political credential: she’s a woman against abortion.

The media, accustomed to celebrity exploitation, already are capitalizing on the glamour angle. One of the first is the Wall Street Journal magazine, which plans to debut not with an article on Palin’s political views, education or experience, but “her unusual workout and fitness routine.”

What an insult, to Palin, women and voters.

So now we have a presidential campaign with two firsts: the first African-American and the first trophy running mate.


Anonymous said...

That "no experience" thing cuts backward deeply. Obama is 47, only 3 yrs older than Palin. She at least has exec office experience with 20 months as Gov. Obama has 2 yrs a jr senator (no exec esperience running anything governemtal). Beyond that, he's a law professor.

He'd better watch it with that "no experience" stuff.

I think McCain-Palin is a very serious threat to Obama and can definately win.

Anonymous said...

She pushes lots of positive buttons with voters. Kid going to Iraq. Kid handicapped. Three other kids. Blue coller hubby working in oil fields. Stood up against Big Oil. Not a DC-entrenched pol. A woman. A pro-lifer. First female gov of AK.

I think she took the wind out of the sails of Obama-Biden at the DNC.

Anonymous said...

wonder if they asked linda lingle to serve? could really sexploit that one.

Anonymous said...

McCain is 72 and has had four bouts with cancer. Of all the qualified women he could have chosen, he picks one who is against women's rights to choose and for teaching Creationism in public schools. I thought that the right was desperate, but this is Howdy Doody time.

If you want a chuckle, read some of the hundreds of comments posted to Jack Cafferty's blog...

Anonymous said...

It's also an insult to the country. If McCain wins, she's a heartbeat away from becoming president. How f'd up would that be?

Anonymous said...

My black lab anxiously pulled at his lead this clear afternoon, sometimes with his nose up into the mild northerly breeze, as I set out on the long driveway to check my mail. The sun was hot and high and I paid no attention to the weeds that reached out to grab at my ankles as I was thinking about how earlier this morning the television station had interrupted my favorite soap opera with the disheartening news of Sen. McCain's choice for his Vice-Presidential running mate. I was so hopeful that Oprah would get the nod to be a 72 year old heartbeat away from being the Commander-in-Chief of my beloved United States of America, land of the Free, home of the Brave. But today is John Sidney McCain III 's birthday and he can choose whomever his party lets him to help blow out his candle.
This is why I must respectfully take exception to a few of your ponderances (although I have come to expect some of these as blog backlash bait bits).
Alaska nor Hawaii are "inconsequential political backwaters" .
Hawaii's geographics are of vast strategic military importance and much of our political importance is tied to this. When it comes to military matters, what is expected of 442nd Veteran Sen. Inouye comes out plainly in the voting records of Abercrombie, Akaka, and Hirono.
Alaska, the largest state, is home of North America's largest oil field. It pumps out 25% of all the American produced oil, (more than Texas).
As far as the selection being an insult to Palin, I truly believe that she does not feel as you do. But neither does she feel the same as I do about her chances of being Vice President of the United States of Oprah.

Katy said...

Palin could be the new Dan Quayle.

Anonymous said...

McCain-Palin! Who would believe it? If the election is close, it will do almost as much harm to our international stature as the Bush presidency.

Anonymous said...

Irk needs a political clue and here it is: How do you spell politically inconsequential?

3 electoral votes

Joan Conrow said...

Irk is also incorrect in stating AK is #1 in oil production; it's #2, after TX. And my reference to an insult was to coverage of her workout routine, not her nomination per se. Although I do tend to agree with Anon. 5:15 on that issue.

Anonymous said...

Considering only the backgrounds of Obama and Palin, I'd choose Palin for Pres.

Her as VP and maybe Pres if John kicks over is a better choice than Obama for Pres.

I don't care about her prolife stance nor anti-gay marriage stance.

She actually ran something.

Anonymous said...

Palin is lightyears better than Oprah

Anonymous said...

To annoymouse 10:17:
Agreed in this case. We got 4 Blue. Gore lost to G.W. by only 5, but was snaked 27 in FL.
AK is gonna be #1 once they get that roadblock Palin out of the Governor's office, drill a few more wells and TX production continues to decline.

Anonymous said...

george bush set the standard so low that palin and obama are over qualified for the job.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy Carter had only been a Governor...of course he was the worst president of the last half of the 20th century...

Anonymous said...

1. Carter was a great president. He taxed the hell out of the super rich and evened things out a bit. He started a foreign policy based on human rights. He gave back Panama - which the U.S. had basically stolen. Cars, then, were getting 30+ miles per gallon. But a few rich people had to fly in coach for a while so they all claim the country went to hell and sabotaged him. Carter would have handled hurricane Katrina.

2. McCain is pale enough. Palin? The U.S. might look more like its ideals say it looks if we have a president of color. Our example in the world has value. An Obama presidency will cause some dissonance about their views of the U.S. in a lot of racist muslims.

3. Lingle would have been McCain's first choice except that McCain needed at least the pretense of concern for the environment out of his V.P and Lingle could not deliver. That the new pale-one shoots defenseless animals out foraging for food, makes her extra appealing to the reflexive kill-war machine crowd. Because killing fits in so well with the socially Darwinistic, anti-humanitarian world view that a capitalistic law of the jungle is only path willed by our loving God.

Anonymous said...

John McCain just handed the Democrats an incredible gift: the specter of a VP a heartbeat from his Presidency, who is anti-abortion even in cases of rape and incest, who wants to see creationism taught in public schools, and who doesn't believe mankind has anything to do with global warming.

McCain has turned the critique of Obama's foreign policy experience against his own campaign. He has turned the public spotlight onto his age, his health and his judgment. By pandering to the extreme right with a VP choice who out-Cheneys Dick Cheney, he has alienated moderated Republicans and Independents. By pandering to Hillary voters, he has insulted all women voters.

And this guy had the gall to accuse Obama of putting politics ahead of country?

Okay, Dems. John just gave you the keys to the executive washroom. Now can you try not to screw this one up, too?

Andy Parx said...

People seem to ignore the scariest part of the Palin selection and probably why McCain picked her- she’s an incredibly dynamic and charismatic speaker. Issues aside, speaking strictly from a media consultant’s point of view she’s a dream candidate. And in this presidential race where issues don’t matter in the least with the candidate’s differences on them being barely discernable, that’s all that matters.

The only real problem for McCain- and why he pick is a headscratcher- is that it takes off the table the one issue he was getting traction on.- the “experience” thing.

The “experience” of Obama only works for McCain proportional to the success of his and Bush’ past fear-mongering. He must get the votes of those who are cowed and are so irrationally fearful they think strength comes from war-making rather than peace-making. ability

Palin diminishes the effectiveness of that factor, especially because everyone knows McCain’s a 72 year old man with cancer, supposedly in remission. So his natural constituency- people who vote their fears- will be more fearful of him.

Without her charismatic persona she would seem like a politically dumb choice in the fear-factor realm although if you listen to Republicans they tell you that issue was played out... mostly because Obama has drifted into and embraced war-mongering rhetoric recently.

Andy Parx said...

Check out this Alaska blogger's take on Palin

Anonymous said...

Never underestimate the stupidity of the American voting public.

Anonymous said...

Andy's post makes some interesting points about Palin's charisma, but I think they'll be trumped by Palin's ego -- which now has been revved to redline by her call to Primetime.

McCain has turned loose upon his candidacy not only a VP who out-Cheneys Dick Cheney, but a ticking time bomb of self-righteousness. The weeks between now and November are 'way more time than Palin will need to hang herself in a self-knotted noose of Hypocrisy. This morning's revelation of her 17 year old daughter's pregnancy is just the popcorn before the movie.

I think the question isn't if Palin will damage McCain's campaign, but how deeply.

Anonymous said...

And while the popcorn's popping, check out the difference between how the Republicans are pitching Palin, and what the Alaskan press is reporting:

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:
August 31, 2008
by Dermot Cole
(full text at

In her introductory speech Friday as McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin picked up on the Ketchikan bridge that was never built as a symbol of bad federal policy.

“I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress,” Palin said at her first campaign appearance. “In fact, I told Congress — I told Congress, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ on that bridge to nowhere. If our state wanted a bridge, I said we’d build it ourselves.”

That is not how Palin described her position on the Gravina Island bridge when she ran for governor in 2006.

On Oct. 22, 2006, the Anchorage Daily News asked Palin and the other candidates, “Would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?”

Her response: “Yes. I would like to see Alaska’s infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now — while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist.”

Palin’s support of the earmark for the bridge was applauded by the late Lew Williams Jr., the retired Ketchikan Daily News publisher who wrote columns on the topic. Williams wrote on Oct. 29, 2006, that Palin was the only gubernatorial candidate that year who consistently supported the Gravina Island Bridge, the Knik Arm Bridge and improvements to the Parks Highway.

Two months earlier, while campaigning in Ketchikan, Palin made a positive reference to the bridge....A year later, she issued a news release as governor saying Ketchikan needed better airport access, but a $398 million bridge was not going to happen.

“Despite the work of our congressional delegation, we are about $329 million short of full funding for the bridge project and it’s clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island,” Palin said on Sept. 21, 2007.

The money was not sent back to the federal government, but spent on other projects. That was hardly “Thanks but no thanks.”

Alaska has a clear record of seeking earmarks.

In March, Palin’s Washington, D.C., representative, John Katz, wrote a defense of earmarks, published in the Juneau Empire in which he said the state is cutting back on its wish list.

The Palin administration requested 31 earmarks this year totaling $200 million and “we are not abandoning earmarks altogether,” Katz said, as they are a “legitimate exercise of Congress’

- - -

Anchorage Daily News:
August 31, 2008
by Tom Kizzia
(full text at -- free registration required)

When John McCain introduced Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate Friday, her reputation as a tough-minded budget-cutter was front and center. "I told Congress, thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere," Palin told the cheering McCain crowd, referring to Ketchikan's Gravina Island bridge.

But Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.

The Alaska governor campaigned in 2006 on a build-the-bridge platform, telling Ketchikan residents she felt their pain when politicians called them "nowhere." They're still feeling pain today in Ketchikan, over Palin's subsequent decision to use the bridge funds for other projects -- and over the timing of her announcement, which they say came in a pre-dawn press release that seemed aimed at national news deadlines.

"I think that's when the campaign for national office began," said Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Weinstein noted, the state is continuing to build a road on Gravina Island to an empty beach where the bridge would have gone -- because federal money for the access road, unlike the bridge money, would have otherwise been returned to the federal government.

It's a more complicated picture than the one drawn by McCain, a persistent critic of special-interest spending and congressional earmarks. He described Palin as "someone who's stopped government from wasting taxpayers' money on things they don't want or need."

Andy Parx said...

Unbelievable- where is the MSM on this? Is Palin that dumb? How did she think she could lie in her first public statement? And they kept the money!

The charismatic stuff will only go so far if what she says is absurd. Maybe she just is that dumb. She’s obviously gotten away with this stuff for a while at home. After all this is the home of the Dirty Bastard’s Club which took outside reporting to uncover. Some of the blogs are saying the MSM newspapers there are among the worst of the corporate ass-kissers

The “trooper-gate” story hasn’t even gotten fully exposed in the national news but when this hurricane thing is over I doubt they’ll be able to keep from tripping all over themselves to get the story

And you can bet if she’s got trooper-gate, pregnancy-gate and bridge-gate she’s got few more that others will be swarming all over to find out about.

Anonymous said...

> The “trooper-gate” story hasn’t even gotten fully exposed in the national news but when this hurricane thing is over I doubt they’ll be able to keep from tripping all over themselves to get the story <

Bingo. Although I doubt trooper-gate or bridge-gate themselves will sink Sarah Palin -- the public is pretty numb to that kind of abuse of political power.

It'll be the video closeups of her face when she answers reporters' questions about it.

It'll be the soundbites of her voice when she blows off questions about her support of Senator Ted Stevens.

It'll be the twisting and spinning when she's asked who she's been chummy with in the mosh pit of Alaska politics, and she forgets and she omits -- only to be confronted by bona fides brandished by legions of reporters with laptops full of gotchas.

It'll be when, after weeks on the road, tired and irritated and pissed at playing little fish in a big pond, she lets slip how she really feels about people who have different religions, politics and lifestyles than she.

In short, it'll be when the naked arrogance and hypocrisy of the values Sarah Palin represents go from her mouth to America's ears, from her face to America's eyes, on every cycle of every cable news network, day after day after day.

It's almost enough to make me feel sorry for John McCain.


Anonymous said...

The hurricane isn't even over, and the Palin storm is starting already.

On CNN this afternoon, live from the Republican Convention, was this discussion about the announcement that Palin's 17 year old teenager is pregnant:

Wolf Blitzer:
It's causing a lot of commotion. You walk around this floor here -- people are talking about it.

Gloria Borger:
Look, the McCain campaign knew. They say she told them. They were fully aware. She is clearly a candidate that appeals to cultural conservatives in the party -- very, very much pro-life. But the first rule of politics is, "no surprises." And even though the McCain campaign wasn't surprised, there are a lot of people on this floor who are surprised. And the question you ask is, "Okay, how was she vetted? Is there anything else we don't know, that we should know?" It's very important -- he is a 72-year-old candidate for President, and so I just think it raises a bunch of question marks in people's minds. That's what I've been hearing out on the floor this morning. They're not panicking, they're not going crazy about this, they believe it's family business. But on the other hand they say, "Gee, what else are we going to find out about this woman who really hasn't been on the national scene for that long?"

And Borger isn't the only commentator echoing the same question.

So barely September 72 hours after she was picked, McCain's VP has a headline: "Sarah Palin -- What Else Don't We Know?"

Will Governor Palin learn from today's experience? Will she be honest, forthright and candid about other "What Else Don't We Know About Her" stories?

Here's a clue: this afternoon, CNN reported the Associated Press says Palin has hired a lawyer to deal with the story that she inappropriately pressured authorities to fire the Alaskan State Trooper who was her ex-brother-in-law. (See the "Alaskan blogger's" link in Andy's post above.)

Anonymous said...

Toss another bag of popcorn in the microwave, folks, the show's about to start!

September 1, 2008
From CNN Correspondent Dana Bash

(CNN) – A senior adviser to John McCain's campaign confirms that they have dispatched a team of 12 people to presumptive VP nominee Sarah Palin's home state of Alaska.

The adviser insists the group is a communications "jump" team that would have gone to any nominee's hometown, and denies reports that the team is now going to further vet Palin.

Full text and readers' comments at

Anonymous said...

Right or wrong (pun intended) at least Palin stands for something as opposed to Obama who merely spouts insubstantial rhetoric and platitudes and changes his stance on whim. I’ll go for the one with personal convictions any day and it certainly isn’t Obama.

Anonymous said...

Although I am not Republican, if they wanted someone within their ranks that is a woman because it was politically correct, they would have been "smarter" to pick Linda Lingle who does have more experience juggling the smoke and mirrors than Palin. But Linda would have to learn how to shoot an AK-47 to qualify.

The whole thing stinks of exploiting women or whatever it takes to win.

Dr Freddy