Hypocrisy Abounds

Once again, I just don’t even really know where to begin re: McCain’s pick of Palin as the VP. We talk a lot about working moms here on KT and I’m pretty sure that until McCain picked Palin, the only working mom criticized here is Katie Holmes because well, she’s a freak, and it’s too hard to resist.

But enter Palin. I immediately had a visceral reaction to her. Again, maybe it was the bun. And trust me, I realize this just plays into the horrible notion that women are hardest on each other. But you come to KT because I call it like I see it.

I realize that attacking Palin right now could be interpreted as suggesting that a woman cannot hold high office because she is a mother or questioning her because of her ability to commit her time underscores the perception that working moms aren’t as commited to their jobs because they are distracted by home life. I get that this is a slippery slope.

But this is the job of the vice presidency, not just any old job, and though Palin herself questioned what it is the VP does just this past July, those of us living outside of Alaska seem to fully appreciate that holding the second highest office in the land is a 24-7, demanding, stressful, intense job. So, I first would like to call out the Republicans who are using the following talking point: it is sexist to say that Palin can’t take on this responsibility, no one questions Obama and he has two kids, so we are only doing this because she is a woman.

Mais non, republicans!

A pretty weak talking point if you ask me.

This isn’t about questioning whether a PARENT can hold the highest and second highest office in the land – this is specifically about a parent who has a 5 month old with downs and a 17 year old expecting a baby. This, friends, is a unique situation and one that I would question whether the parent were a man or a woman. Anyone with any sense, particularly all parents out there, can fully appreciate just how demanding raising children is. But add in a special needs INFANT and a teen who hasn’t yet graduated high school and is going to become a young mother – before you even add in the three other children – and this is heavy demands and a unique circumstance. It would be extremely taxing on any family, let alone one in which one parent has the job of Vice President. To say that the situation of these two children alone won’t be very time consuming and distracting is fool’s talk.

So – I do think it is totally fair game that this is an issue – it is a tough question and a tough situation that needs to be addressed and hiding behind claiming it is sexist because she is a woman – is just a talking point. And a weak one at best.

My other issue is this – Palin was a virtual no one to those of us who do not have the pleasure of living in Alaska. The onus was on the McCain campaign to introduce her to the world – and they did that on Friday – but the way they did so is just INVITING lots of attacks on her because from the onset, they branded her as the poster-woman for all working moms. The woman who has it all – governorship at a young age, five children including one with special needs, a marriage, a former beauty queen pageant winner, a regular old hockey mom who also happens to be a tough governor. They branded her as a MOM. Rather than introducing her to us as a tough legislator with a long list of political victories and examples of those victories – she was branded as one of “us” and a “hockey mom.”

I’m a gal who understands a few things about branding. And if you are choosing to craft her identity as that of “hockey mom” and “former Miss Congeniality” then she is going to be judged by these standards – why the McCain camp didn’t brand her from the onset as a tough politician with a laundry list of accomplishments in her political career – escapes me entirely. But by making her a woman of the people, a woman we should flock to because we didn’t get Hillary, a woman who understands us all because she has mastered juggling work and family – then she is going to be judged against these standards. Like it or not. This was a strategic decision they made – and a terrible one, in KTs not-so-humble opinion.

Before I end, I would like to say a few things about Palin and McCain specifically. The whacko evangelicals love her because she is pro-life, pro-evolutionism and anti-birth control. She now is facing the reality of what happens when you refuse to teach your children about birth control. I am a proponent of teaching abstinence. This is the best of all scenarios – but teens will be teens. So let’s live in the real world, shall we? I want to know what Palin has done for women in her state, I want to know what the justification is for NOT being a proponent of birth control, if we’re supposed to flock to her like zombies with our bras burning because she has a vagina – I want to know, exactly, what it is she has done on behalf of women.  Because I haven’t seen any evidence just yet and frankly, I’ve been looking, and right now – she’s in a bit of a pickle over not advocating for birth control, now isn’t she?

According to a column by Ruth Marcus in yesterday’s Washington Post, Palin opposed a program that would have allowed teachers to teach students about contraception.  Marcus then goes on to point out McCain’s position:

“McCain has voted to increase abstinence-only funding, voted to terminate the federal family planning program and voted against funding teen pregnancy prevention programs. He voted to require teens seeking birth control at federally funded family planning clinics to obtain parental consent.”

You know how I feel about these beliefs.  You know who I will be voting for in November.

So in conclusion, I do not believe this is about judging her because she is a career-driven woman with children – this is about a family with two children who are going to need a tremendous amount of attention, time and support – and that stands in direct conflict with the reality of the pressure and demands on a Vice President. It is for Palin to decide what’s going to give – her family or her career – and she has clearly chosen her career – but it is fair for the voting public to question if the heart and soul of a VP is really in the game, given the reality of the home situation, whether the VP is a dad or a mom.

10 Responses to Hypocrisy Abounds
  1. punditdad
    September 4, 2008 | 4:29 pm

    Hell, right now she’s a part time governor as it is. She contracted out the job of mayor to an administrator. I don’t think she’s got the ability to work 20 hours a day 8 days a week on this campaign let alone in one of the highest offices in the world. Time will tell KT! She hasn’t even done a press event! When I see Obama/Biden I see change and strength. When I see McCain/Palin I see uncertanty and more of the same. I think the American people will feel the same in the weeks ahead. She better figure out the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite quick!Great speech on her part though.

    Rudy made me want to rip off his head and bludgeon him with it. That guy has spent 7 years using 9/11 to personally enrich himself, politically and financially. I can’t think of a lower form of life than Rudy Giuliani. In fact, I think Mitt Romney, the slimy, rich weasel from MA would make a better leader.

  2. This is Daniel Cook
    September 4, 2008 | 5:39 pm

    Truly ironic post title KT!

    Couple thoughts:

    1. I have never heard anyone describe the position of VP as a demanding, stressful, intense job. Quite the contrary most past VPs have argued it is a dull purgatory. Other than the specific requirements of the Constitution – Senate tie breaker, certify electoral vote and succeed the President in case of death or incapacitation – their role is at the President’s discretion and usually very limited. Cheney is the exception to this rule. Just ask Gore how much Clinton had him around for anything of substance. Usually the highlight of the day is meeting the cub scouts coming through. But anyway…it’s inconsequential to the real discussion here in my view.

    2. You’ve also established a new litmus test here. 5 kids – two needing requiring special attention – should you remove from this type of “demanding” job. What if it were 4 kids? 3? What about the mom who works 40 hours a week – how many kids can she have? How many kids could a surgeon have? Clearly that is 24-7 and demanding. What if the dad stays home? Does he count the same as the mother? To me it’s a personal decision but you’ve presented a formula here so just wondering if you can provide shed some light on some other circumstances.

    3. I find in interesting that you argue today that someone’s personal life can be a distraction to their job performance. Not to long ago, can’t remember exactly, we had a fairly high-profile public debate that a person’s private life, including affairs with interns while on the job, are private matters and have no relation to job performance. I didn’t necessarily disagree with your argument then. But apparently your view has changed.

    5. I don’t see the whole abstinence pickle thing. I disagree if she only provided here children with abstinence rather than comprehensive sex ed. But I also recognize that is her choice. But you know, DC schools have sex ed and condoms and I’m pretty sure they still experience a few unwanted pregnancies. Like so many things you hope to guide your kids to make the best decisions but it is certainly not hypocritical if they make other choices. Now if you’re smoking a joint and telling them not to do the same thing that’s certainly hypocritical.

    4. But last, and most importantly, please, please, please keep up this line of attack through election day!

    And Punditdad – I saw from your earlier post you prefer the intellectual rigors of an echo chamber. Sorry to cause you any angst.

  3. TABC1001
    September 5, 2008 | 3:02 am

    Daniel Cook, excellent comments. KT, hypocrisy does, indeed, abound, but it’s yours. You are part of a family with two full-time working parents. You protest loudly if anyone suggests that your decision to work outside of the home is anyone’s business but your own.

    It is interesting how your position on working mothers has changed in just a few short months, or perhaps it’s just your point of view. You commented in April, “It’s nice that [a commenter’s] situation affords [her] the ability to stay home full-time. It’s unfortunate that [the commenter feels] so anti-women, and so anti-parents that [she] would believe that dual working households are “outsourcing” the care of their children. Or somehow placing their careers on a higher pedestal than their children.” Has your position now changed? Is Sara Palin not able to choose to have a high-profile career but you should be able to have whatever career you’d like? She is placing her career on a pedestal but you’re not?? Whose view is anti-woman now?

    It is truly sad that when a strong, self-made woman doesn’t share your political views and you and your ilk see her as a threat, you feel the need to attack her family, her choice to work, and her small-town roots.

    Unlike Obama, McCain doesn’t need his VP to deliver the entire substantive experience of his ticket. Unlike Obama, McCain’s campaign is not based on a hollow promise of change. McCain has exponentially more foreign-policy experience than Obama and Obama’s leadership and executive experience pales in comparison to Palin’s. She has managed a state and a city. Obama has managed a law review.

    But I digress. Back to your post. Do you really think that as VP, her husband would not take care of the family? Do you really think that teenage children are incapable of providing assistance in caring for their younger siblings? Do you think that the fact of her child’s unwanted and unplanned pregnancy means that Palin is a bad mother or is it the kind of mistake and hardship that many Americans face every year? At least Palin instilled values in her daughter so that when she encountered a crisis, she was able to stand up, take responsibility for actions, and choose to care for her child rather than end the child’s life to make hers easier.

    Your attacks on her, on her family, on her choices, on her experience, and on her values merely echo the weak attacks of the insecure, left-wing, elitist, out-of-touch, mainstream media.

    Again, good comments Daniel Cook.

  4. DC
    September 5, 2008 | 4:02 am

    KT – As a working mom myself, you know I can’t support any one judging Palin (or any mother’s) decision to take on a demanding career. Every time someone implies Palin should focus more on her family and less on her career, it moves us toward that slippery slope of gender bias and inequality. More importantly, Palin’s choice on work/life balance is completely irrelevant to the decision voter’s face in Nov. Doesn’t matter to me if she has 5 kids or 50 or is secretly a man dressed in drag….Palin is in no way, shape or form qualified to be one heartbeat away from the presidency. She’s a rookie governor and policy lighweight who knows zilch about foreign policy, health care reform, the economy, etc, etc, etc. As a former Alaskan and a mom concerned about the country my daughter will grow up in, I pray a small town mayor and governor of 22 months will not be handed the keys to the White House just because people like her hockey mom backstory and winning smile! And the fact that McCain chose to put her in that position shows a serious lack of judgment on his part.

  5. punditdad
    September 5, 2008 | 4:10 am

    Nobody has a problem with her family. I don’t. How she treats her family or the circumstances and decisions that surround her family and their dynamic are certainly open for scrutiny and targets for public judgment.

    Daniel (troll) and the other poster believe that people like Larry Craig, Mark Foley or Vitto Fossella should just just be left alone. Their personal lives are their own choices and should be free from public scrutiny or judgment. I disagree with Daniel (troll) that Mark Foley texting underage pages was a SERIOUS distraction from his job performance. I strongly disagree. They were Republican perverts and thank god my children were never endangered by them.

    I believe there is a common moral code that we live by and by which all free thinking Americans (not dittoheads) live by that we must continue to adhere to regardless of someone’s position of power. What’s critical is how her choices, whether they be policy or family, reflect her judgment. It was the lies and arrogance of Bill Clinton that reflected poorly on his judgment. Duh.

    The most hilarious thing is that the right-wing wants to reserve judgment on someone’s family choices in some circumstance (Palin’s narrative) but in others they want to legislate it and outlaw it in others (gays, choice).

    Fortunately, the cultural wars are over and the vitriol and hypocrisy that was rampant for the past 8 years has been uncovered.

    This election isn’t about Republicans or Democrats, it’s about repairing the damage to this country, spiritually, economically, environmentally and socially over this terrible Bush Administration. I have faith that Danny (troll) and Tabby whats her name will agree in time.

  6. This is Daniel Cook
    September 5, 2008 | 1:42 pm

    Brilliant punditdad. I like you’re approach. You put forth what you say I believe and then argue against that. Nice straw man approach, good technique. You must have been on the debate team. You assume here that anyone who disagrees with anything you say is “right-wing,” “dittohead,” or a “troll” etc. Falling back on rhetoric and name calling is always effective when you have trouble formulating meaningful arguments. Man, calling me “Danny” really stung – you must have been up all night thinking that one up. I bet you’re tons of fun at a party.

    I don’t think I ever mentioned one of the individuals he listed but I’ll bite. Larry Craig should have resigned. Vito should step down. Why? Because I think their actions, which as you note result from poor judgment, are distractions and bad examples. I don’t care what they do and with who but I happen to be against sex in public bathrooms and drunk driving. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to have to explain to my kids what they saw at an airport bathroom as we pass through. You think Vito has bit of personal things on his hands right now and is giving his job the same attention he was previously as he serves out his term? And Foley’s pursuit of interns was also wrong and he’s rightfully gone. I learned from (and agreed with) feminists – before it changed in the Clinton years – that someone in a position of power over another is always abusing that position when having a relationship with them.

    With Palin, I’ll assume as I do with all working families, that she has made decisions and arrangements she believes are the best for their family. I’ll assume she has provided proper care at home and is not distracted from doing her job. If she doesn’t, she’ll fail at both. So far she has been successful. I don’t consider having a teen pregnancy makes a family a failure. A challenge? Certainly. My guess is there are just a few families across the country that agree with me. Seriously, the people that feel strongly about Palin’s choices here must also think similarly of Biden’s choice when his wife and daughter died.

    You can try and shift to the broader argument of R v. D and legislation for this that and the other but I’m focused on the issue of Palin and the righteous judgments on her personal decisions because I find the hypocrisy fascinating. I believe that if she were a dem we’d be talking about the great personal sacrifice she is making to achieve greater heights for all women etc. Given the popularity of Palin (apparently eclipsing Barack and McCain in a new Rasmussen poll) I think it would brilliant if Hillary came out and acknowledged it. It would do wonders to broaden her appeal and make her a lock for 2012 (I think she would have been a lock against McCain if she were the nominee now.) She owes nothing to Obama anyway although it would make it impossible to get him to pay her debt.

    Sorry to burst punditdad’s bubble and not fit into his tidy little world where people agree lock, stock and barrel with either him or Limbaugh.

    But those are my thoughts. I don’t expect punditdad to thoughtfully consider them but l hope I see some creativity in his name calling this time around! Or maybe he’ll stick to his own page where, judging from the wealth of comments, his approach has been outrageously successful at drawing any interest in what he thinks.

  7. punditdad
    September 5, 2008 | 4:22 pm

    Good points Daniel and I agree with you on only two points…there are number of ways we can look at a politicians family and their personal decisions and either have faith that they are doing the right thing or project our personal thoughts on what they “should” do. I think there is definitely a fine line when they are considered a successful family or not is a result of our personal judgment. Some would say that the polygamists in Texas didn’t do anything wrong per se in their families to deserve being broken up but others are just shocked at the different perceptions the Mormon’s had about family. Which is right? Dunno but we must be free to make our own judgments. We agree on Foley, Craig and Vito because they are Republican perverts. But with Palin, she draws such a fine line in terms of trying to do all things at once, being a mom, politician and caregiver. Can she do it? Maybe, but only her family will know if she is hurting her children by grabbing for the VP ring.

    The second point you are correct on? I’m SUPER FUN at parties DANNY BOY!!!!!!!!!

    Take care and hope you comment on my blog sometime soon or direct me towards yours. You have good insights and a strong intellect despite your wayward politics: ) be well!!!!

  8. This is Daniel Cook
    September 5, 2008 | 5:21 pm

    One man’s republican pervert is another man’s McGreevey, Spitzer, Clinton, Edwards…

    Surprisingly enough, given the repub brand, it will certainly be an interesting 8 weeks.

  9. […] the Kids” chapter. I, for one, attacked Sarah Palin on my blog during the 08 campaign over this question. On one hand, I think that women are quick to talk about how motherhood is a job – in and of […]

  10. […] Kids” chapter. I, for one, attacked Sarah Palin on my blog during the ’08 campaign over this question. On one hand, I think that women are quick to talk about how motherhood is a job – in and of […]

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