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04 June 2011

Roots of Palin Hate

I began writing this with the intention of examining some of the alleged Palin Gaffes to see if they, like her recent remarks about Paul Revere, were less offensive than the LSM meme.  While googling for blogs or articles that might have a list of gaffes, I found something interesting over at liberal Daily Kos: The Mistake Named Sarah Palin, a Compilation, "which aims to sum up everything we've learned about Sarah Palin, presumptive Republican VP candidate, just within the first 24 hours of her announcement."

Twenty-four hours after her announcement, she was being labeled a mistake.  That's stunning.  The obvious conclusion that I want to make is that the Democrats were scared of Palin, but I'm trying my best to push that aside and look at the evidence amassed by the writer at Daily Kos.  Perhaps it will show something.  According to the Daily Kos, she is a "mistake", but the writer does not say to whom.  I presume it's meant to be a mistake for the Republican VP candidate, and therefore a benefit to the Democrat/Obama ticket.

1. Palin is a "celebrity".  Evidence: she posed for Vogue magazine.
2. Palin's young.  Evidence: Palin is a few years younger than Obama.
3. Palin is inexperienced.  Evidence: She was mayor of a town of 8,000 until two years ago.
4.  1-3 negates the arguments against Obama.
5. Palin supported Romney in the primary. Evidence: none.
6. Palin praised Obama's energy plan. Evidence: link to a Politico article.
7. Palin is embroiled in scandal.  Evidence: link to singular Alaskan scandal article in TPM.
8. Said scandal diminished her reputation.  Evidence: Claim that +90 fell +60, no link.  Mention that +60 is still damn good.
9. Palin is nationally unknown.  Evidence: none.
10. The average person wouldn't want Palin one heartbeat away from president.  Evidence: none.
11. Palin didn't want the job.  Evidence: link to Politico article.
12. Palin didn't "know what it [the job] was about".  Evidence: #11 Politico
13. Palin thought the job would interfere with her work.  Evidence: #11 Politico
14. Palin wanted to use the job to favor Alaska.  Evidence: #11 Politico
15. Palin called Hillary Clinton  "whiny".  Evidence: Newsweek link.
16. Palin is a hypocrite for criticizing Hillary Clinton, since it happened at a "Women and Leadership" event.
17. Palin is a hypocrite for criticizing Hillary Clinton, since she owes her nomination to Clinton.  Evidence: Claim that Palin was chosen "to appeal to the disaffected female Clinton supporter vote".  
18.  Palin was chosen because she is attractive.  Evidence: McCain quote (no link) "I can't believe a guy that handsome wouldn't have some impact", in regards to Dan Quayle.
19. Conservative's reactions to her indicate if she is a good pick. 
20. Some conservatives are gushing like a teenagers, thus their opinion should be omitted.
21. Other conservatives are not happy.  Evidence: broken link
22. Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney are not happy with the pick.  Evidence: Washington Post article.
23. Joe Biden is a better VP candidate than Sarah Palin.  Evidence: Two favorable quotes from Senators about Biden.

Ending statement: "Well, I think we've just won the VP section of this campaign."

Going back (and without verifying claims), there's a few things you can do right away.
Delete #1 & #9, since they contradict each other.  
Delete #5, since the game changes after nominations are made.
Delete #6, since it appeals to swing voters and won't be enough to sway Republicans to flip.
Delete #2, since (as noted) she is nearly the same age as Obama and was the same age as Al Gore when he was VP.
Delete #8, since maintaining +60 when "embroiled in scandal" is telling
Delete #10, since it is one person's opinion
Delete #11, since it is no longer applicable and "reluctant leader" is a powerful identity
Delete #12 & #13, since she was made aware of the demands of the job, and prior lack of knowledge does not infer inability to do the job.
Delete #15, since all politicians have criticized one another at some point in time, and many did think Hillary Clinton was whiny at that time.
Delete #18, since good looks are not a reason to discount someone
Delete #19-#21, since there is no evidence and they contradict each other.
Delete #22, since other possible-VPs' disappointment in not being picked does not qualify nor disqualify Palin
Delete #23, since two positive quotes do not singularly qualify a VP

That leaves us with this "Mistake" of a VP candidate:  An inexperienced mayor embroiled in scandal with a history of favoring her homestate is anti-woman and lucked into the job by being a token planted with the intention of stealing would-be Hillary votes.

Yikes!  That's a seriously flawed individual.  Better validate those claims.

3. Palin is inexperienced.  Evidence: She was mayor of a town of 8,000 until two years ago.
Palin was mayor of Wasilla, the 6th largest city in Alaska and the largest borough of Anchorage.  And then... she was elected governor.  There are two different ways to approach this topic.  If Wausilla is considered a small town like the Daily Kos wants you to believe, then it is amazing that she was able to land the governorship.  If Wausilla is a legitimately sized town, that only adds to her experience.  Is a few years of being governor a small amount of experience?  Certainly.  But she had more political experience than Obama had. (Evidence: wikipedia)

7. Palin is embroiled in scandal.  Evidence: link to singular Alaskan scandal article in TPM.
Yes.  Sorta.  There was a scandal locally known with it's own -gate.  In retrospect, it was not a large enough scandal to prevent her from becoming a nationally known figure, nor was it sexy or financial.  (In short, someone may or may not have been fired for unethical reasons.)  The conservative in me wants to jump up and down and say "but at least she wasn't hanging out with Bill Ayers", but I need to reel that in.  "Scandal" is not a quality wanted in an ideal VP, especially a currently unfolding scandal.  I think "embroiled" in scandal is overkill.

14. Palin wanted to use the job to favor Alaska.  Evidence: #11 Politico
Here's the quote: "We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we’re trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the U.S."  Palin said this a month before she was named VP.  At the time, she had a few things going on.  She was governor of Alaska.  It would be poor PR for her to not mention how her taking the position would effect her constituents.  She specifically noted that her interest in Alaska was an interest in Alaskans accomplishing things for the rest of the country.  Sounds pretty damn patriotic to me.  

16. Palin is a hypocrite for criticizing Hillary Clinton, since it happened at a "Women and Leadership" event.
I'm going to inject my own feelings about feminism here, because this is a pet peeve of mine.  Women are allowed to criticize each other.  Women should treat each other like people.  Palin's ability to speak her mind at this kind of event shows that she is not sexist and speaks what she believes to be true, regardless of the circumstance.  She's not one to alter her opinion to please her audience.

There are two items left, which I need to save for the time being:
17. Palin is a hypocrite for criticizing Hillary Clinton, since she owes her nomination to Clinton.  Evidence: Claim that Palin was chosen "to appeal to the disaffected female Clinton supporter vote".   
4.  1-3 negates the arguments against Obama.

So, now our description changes to a quickly rising governor with a high approval rating and a history of non-sexist, straight-talking.  Yikes!  That's scary for the Democrats. 

As for #4 and #17...
I do think that one of the many reasons McCain picked Palin was that she's a woman.  Personally, I think it is because she wouldn't make him look small while not appearing short herself.  There have only been a few times when the shorter candidate has won an election, especially since the media took over.  Height indicates power and strength.  John Mccain's height is estimated at 5'6"-5'8".  (Obama is 6'1".)  When it comes to politics, visuals do matter.  Romney and McCain simply did not have a chance.  And, really, what were McCain's option?  A taller guy who makes McCain look small, or a smaller guy who make them look like two hobbits...

Frodo and Gandalf
click to enlarge
McCain & Romney
click to enlarge
Ah!  But this is a new era, and it's "okay" for women to be in politics.  And wouldn't that be something, to have a female VP?  Palin wasn't chosen to be the anti-Hillary, she was chosen because McCain is short (AND capable).  Honestly, what's so bad about being chosen in that way?  Daily Kos wants to say that Palin was chosen just because she's pretty and she's a she.  That obviously is not true.  She has a political record and had a high approval rate in Alaska when she was chosen.

As for Palin negating Obama's weaknesses (too young, inexperienced), I think she did the opposite.  During Obama's time in politics, there was little he had to actually show for what he had done.  Palin, on the other hand, was younger than Obama, was a minority like Obama, had been in politics for a similar amount of time as Obama, and had accomplished much more.  She had a record in Alaska that showed she was capable of governance and leadership.  Obama had no record -- just hope and change.

From day one of Palin's time as a VP candidate, she was embroiled with attacks from the left.  You can blame it on the MSM worshiping Obama.  You can blame it on her being a woman, and therefore "attack-able".  You can blame it on lots of things.

This examination leads me to believe that the Democrats did not expect a woman to enter the campaign, and in their own words, they were scared that Palin would appeal to the disaffected female Clinton supporter vote.  Perhaps it was the one piece of the puzzle that had not been anticipated.  And not only was she a woman, she balanced out McCain well, appealing to the more religious voters (etc) in comparison to McCain's moderate Republicanism.

Sarah Palin was a threat.  If she were truly a mistake, then she wouldn't have been a threat, and they would have saved their bad press for McCain.  Instead, Palin got more memorable media coverage than the actual candidate.  When was the last time that happened?  No, really?

The Daily Koz shows us that the most dangerous aspect of Palin was that her record, when juxtoposed next to Obama, made him look that much more inexperienced.  If that were to become a media reality, the Democrats might split their vote (with Hillary-supporters going for McCain/Palin).

Thus, the attacks began.  The only acceptable smear?  Palin's dumb.  That way, no one could use her to emphasize Obama's inexperience, and Obama would safely receive the Hillary-supporter votes.  

Now, what to do to really cinch it?  Hmm... too bad women are known for standing by each other.  Wait a minute.  Women are known for cat-fights!  Score!  How do we make women hate Sarah Palin?...

Say that she's pretty.

Honestly, I don't usually see that in her.  Nor do I think Hillary Clinton is ugly, which is another popular view. I think both are objectively attractive.  (Or, perhaps, not unattractive.)  Their noses aren't weird, they don't have protruding foreheads or saggy necks.  They can style their hair or wear makeup to accentuate features or styles, but I don't think that either woman is stunning or disgusting.

But women are more harsh to women they think are attractive.  And society says that a woman can be attractive or smart, but not both.  

We have a winner!  Emphasizing Palin's attractiveness, particularly her beauty queen history, not only alienates her from the female vote, it reinforces that she's dumb and keeps Obama's inexperience off the table.

Were they scared of Palin?  No.  Were they scared of how Palin would make Obama look?  YES.

Based on the Daily Kos article (and a bit of critical analysis and speculation), I believe the roots of Palin hate stem not from the fear of Palin's strength, but instead from the fear of what those strengths would look like juxtaposed against Obama.

Sarah Palin's mere existence in the 2008 campaign could have shown that the emperor was wearing no clothes.

These are the three key bits from the Daily Kos that most stick out to me now:

Who is Sarah Palin?

People don't know much about her; we can make her be whoever we want her to be.

If Sarah Palin were not an attractive female, would she even be under consideration for the vice presidential post - being unexperienced and undistinguished other than the scandal she's embroiled in?
Sarah Palin is attractive.  If she's also experienced and smart, we're screwed.

Well, I think we've just won the VP section of this campaign.
Crap, we might lose the election.

After all, Palin did have a scandal up in Alaska...  How come that wasn't better utilized in the 2008 smear campaign?  Oh right... doing so would have pointed out that she had experience in government.  Best to just call her a pretty (e.g. dumb) girl, and leave it at that.

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