Palin Backlash Watch, Parts III & IV

From Tammy Bruce, former head of the Los Angeles chapter of NOW and “a registered Democrat her entire life until February”:

In the shadow of the blatant and truly stunning sexism launched against the Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign, and as a pro-choice feminist, I wasn’t the only one thrilled to hear Republican John McCain announce Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. For the GOP, she bridges for conservatives and independents what I term “the enthusiasm gap” for the ticket. For Democrats, she offers something even more compelling – a chance to vote for a someone who is her own woman, and who represents a party that, while we don’t agree on all the issues, at least respects women enough to take them seriously.

From Phyllis Chesler, feminist psychologist and author of a dozen books on women’s issues:

Ah, the abortion issue, always, only, the abortion issue. We fought hard for that right, and we have been forced to continue fighting for it. I don’t agree with the Right to Life position but I can work with someone whether or not we agree on this hot-button issue. … I have worked with some Christian conservatives who are anti-abortion but who are, nevertheless, pro-woman. Interestingly, they have sometimes taken pro-woman stands that are, in my view, even more radical in certain areas than those taken by secular feminists. Indeed, I have found that religious people can also be profoundly pro-woman. Feminism cannot be defined only by secularists or only by one political party.

Contra Tammy Bruce, I don’t think Obama’s decision to pass over Hillary Clinton had as much to do with sexism as it did with Clinton’s own baggage, as well as Obama’s understandable desire to avoid being saddled with a second-guessing Second Gentleman who used to hold the top job.

I also, frankly, still don’t think Palin is qualified to be president. She would not have been selected if she were a man. However, Democrats are in no position to complain about appeals to identity politics.

Palin joins a long tradition of underqualified VP nominees in both parties, ranging in my lifetime from Spiro Agnew to Sargeant Shriver to Geraldine Ferraro to Dan Quayle to John Edwards. I’ll take my chances with Palin.

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