Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gender Goop

The booing of Sarah Palin yesterday for lauding Hillary Clinton's presidential primary achievement is a dandy metaphor for the sexual stew this election has created.

Here is a woman on the Republican ticket chosen mainly for gender appeal trying to profit from the unhappiness of Hillary supporters being rebuffed by Hillary-hating ideologues even as she tries to win an election for them.

If this foreshadows a Palin problem in her own party, it pales by comparison to the bind she creates for Democrats. If they harp on her lack of qualifications, they risk accusations of sexism. (Recall the success of Clarence Thomas, a less than brilliant choice for the Supreme Court, in clobbering Democrats, with charges of a "high-tech lynching.")

Looking ahead to the Vice-Presidential debate, Joe Biden will have to walk on eggshells to avoid appearing condescending. Even if he treats Palin with utmost courtesy, showing his superior grasp of foreign policy could be interpreted as sexist bullying.

Unlike the unspoken racism that dogs Barack Obama, the question of Palin's identity as a woman will be the subject of open argument ad nauseum, perhaps one of the goals the McCain campaign had in mind when choosing her.

It could serve the double purpose of defending veiled racial attacks on Obama with countercharges that Palin too is being victimized while she goes relatively unscathed in promoting the values of the Religious Right.

This is not quite what the leaders of the Women's Movement had in mind over half a century of trying to break through glass ceilings.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Biden should treat Palin no differently in the debate than he would if Palin were a man. If the opposition deserves a verbal thrashing, give the opposition a verbal thrashing.