Sarah Palin: No Dumb Blonde.

The streets of my Washington, DC neighborhood were eerily silent Thursday night during the countdown to Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Biden’s historic vice presidential debate. Like my neighbors, I was huddled excitedly in front of my television set. But as Palin took the stage in her businesslike black suit, trademark clear-rim glasses and mom-in-a-rush updo, for a minute I wanted to turn the tv off. Suddenly, the last think I could bear was witnessing the second female VP candidate in history humiliate herself, as she did during her fiasco with CBS news anchorwoman Katie Couric.

 

I disagree with many of Palin’s political positions. I’ve cringed at many of the things she’s done and said. I howled at Tina Fey’s imitations. Palin’s not getting my vote on November 4th. But, as a working mom with three kids, I’m doing a jig on behalf of women in leadership positions everywhere that Palin generally held her own under the spotlight of millions of viewers, against an experienced, intelligent male politician who’s been preparing for this job for 35 years longer than she has. I think women everywhere should feel empowered by the fact that a working mom has gotten hold of a microphone on the international political stage.

 

Five weeks ago no one had heard of Sarah Palin. On Thursday an estimated 50 million viewers from 240 countries around the world listened to what she had to say. Whether she won or lost the debate is up to you, but my take is that her achievements ain’t bad for a working mom of five who started her career on a small town PTA board, and whose accomplishments include field-dressing a moose and competing in teenage beauty contests. Hey, who needs reality TV?

 

Of course, the big criticism of Sarah Palin is her lack of experience. Trust me, sticking up for Palin among the Washington insiders has been as enjoyable as telling another mother my daughter has head lice. But I find it impossible to let bystanders – especially my fellow moms -- brazenly criticize Palin’s lack of qualifications.

 

Palin has no experience? Compared to whom? Like, um, Dan Quayle? Ronald Reagan? George W. Bush? Dick Cheney? Ross Perot? William Jefferson Clinton? All were roundly criticized, and often ridiculed, for their lack of presidential qualifications. On this regard, I’d repeat Jimmy Carter’s proclamation: nothing on earth can prepare someone to be president of the United States.

 

But here’s what compels me to stick my foot in my mouth again and again when the conversation turns to Palin’s “lack of experience” -- my suspicion that men and women are using “completely unqualified” as politically-correct code for “dumb.” As in dumb blonde, an insult so squarely and exclusively targeted at women that it needs no gender qualification. (Although let’s be clear here that Palin is a brunette sporting only blonde highlights.) I can’t let the unspoken gender insult pass. It is one of our culture’s most deep-seated, pernicious, passionately held unconscious prejudices against women: we aren’t smart enough to lead or govern at the highest executive levels.

 

mom2my2kids
11.19.08

First, I totally agree that Palin should/should have gotten more respect than she was given, and I was completely appalled at the awful things said about her by many of our own gender without knowing a single thing about her. (Some of those words were not only brutal but profane.) Some say she didn't have enough experience. Some believe she did. After actually researching the woman, I'm one who believed/believes she is/was qualified. What some people are willing to completely toss out of the window and into the wind is this: The general election was for the voters to choose who they felt would be best suited for the top spot - the POTUS. And while the VPOTUS is also important, when you have two people competing/campaigning for that position it blows my mind that some people are actually asking who is most qualified - The Presidential candidate Obama vs. the Vice Presidential candidate Palin? Where's the common sense? Who of the two Presidential candidates had more experience. McCain by a LONG shot. And the post about McCain being the left's favorite Republican Senator for YEARS is right on! The left vilified this man as well as Sarah Palin. But, there is one more thing that most on the left have forgotten. How many leaders in the Democratic Party said that McCain had experience and that Obama was not ready to be president? Several - including his own VP choice! Then what happens after Obama got the nomination? The Democratic Party, as they always do, put party before country. These leaders flip flopped all over the place, and those who voted for him chose to ignore that? (Not to mention all the other shady things in his past) I don't mean to sound critical. But what else can you say when so many issues about Obama went ignored by our citizens while chastising Palin for what she wore, were her kids with her, and all those other things? It blows my mind. There's no logic to it. And for the record, I keep seeing remarks made about Sarah Palin's intelligence in that interview with Katie Couric. I find it unconscionable that people can insult her because of that interview but fail to chastise or even acknowledge the fact that Barack Hussein Obama thinks there's 58 states in this nation. He visited 57 of them and had one more to go which was Hawaii AND Alaska. My God he cannot even count either. And now he's the President-Elect? As you can see I did not vote for the man. I have absolutely nothing good to say about him. I respect he's our President-Elect, and unlike those on the opposite side of the aisle's practice with GWB, I, as a good citizen, acknowledge he is our President-Elect. I think this country is in deep when it comes to national security once he takes over, and when that comes to pass, all these little issues like Sarah Palin's kids, her clothes, her interview with Katie Couric, the economy, and all those other things will no longer matter. And we will have those who voted for this unqualified, socialist elistist who is dishonest and a danger to our nation's security to thank. And one more thing, this crazy notion that she was brought in to replace Hillary (basically saying McCain was pandering to Hillary supporters) is completely absurd! All those people are managing to do is say that those who voted in the primaries for Hillary are dumb. Well, McCain isn't. He would not have, in a million years, insulted liberal women by saying that he thought they were dumb enough to give credence to woman in the VP seat that has completely different ideology and completely different stances on issues. And those who have made it clear that McCain wasn't their first choice? I'm in that category with you. That stems back to my other contention that McCain was always the left's favorite Republican Senator. They loved him, but he wasn't my first choice because he's not conservative enough for me. But when it comes to McCain vs. the Democratic candidates that we just saw in this election, McCain wins - hands down. Off my soapbox....

kristine.65
11.03.08

It seems that the whole media frenzy around Sarah threw the media off Obama and he feels like a spoiled kid that is not getting all the attention. If the media would once get off their high horse of Sarah Palin and start being as negative to Barry Obama, the whole presidential election would be a different story. Yes, we do live in a country where what Sarah and John represent will be history if Obama gets to be president. We will find out tomorrow. But I come from Illinois. OBAMA yes OBAMA did nothing for Illinois. He has been groomed by the DNC for this position.
We are being bought a man. We are getting what they are paying for. Want to know who is backing him? check out his funds, who they represent. Money talks in America, Land of the Free.

leslie morgan s...
10.30.08

Leslie Morgan Steiner

I just have to add here that Palin's appearance on Saturday Night Live only increased my respect for her. Amy Pohler's skit (at nine months pregant -- she delivered a boy a week later) was the funniest SNL skit I've seen in years. In addition to everything else Palin knows how to laugh at herself...and she's got great comedic timing.

I don't think McCain Palin will win -- but we have not seen the last of Sarah, for sure.

imamamatoo
10.30.08

I thought in the light of our conversation regarding gov Palin's qualifications I'd add some impressive credentials to the post. I verified this information with some of our military forces here in Alaska. Most important to note is that gov Palin, is unique in her roll here... no other gov deals with issues of National security or has the responsibility to respond to a national crisis. As her position dictates she has more experience and government clearance than anyone running for president or VP, and in truth most of Washington. She not just another politician.

What is America 's first line of missile interceptor defense that protects the entire United States ?
*49th Missile Defense Battalion of Alaska National Guard.
What is the ONLY National Guard unit on permanent active duty?
*49th Missile Defense Battalion of Alaska National Guard
Who is the Commander in Chief of the 49th Missile Defense Battalion of Alaska National Guard?
*Governor Sarah Palin, Alaska
What U.S. governor is routinely briefed on highly classified military issues, homeland security, and counter terrorism?
*Governor Sarah Palin, Alaska
What U.S. governor has a higher classified security rating than either candidate of the Democrat Party?
*Governor Sarah Palin, Alaska
According to the Washington Post, she first met with McCain in February, but nobody ever found out. This is a woman used to keeping secrets. 
She can be entrusted with our national security, because she already is.

Based on the previous statements, I think she’s got more qualifications and experience that most people giver her credit for. I think there is no better person to be “a heart beat away from the presidency”. She takes all the garbage thrown at her in stride, she is not Hillary, not Obama, not McCain, or any other "type". She’s her own woman, like we all should be. She's proven that she can cross the political boundaries to non-partisan-ship. She will be an asset wherever she serves, government or otherwise. And if she and McCain don't win, Alaska will be just as happy to keep her here. ;)

cgpoletsgo
10.19.08

Eloquence aside, Obama has nothing to "give" to this country. In fact, as I see it, would "give" our country away. Thanks faq for stepping up and standing out. Much like McCain has done his entire career. What's lacking in the presidential candidate that is Obama - EVERYTHING. He was all but wiped off from birth and set-up, trained to talk the talk (in circles) by his party and has done nothing while in the senate, as instructed by his party "don't want to have a 'history'" This should be more frightening to Americans than anything, in addition to the company he keeps and the sidebar slip-ups "I want to spread the wealth" as to what his real purpose is when he gains COMPLETE POWER OVER US. For me, national security is the number one issue. While everyone hates the war in Iraq and mostly disagrees with it, the fact remains, we have not had another 911. And, McCain stood up - against his OWN PARTY in the earliest days of the war. He has been the Left's favorite Republican for years, decades, yet now that it's election time he's criticized by those same people (in the media in Hollywood which sales the liberally/narrow minded Americans) as being just another Bush. I cannot understand how the LEFT can make derogatory comments about McCain, Palin - and even have x-rated tshirts printed and wear them proudly. Their "FREEDOM" to do so. Yet, if there's anything said by someone on the Right even slightly biased, The Left accuses us of being racists. This is precisely why to me the Right is Right and the Left is way out in Left field. In the name of Democracy? I just don't get it. GODSPEED AMERICA.

christinasinter...
10.09.08

I agree with this post. I would not have voted for McCain, no matter who he chose as VP, and I with his and Palin's politics and on so many issues, but I've been trying to put my finger on what's been bothering me about the national conversation about her. You got it.

kennamom
10.08.08

I hear your argument against her being unqualified, but it's more than that. Her unintelligible answers in the Katie Couric interviews coupled with her furious cramming over the past few weeks show that she has never had any interested in national/world affairs. THAT makes her unqualified.

bloggingmom67
10.08.08

Sorry, have to differ with you here, Leslie.

I don't think people think she's dumb because she's a woman. I don't think it's a gender-based sexist statement.

I think people think she's dumb because she does not display the intellectual curiousity, knowledge and understanding of complex situations that is needed in a world leader. She learns her lines, but can't think on her feet.

When asked a question -- either by Katie Couric or in the debate -- she pulls from memory what she has been told to say, even if it doesn't answer the question. She comes across, to me, like she doesn't fully understand foreign policy, the economy, etc. She comes across as if she really didn't follow those issues until McCain asked her to be running mate.

I agree with you that she has made great achievements. Having children and being a mom are one of the most challenging, important things a woman can do. But that doesn't mean you should be a hearbeat away from running the most powerful country in the world.

Men, such as Carter, Regan, Bush have been challenged for lacking experience. But none of them lacked experience as much as Palin. I want my vice president and president to be smarter than "Joe Six Pack," not a regular Joe. There's too much at stake to accept less.

slpemmer
10.08.08

John McCain and Sarah Palin have my vote. Thank you Ms. Steiner for stating the obvious that Sarah Palin is a smart and successful women who deserves to be the vice presidential nominee. She does not lack the experience to be on this ticket, if anyone does, it’s Obama. Remember he’s running for the office of President of the United States.

Sarah Palin isn’t the real concern to me, it’s Barrack Hussein Obama, you know that guy leading the democratic ticket? This is the most liberal man in the senate. A man with ties to the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers and anti-American Rev.Wright.
The record clearly shows that Obama was lying when he called Ayers just a guy “who lives in my neighborhood.”
Ayers got a $50 million grant for the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Obama was put in charge of giving out the money and funded left-wing groups like ACORN for a program that’s now billed as “school reform” but amounted to political indoctrination.
As Stanley Kurtz wrote in The Wall Street Journal, Obama and Ayers “worked as a team to advance the CAC agenda,” namely “Ayers’ educational philosophy, which called for infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism.”
Let’s not forget about Rev. Wright the anti-American, racist minister and spiritual confidant to Barrack Hussein Obama. For 20 years Obama attended his services, he was married by him, his children were baptized by him and yet he does not recall in 20 years Rev. Wright spewing his hatred for America in his sermons.
Do you invite these type of people into your home?

I don’t even want to get started on Obama’s tax proposals and spending plans. We are facing one of the gravest crises in our nation’s history and all the cash Obama wanted to spend on health care, education and infrastructure just walked out the door en route to Wall Street. He must either abandon his program, hike taxes on almost everyone or run a huge deficit.

Stick to the serious issues that we are facing, open your eyes and listen, read and get the facts not just the 30 sec clips that we see too often and stop this bashing of Sarah Palin.
I don’t fear for her when she speaks, I get excited to hear a fresh voice who that in 5 weeks has outdone herself. Sarah Palin is an inspiration to all women and those of you who can’t see that, I feel sorry for you.

slpemmer
10.08.08

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