Another Reason I Love Gloria Steinem — Palin is Wrong Woman with Wrong Message

Thu, September 4, 2008


Alaska Governor and GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin has the “big mo.’ ” At least she seemed to in the St. Paul convention hall where she made the official transformation from “hockey mom” to party attack dog.

The Republican party faithful loved her. They cheered her on as she adopted the talking points John McCain’s people gave her, gleefully mocking Barack Obama and the Democrats. She outlined her life story, which, in the abstract, is compelling.

And compelling is what the Republicans are hoping for — a working mother of five, from PTA to one of 50 governors in only 14 years and on the verge of becoming the most powerful GOP woman in America (sorry, Carly).

Someone who has juggled the demands of motherhood and career, and has developed a political path for herself along the way, championing the right-wing values they need to secure if they want to win the White House in November.

Fortunately, on the heels of the adoring crowds last night, comes the progressive voice of reason, Gloria Steinem, with her op-ed in the L.A. Times, Wrong Woman, Wrong Message:

Palin’s value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality.

She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women’s wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves “abstinence-only” programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers’ millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn’t spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling.

She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

I have no doubt that the McCain’s people (read: Karl Rove) know that the choice of Sarah Palin would not appeal to most Hillary Clinton supporters. But I don’t think that’s what they were after — they’re hoping to galvanize a different voting block, not the NOW women, but the NEW women.

As a young political science major in college, I had two ideological enemies – Marabel Morgan and Phyllis Schlafly. It was beyond me that any woman could look up to either one of them and think they represented a way of life that seemed like a good choice.

While I am still confounded, I now have a couple more decades under my belt and can see, though not agree, how someone like Palin is appealing — political women are passionate about their ideals, regardless of whether they are right, left or in the middle. And McCain’s people believe if they can tap into that passion, they’ve got it made.

That’s why I’m hoping that as many women as possible will read Steinem’s op-ed and focus on what we stand to lose and what it really means for the future if Palin becomes the next vice-president, not just for progressive women, but for all women — and their daughters.

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12 Responses to “Another Reason I Love Gloria Steinem — Palin is Wrong Woman with Wrong Message”

  1. Becki Says:

    I listened to Palin speak last night. She is a gifted and engaging speaker. But I agree with Steinem, so I am forwarding the link to that op-ed to every woman I know.

  2. MojoMom Says:

    PunditMom, thanks for alerting me to Steinem’s excellent op-ed. It’s been gratifying to find substance amid the spin of the cable news people who fawned over Palin’s delivery last night.

    As you know I undertook my own effort to analyze Palin’s speech on the issues, over at the MojoMom blog, with my post Give me a Constitutional Law prof any day.

  3. Karen Says:

    Steinem’s op-ed was one of the first things I read this morning in the paper. While I am not always 100% in agreement with her on a number of issues, she hit this one out of the park.

    Funny, you should mention Schlafly–back in her heyday, I always wondered how she got away with advocating all that “traditional mother, traditional family values stuff when she herself was any thing but traditional–at least in the sense of being stay-at-home mom caring for her brood.

  4. anniegirl1138 Says:

    Never understood the appeal of Schlafy or why women fell for her hypocrisy so easily.

    Thanks for the link.

  5. sarah Says:

    Very good article (Steinem).

    There are several things concern me – one being the separation of church and state (which I very much support) and I do not have faith it would be a priority to someone like Palin.

  6. miranda Says:

    Thanks for this post! I understand that there are a lot of women out there who like Palin because she is woman in politics who “looks like” them. (Forget the irony that a woman in politics is something that shouldn’t even be happening in the conservative right-wing of the GOP.)

    However, Palin doesn’t look like me, and I was very disappointed that so many people though her speech “rocked” when it was short on substance and long on “clever” remarks meant to do little more than tear others down. That’s not a woman who represents me.

  7. Breanna Says:

    If Gloria Steinem pipes up from her feminist bunker to grace womankind with her denouncements, then quite clearly Sarah Palin is solidly on the right track.

    This candidates selection has shone a brilliant light onto the utter hypocrisy that is feminism, rather then a movement of women supporting women in our attempts to advance in a male dominated society, feminism is more accurately Liberal women supporting liberal women.

    Were Sarah on the other ticket how likely is it that Gloria would’ve ventured outside the confines of the fem bunker to grace sisterhood with her wisdom.

  8. Patrick Says:

    I would disagree with Breanna. It seems to me that if Sarah Palin were on the Democratic ticket, she would be someone who actually increased funding for special needs children in Alaska rather than cutting it, or been an active proponent of sex education, or policies and laws that promoted equity for women in the workplace and beyond. Steinem would be endorsing her on those issues, not because she happened to be on the Democratic ticket.

    Sarah Palin is a successful woman who has benefited from decades of feminist activism, but it is nonsensical to think that her gender would necessarily lead feminists to support her candidacy. There is no hypocrisy in Steinem’s position, because feminism isn’t a movement of “women supporting women” unconditionally. As someone who considers himself a feminist, this doesn’t leave much room for me and the other men around the country who advocate greater equality across gender lines. Indeed, it seems to me that feminism has more to do with supporting equality than it does a candidates gender.

    One can acknowledge that it is salutary to have a female vice-presidential nominee, but it doesn’t mean that said nominee would be an effective advocate for women’s issues if elected to office.

  9. Daisy Says:

    Gloria Steinem says it so well. I’ve linked to her, too, and sent her op-ed piece to my daughter in college.

  10. karrie Says:

    Well, Palin swung me……to Obama. The more I read about Palin, the more my concerns about Obama pale in comparison.

    As for Palin's speaking ability, she did major in journalism. I think her speech nailed it–for the immediate, captive Republican-always audience. Anyone else listening could quickly suss out the lack of substance and gross exaggerations.

    As an aside, did you catch John Stewart's take on people like Rove on Palin? It is hilarious.

  11. karrie Says:

    Forgot to add:

    I think Palin=Ann Coulter.

  12. karrie Says:

    Or maybe more like some horrible combination of Ronald Reagan and Coulter.


    I’m increasingly horrified and depressed at the thought of November.

    Obama: Unleash The Hillary now, please.

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