Screaming at the Internet: Presidentialness edition

Does Palin seem less presidential than Howard Dean, for example, because:

  • she’s eight years younger than Howard Dean when he ran for President?
  • she’s only been the governor of a small State for little over two years whereas Dean was the governor of a small State for 12?
  • she’s a she?

Does she seem less presidential than Barack Obama because:

  • she has more experience as an elected official but of smaller districts?
  • she didn’t give a speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention?
  • she soundly defeated a party lion in her governors race, but Obama was able to beat The Hillary Clinton?
  • she’s a she?

Does she seem less presidential than Joe Biden because:

  • she hasn’t been representing a number of people about half the population of Alaska for 35 years in Washington?
  • … ((I mean really, Joe Biden? Presidential? He’s Kerry with less hair and swift-boats or not, Kerry proved himself to be less than Presidential material.))
  • she’s a she?

Look, I’m not the first person in a crowd to scream sexism. I’m usually the last. But the reaction to her selection as McCain’s VP smacks of it.

UPDATE: I should mention that with my winnings from the primaries last night I went all-in on Obama in the general election. The Palin selection didn’t change my opinion that Obama has a 70% to win the race.

10 thoughts on “Screaming at the Internet: Presidentialness edition”

  1. What reaction? I just see a lot of shrieking from the right wing media about how the liberal media is shrieking about her daughter’s pregnancy.

  2. Sorry, I was out of town during both revelations. Not sure about what happened during the gap between one and t’other.

    If the sexism is genuine, shouldn’t it be equal opportunity? Was there a lot of sexist sentiment directed at Clinton? I guess it might be more prevalent in this case because Palin is younger and more feminine looking than Clinton (even Stewart and Colbert led their bits with a raft of “Sexy Librarian” jokes).

  3. Yeah, I suppose I didn’t “get” the sexism thing when Hillary supporters were screaming about it. Its no excuse, but I feel like the Palin detractors are being much more overtly sexist.

    Honestly, why does prego-gate have anything to do with her ability to be President? I think the closest anyone can come is to say she’s a hypocrite because she’s socially conservative and her daughter had sex out of marriage. But this is a steep, steep hill to climb if you ask me. Less charitably, its relevant if women can’t be good Presidents if they’re not perfect mothers (btw, even great, but less than perfect, mothers can have children that screw up). Of course, a man wouldn’t be precluded because he was a less than perfect father.

    This is genuinely a case where lack of data — people don’t know much about Palin — has people falling back on their prejudices: women, especially beautiful ones, make for bad Presidents.

  4. I was ambivalent about the issue until this morning. A few things have been pointed out to me:

    – The Republican party has taken strong stances against issues like abortion and gay marriage, areas where on would expect individual rights and liberties to trump government control. It’s hypocritical to criticize public scrutiny into what should be a private family matter while you’re preaching the virtues of public (government) scrutiny into what should be private family matters.

    – Bristol’s pregnancy is seen as an indictment of abstinence-only education policies. This is probably an unfair accusation, but there it is.

    It looks like the age of consent in Alaska is 16 anyway. I don’t think outrage over Juneaugate will last past the next cable news cycle. McCain’s choice of Palin, though, seems a little like Bush’s choice of Harriet Miers. Who knows, though? Maybe Cylons will bomb the capital and she’ll go all Laura Roslin on us.

  5. Heh. I thought of Roslin too.

    The similarity between the Myers and Palin is that they’re not East Coast elites and they’re both women. My first reaction to the Myers controversy was that people didn’t like her because she’s not a fancy lawyer from the city. After taking a harder look at her, though, I came to realize she wasn’t really qualified. The supreme court is a little different than the Presidency, I think, in the requirements of experience and competence. You have to be smart to be a Justice, not so with Presidents. Famously, some of our best haven’t been the brightest (e.g. Kennedy vs. Wilson). Myers wasn’t qualified in terms of experience nor in terms of competence.

    Maybe we’ll find Palin isn’t qualified either. This seems unlikely given her experience (if short) as a governor and her popularity in Alaska, but you never know. I tend to think the reaction against her is mostly sexism not elitism, but maybe its a little bit of both.

  6. BTW, there’s no one on the planet that would say sex education (of any type) could prevent all unwanted teen pregnancy. That’s just silly.

    Also, suppose Palin (not Republicans… we’re talking about her hypocrisy) took strong stances against gay marriage and abortion and she advocates strong laws as you suggest. I haven’t seen any evidence of this, but let’s suppose. Does her hypocrisy on these points make her ill-equipped to be President? If not, I repeat my question: who f-ing cares about eskimo-gate!?

  7. I don’t think anyone’s claiming that more thorough sex ed could prevent teen pregnancy. Look at that middle school case a few months ago. I don’t think this is even as big an issue as Larry Craig’s outing; if Palin wasn’t up for VP, no one would bat an eye at this case.

    This commentary from arch-liberals Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan doesn’t seem particularly sexist to me.

    Calling Obama inexperienced is not racist. Calling him a secret Muslim is racist. Calling Sarah Palin inexperienced is not sexist. Saying “I can’t picture her as Commander in Chief for some reason” might be sexist. Saying “No world leaders would take a woman seriously” is sexist.

  8. Of course, questioning someone’s experience isn’t sexist. But the question is why is her experience being questioned whereas John Edwards’ wasn’t. That douche got a free pass and he had no experience to think of… Palin is the governor of a State for Christ sake. She’s served as long in that position as Obama did before he started his campaign.

    I think this comparison is more apt then the ones I made in the post because he doesn’t have coastal elitist status. The difference here is sex.

    BTW, I don’t know where you got that I was indicting liberals… this was a “Screaming at the Internet” post because everyone (including myself… the post was a bit of a projection, i.e. “screaming at myself”) was acting funny on this issue.

  9. Nah, Obama just has egghead ivory tower academic intellectual elitist status. Also argula.

    Under reasonable standards, Palin is a highly accomplished woman. She’s governor of Alaska for Christs’s sake.

    I don’t really remember the tone when Condoleeza Rice joined the Bush cabinet in 2001, except for a few wild claims that Bush was just using her as a 2-for-1 diversity token. I haven’t heard much of that since 2004. If she had been willing to run, and McCain had picked here, I don’t think anyone would have batted an eye about her gender.

    As for experience, and again I must quote radical leftists like Pat Buchanan, Obama has demonstrated recent, relevant organizational skill by running a tight, polished campaign that defeated The Hillary. Palin was… chosen… and no one can figure out what put her ahead of other VP candidates. The obvious, most visible things are:
    -She espouses strong conservative values.
    -She’s a woman.
    -She’s photogenic.

    Can you really blame people?

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