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Palin's "Sexism" Charges

A left-leaning national news publication takes advantage of a sexy photo that you posed for, writes mean things about you, and makes you look like a twit. In response you charge "sexism!" (because, no, they would not have done this to Hillary Clinton).  Then, because you think you're nailing them on the turf they helped to create (the land where anything vaguely hinted to be "sexism" is the same thing as cutting eye-holes in white sheets), you imagine that you have your "touche" moment and, as an added benefit, the sympathy of thinking conservative women like me.  Well, sorry.  You don't.  You helped to make yourself look like an even bigger twit--and it's all the worse because you didn't have to do that.  If you had really been the anti-feminist conservative candidate, yours would have been the hill I chose to die on.  But you're not . . . you're playing it.  If you want to be the anti-feminist candidate, stop whining like a feminist. 

Maybe there is a female constituency out there in Oprah-land who finds this kind of victim thing to be a rallying cry?  I wouldn't know.  I heard a caller on one of the shows yesterday suggest that this could all be part of a clever strategy you have to win back female support lost in the Couric/Fey wars . . . like Hilary's "Pretty in Pink" moment of victimhood after Bill's misdeeds became public.  Maybe even some conservative women enjoy approaching life as if life's realities are all part of some cosmic plan to do them wrong.  But I'm sorry.  It's nails on the chalkboard time for me.  What did you think you were doing?  Signing up for a tiddlywinks tournament?  Whining about sexism from the press at this point in the game--a game you chose to play--is beneath you.  And, if its a self-conscious ploy, it's insulting to the women you wish to champion.

Was the cover telling?  Yes.  But it told me more than perhaps you wanted me to know.  It seems to me that you had to know that it was coming.  And, in knowing that, you had two choices before the picture was ever taken.  If the Newsweek result was something you had reason to fear (as clearly you did) you should not have done it.  So why was that picture ever taken?  Oh . . . because you're a runner and good health is important to you.  Fabulous.  Run.  Talk about running.  Promote running.  Do a cover of Runner's World . . . in a jogging suit.  But you enjoy being a girl, you protest.  There's nothing wrong with that.  Indeed.  There's not. You shouldn't have to look like Bella Azbug in order to be taken seriously in the political world.  But when you make a conscious effort to show off what your workout gave you this is always going to be the result.   Any non-feminist knows that.   And, frankly, I believe you know it too.  You in jogging shorts is never going to be the same thing as Bill Clinton or George W. Bush in jogging shorts.  Is that fair?  Maybe not.  But who is going to change it?  Whining sure as heck won't change it . . . though it does, perhaps, serve some imagined political purpose.

Your other choice was to do that cover and to be self-consciously ironic about it.  You could have cultivated the sexy-librarian schtick.  But, of course, that would be more useful to you if your real goal was merely to sell books or land a TV show . . . and maybe, in fact, it really is.  But even then . . . what's with the whining?   Being a woman requires that a woman know when and when NOT to take advantage of her erotic pull . . . just as a man has to be able to tame his physical superiority when around women (to say nothing of his sexual drive).  You appear to want to have it both ways . . . invite the attention (always), and then decry it as sexist.   

None of this is to say that women cannot or should not be concerned about or involved in politics (that would be something coming from me!).  And it is certainly NOT to say that attractive women should abandon the game or uglify themselves before joining in.  But it is to say that when women do get involved, we have to be able to play the game differently . . . or, like Ann Coulter, one should be prepared to make herself a cartoon and accept the consequences.

It's time to put on your big girl pants or be satisfied with the mess of your own making.

Categories > Politics

Discussions - 21 Comments

Whining doesn't play well for me either, Julie.

As an aside, Runner's World is asserting copyright infringement, looks like --the photos were under embargo.


Until I looked here, I hadn't seen any whuning.

Wonder what made me think there was value here. The misleading "No Left Turns" thing, I guess.

Julie, interesting thoughts. Over at the ATLANTIC, Ta-Nehisi Coates is calling out NEWSWEEK for sexism despite his longstanding contempt for Palin. I don't know what I think about this issue, but it is nice to see some people stick to their principles rather than twist things around so that they cheer their team and boo the other side.

I rather like the photo.

I suspect many do ... perhaps more than will admit.

I suspect Palin's "protest" is fully calculated.

Julie, your blog post makes you sound like a screeching, unbearable liberal twit!

Gov. Palin's 'charge' was one sentence long, reproduced below:

The out-of-context Newsweek approach is sexist and oh-so-expected by now.

Nestled within a mild complaint that the photo had been taken for an article in Runner's World for an entirely different purpose.

Above are eight ordinary words and two hyphenated words. Your commentary runs on for 791 words. That is not you. If there is anything that might be offered in evidence that the Claremont Institute is a patronage dump, it is your continued employment there.

Just for the record: Art Deco will be happy to know that I have not been an employee of the Claremont Institute since 1998.

And it does not matter how long the "charge" was . . . it is her pattern now. She is the "victim." I am not joining in the chorus to defend her. You do what you want if if makes you feel chivalrous. I would feel foolish . . . but it's your call.

Julie, you are saying that Palin is wrapping herself in a cloak of victimhood, but she seems a little too forceful to either be that or be able to pull of the appearance of victimhood for long. Some are born victims, some achieve victimhood, and some have victimhood thrust upon them. She may fall in the latter category.

I have not read the book, but have read a few reviews and Palin seems to be responding to the questions a lot of us had as to what the heck happened in the campaign. You were among many at the time asking just that question.

As to the Newsweek cover, it was surely not meant kindly. I guess we could ask, was that what Maggie (Thatcher) would do? On the other hand, it betrays a kind of innocence, doesn't it? She was not anticipating a national spotlight and the glare of that seems all th harsher for the lack of preparation for it. If our "then" knew what our "now" knows we might all have handled ourselves differently in our "then", but we do not know.
Newsweek was trying to be nasty and to do harm with an out-of-context photo. Can't anyone say so?

Lists you as an 'institute fellow'. I take it you are not paid a stipend for that, which suggests someone at the institute fancies they benefit from having your name associated with it.

You appear to have no conception of what a 791 word rant in response to a brief and mildly stated complaint suggests about the person ranting, which is your problem. And no, it is not her 'pattern'. It is what an unpleasant middle aged woman choses to impute to her. You should find an avocation for which you are suitable. Topical commentary is not it.

In the end, Kate, the question is not how did she come to be regarded as a victim, but whether or not she is willing to embrace the mantle. I am sorry to say it, but Sarah Palin has embraced it. I don't think her forcefulness is really a factor . . . except if you want to say that she is forcefully permitting the victim card to be played. She may be. I had seen it to be more like "tacit" consent . . . at least until she pulled this latest with the Newsweek thing. But whether it is because of poor judgment, bad advice (the taking of which is the same thing as poor judgment, really), habit of character (apparently not . . . but I confess that extracts of her book now leave me wondering) or some kind of political miscalculation, it does not matter. Of course she was treated badly. I have noted and objected to her ill treatment many times on this blog--both on the main page and in the threads. But, as I have also argued many times, ill treatment in her case was to be expected. Charging "sexism" over it is stupid politics and descending into the realm of wrong-headed liberalism where one imagines everything in life is or ought to be "fair" despite real differences. And this is not the first time such a charge has emerged . . . its vague scent began floating soon after her nomination when the first lefty naysayers against team Palin began to crop up. I then dismissed it as misguided GOP handlers and McCainites thinking they might win over some Hillary supporters by pointing out the obvious hypocrisy of the crazed left. And I agreed with the analysis that such naysayers betrayed a bit of fear in being willing to descend to such cross-purposes with their purported principles. I never put any stock in the idea that such playing up to ordinary feminists would work . . . but I didn't complain much because I expected nothing better from unthinking operatives and thought it might help to shore up support among moderate Republican women. Then, when Harvey Mansfield argued that Sarah might be a candidate who offers a corrective to American feminism, ( I thought that perhaps he knew something about her that I didn't . . . or, perhaps, he was intending to offer a smart woman a political prescription that would work if she drank it. I still think that it would have worked--if not in '08 then later on for her--but it seems to me that she didn't know enough to swallow it.

Contra Art Deco, this whining about ill treatment--whether it be presidential gaffes, sexism, vulgarity from comedians, or mean journalists--is becoming a pattern.

See here:
and here:

And the Oprah performance was defensive and pathetic. She didn't come out swinging. If Palin had been swinging she'd have shown that she had intelligent answers for the questions that Katie Couric posed to her, instead of complaining about what a smug, tight-lipped *itch Couric was (calling her "the perky one" in that context was too precious for words). Do you think that is persuasive to Oprah's audience? If you want to smack down Katie Couric (on Oprah!) you don't do it with a cat-fight inspired slur. You show her why you had a serious job like governor and why she only gets to play an important person on TV.

And note too the bizarre resignation speech. Look, if every time a politician opens her mouth, the words coming out of it have to be defended and explained and re-explained by her supporters, then perhaps we must be forced to conclude that she's not very effective. I've no doubt that Sarah Palin is an accomplished and intelligent woman, in her way. But holding high national office requires a test by fire . . . and whether you like it or not, the fire testing of any potential female office holder (particularly a conservative one) is going to be pretty hot. She didn't pass that test. It's no good complaining that the test was too hard. Maggie Thatcher NEVER would have done that.

But what is the panic about from those who (like me) supported Palin in the election? It's no big deal if she's finished politically. The Republic will carry on without her leading it. She will carry on with a nice life and a sizable wallet when all is said and done (though, if I had been her, no remuneration could compensate me for some of the damage done to my family . . . and I would have a hard time forgiving myself for allowing it.) As I have argued before . . . she should have said, "No." But she didn't. Lesson learned. Above all, Sarah Palin's failures are no reflection on the principles she shares--insofar as she agrees with them--with a sizable and important segment of the American electorate. And neither is her failure an indication that no conservative woman can ever hope to make a real run for the Vice Presidency or Presidency. Frankly, the odds of that happening now are better than ever . . . now that there is a road-map detailing all the paths not to follow.

Art Deco: Palin has been making these remarks in serial fashion. If the media's actions are "oh so expected by now" what does she gain by even acknowledging them at all?

Let's face it: Palin could have taken the media and played them like a fiddle. Instead, she has most earnestly let the tables turn.

What a sham... isn't it only warm enough to run in Alaska for 20 days a year?

Want to see a liberal have a meltdown? Say Sarah Palin. Especially to Liberal Sarah Palin Hating Andrew Sullivan. Want to see a liberal commit suicide? Say Sarah Palin is running for President in 2012. Liberal Sarah Palin Hating Andrew Sullivan has shut down his blog for a couple of days to read and discover all the lies in Going Rogue. Especially about the lie about Sarah Palin being Trig's mom. I think Andrew Sullivan has shutdown his website for two days because he has figured out that Sarah Palin looks better in running shorts than he does.

Cowgirl . . . if that last line is your own creation, you should put a patent on it. Priceless.

But I don't think Sarah Palin inspires as much fear in the hearts of Dems as you think she does. Sorry.

Just an addendum to the above . . . what I mean to say is that I don't think she inspires as much fear in the hearts of Dems as she did once upon a time for about 3 weeks. I had been open to the argument that she could stir up that fear again, once unleashed. But it's been a year . . . and every time she's been in the news since then I don't think it has been to her advantage. Do you? Book sales are one thing . . . and, really, I'm glad that she's doing so well with that. But votes (from people not already your cheerleaders) are another thing entirely. I don't see her doing anything at all to win them.


I just wanted to say that I entirely agree with your posts. It is abut time a conservative woman said it.

As to sexism and men--I remember a particular picture which a lot of lefty types swooned over:


The line is my creation. Sullivan's obession with Sarah Palin is worse than Al Gore's obession with Global Warming. It borders on the line of complete intellectual meltdown. However, your take on Sarah Palin may be slightly wrong. The fact that the democratic party is using Palin's comments about "Death Panels" to raise money and the fact that the NY-23 Race completely turned around based on Palins' backing of Hoffman clearly shows the fear she inspires into the hearts of liberals. 2010 will be the prize for her - my bet - that conservatives and repubs running in 2010 will do anything to get her support - she has shown that she can change the face of a political contest.

However, if I understand Julie rightly she is saying that Palin is not sufficiently presidential to have influence in 2010, much less 2012, (which is when it would really matter,) unless victimhood comes to seem presidential to all of us by then. It might. The idea did wonders for Obama

Maybe she will shake it off and rise above it all. If she doesn't, I won't be happy about voting for her.


Sarah Palin a victim? Are you talking about the Sarah Palin who ran on the GOP Ticket as a VP in 2008? Sorry I don't see any victimhood in her - matter of fact I would rather meet Obama in a dark alley than her. He would be a breeze, she would be the one to fear.

Again, she heavily influened the NY-23 election and there are plenty of people wanting on her coattails in 2010. She will be a force to reckon with in 2010 - just watch.

cowgirl, read the whole thread.

You bet I will be watching Palin, and hoping, too.

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