Palin's presence on the Republican ticket forced family-values conservatives to give public support to working mothers, equal marriages, pregnant teens and their much-maligned parents. Talk-show frothers, Christian zealots and professional antifeminists – Rush Limbaugh and Phyllis Schlafly – insisted that a mother of five, including a "special-needs" newborn, could perfectly well manage governing a state (a really big state, as we were frequently reminded), while simultaneously running for veep and, who knows, field-dressing a moose. No one said she belonged at home.
According to Pollitt, Palin was not only "God's gift" to Barack Obama, Katie Couric and Tina Fey, "she was also a gift to feminism." And Pollitt is right. Surely, until now, there has been no better demonstration of what feminism has wrought than the Palin reality show, buttressed by the masses of devotees she acquired in her brief, but tumultuous tenure as vice presidential candidate.
Palin's lifestyle was thoroughly acceptable to liberals and conservatives, suggests Pollitt, so much so that,
No one said she was neglecting her husband or failing to be appropriately submissive to him. No one blamed her for 17-year-old Bristol's out-of-wedlock pregnancy or hard-partying high-school-dropout boyfriend. No one even wondered out loud why Bristol wasn't getting married before the baby arrived.
There is no doubt, Pollitt emphasizes, that feminism, in moving across the social and political spectrum, has changed attitudes, and behavior once looked upon by many Americans as dysfunctional, even sinful, is becoming normalized. She apparently agrees with conservative writer Heather MacDonald, who has pointed out that, once certain principles have been compromised, "there will be no turning back." Pollitt proclaims:
All these things have officially morphed from sins to "challenges," just part of normal family life. No matter how strategic this newfound broadmindedness is, it will not be easy to row away from it. Thanks to Sarah, ladies, we can do just about anything we want as long as we don't have an abortion.
Pollitt offers a hearty thanks to Palin for helping to further the feminist-liberal cause, with the send-off, "So thanks, Sarah. And now, please – back to your iceberg."
However, it does not seem that Sarah is taking Pollitt's advice. In fact, she simply refuses to go away, and appears to be positioning herself for an even bolder role, by establishing herself as the de facto leader of a very damaged Republican party.
Good luck with your new leader, Republicans.
See also: Thank you for nothing, Ms. Palin