Monday, September 29, 2008

Palin fills in those cracks in the ceiling

"If Palin were a man, we'd all be guffawing," writes syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker to her comrades in the conservative camp. And, she continues, "because she's a woman, we are reluctant to say what is painfully true."

Parker, obviously a person who cheers for people according to their gender (or race, too, perhaps?) claims that, "Like so many women, I've been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly." Are we to assume that Parker would not be "wishing for the best," if the VP candidate were Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney?

To cheer for some sports or entertainment figure on the basis of sentimental reasoning is one thing. If you're just dying to see a woman win a Nascar race, or a Chinese-American win a major league Most Valuable Player award, that's nice. It makes no sense to me, but it's harmless. How can anyone, however, at a time like this, when such important leadership positions are at stake, concern herself with an irrelevancy like proving that a woman can hold her own among men? (Do you hear Irving Berlin in the background, Anything you can do, I can do better?)

It took only 40 years of liberal brainwashing for this race/gender hype to sink in so deeply that it now seems to control the thinking of most Americans. Today, one camp is cheering on a colored foreigner, whose clever handlers managed to intrude him into American politics, calculatingly configuring his "street creds," while he mastered what Camille Paglia calls "inner-city African-American tones and locutions," hardly acquired while growing up in Hawaii.

And the other camp, composed mainly of pro-life devotees (see Thank you for nothing, Ms. Palin), who are holding the Republican party hostage, are intent on countering liberal dominance with their very special version of a "feminist." Sarah Palin should lead us because she's a female who happens to be a Working Mom, and the colored guy should lead, because he's colored.

Meanwhile, the rational Ron Paul gets thrust aside for being too serious, too up-front, too knowledgeable, and way too intelligent. Could the Founders ever have foreseen such foolishness?

Parker calls Palin "a refreshing feminist of a different order," who personifies "the modern successful working mother." However, as it turns out, according to Parker herself, this wonderful personification of working Moms leaves more than a little something to be desired in other realms. In Palin Problem: She's out of her league, National Review (9/26/08), Parker admits that Palin "filibusters, repeats words, fills space with deadwood," and, referring to Palin's various public pronouncements, "there's not much content there." Finally, Parker requests that Palin do the unthinkable – bow out of the race. Put family first. Do it for the country.

The persevering Republican, Wendell Jackson, who hosts the blog, Black Men for McCain, reports that Sarah Palin has undone the work of all those women who made those proverbial cracks in that ever-present ceiling. In addition, she has managed to "fill in every single one of those cracks and reinforce them with steel." Strong words coming from a man who has blown the trumpet faithfully for the Republican cause (whatever that is these days). Like Parker, Jackson believes that Palin "should be sent packing immediately," and asserts, "I am no longer embarrassed to be a Republican, I am actually ashamed."

There's no shame coming from Frank Miele, the managing editor of Montana's Daily Interlake newspaper, who, in The Palin Test: A liberal litmus for the media, writes strongly in support of Palin, while condemning the mainstream media for being responsible for her poor image. Accusing ABC's Charles Gibson of playing "cut and paste" with his interview of Palin, Miele offers sections of the transcript that were deleted on screen.

Yet, in spite of Miele's valiant effort to put Palin's best foot forward, even her restored deleted remarks do not invite confidence in her command of the issues. Leaving out the oft reported comments about her foreign policy expertise deriving from Alaska's physical proximity to Russia, what do we make of her calling Russia's response to Georgia's invasion of Ossetia "unprovoked?" Gibson asks her a second time, "You believe unprovoked?" Palin responds, "I do believe unprovoked."

She then babbles on about the need to "keep our eyes on Russia." The rest of this exchange is hardly enlightening, as she recites her party's typical talking points, repeating over and over that "Russia is our next door neighbor," and that both countries should maintain good relations. Okay.

In her interview with CBS's Katie Couric, Palin talked about Russia's Putin "rearing his head" over the borders of the U.S., presumably, sending airplanes. Miele surmises from this that Palin, as commander-in-chief of the Alaskan National Guard, has been given briefings (from the Department of State?) to watch out for a possible attack by Russia. Well, why not a war on four fronts? Surely, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are not enough. Let's find a reason to have a go at Russia, a country whose leaders are clearly indicating that they are concerned only with the security of their own diverse geographic territories. "Is not Western hypocrisy astonishing?" asks Pat Buchanan in his scathing column, Blowback from Bear Baiting, that derides the Bush Administration's indignation over Russia's move into Georgia, while citing the United States' interventions in one foreign country after another.

This brief exchange between Palin and Couric about Putin does indicate some foreign policy awareness, even if it's no more than suppositions about what could be. In the interview, Palin chirps, "As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state."

This is the depth of Palin's "foreign policy" observations, which Miele is outraged that the media either excised or did not treat seriously.

Would Huckabee or Romney have been stymied by any of these reporters' questions, even if they were designed for entrapment? Not a chance. Huckabee's good humor would have disarmed his questioner, as he handled anything thrown at him in his own special manner. Romney's deft experience with the media would show in his decisive responses, and he would give as good as he got. Imagine Romney in a stare-down with Couric or Gibson. No one would have cause to whine about the "unfair" treatment by mainstream media. And, best of all, we would not be subjected to the disgraceful conservative version of the feminists' cry of "sexism."

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