Sarah Palin, Republican nominee for Vice President, is being described by feminists around the net as a Barbie Girl. Frankly, I think this gives her too much credit. Those of us who had Barbies know that she is and always has been a career girl, with a starring role in her own life. (Barbie ran for President long before Senator Clinton). Barbie had her own car and her own computer but never, ever owned a vacuum cleaner or a dust mop. When it came to kids, Barbie was child free and Ken was an accessory. (1) In this case, it is Palin who is the bland, non-threatening accessory. She will as happy "Yes, girl" to John McCain, willing attending any hard right beach party he wants to throw. Writing for About.com, Larry West notes that:
When John McCain chose first-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate, he pushed his presidential campaign farther to the right on several key energy and environmental issues—from drilling for oil in America’s coastal waters and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to eliminating federal protection for polar bears...Palin opposes a woman’s right to choose, for example, and believes the concept of “intelligent design” should be taught in schools alongside the theory of evolution.In a blog entry titled Environmentalists Blast MacCain's Choice of VP he write this:
Palin favors more offshore oil drilling, is a leading advocate for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil exploration, and claims that there is no relationship between global warming and human activity or greenhouse-gas emissions.
As governor of Alaska, Palin sued the U.S. Interior Department over its decision to list polar bears as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, supports hunting wolves from the air, has pushed to build a controversial natural-gas pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope, and opposed a windfalls-profit tax on oil companies, which would have provided funding for renewable energy development.
As Arianna Huffinton writes in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being Sarah Palin", this inexperienced, attractive mom has been chosen to "re-brand" the current Republican package. But the problem, Huffington notes, isn't in the package, it's the product:
Having a vice presidential nominee with no paper trail is a good campaign ploy, but the full-scale overhaul needed cannot be accomplished with Palin's antediluvian beliefs.
As Borosage writes, "on issue after issue -- from the Iraq War to Katrina, from contraception to consumer protection, from health care to fair trade -- a growing majority of Americans are abandoning the Republican position. The new center is progressive, not conservative."
McCain doesn't just need someone with a fresh face; he desperately needs someone with fresh ideas. That would have been the real maverick choice.
He's got someone who, in defiance of science, doesn't believe global warming is man-made.
He's got someone who, in defiance of science, wants creationism taught in schools.
He's got someone who wants to further increase the health-care burden on the patient.
He's got someone who wants to ban all stem-cell research.
The Republican Party isn't in dire electoral straights because Middle America loves these ideas but just wants to see them implemented by a woman.
The Republican Party is in dire electoral straights because its ideas are outside the mainstream. And in choosing Sarah Palin, McCain has moved his ticket even further from the center of the country. Yes, she energizes the GOP base -- a fact that should scare the hell out of any Republican who cares about the future of the party.
Writing for the same blog, Van Jones tells Palin, "You're No Hillary Clinton"
None of my pro-Hillary female friends are falling for this obvious GOP pander. To the contrary, McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his VP is drawing hoots of derision.
Once they learn that Sarah Palin opposes rape and incest exceptions for women seeking abortion, they completely write her off.
One female friend said: "Sarah Palin is to the movement for women's equality what Clarence Thomas is to civil rights. She's an extremist and an enemy to the cause that has been fought on her behalf.... Someone should stand up and say: 'I know Senator Clinton. Senator Clinton is a friend of mine. And Sarah Palin is no Hillary Rodham Clinton.'"
Robert J. Eisberg calls her "The Worst Vice Presidential Pick in U.S. History". As he notes, there were other, far more qualified women available to run as VP in the Republican party. None of them were chosen.
As many have pointed out, Sarah Palin as VP is a cynical, bitter and desperate choice. She may even be, as some have suggested, a brilliant choice, allowing those citizens among us who would never vote for a black man avoid confronting their prejudice by choosing to put an unqualified, untested "vagina American" a heartbeat away from the Presidency. We've come a long way, ladies. We now have our Dan Quale.
I would also recommend reading Hecate's take on Sarah Palin
(1) Barbie might just be more of a radical feminist then I ever gave her credit for.
Video: Sarah Palin, Barbie Girl