Guess what Liberals: Now you have a woman to hate

I spent a lot (some would say too much) time today reading blogs, columns and comment boards on the Palin speech of last night. The commentary was either overwhelmingly positive. This unknown burst onto the scene and wowed the crowd at the Xcel center. Or they are fiercely negative. She is the anti-christ in beauty-queen form. The hockey mom from hell.



Then I had a moment of clarity when I was tossed through the looking glass and into the past, a not-too-distant past, where a new comer to national politics came to the scene. A pantsuit wearing liberal with bad hair and a false smile-she rode the coattails of someone with more history and charisma and from her seat of national power she sought to ruin the civic and private lives of all Americans.

Two very different women same story:

For conservatives everywhere Hillary Clinton represents a socialized medicine loving, pantsuit wearing, liberal hell bent on taking your children and raising them in a village. She was an unqualified neophyte with no right to thrust her ultra left wing views upon the nation.

And now fast forward 16 or so years and Sarah Palin has finally emerged to play the mirror role. A gun-toting, oil drilling, polar bear killing, hockey mom. She wants to kill taxes and evolution, fires people for not banning books, and thinks global warming is the construct of liberal scientists, the same people who brought you that pesky Darwin.

Sure they are different stages in their careers, but the story arches are the same. While Hillary came inches

from her party’s nomination, and Palin is playing mini-maverick, these women are fulfilling the same roles for their respective sides of the culture war. Symbol, demagogue, target and Joan of Arc for their friends and enemies.

Women have made remarkable strides in the political life of America. I wonder though, if we’ve really made strides if women can only rise to power in the wake of man, and if they can only be seen in the extreme, not only politically, but socially. 

Hillary Clinton is a cold calculating “bitch.” Hell bent on her own political success. Sarah Palin is a ditzy ex-beauty queen, playing puppet to the conservative establishment to keep winning her life-long popularity contest. One is seen as too smart for her own good, the other as too dumb. They are mirror images, polar opposites, in everything but the magnitude of order the media as bestowed on them so quickly. It’s not to say they are not news worthy women, clearly the opposite is true. But what does it say about us that we only have female politicians playing in the extremes of our pop culture?


2 Responses

  1. It’s so funny because I do not view Palin anywhere near that way, yet you paint Hillary exactly for what she is. I don’t think they are such extremes though……Hillary is definitely at the one extreme side, but Palin really isn’t to the extreme.

    When I was living in the Rust Belt near Lake Erie, every single woman with a decent living and family was a mirror image of Palin. She is totally Mrs. Middle America (despite being from up “there”). Hillary is just, well she’d fight right in a socialist state as far as i’m concerned.

    You are completely right about this though: Do we only have these 2 types of women in politics? Where is the true middle ground? There is plenty of intelligent women with fresh ideas….are they too smart to fall into politics? Do they have ethical and moral objections?

    The great thing though is I don’t think we will ever see another election that doesn’t have a woman SOMEWHERE on either of the major tickets, and as far as i’m concerned, that is a good thing.

  2. Very nice analysis James…I got a kick out of the comparison.

    I am very much of the “hockey mom from hell” camp, but as I was always a Barack supporter I don’t have much nice to say about Hillary on the other side. I don’t think she’s a socialist, despite a desire for socialized medicine. I think the recognition of the value of socialized medicine is a reasonable reaction to the precarious system of healthcare providers and insurance companies…not that a state system would necessarily be easier to navigate, but that’s neither here nor there.

    As a pick, I found her to be embarrassingly cynical, calculated, and…awesome. I know there will be people who fall in love with her b/c she’s charming, she looks like they do, has a bunch of kids, and a vagina, but there are only so many people willing to forsake their party loyalties and common sense for the blind desire to see a woman somewhere in the White House. I doubt this is going to draw support away from Obama, as much as the existing McCain supporters are able to generate (and to at least some extent, feign) enthusiasm over her.

    But in response to the actual question of the post, I’m sure we have other women than these in politics, but the fact that the parties haven’t found prominent roles (uses) for them is a good starting point for a discussion of actual sexism, not the false, hand-wringing accusations being made on both sides now of “their women” not getting a fair chance.

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