Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin, for fun

So I figure Focus on the Family will gush Monday morning. Any Dobson lovers will want to tune in. Hannity and Rush have already given her the two thumbs up, and like to comment on her moose and caribou hunting, her enthusiasm for guns, her unapologetic pro-life stance and her support of teaching creationism in the public schools. She's a new governor, two years younger than Obama and was a part-time mayor of a small town prior. I read an interesting diary over at dKos yesterday by a resident of that town. If you want pictures of Wasilla, check out this diary.

She has five kids (like me!) and is expected to draw in the soccermom vote and to reassure the Christian mom that there is someone with her values who can be at the top of the ticket too. Hillary fans will no more vote for Palin, though, than send Christmas cards to Bush. Please. These two women couldn't be more different, nor do they stand for the same things. So the line of reasoning that says Hill-fans will now flock to McCain is absurd.

Additionally, had Palin been a man, I don't think anyone would justify this choice of VP. Her credentials are so slim, her connections so few, her foreign policy understanding so shallow, and McCain's health so genuinely in question, it seems irresponsible to nominate Palin just because she is female and an arch-conservative. There's no way a man with her same background would have been chosen. Huckabee would have been a better choice in terms of all those credentials. He's evangelical, he got a lot of votes in the primary season and he's been a governor for longer, of a bigger state.

Palin is about the estrogen, make no mistake.

My take on Palins, though, is not strictly ideological, nor is it based on her lack of experience (which does still concern me). No, I don't support teaching creationism in public schools as though it is a science. I am pro-life, though not in the Republican sense of the word. I'm more in line with the "whole life" concept that Rick Warren talked about or that fits the pro-life Democrats. I love women in prominent positions. There is only one exception to that and that's what I want to state here.

Palin has a 5 month old baby... with Down's syndrome. She is the mother of five kids. She clearly is a high energy person with a passion to see the world reflect her values. That she took on being a part-time mayor while mothering is not surprising in a small town. I have another homeschooling friend who is a mayor in a small town in South Dakota. Works out fine.

To be governor in a state the size of AK (read small: the 47th largest in the country in population) is not the same thing as to be vice president of the entire country. I'm not even sure what I think about her being a mother of a special needs child and governor at the same time, but I know without hesitation that I can't bear the thought of her being the vice president and raising that baby, caring for it, nursing it while she is on the campaign trail, while that special needs child especially needs her.

Unless Palin has a husband who is taking up the slack for her political career (and if he is, no one has mentioned it yet), she's undermining one of the strongest values of the arch-conservative: that one parent will raise the children and be there to do it. A five month old special needs child deserves a mother (or father!) who puts him first.

I know how hard it is to run a business (from home!) and still be a good mother. How in the world can it be done when you are the candidate and then the vice president, and then, God forbid, the president?! Joe Biden's example is pretty impressive in this regard. When his wife and daughter died in 1972, he chose not to live in DC. He commuted two hours each way by train to be with his sons every night. He was a senator, and almost quit to make sure his sons had a normal life until he came up with this arrangement.

I find it hard to believe, after all the focus on the importance of child-rearing, that mothers who put their kids first will identify with Palins who is choosing not to for the sake of political advancement. She's only 44. Still has four kids at home. She's proposing that they radically alter everything about their lives... for her.

And I consider myself a feminist. I just think kids are that important.

Update: Lisa says that Palin's husband is a stay-at-home dad. That helps to know that. Still a big transition for the family, still a lot to take on with a special needs child. But at least there is one consistent parent available.

Update Two: Here's an AP article on Todd Palin, Sarah's husband. He's a commercial fisherman, a snowmobile racer and a hands on dad. They sound like they spend more time in their home town than Juneau.

13 comments:

brian said...

Well said, Julie. I'm just stunned at this pick. While I'm all for qualified women and minorities being given equal opportunity, I don't like this pick which seems like blatant pandering to me. I can't believe the women who have said this impresses them. If McCain wanted to pick a woman (specifically), there are qualified women to choose from.

And, I completely agree with you on the baby thing. She should have said "Thanks. But, no thanks." Family comes first, even before being Vice President.

Peace,
Brian

julieunplugged said...

Brian, wouldn't you just love to know what Dr. Laura thinks of this pick?

brian said...

I have to admit I've never listened to Dr. Laura. But, I don't know how any woman who values family as much as the Republican base is supposed to, who sacrifices for her children, who gives of her herself to homeschool her children (I heard Sarah Palin is in favor of homeschooling) is going to be a part of sending a woman who just had a special needs baby to one the most demanding jobs in the world. I'm also not impressed that she was back on the job three days after her baby was born.

Watchman said...

Julie

I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time and it has become one of my favorites to read, mainly because you write well, have some good things to say, and you post on a regular basis. But I also find it interesting since I disagree mostly with your political point of view, and thus my request.

Whenever I see someone with such an overarching approval of a candidate, as you show with Obama, it leaves me feeling suspicious, wondering if this person really believes he or she is that good. I’m all for throwing in full support, but sometimes seems like it goes a bit far.

My question is, and you can ignore it if you want, but I would be interested in reading any concerns you may have about your candidate.

This is what makes this election year intriguing for me as a conservative. I don’t like either option, but some seem to have found a way. I haven’t made it over that hurdle.

You keep a great journal. Hope you continue to do so.

watchman

Watchman said...

Julie

I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time and it has become one of my favorites to read, mainly because you write well, have some good things to say, and you post on a regular basis. But I also find it interesting since I disagree mostly with your political point of view, and thus my request.

Whenever I see someone with such an overarching approval of a candidate, as you show with Obama, it leaves me feeling suspicious, wondering if this person really believes he or she is that good. I’m all for throwing in full support, but sometimes seems like it goes a bit far.

My question is, and you can ignore it if you want, but I would be interested in reading any concerns you may have about your candidate.

This is what makes this election year intriguing for me as a conservative. I don’t like either option, but some seem to have found a way. I haven’t made it over that hurdle.

You keep a great journal. Hope you continue to do so.

watchman

australisa said...

Did you know that her husband is a stay-at-home dad?

julieunplugged said...

Thanks Lisa! I like knowing that. That helps. This is what I could not find when I read about her.

Colleen said...

Spot on, Julie. I wasn't surprised by the announcement ~ had a gut feeling McCain would go for Palin. But his decision has served as further confirmation (as if I needed it) that he won't get my vote. It floors me to hear the ueber-right crowd crowing about this when Palin's career/family decisions fly in the face of their very agenda. And as you say, there's no way on God's green earth a man with Palin's credentials (or lack thereof) wouldn't by raked over the coals as the veep contender. The Palin cheerleading is contradictory to say the least.

Kansas Bob said...

Much of what you wrote mirrors my reflections of the past 24 hours.. but I am not sure that I guy could say it as well as you have Julie- kudos!!

For me this pick is similar to the Harriet Myers pick by Bush for the supreme court. Gotta wonder.. is this the best for our country.. much less for Palin's family.

Dr Laura might be okay with the pick as long as Mr Palin is a stay-at-home-dad.. of course I heard that he is a commercial fisherman?

And yet.. I am still undecided.. of course I have plenty of time to decide.. it is so great being an independent this year.. for the presidency anyway :)

SUSAN said...

I think the choice of Palin makes the race more interesting. I am not so sure that she isn't up for it...we will see. Though, I can't see her as President I can see her as VP. The possibility of her becoming President is the biggest concern I have.

I never thought about whether her family would suffer from this. That is strange since I've been homeschooling for 17 years. Rather I saw it as an adventure for all of them.

Looking forward to the debates.

P.S. I really loved the Democratic convention and hope the Republican one is as lively.

Susan

julieunplugged said...

I definitely think the choice of Palin makes the race more interesting. Clearly! A newcomer is far more fun to research and get to know than an old hand.

As far as being up for the job, she may be! When asked about the job, she said she still isn't sure what the vice president does every day.

And apparently McCain is just getting to know her too. She sounds like a fascinating person who was advanced too quickly from her current job to VP candidate before she'd ever even imagined the possibility for herself.

Dalissa 365 said...

I agree with you, Julie, even if her husband is a stay-at-home dad. My second thought (my first thought was, yea, moms of five rock!) was that there's no way she should be vp with a five month old whether or not the child is special needs. And, after watching enough shows about commercial fishing, her husband may not have a traditional job but commercial fishing requires weeks/months at sea. It is not a one day or weekend affair. Now, perhaps her husband doesn't fish in the ocean but either way that activity takes time.

Kansas Bob said...

The news of the (5 month) pregnancy of Sarah Palin's 17 year old daughter is causing me to be more concerned about her judgment. While I am not judging her daughter or family (my own family has had to deal with similar issues) this news is causing me to be more concerned about her judgment and the judgment of John McCain who selected her knowing this.

I guess McCain believes that, despite these family issues, Palin will be able to devote her full focus and energy on the stressful VP job.