Prof. Ann Bartow can't muster up more praise for Sarah Palin than that she's "bright and energetic" and "would bring a very different package of life experiences to the job." Like aerial hunting, I guess -- something to keep in mind next time there's a protest march on the Mall. But Bartow is dead-set against Joe Biden and criticizes him regularly, though she always leaves out of her complaints the fact that Biden co-authored the Violence Against Women Act. So today Bartow posted yet another "leave Sarah alooooooooone!" entry to the Feminist Law Profs Blog, in response to this week's cover of The New Yorker:
I’m not a Palin partisan, but the ridicule she is enduring seems to far exceed what is being thrown at the very gaffe prone and not particularly progressive Joe Biden, or so it seems to me, and I have to belive [sic] it is due at least in part to her gender. [Links removed.]This is nonsense, for at least three reasons. First, Biden has had plenty of ridicule leveled at him. He's been taking it for years, and has two previous failed bids at the Presidency to show for it.
Second, the New Yorker cover in question refers to Tina Fey's first Palin satire, when she said, "And I can see Russia from my house!" It's an homage to the famous 1976 Saul Steinberg "View of the World" cover and shows a woman with Palin-style hair looking out her window, over Alaskan hills, to Russia in the far distance. Obviously, then, this new cover refers to the McCain-Palin campaign's completely absurd claim that Alaska's proximity to Russia, without more, somehow magically confers foreign policy experience on a governor of that state. (And remember that Palin sidestepped the issue when Charles Gibson asked her to clarify, by feeding him a strange lie that Alaska produces "nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy.")
Third, Palin and the McCain-Palin campaign are running a campaign based largely on her being a female candidate. Palin was chosen to try to win over disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters. She was chosen because her feminine charm and (relative) youth offset McCain's grizzled old soldier character and appearance. She was chosen in the hopes that some women will simply knee-jerk vote for a female candidate.
The McCain-Palin campaign has put forth her her gender as one of the main reasons you should vote for John McCain for president. She mentions that she's a mother of five in her speeches and interviews, as few and far between as they are. She bases her claimed experience for the vice presidency on being a vicious, but lipstick-wearing, hockey mom. This is deserving of ridicule. She and McCain have put her gender at issue from the moment McCain picked her as his running mate. So Sarah Palin shouldn't be heard to complain that some of the "ridicule" she gets is based upon her gender!
The New Yorker cover is a welcome and even-handed criticism of Palin after that magazine's inexplicably racist and simply out-to-lunch Obama family "terrorist" cover from July. The cover is a brava to Tina Fey's Palin impersonations. But the cover is not out of line. Rather, it's a fair criticism of an absolutely inadequate candidate and the lying presidential campaign that brought her on.
It's simple, really. Palin gets more ridicule than Biden because she deserves it more than he does. And she'll get no sympathy from me.