Sarah Palin and Pretty, Experience Talk


Stepping back from the “feminist for life,” NRA-lifer, creationist, global-warming skeptic VP credentials for a sec, a few things are really annoying me about the Sarah Palin coverage. She’s a woman, she’s pretty, she’s a mom with a gaggle of kids, and she’s as green as DC politics gets. Though why do these descriptors get listed out as if they’re stacked arguments toward the same end? Mitt Romney is pretty and has five kids, but if he had gotten the nom we wouldn’t be referring to him as a looker with familial obligations, at least not when we’re landing on his shortcomings. I know, people are doing so to point out the tokenism of McCain’s pick, but it’s frustrating how “beauty pageant good looks” and female are so often precursors to “don’t know jack.”

And the experience thing, sure, she’s fresh out of Northern Exposure territory (Men in Trees for the millenial set), but slamming her lack of DC credentials is EXACTLY what the McCain team wants Dems to do. The first word out of the Obama camp yesterday? Palin has “zero foreign policy experience.” Sorry, can’t have it both ways. The counter-argument is, ‘at least our presidential candidate does, and last time we checked the prez tops the ticket, meets with world leaders, and gets to hit the war button.’ As we all know, the “zero foreign policy experience” phrase has been used for years now to describe Obama. Essentially the Republicans are putting experience back in play, and they’re going to let the Dems keep it alive. As Palin’s naivete is played up, rich material only beginning to be mined, it will, McCain hopes at least, make him the wise, experienced one, with Palin and Obama the pretty neophytes. Not a fair comparison by a longshot, but fair and nuance are not what the stretch run of presidential campaigns are known for. Palin’s lack of fitness for the job will only help keep this dialogue in play. And the question McCain wants on people’s minds when they enter the voting booth come November: Do you want experience in your president or your vice president?

Pretty ugly, I know.

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