Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sexism and the McCain Campaign

I have a new crush-worthy individual, and that is Campbell Brown. I enjoyed her dressing down of Tucker Bounds (and why is it that the name "Tucker" is a conservative name?) after Sarah Palin was picked as the vice-presidential nominee:

and I fully enjoy her newest rant about the sexism McCain's campaign is demonstrating in not allowing Sarah Palin any access to the press:

I love her exhorting the McCain campaign to "end this chauvinistic treatment of her now. Allow her to show her stuff. Allow her to face down those pesky reporters, just like Barack Obama did today, just like John McCain did today, just like Joe Biden has done on numerous occasions"  (though a friend of mine will note that Biden is especially prone to inserting his foot fully in his mouth on many of those occasions).

That same friend brought up an interesting rationalization for the change in format for the vice-presidential debates, namely that "the reason they've agreed to all of this is because they're afraid Palin will play the gender card and insist that Biden was 'bullying' her throughout the debate". He further pointed out that this kind of gender card was used and used effectively by Hillary Clinton in 2000 against Rick Lazio when her supporters felt that Lazio was "pushy and disrespectful during the debate in Buffalo - bullying her in a way he would not have bullied a male opponent". I fully believe that was the Democratic reasoning behind the debate format change, but I think the fear of the "gender card" is misplaced in this instance. The Republican campaign has already done most of the work for the Democrats by inferring that Sarah Palin is so delicate and inexperienced and fragile that she cannot face reporters until they show her the proper deference. It has gotten to the point where Fox News is irate with the Republicans' handling of the Sarah Palin situation in the media, and that is what I would term the turning point of the whole mess. It may not last until November; but if the McCain campaign does not exhibit confidence in their vice-presidential nominee, it becomes all the more difficult for them to mount a truly moving defense of Palin if Biden does come off as stronger and more capable -or even belittling (something I myself am somewhat nervous about). And not that MSNBC or The Countdown are impartial sources of information, but I think this, along with Campbell Brown's assessment, is right:

And then there is the fact that the Republicans have become the lead in the story "The Campaign Who Cried Sexism". They have invoked sexism in attempts to delegitimize the strangest things, like the SNL sketch featuring Tina Fey. At some point, and I think that point has come, the cry of sexism will lose its power for the Republicans; which is great for the Obama campaign and not so great for the rest of us who fight for sexism and its pervasiveness to be recognized in the mainstream. The McCain camp had some goodwill left over from the days when McCain was a true maverick who was the press's darling because he would answer questions other candidates wouldn't and was surprisingly candid. But I think they have used up most - if not all - of those fond memories in this current campaign cycle. Finally, the press seems to have been awoken from their usual stupor; and if the press begins to start charging that the McCain camp's efforts to shield Palin from the rigors of the election campaign is insulting to voters in general and women voters specifically, any other charges the McCain campaign makes about Obama's campaign being sexist may be met with jeers and incredulity unless Biden commits a serious infraction.


John said...

My dear and fluffy Lord. Tucker Bounds should be Sarah Palin's debate coach, because he successfully failed to answer a single question that Campbell asked. The way I understand her military experience is as follows: While it's true that the commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard has authority while said guard is IN ALASKA, the federal government takes over when it comes to matters of outside deployment.
If we are willing to accept the "no difference" argument with regard to Palin and Obama's foreign policy experience (and I don't), there should be no reason why she would inspire more confidence than he.

I could rant about the spin-vincibility of the McCain/Palin campaign, but it wouldn't be coherent. Suffice it to say that I believe nothing will shake their base's resolve, and any attempts to use logic, reason or documented evidence to deflate their positioning or statements will only galvanize their voting block.

I blame my cynicism on low blood sugar. It's almost lunch time, after all.

petpluto said...

"I believe nothing will shake their base's resolve, and any attempts to use logic, reason or documented evidence to deflate their positioning or statements will only galvanize their voting block."

That is true, but I think we should all be mostly concerned about those swing voters. After all, the last poll I read about Bush's positives put him at a solid, though inexplicable, 32% (that was way back when Fareed Zakaria wrote his piece on what Bush did right, so about two months ago by this point). That is 32% of the country that apparently has no problem with Bush's bungling of almost everything that matters. Those people aren't going to be won over by anything, except maybe Jesus himself coming to earth and telling them otherwise -and even then the Right may be able to spin that, especially if he is, you know, not white. Like he (historically) wasn't.

But there are swing voters out there, and women have made up a large block of them this time around. If we get the swing voters to turn away from McCain, we can win.

Oh, and go eat something!