The news and commentary on the Republican Vice-Presidential pick, Sarah Palin, is moving pretty quickly. The conservative commentators have managed to move themselves from being unsure and having concerned to thinking she is clearly the best possible choice. The stupid rumour-mongering about her personal life has been overtaken by a revelation of a true family issue, although the monolithic Left is still being criticised because we all engaged in the “vile” smear and nobody suggested it shouldn’t be talked about. And the media, in its usual celebrity-focussed and human interest approach, is focussed on the personal stuff.
But there are some legitimate political issues emerging as well. Greg Sargent has given a good run-down of the series of revelations, although I suspect it will be quickly out of date. The scrutiny – from teh Left, within the Republican Party, and in the media – should begin to turn to Palin’s political decisions and associations. Whether it does is another thing entirely.
Another thing I will be interested in watching is the response from the McCain-Palin campaign about any of the legitimate questions or criticisms. I suspect we are going to see sexism be a major issue, in two ways – there is bound to be more actual sexism in commentary and reporting, but I also suspect that there will be attempts to dismiss some of the valid critiques as sexist. This quote from Carly Fiorina gives an indication of what I am talking about:
Senator McCain’s top female supporter, trailblazing business executive Carly Fiorina, warned that attacks against Ms Palin were taking on a “sexist” tone.
“I am appalled by the Obama campaign’s attempts to belittle Governor Sarah Palin’s experience,” Ms Fiorina said in a statement.
“The facts are that Sarah Palin has made more executive decisions as a mayor and governor than Barack Obama has made in his life.
“Because of Hillary Clinton’s historic run for the presidency and the treatment she received, American women are more highly tuned than ever to recognise and decry sexism in all its forms.
“They will not tolerate sexist treatment of Governor Palin.”
As with the Clinton-Obama battle for the Democratic nomination, I would imagine we will see a lot of debate and disagreement about what constitutes sexism.