Muting Sarah Palin: The incredible Sexism of John McCain


I have never before seen anything so sexist in presidential politics as the efforts by the McCain campaign to mute Sarah Palin and to colonize her state of Alaska with McCain staffers who are now calling the shots on state business.

Three glaring examples.

First, when the campaign pretty successfully tried barring reporters from the photo-op sessions of Palin at the UN, the only comments picked up by the mics had to do with Palin and Hamid Karzai talking about Karzei’s domestic life and new child (stereotypically female issues).  When Palin was shown with Columbian leader uribe, Uribe looked extremely uncomfortable and his was the only voice heard. The candidate was mute.  Generations ago, women struggled to have their voiced heard on the public stage. Hillary Clinton’s candidacy represented the culmination of the struggle in large part because the candidate was substance, her voice unmistakable and highly influential. Her voice, more than her presence, changed the course of the ’08 campaign.

Second, when she does talk, as to Charlie Gibson or Katie Couric, she refuses to speak in anything but cliches, repeating them as often as she can get away with before the reporter moves on to something else.  Again, no voice here. No substance. No policy, nothing more than a satiric ripoff of sexist “dumb blonde” routines, that played well in the entertainment business of the 1930s-50s, but clearly have no role in 2008. 

And third, consider troopergate, where the governor’s silence forces one to wonder what in heck’s name she is hiding.  During the past couple weeks, McCain has dispatched lawyers and Rovians to do everything they can to quash the investigation and palins’s reputation as a “good government” governor.  They have instructed the governor and her husband to stay away for investigators and to stay quiet.  They have intimidated witnesses who had earlier voiced their cooperation to now stay quiet.  Thanks to John McCain, from these days on Sarah Palin will forever have to live down her coverup of the troopergate scandal.

 During her first 18 months as governor, she was seen as a strong, vocal voice for transparency and clean government.  This is what bought her 80% approaval ratings.  Folks thought they were getting a clean contrast to the corruption of Ted Stevens and other high ranking Repubs. Turns out they weren’t.  Palin will return to Alaska should she lose, with her reputation in tatters, not because of a sexist press, but because she has allowed herself to become the antithesis of the strong leader her supporters suggest she once was.  

Key:  And who is to blame for her supplicant role here?  John McCain, who has shown by his actions he is more interested in her status as former beauty queen (like his two wives), who gives a good wave and smile but no voice.

Since Palin’s voice has been silenced by John McCain, one wonders what the women’s struggle for political rights was all about.  Perhaps that’s way too big a question here. How ’bout this. what was John McCain thinking when he selected her to be Veep?  Did he really want to make the sort of history of having the first female VP in history would not be allowed to talk?  Yikes.

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