Friday, August 29, 2008

Ridicule, fine. Misogynistic ridicule, not so good.

As I have repeatedly said, I do not think vice-presidential picks make the difference in presidential elections. One thing does make this year different. This year the sexism and misogyny that seems embedded in the current crop of Democratic Party officials has alienated millions of men and women who expected better of the Democratic Party. John McCain has certainly capitalized on that by selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate. I personally would never vote for a McCain for president, and Senator McCain's choosing a woman as a running mate makes no difference to me. But I assure you that for millions of disappointed and outraged men and women who would ordinarily not vote Republican, Senator McCain's choice will carry weight.

Bearing this in mind, let us consider the Florida Democratic State Party's email blast sent out today, over the name of Florida's Democratic Party State Chair and Obama superdelegate Karen Thurman.

From: Karen Thurman, Florida Democratic Party []
Sent: Friday, August 29, 2008 3:51 PM
Subject: Heartbeat from the Presidency

Florida Democrats

Florida Democrats

Dear Friends,

John McCain rolled the dice with his VP pick today - in an attempt to woo women voters.

But we cannot gamble with women's lives.

Don't let your friends, family and co-workers be fooled: Alaskan Sarah Palin is a dangerous right-winger who lacks the judgment to lead.

In 2000, Palin endorsed Pat Buchanan for President. Yes, that Pat Buchanan.

In 2006, Palin ran for Alaska Governor on a message of change - and then turned out to be just another corrupt Alaska politician who's now under investigation in her own state.

She's no Hillary Clinton. She's Dan Quayle in a dress.

Women voters who care about equal rights, choice, family and other issues, will not see a partner in Palin.

Help us fight for these issues by electing Democrats up and down the ticket. Click here to donate today:

She is lockstep with Bush and McCain on issues important to women. Every one of them. That's scary.

The corrupt trio of Ted Stevens, Don Young, and Lisa Murkowski all raised campaign money for Palin.

John McCain claimed that Barack Obama lacked experience. Then he picked a VP who has just 20 months at the helm of a state with a population smaller than the city of Jacksonville, and zero foreign policy experience. Palin would be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Barack Obama is ready to lead. Last night he showed us what the next American President will look like. He and Joe Biden will deliver change we need.

The stakes are too high to risk another four years of the same. If you have $25, $50 or $100 to spare, please contribute today to the Florida Democratic Party's campaign to elect Democrats up and down the ballot. We're on the verge of major change in Florida, but we need your help.


Congresswoman Karen L. Thurman
Chair, Florida Democratic Party

This email was sent to:

To unsubscribe, go to:

Paid for and authorized by the Florida Democratic Party,

What, you may ask, is wrong with this? Sarah Palin is indeed a conservative Republican; she is indeed under investigation for corruption. But note the sentence put in bold, where Thurman refers to Gov. Palin as "Dan Quayle in a dress." If Thurman wanted to criticize or even ridicule Sarah Palin's intelligence, fine by me. Ridicule is a tried and true political tactic. But a wiser ridiculer would not included the gratutious reference to women's attire. Because once that reference is added, it becomes ambiguous as to whether Sarah Palin is being ridiculed for lacking smarts or because she is female. And no, it makes no difference that this remark is meant to contrast Palin with Senator Clinton. Senator Clinton's intelligence is obvious to all the world. The appropriate contrast would have been between Senator Obama's chosen running mate, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin, and if the basis of the contrast is that one v.p. pick is smarter than the other, then the gender of either has nothing to do with anything.

So, there it is again, the tendency of current state and national Democratic officials to display misogyny, at a time when such displays are very likely to cost the Party its best shot at the Presidency since President Clinton was reelected to office.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the burden to prove that he understands and will speak out against sexism and misogyny within the Democratic Party is upon Senator Obama. I recognize that he is in a bind because, not having spoken out previously, he might seem like he is merely being expedient in speaking out now. The challenge for him is how to walk that tightrope - it is one he and his advisers, with the help of Dr. Dean and Speaker Pelosi - set up. It is there and either Senator Obama will walk it with aplomb and grace; or he will try to pretend it isn't a real challenge for him; or he will fall off the highwire.


Blogger Patricia said...

The letter from Karen Thurman is despicable. Corruption and fraud abounds in what happened in Florida and what happened at the DNC convention. Her letter is the pot calling the kettle black. McCain choice was brilliant and the DNC cannot stand it. Too bad.

I respect your views Heidi but after the past eight month anything coming from the DNC the Obama camp or even Obama at this point is suspect.

August 29, 2008 at 9:51 PM  
Blogger Lynne said...

Hi Heidi, I've been watching as the MSM continue to make sexist blunders over McCains choice of running mate - and although I in no way support a Republican ticket, I have to say I'm amused and intrigued by McCain's choice. I think it's going to be quite interesting to watch this play out - how for instance, will Joe Biden's attack dog routine work on a mother of five kids, who is known for her cool head and ability to stand up to the old boy's club? I'm breaking out the popcorn - methinks this is gonna be one hellava movie!

August 29, 2008 at 11:15 PM  
Blogger Marsha said...

I waiver between thinking this was a brilliant, if not blatant, move on McCain's part to court Hillary's supporters, and a crass attempt at wanting to court Hillary's supporters. I too will watch with fascination to see how Biden fairs against the soccer mom. I did have a chance last evening on the plane to discuss the pick with an Obama supporter. Her description: "she had this big hair-do and glasses, she looked like a beauty queen bimbo, and wasn't very confident when she spoke. Biden will eat her alive." This comment came from a woman. Until we stop doing this to ourselves how can we expect the men of the world to stop? We must keep speaking out against mysogony in all of its forms and lead the way so that one day men can follow.

August 30, 2008 at 8:07 AM  
Blogger Greenconsciousness said...

I am writing in Hillary's name on my ballot. With the appointment of Palin, the Dems lost the election because of their sexism. The woman who trashed Palin on the seat nex to you-- always ask the next question "why didn't Bo make Hillary VP?" or "did you vote for Hillary?".

I bet the same sexism will always show up. Because sexism is the only reason a woman would not have voted for the Hill. They have all kinds of rationalizations but to me, it is all BS.

I am writing in Hillary Clinton. I can't vote for an anti choice candidate like Palin but I am not voting for a sexist corporate democrat. There is a website with all the write-in rules called "write-in Hillary". And I am joining the New Democrat party PUMA is starting. They were on the radio at Just Say No radio last night and I called in.

I think the Dems are going to be very surprised at how important aging bitter old women they thought they can treat with contempt are to their election.

August 30, 2008 at 9:07 AM  
Blogger purplefinn said...

Thanks Heidi for standing up against sexism and for democracy. My question to Ms Thurman would be: "If Hillary Clinton is the standard by which you judge someone's political stature, why isn't Hillary on anyone's ticket?"

Thus far I am an uncommitted top of the ticket voter (or nonvoter if I can't decide). However, I will be looking closely at Palin's campaign promises and record. Of the four candidates, she seems to me to be the most effective. I may have to vote against her if I think she'll take us further where I don't want to go. : )

August 30, 2008 at 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Heidi, a couple of things. The Palin pick puts Team Obama in a pickle for a lot of reasons. She's the Clarence Thomas of VP picks; "wrong" on all the values, "right" on identity. What to do? Biden's history re: Thomas/Hill makes all this very interesting. Second, it seems curious that people so clueless about women would try to make the argument that they should be entrusted with our reproductive rights. That goes for Republicans and Democrats.

August 30, 2008 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger flamingogrrl said...

heidi... i love what you've been doing. i must say, the vp pick did make my decision. i will be voting for mccain. i cannot sit the election out, i cannot write hillary's name in and have that vote given to bo, and mckinney or nader don't stand a chance. it's mccain/palin for me. while i disagree with palin on certain issues, what i LOVE about her is she has values that she doesn't just talk about. she stands up to corruption, which i must say is the one thing that disappointed me beyond words about hillary. i needed her to stand up and say, what is going on is wrong. i'm wealthy enough to walk away from this party and denounce what it is doing. sarah palin has done and i respect that more than i can say. so yeah, the vp choice helped me make mine.

August 30, 2008 at 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heidi, I admire your patience , but the time has long past for stepping up with grace or anything ... what he said prior to this was for expediency and now the goose is beyond is inedible
He has not stepped up . He utilised mysogyny to wrest a pyrrhic victory and he will repeat it in this race. This time it will fail.

August 30, 2008 at 11:29 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

McCain's pic of Palin proves the misogyny of the press and the DNC was not caused by Hillary because she was.... Hillary. That myth is over. The misogyny is there regardless and I'm afraid it runs right though the Dem elite . McCain's pic highlights that and keeps fresh the wounds from the primary....because the Dems can't keep themselves from making these misogytic remarks, since that is what they really believe. But I have to say any one who has a 70-90% approval rating after two years of running AL, is for real and they are stupid to underestimate Palin....just because she's a woman.

August 31, 2008 at 1:53 PM  
Blogger Greenconsciousness said...


Did you go to the write in hillary website and check to see what the rules are for your state. In most cases this write ins count for BO is just McCain propoganda.


August 31, 2008 at 7:18 PM  

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