Monday, September 8, 2008

Sex and the Presidency

(note: I'm sticking with the post title even if it begs for a Bill Clinton joke to be inserted. So go insert your own. I'm sure Bill would if he could.)

The role of gender, first bandied about this year with the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, is back in full swing with Vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. As usual, Susan Estrich was out of the gate with a column about it before I could post my wit and wisdom. So after you get done with my more humorous words, go read a lib say essentially the same thing.

First of all, let's state the obvious: Men and women are different. Every other -ism (racism the other one being bandied about in this election) is irrelevant by comparison. So naturally, we have different expectations and conversations when a woman appears on the national scene to fill a role traditionally held by men. Jokes about Hillary's pantsuits abound, and even Hillary has embraced that. Crying from the pressure of the campaign, which would be the instant end of a man's career, garnered a certain amount of sympathy from women who understood and men who wrote it off as "womanhood" rearing its head. And now we have Sarah Palin, whose resume enhancement of beauty queen calls for many a joke. For example, the day after her speech, as they were rebuilding the GOP stage into a catwalk for the McCain speech, I imagined her on the catwalk instead. And she wasn't wearing the conservative outfit she wore for her speech. Boioioioioioioing!

Now, here's the question: Is this sexist, or just how differently we all perceive women?

(I have to answer perception here, or I'll look like a total dick.)

The fact is, no matter what the feminazis say, no matter what the current pc ideas are about equality between the sexes, we still have different perceptions and expectations of our public figures, depending on their genetalia. For example, when a man fires off an angry opinion, he's just beeing foreceful, or he's just pissed (in either the American or British meaning of the word). A woman who does the same thing is usually called a bitch.

Which brings us to the Susan Estrich article and my fellow blooger, Beth, who was less impressed with Sarah Palin after the pregnant teen story broke, though she did reconsider. Susan's column began thus:
Should a mother with five children, one of them a pregnant teen and another an infant with special needs, be running for vice president?

The question is being much debated, in newspaper stories and columns, on blogs and Web sites, and, yes, around kitchen tables across the country.

No would be asking these questions if she were a man.
Now, is expecting the VP candidate to drop out because she is a woman with family issues a sexist attitude?

Let's look at the other side of the ticket, Senator Joe Biden. He lost his wife and daughter and had his two sons seriously injured after he was first elected, but before he took office. He was not persuaded to quit. He became a commuter into Washington so that he could raise his sons. But no one questioned this arrangement because he was a man. And what's more, he did this as a single father for a few years.

It's the Democrats falling for the stereotype, partially because it's to their political advantage, but also because we happen to be wired this way.

Being a single father myself, I know and expect the question, "Are you babysitting the kids today?", to which I respond "No." Mothers don't babysit kids, why would fathers? Oh yeah, because we expect the women to take care of the kids and house while the man earns a living. So since Sarah is a woman, she's expected to take care of her family first while her husband gets conveniently forgotten. Had he been the governor of Alaska and been added to the McCain ticket, the question would have never been asked, because his wife would have handled the kids.

In the end, we all have family lives. And unless our politicians are doing something that is either illegal, publicly immoral and dishonest, or patently hypocritical, then I'm willing to say that they're going to do their best for their families and what they believe is best for their country. And that means laying off the ladies when it wouldn't otherwise be asked of the men. Otherwise you may be acting sexist.

21 comments:

Shaw Kenawe said...

I think you’re missing the point of where the controversy is coming from.

The conservative Republican party has always promoted motherhood and its responsibilities as the Holy Grail of what keeps American families together. Women’s Lib was an idea that was consistently scorned by the Right for decades, an idea the Right believed would tear apart a family and bring about the destruction of Western Civilization. The Southern Baptists have adopted as part of their doctrine that wives “…should submit graciously to their husbands.” (I’d never label Southern Baptists as part of Liberal America.) Dr. Laura, who is championed by right wingers, has nothing good to say about mothers who leave behind young babies to pursue a career unless those children have grandparental care (assuming both father and mother work).

The point is that now that the Right has a liberated woman running for VP, they’re falling all over themselves to express how grand it is. My problem is not that she’s running for VP, my problem is with the typical, expedient and dishonesty of the change in positions.

The same hypocrisy is inherent in the Right’s embrace of teenage unwed motherhood as “all American.” The Right has always used that unfortunate circumstance as a cudgel to bash the Left, implying that teen pregnancy represents a moral failing in left wing policies. I realize that the Palin’s teenage daughter will be marrying the father of her child, but it is curious why that had to be announced now, and why the father of the child didn’t do the right thing and marry the girl as soon as he learned of the blessed event.

My take on all of this is that the Right is quick to “start a fire” over social issues when it is politically convenient to be for or against a particular circumstance—if it brings in votes, they’ll exploit it for all its worth.

Victor's Voice said...

If you are going to be deleting comments, then I don't to be here

Deleting comments just counter acts the entire reason I come here. .
I’m sure that you wouldn’t delete anyone calling George Bush. a Nazi.
You won’t delete your friend Shaw Kenawe comments slamming me . But when I said something about the Soapbox Kid, you deleted it . That makes little to no sense at all.
In that case you don’t need me here anymore. Have a bright shinny day.

Patrick M said...

No, didn't miss the point. But somehow I knew you'd be quick to make a broad generalization (as opposed to a generalization about broads). :)

Now if you want to hammer a specific person for their statements, then we'll talk. The GOP still stands for traditional marriage (1 man, 1 woman), but did not make any specific statement about the division of labor (I checked the platform). But there is a wealth of varying opinion among conservatives and Republicans on this issue, from asshats to the reasonable.

So, since I've already shared my thoughts, I'll address the only other individual you referenced: Dr Laura.

If she's trumpeting the ascent of Sarah Palin, you'll probably have at her for hipocrisy. If I remember correctly, she advocates the parents raising the children. And while she does favor the mother, especially with a newborn, she doesn't specify it has to be the woman. She does scorn the nanny plan, though.

...the Right’s embrace of teenage unwed motherhood as “all American.”

When did this happen? I think the only thing that was said in general is that the Palins were doing the right thing in difficult and common circumstances.

Now as for the moral failings of the left, I'm not necessarily going to start blasting away. But the differences show up in such things as sex education in school, the entertainment culture, and the redefinition of social values. In these, it's one of those balancing acts where the right tries to protect as much personal freedom while trying to also appease the Puritan conservatives. But that's a discussion for another post.

—if it brings in votes, they’ll exploit it for all its worth.

Uh, it's an election year, and there are people on both sides that do this. Why do you think "It's the economy, stupid" works? Because whether the president is responsible or not, he gets the credit or blame for whatever happens in his administration. And that extends to every political and personal issue that has ever come up.

In other words, I'm not going to defend every dickhole that has blasted working mothers and is now salivating (non-sexually) over Sarah Palin. But the assumption that all conservatives and the entire GOP subscribe to the same definition of the traditional family is about as assinine as the idea that all liberals and Democrats (except Joe Lieberman) want us to lose in Iraq.

On a personal note, I expect Todd Palin to be spending a lot of time taking care of the children, especially that baby.

Beth said...

How could Dr. Laura be against working mothers, she is one herself.

Toad734 said...

Delaware is what, a 2 hour train ride? Alaska is 4000 miles. Although his sons were in bad condition, they weren't infants who were just born earlier this year with Downs Syndrome nor had they just knocked anyone up, nor were there 5 of them.

I personally don't know what kind of mom would squirt out all these kids and then decide to move to DC and be VP. That doesn't mean she is wrong for doing it assuming her husband can stay home and look after the new baby and possibly kick the shit out their teenage daughter who really needs an ass kicking. That being said, most teen parents rely heavily on their parents for support when they are at school, working, or just being stupid teenagers. So someone, either Sarah or her husband, needs to be around to deal with that and the retarded baby. If that's "first dude" then fine. I think I would need to know more about the arrangement to be able to pass judgment on her. If he is going to stay and work in the oil fields and the family is all going to stay in Alaska and she is going to move to DC then that's fucked up but that probably isn't the case. I assume the kids, who aren't old enough to leave home, would move to DC with her but that still leaves the question of the Husband; will he be there too or will he continue to work in Alaska??

And of course there are the mainstream Republicans like Dan Quayle who believe women are baby dispensers and that their job is to raise their kids. Now, not being a Republican, I don't believe that but a little hypocrisy goes a long way in the Republican Party.

Patrick M said...

Victor: I didn't delete anything you said about Soap. You started commenting sometime after I turned off comment moderation and I haven't deleted anything since then. And if I delete a comment, I leave a trace to let you know I did. I suspect the problem was with blogger. It happens sometimes.

But I do reserve the right to moderate comments if things get out of control. But I do so rarely. But if you want to repost, go ahead. If you want to whine and run home to mommy...

Beth: Dr Laura works her schedule around her son's schooling, so either she or her husband are taking care of him.

Patrick M said...

Delaware is what, a 2 hour train ride? Alaska is 4000 miles.

Toad: Good, you have a grasp of geography.

You miss two points, though.

First, no one asks men these questions when they go to DC. Back before we had modern transportation, politicians would travel to DC and stay for months at a time. And while that was going on, the women would sit at home, alone, and manage the whole house. Except for the actual production of babies, there are very few things that the man can't do.

I assume the Palins will have time to get all this in order before January, should McCain/Palin be elected. And the kids will be wherever Todd is.But they won't be the first.

Second, the whole GOP hypocrisy thing is a load of horseshit. If you've got specific people to address, bring 'em. Otherwise, you're generalizing.

BTW, unless he's come out with a dumb statement, how does Dan Quayle fit into this?

Victor's Voice said...

Patrick M said...
Victor: I didn't delete anything you said about Soap. You started commenting sometime after I turned off comment moderation


Then I'm sorry. I do apologize

Patrick M said...

Victor: Thanks.

Although there was a pat of me that was preparing for you to call me a liar so I could unleash an obscene tirade on you and ban you. Ruin my fun by being reasonable, will you? :)

Bob said...

I'm with you on that Patrick. BTW....Arguing with those 2 Neo-Cons Soapbox and his cohort and worshiper Beth is meaningless, they will never get it.
In your Blog opening you say,” Which brings us to the Susan Estrich article and my fellow blooger, Beth, who was less impressed with Sarah Palin after the pregnant teen story broke, though she did reconsider. Susan's column began thus:
Should a mother with five children, one of them a pregnant teen and another an infant with special needs, be running for vice president?

The question is being much debated, in newspaper stories and columns, on blogs and Web sites, and, yes, around kitchen tables across the country.”
I think she changed her mind after being scolded by her “God of Soap”
I think it’s time to stop wasting time over their foolishness.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"...Arguing with those 2 Neo-Cons Soapbox..."

The Soapster a Neo-Con? LMAO...

Bob said...

I meant to say Ultra-con.
Big freaken deal.
Get the hell off your high and might SOAPBOX already and get real!

Toad734 said...

A. Almost all the men who have entered the Whitehouse with young Children and or retarded babies and pregnant teens, did so with a wife who wasn't employed full time. It was a given that the women were going to raise the kids while dad was working. Hillary doesn't have kids who need to be raised so it isn't an issue and maybe it wouldn't be an issue if the "1st Dude" was a stay at home father. But he isn't, so it is.

B. You have heard me point out republican hypocrisies a thousand times. The do as I say, not as I do crowd which generally refers to bible thumping, moral values types who criticize gay marriage then blow men in shitter stalls. Dan Quayle is someone who attacked Murphy Brown, not only because she was a single mother (which her daughter will be once the " fucking redneck" decides to knock some other girl up and bolts, but also a working mom who wasn't at home with her child. Dan Quayle is a republican; Palin will be someone with a newborn who is putting her career first...If in fact it's her child and if in fact she hasn't managed in getting Alaska to secede from the union before the election.

Bob said...

Toad your stupid analogy. Falls right into the same thinking as Soapbox....: ... they holds no water and are childish.

I'm outta here.
Go play games with soapbox in his sand box.

Shaw Hussein Kenawe said...

But let's get to the meat of the matter, and that is that Sarah Palin is a liar.

We now have video proof of her saying that she thinks the Bridge to Nowhere is a good thing for Alaska. ( I have a link to it on my blog.)

Then, when it was politically expedient, she was against it.

The Repubs excoriated John Kerry for this sort of flip-flopping.

But when one of their does it, they ignore it.

She's a liar. And so is McCain for repeating the lie.

Finally. It's been exposed.

Ms. Sarah is nothing more than a shiney new trinket the right is obsessed with. But when the gloss wears off we'll see how "shiney" this pol really is.

PS. Today she got confused over Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. They really ought to do a better job of feeding he information on how the world, other than in Alaska, works.

Patrick M said...

Bob: Actually, I'd classify the Soapatron more along the lines of a libertarian conservative, i.e. in a similar realm of political philosophy as the greatness of me. And Beth shall worship me, because I'm cuter, and from the better half of the great State of Ohio. Beth knows where I'm going with that....

Because you don't happen to agree with them (or seem to be able to comment without attack) doesn't mean they can't throw out cogent thoughts. Hell, even Toad manages that sometimes. Rarely.

But I'll deal with him next....

Soapy: You're now a neocon Bush bitch? Wow! :)

Toad: A. Are you cutting and pasting from my example of stupidity now? If so, you're proving my point. You should know better.

B. And I know you're getting your dope straight from the Kos now. I won't even waste my time responding to this crap.

Shaw: The meat of this matter is not Sarah Palin's honesty. But since you can't stop attacking any threat to your savior....

I did my research (including some of the bias stories you always cite) and from what I can tell, she changed her mind. But I have yet to see how changing your mind on something you ran on after spending a year looking at the situation. If I thought about it, I probably have had some viewpoints and ideas change after a year of blogging. I will agree that there are legitimate questions, but lying requires saying something that is verifiably not true. And she did change her position before she made her speech. Most politicians, including your precious messiah, adjust, massage, and filter the truth to fit their viewpoint and agenda. But since you can't seem to separate political bullshit from lying (insert Bill Clinton joke), I'm not going to waste time trying to discuss this one further.

Bob said...

I'd say that was a pretty good synopsis

Toad734 said...

Bob:

SO the first dude doesn't work, most presidents with kids didn't have a wife who didn't work and Palin didn't just have a special needs baby a few months ago, Dan Quayle didn't attack Murphy Brown, Anti Gay Senators don't blow guys in bathroom stalls?? So, what exactly am I wrong about ye of such great intellect?

Patrick:
Aside from posting there once a year, I never go to Kos so I don't know what you are talking about.Why do you keep saying "cutting and pasting"? I have never done that. If you keep asking the same questions, you are going to get the same answers.

Patrick M said...

Toad: The answers to my various questions always sound the same from you. I wouldn't know if it's from Kos (chosen because they peddle in it and the name is short), but it's exactly the same shit I hear from every other liberal poster (except maybe Dave). In fact, the already debunked secessionist story was the same one that I believe finally got Arthur banned over on Mike's America. When you repeat bullshit, expect the cut-and-paste label. Especially when you bring up unrelated things that are your standard "Republican Hypocrisy" attack:

Dan Quayle didn't attack Murphy Brown, Anti Gay Senators don't blow guys in bathroom stalls??

Cut. And. Paste.

Toad734 said...

Cut and paste from where?

And secession wasn't debunked, she spoke at an Alaskan secession movevment and told them to keep up the good work, I saw the video.

Patrick M said...

Toad, I googled 'Sarah Palin Secession' and got so many places for you to cut and paste from it wasn't funny.

And then I got to this from factcheck.org:

Palin was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party – which calls for a vote on whether Alaska should secede from the union or remain a state – despite mistaken reports to the contrary. But her husband was a member for years, and she attended at least one party convention, as mayor of the town in which it was held.

Strangely, the facts get in the way of your worldview.