Stop Pitying Her

So says Rebecca Traister:

Sarah Palin is no wilting flower. She is a politician who took the national stage and sneered at the work of community activists. She boldly tries to pass off incuriosity and lassitude as regular-people qualities, thereby doing a disservice to all those Americans who also work two jobs and do not come from families that hand out passports and backpacking trips, yet still manage to pick up a paper and read about their government and seek out experience and knowledge.

When you stage a train wreck of this magnitude — trying to pass one underqualified chick off as another highly qualified chick with the lame hope that no one will notice — well, then, I don’t feel bad for you.

When you treat women as your toys, as gullible and insensate pawns in your Big Fat Presidential Bid — or in Palin’s case, in your Big Fat Chance to Be the First Woman Vice President Thanks to All the Cracks Hillary Put in the Ceiling — I don’t feel bad for you.


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42 replies
  1. 1

    Absolutely. I thought it was clear from the moment McCain announced Palin was his pick that it was another sign that Republicans just don’t understand feminism. Of course, neither does the PUMA brigade, which is why they’re onboard with McCain now.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    shane says:

    Thanks for writing this. Every time I hear another talking head say, “You almost feel sorry for her,” when her horrifying lack of intelligence, knowledge, experience, and skill is being discussed, I want to – and sometimes do – scream “Stop it!” at the TV. I don’t fucking feel sorry for HER!!! I feel sorry for US, that we have to be living in terror that this dangerous halfwit could come anywhere close to the White House.

  4. 4
    Comrade Jake says:

    Are there genuinely lots of people espousing pity for her though? The current reaction appears to be a mix of laughter, derision, and real concern that McCain/Palin might win.

  5. 5
    Craig says:

    You know, no one “gave” me my summer in Europe, way back in 1996. I thought it was imporant to get out of the country and see a little piece of the world, even if just a few train stations and youth hostels, so I worked and saved for my plane ticket and my big green backpack and, yes, even the $65 passport fee.

    I lived cheaply over there–slept in one or two of those train stations–got to know some great people, and, I hope, came home a little less parochial. I certainly wasn’t some trust fund kid doing the “Grand Tour.” It irks me how some people seem to think that the only authentic way to see other countries is with the Third Armored Division.

  6. 6
    Comrade Jake says:

    I lived cheaply over there—slept in one or two of those train stations—got to know some great people, and, I hope, came home a little less parochial.

    Palin’s argument is a lame attempt at misdirection, to garner sympathy from the class of people who genuinely can’t afford travel overseas. The fact of the matter is, as Governor of Alaska, she should have been traveling and meeting foreign heads of state, to discuss any number of things of mutual interest. I suspect a good number of Governors do that. Further, she clearly had the means through the state to afford it.

    Palin simply wasn’t interested in anything beyond Alaska’s borders until she was selected as McCain’s VP. That’s why she didn’t travel, and that’s the real problem.

  7. 7
    D. Mason says:

    In all fairness to the pundits, it’s not like they can continually hold her up for ridicule while pointing and laughing. Feigned pity gives them ethical cover to keep airing her worst moments, giving everyone out in TV land a chance to see her in full glory.

  8. 8
    Punchy says:

    It’s fucking stunning that people are supposed to “relate” to her precisely because she has kids, works, hunts, and talks funny. This, apparently, is good enough to be President, yet:

    1) No one would EVER say these are good qualities to be a doctor
    2) or a nurse
    3) or someone to oversee your retirement portfolio
    4) or a car mechanic
    5) or your kids’ teacher
    6) or university professor

    Etc, etc. Yet we’re supposed to be happy cuz her ignorance, disinterest, and ridiculously small knowledge of the world makes her more “one of us”, ergo fit to be Preznit. Fucking stunning.

  9. 9
    Craig says:

    You got it, Jake–and “Things Alaska Has in Common with the Rest of America” is one hell of a thin book. Alaska is fundamentally about extracting cash from the other 49 states–through generous government spending and taxing the oil that is shipped out of there and to the rest of us. And we’re told that makes Palin some kind of expert on energy policy. Sure–in the same way the Saudis are.

  10. 10
  11. 11
    w vincentz says:

    I don’t feel sorry for her.
    It will go down like this…
    First she claps her front flippers together in the best imitation of a sea lion she can muster.
    Then she takes a hold of a giant wheel that has dollar amounts and an arrow to indicate where it stops.
    She screams “M”! (Something she learned from Sesame St…or was it Wall St? What’s the difference?)
    Vanna turns two letters.
    Calmly, she says, “I’d like to solve the puzzle.” Cue more flipper clapping…
    “Moran McCain.”
    The audiance erupts with more flipper clapping.
    The pundits spend the next week discussing her triumph.

  12. 12
    SamFromUtah says:

    It irks me how some people seem to think that the only authentic way to see other countries is with the Third Armored Division.

    Me too. Here in Utah, there’s a school of thought that’s less distasteful but still cringeworthy, that the only authentic way to see other countries is to go hard-sell your religion there.

  13. 13
    PC says:

    Comrade Napoleon, that is full of win.

  14. 14
    El Cid says:

    Even though I know it was a pre-written script, I haven’t forgotten what a sneering, dismissive, culture-war jerk she was at the RNC, and so she can take her own damned responsibility for being an idiot.

  15. 15
    Not My Fault says:

    If you really want to experience more of the world, the Peace Corps is the way to go. Two years of living and working with people who are so very different from you, but, so very similar to you.

    Doesn’t cost a dime, and you return a better person than you left.

    Sadly the Peace Corps is being scaled back so we can pay for more of whatever it is we are paying for. That is a huge loss for this country.

  16. 16
    Tsulagi says:

    Free Sarah!

    At least for the debate this week. I want to hear her telling us how those fungible molecules have been fucking up the market. We need some comedic relief this week.

  17. 17
    Comrade Fedorovich Stuck says:

    It’s fucking stunning that people are supposed to “relate” to her precisely because she has kids, works, hunts, and talks funny. This, apparently, is good enough to be President, yet:

    Being able to fool all the people some of the time, or fool some of the people all of the time, Takes special qualifications that are unique to used car salesmen, Televangelists, and third rate politicians. If we just let Sarah be Sarah, I’m sure she’ll make the cut and show those smarty ass
    informed people a thing or two.


  18. 18
    Comrade Jake says:

    I expect she will deliver a couple of well-rehearsed zingers on Biden on Thursday, with a healthy dose of culture-war thrown in for good measure. If the GOP aides coaching her now don’t, at minimum, have those in place, they’re completely incompetent. Look for her to quickly jot down notes as she comes to the podium Thursday evening.

    The question will be how Biden handles them. If he can diffuse them, I think she’ll then be shooting blanks.

  19. 19
    jake says:

    Sarah Palin doesn’t need to travel to foreign countries. She can see Russia from her front porch.

  20. 20
    EL says:

    El Cid, you have a piece of it. It’s one of the reasons that everyone is now less sympathetic than might be. She sneered at others, and claimed superiority for her ignorance over those who are informed. Now she is hoist on her own petard, with her ignorance showing to and embarrassing the people of this country. We has one ignorant uncouth jerk in the White House embarrassing us, and we don’t want another.

  21. 21
    Krista says:

    The fact of the matter is, as Governor of Alaska, she should have been traveling and meeting foreign heads of state, to discuss any number of things of mutual interest. I suspect a good number of Governors do that. Further, she clearly had the means through the state to afford it.

    She had the means to pick up a fucking newspaper every once in awhile.
    You don’t need money to gain enough knowledge to know what the hell you’re talking about. She just didn’t care. She was in her own insular little world, on her own little power trip, and had a large enough ego to actually think she was qualified to be Vice-President.

  22. 22
    Chinn Romney, polygamist says:

    The fact that anyone is paying any attention at all to a freaking VP debate – when was the last time that happened? – speaks volumes about the pathetic little man at the top of the ticket.

  23. 23
    EL says:

    That read rather more like a LOLcat caption than I meant to right. Oh well…

  24. 24
    b. hussein canuckistani says:

    I felt pity for her during the first Couric interview. Then I thought about the women who had to pay for their rape kits, the polar bears, the kids who wouldn’t learn about birth control but would learn about Jesus horses instead, community organizers and everyone who had been sneered at in her big speech. Then I made popcorn, with salt, olive oil and grated parm reg. It was goooood.

  25. 25
    Shinobi says:

    I don’t feel bad for Sarah Palin, I feel bad for the Mother’s of Five, the former beauty queens and the female politicians whose reputations are tarnished by her stupidity.

  26. 26
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    Nah. I can pity her for all kinds of reasons—and still think she needs to be blown out of her socks (metaphorically, of course). Of course she’s an incompetent, narcissistic, ambitious, ruthless airhead who needs to be farther away from Washington than Alaska if at all possible, and the sooner she’s destroyed the better. But she has been set up for self-immolation by that great American POW McCain, and I feel sorry for anyone who’s placed in a position of maximum exposure with minimum preparation and even less ability. This comes down in the end to another example of McCain’s terrible judgement, and illustrates yet again his devotion to ambition over country. That’s where we need to go with Palin.

  27. 27
    charlotte says:

    I don’t feel sorry for her. I feel sorry for the USA that this woman was thrust on us like a horrific blind date. I hope Biden mops the floor with her — in a way that doesn’t bring recriminations on top of his head. My bet is that Jill Biden is probably giving him some really good advice on how to navigate these tricky waters.

    As for SP making it more difficult for other women to run in future, I don’t think so. Most women operating at these levels are more than capable of articulating a thought, thinking on their feet, and playing with the big boys in real time. She’s the Alaska outlier — and I think that a lot of women around the country recognize all too well that if were to look like Barbara Mikulski, she wouldn’t be inspiring much of this blind devotion. The whole life narrative angle wouldn’t be working for her nearly as well as some didn’t perceive her at hot.

    When this is over we’d be smart to have a conversation about how VPs come to us. Standards of Learning exams are required of school children — Time to make certain that we never ever have to go through such a terrifying nomination again.

  28. 28
    jrg says:

    Biden does not need to pity her, he needs to treat her like a strawman. He needs to use her ignorance to discuss the GOP and McCain, as if he was speaking with an uninformed voter.

    He does not need to be snarky or mean, he needs her to be snarky and mean. Palin knows NOTHING, and everyone knows it.

    Her only appeal is to the morons who think that being a soccer mom and a hottie qualifies someone to lead the most powerful nation on earth. The Republicans and undecideds that are dumb enough to believe that are not going to get any smarter during the 90 minute debate.

    The fight is over the hearts and minds of voters with double-digit IQs, who will only be swayed if she comes off as a shrew.

  29. 29
    SGEW says:

    I feel pity for her kids. They don’t deserve this nonsense.

  30. 30
    Mrs. Polly says:

    Nobody’s talking about this extra gaffe she made during the Pakistan exchange she had with another customer at that Philly cheesesteak joint:

    customer:What about Waziristan—it’s blowing up!
    Wasilla Ice: yeah, it is blowing up, and the economy’s blowing up there, too!

    So there you have it. She knows all about Waziristan’s economy, evidently no clue that a big tall bad guy with plenty of money lives there. Here she is:

  31. 31
    Mrs. Polly says:

    shoot shoot shoot, the button lied to me. It’s youtube.

    copy and paste if you want to see what a moose in a cheesesteak shop looks like.

  32. 32
    Owner/Operator of Paradise Found says:

    Sarah Palin couldn’t find her asshole with a funnel.

  33. 33
    Party Apparatchik Fulcanelli says:

    I expect she will deliver a couple of well-rehearsed zingers on Biden on Thursday, with a healthy dose of culture-war thrown in for good measure

    That’s all the Right has left, really: The Culture War.

    Realistic Foreign Policy Vision. Nope. Prudent Sense of Fiscal Responsibility. Defintely not. Strong Moral Compass. Sorry, not there either. Honesty and Integrity. Not any more. A Modicum of Common Sense. None that I can see. A Desire to Fairly and Effectively Run A Government. Not since Eisenhower.

    After this election we should take the disgusting, yet seemingly effective Republican concept of voter disqualification, or “caging”, and refine it for this 21st century information age we live in, and instead of targeting minorities and other “undesirables” we can refine it to purge the voter rolls of stupid, xenophobic bigots who keep holding American progress hostage with the electoral process.
    A voter qualification questionaire could be sent out loaded with Fox News reinforced lies and opinion diguised as fact, loaded, race baiting questions and Republican talking points and when they return it with the “right” answers, they’re scrubbed from the voter rolls, and get sent packing when they show up to vote ’til the next election. We’ve got to do something, because the process of electing a President in this country has become a fucking joke.

  34. 34
    w vincentz says:

    Will there be pom-poms?

  35. 35
    kirkaracha says:

    Those people continually call liberals cowards and claim to be the macho action party. She doesn’t get to be the moose-killing frontierswoman and the frightened schoolmarm. She called herself a pit bull with lipstick; she can’t quiver like a chihuahua at the first sign of pressure. If she piddles under pressure from Katie Freakin’ Couric, who can she stand up to?

  36. 36
    Comrade Bey says:

    My chihuahua doesn’t quiver. She’s boss of 5 cats – thats 100 needle-sharp claws and 20, count ’em, 20 fangs!

    If Bible Spice can’t stand tough, she doesn’t need to be in national politics. Feel sorry for her, I do not.

  37. 37
    Nikolita says:

    Ash Can: I watched it last night. It was for forgetting his wedding anniversary, right? I didn’t know people could make Keith’s list for things like that.

    charlotte: I agree completely. I’ve heard already on CNN and other shows that he needs to be careful because if he comes across as attacking her, apparently it will backfire on him. “Wilted flower” unable to handle it/sexism and other lies and shit. As someone on CNN said, she’s in the big leagues now and she needs to play with the big league pitchers.

  38. 38
    Laura W says:

    I am sure this has been mentioned somewhere on this site but ever since we divorced Word Press Error, the comments have exploded. Damn it. Now I have to use all those hours I used to spend waiting for the site to load and waiting for my comment to (possibly) post reading comments. What kind of deal is that?

    ANYWAY…imagine if Obama had selected Hillary as VP (NOT my preference).
    How exciting would it be if we were counting down to the Lipstick on Lipstick cage match?
    Bill Spice v. Bible Spice

  39. 39
    Comrade Delia says:

    All those people, and Sarah most of all, were strutting and preening at their Convention about how they’d found the meanest girl on the block for their VP candidate, and they’d completely upstaged Barack’s big moment, and now they were ahead in the polls and they were gonna get all the unhappy Hillary voters and Sarah could badmouth ANYBODY before they knew what hit them cuz she was such a barracuda and she was gonna energize their know-nuthin’ base, and now all I can say is . . . .


  40. 40
    Mirabel says:


  41. 41
    Shinobi says:

    Laura, Word. WAY too many comments. WE DEMAND MORE THREADS!

  42. 42
    Ash Can says:

    Nikolita: Yes, that’s right. I hurt myself laughing over that. :D

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