Dave Weigel at Slate reports from the Values Voters Summit straw poll, where Sarah Palin came in fifth (behind Mike Pence, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich):
… Politico’s Jonathan Martin asked [FCR president Tony Perkins] whether Palin’s weak showing in the presidential poll, and stronger showing in the VP poll, suggested that conservatives were more interested in Palin as a spokesperson than as a presidential candidate.
“I think she is a great spokesman,” said Perkins. “I mean, I think that she challenges the status quo. She says what a lot of people think. But, you know, a lot of people sometimes realize we shouldn’t say everything we think. Maybe it is that she is more of a cheerleader and one who rallies conservatives together as opposed to being their top choice for president.… “
In a loopy-even-by-her-elastic-standards piece, Maureen Dowd spends half her column bashing Christine O’Donnell (before deciding that O’Donnell’s temporary elevation is all the fault of That Man In the White House):
Christine O’Donnell is in a fantasy world. Literally. The pretty Palin Mini-Me identifies with the women of Middle Earth…
O’Donnell said she liked Tolkien’s outlook on gender: “On the one hand, there’s the attitude that’s normally on the conservative side — as a conservative woman, I feel I can say this — that stifles women. There’s almost the stereotypical attitude of, to be a true woman, you have to stay at home. And I’ve actually had people say to me, ‘Why do you choose a career over marriage?’ Honestly, I’ve had only a few significant relationships, and they’ve broken up with me. And one of the things I’ve been told is, ‘If you weren’t so strong, you’d be married by now.’ ”…
Speaking to Sean Hannity on Fox, Karl Rove dismissed O’Donnell as an absurd choice with a sketchy background and dubious character. He alluded to facts in The Weekly Standard that chronicled her lawsuit against her former employer, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a conservative nonprofit based in Delaware.
Although O’Donnell said in 1998 that wives should “graciously submit” to their husbands, her 2005 suit charged that she suffered “mental anguish” after being demoted and fired because the institute’s conservative philosophy deemed that women must be subordinate.
We the People in the Ruling Class Elites do think O’Donnell comes across as alarmingly loopy. But maybe she’s smart as a fox in doing a Single-White-Female, Fox anchor makeover to look more like her queen-maker, Sarah Palin…
She might have gone a broom too far, though, when she once told Bill Maher that she had “dabbled into witchcraft” and went on a date with a witch that included “a midnight picnic on a satanic altar.”…
And Vanity Fair reprints an email from “right-wing pastor and political activist” Lou Engle to Sarah Palin: “… I believe this is an Esther moment in your life. Esther hid her identity until Mordecai challenged her to risk everything for such a time as this. Your identity is “Sarah Barracuda”… I’ve been praying for five years for an Esther, with dreams of being a Mordecai to that Esther.” But the biblical Queen Esther was not a ruler in her own right; she was a young concubine, a beauty pageant winner, whose ‘triumph’ was orchestrated by her uncle Mordecai to successfuly enrich his own political career. Even Joan of Arc waited five hundred years for full acceptance from the Church hierarchy.
The self-proclaimed conservatives who have made Palin, and now O’Donnell, symbols of Heartland American Values(tm) are not, to phrase it politely, defenders of gender neutrality. Fundamentalists and authoritarians still loudly prefer their women to be decorative, and subservient. Whatever the mooted power of the PUMAs, it’s not going to be easy for the most hardcore “traditionalists” to accept a woman in a position of real authority.
It could be argued (probably has been) that the teabaggers’ willingness to promote female politicians (Palin, Angle, Bachman, O’Donnell) is inversely related to the possibility of a ‘Tea Party’ candidate actually achieving significant political power. Women are excellent figureheads, especially for a minority rump party fueled by nothing more significant than spite and nostalgia, but professionals don’t waste serious resources on figureheads. Especially since the last time they installed a former cheerleader as a sockpuppet, events went so badly awry.