Palin's a Brilliant Feminist, I Swear!

by Shaker JMonkey, a dad and a feminist who lives with his partner in Oregon.

Maybe you've heard of Elaine Lafferty. She was editor-in-chief at Ms. Magazine, considers herself a Democrat and a feminist activist.

These days, she's advising the McCain campaign and writing for Sarah Palin and, today, posted an article at Tina Brown's "The Daily Beast" that explains how Palin is "very smart" and that Palin "supports women's rights, deeply and passionately."

No, really. Go take a gander.

Just in case you may be wondering what, exactly, Lafferty is doing for Palin, it appears she's been writing a big speech on women's rights for her. But first, she's got to reassure us that Palin is smart, despite all the nay-sayers' nay-saying.
Now by "smart," I don't refer to a person who is wily or calculating or nimble in the way of certain talented athletes who we admire but suspect don't really have serious brains in their skulls. I mean, instead, a mind that is thoughtful, curious, with a discernable pattern of associative thinking and insight. Palin asks questions, and probes linkages and logic that bring to mind a quirky law professor I once had. Palin is more than a "quick study"; I'd heard rumors around the campaign of her photographic memory and, frankly, I watched it in action. She sees. She processes. She questions, and only then, she acts. What is often called her "confidence" is actually a rarity in national politics: I saw a woman who knows exactly who she is.
Really? A photographic memory? A quick study? Either Lafferty and I are not listening to the same person, or none of those qualities have emerged in interviews or debates quite the way they have one-on-one, making misgivings about these reported smarts totally understandable. I feel the same way about Palin that I do about Bush: Both are smart, but they lack any shred of curiosity about the world outside of their own tiny circle.

But back to that speech…
So no simple task then, this speech on women's rights.
Er, yeah. No shit.
For the sin of being a Christian personally opposed to abortion, Palin is being pilloried by the inside-the-Beltway Democrat feminist establishment. (Yes, she is anti-abortion. And yes, instead of buying organic New Zealand lamb at Whole Foods, she joins other Alaskans in hunting for food. That's it. She is not a right-wing nut, and all the rest of the Internet drivel—the book banning at the Library, the rape kits decision—is nonsense. I digress.)
That's true. Every feminist I know is insistent on buying only organic New Zealand lamb. And, clearly, these two issues—reproductive choice and organic New Zealand lamb—are of equivalent importance. In other words, both are concerns only of effete, elite, out-of-touch, liberal metropolitan types.

And check out the way in which she completely debunks the stories that she fired the town librarian because she indicated she would not ban books and that the town under her leadership billed rape victims for the rape kits used to gather evidence? So deft, it's worth requoting.
It is nonsense.
Look, I am obviously personally pro-choice, and I disagree with McCain and Palin on that and a few other issues. But like many other Democrats, including Lynn Rothschild, I'm tired of the Democratic Party taking women for granted. I also happen to believe Sarah Palin supports women's rights, deeply and passionately.
True. So long as you ignore Palin's anti-choice position, her apparent belief that abortion clinic bombers aren't terrorists, the (totally NOT debunked) rape kit story, and McCain's own statement that Palin is "a direct counterpoint to the liberal feminist agenda for America," she's clearly a passionate feminist.
Many of those—not all—who decried the sexist media treatment of Hillary Clinton have been silent as Palin has been skewered in the old ways that female public figures are skewered, as well as a host of sexualized new ways as well.
But here is the good news: women, citizens of America's high and low culture, the Economist and People magazine readers, will get it. They got it with Hillary even when feminist leaders were not supporting her or doing so half-heartedly. Yes, Palin is a harder sell, she looks and sounds different, and one can rightfully oppose her based on abortion policies. If you only vote on how a person personally feels about abortion, you will never want her to darken your door. If you care about anything else, she will continue to intrigue you.
Well, Lafferty's right about one thing concerning Palin. The American people? 47 percent of them view her negatively compared to 38 percent who view her positively.

Oh, they get it, all right.

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