Every night since the night I last posted I've used the delete key over what would have been some mean spirited-- though wholly warranted-- trashing of Sarah Palin. Over the past two weeks she's been a fantastically soft target. The Pat Buchanans and Lou Dobbses of the world have gone red in the face talking of how she's been "savaged by the liberal media." Equal parts stalking horse and lightning rod for baseless accusations of sexism, she poses a Problem for those of us who were hoping for a reprieve from an era that's been a total nightmare to anyone not a sports fan from Boston. And even some diehard fans would I'm sure trade a few rings for the ability to attack the eventual history books with some white-out.
At last we seem to have learned what the term Conservative Feminist means when it's been applied to Palin. One would be inclined to believe, at face value, it would refer to conservative principles tempered by an interest in equality. Or for that matter, any definition that might be derived from the combination of those two words. But when used to describe the VP to a candidate that opposes equal pay for women, the smart money was on it being GOP newspeak.
For the McCain-Palin ticket, Conservative Feminism is simply being a woman running for office on a Conservative ticket. It's crying sexism whenever one is maligned for any reason. It is, in short, the right wing's cynical and distorted view of Feminism proper. Reinforced and justified by those vangaurds of the New Dumb who cried Sexism when Clinton's attempts to strongarm herself onto the Democratic ticket were called a "shotgun wedding." Who are now, with a sense of self-righteous jubilation, braying that Obama should have picked Clinton after all, and giving all of the reasons why doing so would have been fucking idiotic the hand wave.
In her interview with Charles Gibson she said "Charlie" more often than Miss Teen South Carolina said "such as" when given the microphone in 2007 and displayed about as much understanding of foreign policy. It may be possible for someone who's been paying attention for the past eight years to not know what the Bush Doctrine is, but even the less politically aware among people I know personally would have made a better guess than that grating bespectacled hockey mom. Matt Damon is right. This is like a bad Disney movie. Which does not lend any encouragement to those hoping that the electorate will come to their senses. Bad Disney movies are a billion dollar industry.
Those who never fully believed that a homespun dimwit like George W Bush could be elected until the Supreme Court made their ruling in November of 2000 are now feeling uneasy. The last swine put forth by the GOP inherited peace and prosperity. This new model, now available with red lipstick, will not. That they've inherited 9/11 is working in their favor, which they will exploit no matter how low it takes them. The disgusting "tribute" displayed at the RNC all but stated outwardly that only McCain could prevent another 9/11. The GOP conned all major networks into showing a film which can only be honestly described as domestic terrorism, albeit slathered with still more lipstick.
That the first real sign of the media being willing to call McCain a liar could never have come were it not for Palin is a welcome irony. His reaction to Obama's "lipstick on a pig" remark was fairly tame so far as his campaign has been concerned, but with any luck the average voter may yet get the message: McCain thinks that enough of you are complete idiots to carry him to victory. A message that's been between the lines of many successful presidential bids. The voting bloc whose sole actionable issue is tax cuts have long given me headaches. Not because their particular litmus test is wholly selfish or misguided, but because as a group they've seemed determined to get it wrong. Once again they seem poised almost universally to oppose the candidate who'll give them a better deal, and no amount of fact or argument seems to hold sway.
But there's something about this latest gaffe that seems potentially volatile. Even the most woefully oversensitive pricks in the Universe wouldn't see a comment that Obama made about McCain's economic policy as sexism against Palin. And there were no shortage of conservative jackasses coming to Don Imus' defense in the face of actual racism and actual sexism. Add to this the fact that the candidate who made such an accusation uses the same phrase all the damn time, and in fact used it against Hillary Clinton, and you're left with an interesting brew. The assembled masses will be content to pretend that the emperor is fully clothed until he shows them his asshole. How long half of our electorate will stare dazedly into it and fail to recognize it for the grim omen it represents for what could potentially be the next four years remains to be seen.
It's going to be a rough one. But there is the sense that a few more people have Learned Their Fucking Lesson this time around. It's the fourth quarter and we only just now know all the players. What's reaffirmed is that a sport this deranged and unnatural can only be played every four years. Either way we'll all need a stiff drink to recover. Whether it comes with a wedge of lime or a bottle between the teeth remains to be seen.