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Sarah Palin is a good candidate despite the GOP
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Sarah Palin is a good candidate not because she'd be a good US Vice President—I don't think she would be, given what legislative values she would bring to the position—but by the fact of her candidacy. As Jeremy Adam Smith of Daddy Dialectic points out, that fact isn't the one that most people are touting (that's she's a woman), but rather that she is a example of how the Republican party and conservatives in general are helpless to curtail social progress, even among their most ardent adherents.

In his post "The Sarah Palin Chronicles", Smith wrote that, "[i]n nominating Palin, Republicans are playing a slippery game of identity politics, not one that they are good at." Sarah Palin's family, apart from their overt conservatism, is an exemplar of many things the Republicans sneer at on the other side of the so-called "culture wars": working mothers, stay-at-home dads, divorcees, premarital sex, pregnant teenagers, anti-nationalistm, and third-party politicians. There will likely be more features of their family dug up as the spotlights turned on them get hotter.

Smith thinks this internal contradiction in the GOP picking Palin for VP is good thing:
It goes to show [that] ... All the conservative “Family values” in the world can’t reverse the social and economic changes that have brought nontraditional families like Palin’s into existence ... Her candidacy isn’t just another step forward for women; it’s also a way of highlighting the dominance of nontraditional families in America today. If the Republican Party can survive the ideological contradictions represented by Palin's family, I think America will be a better place.
Fortunately, her candidacy alone can have this effect and she won't have to actually become the Vice President for us to see the challenges this brings to public discourse and culture debates—having the erratic and impulsive John McCain in the White House isn't worth any consolation prize. Hopefully enough US voters agree in November that the predictably-rigged DieboldPremier Election Solutions machines won't be able to rob them of their choice.

ETA: And because it's hilarious, a variation on that old Google search meme where you put in your first name followed by "is" and look at the amusing results: Google "McCain doesn't know". Some of the funnier (or sadder, depending on mood) results:

McCain doesn't know And, as a bonus, Sarah Palin doesn't know what the Vice President does.

Okay, it's not so funny anymore.

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Hrm. So Palin's policies still make her an arch-conservative, but the fact that she can reconcile this with her own family, and ascend to potential power in the party of arch-conservatives, is a good thing, because it means the arch-conservatives will have to adapt or die?

I don't think it's so much that she must reconcile this with her own family—hypocrisy is a useful tool for those who desire power, and isn't necessarily something they acknowledge and learn from.

Rather, the party's response to this contradiction will necessitate some shifts, though they might be subtle. The fact that they're fielding a candidate that involves such ideological contraditions at all is also a sign that such shifts have already occurred.

The GOP has a history of putting ends before means. They've just put themselves in a situation where they might have to introduce uncomfortable (to them) concessions of ideology into their talking points in order to maintain party support for her as a candidate.

The next week or two should see some interesting developments. They yet might spin this away, but if they don't it will be fascinating.

They've already spun away the daughter preggers strike, low that it may be, by focusing on the "she's keeping the baby and marrying the man" part and not the "well, obviously abstinence ed didn't work for her, now did it?" part.

I'm already seeing columnists, including Coulter, explain away just about any attack on Palin as sexism or jealousy of her "Supermom" status. Which might indicate the willingness to embrace at least some of her anathema statuses when pushed, even if they're vigorously denying that Palin Hates America and that they're not looking the other way on "family values", but all of this usually gets spun out into "Her policies are all about what we stand for. Where her personal character is in line with those, we praise her. Where it isn't, we ignore it or find some way of turning it into something that is in line with us." I don't think the Republican Party is doing any actual moving. I think they're just redirecting the camera to a more favorable angle.

That's true, but I don't see yet that they're getting away with it. I think a few more days or a couple of weeks will tell one way or the other.

It's ironic that criticisms of her hypocritical life/policy combination is being labelled sexist, since her selection as a VP candidate is based on the sexist assumption that swing-vote women will vote for her genitals rather than for her policies. But then, it's Coulter, who is the corporeal embodiment of Platonic ironic sexism.

Edited at 2008-09-04 11:56 pm (UTC)

Point made. We'll see how it shakes out. And Coulter is just the vanguard - there's going to be a lot more digital and column ink on how much Palin is the Savior of the Republican Party and not a hypocrite at all, and liberals and media outlets that use what have been tried and true Republican tactics are suddenly not playing fair or being sexist.

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That's a very astute observation and analysis. I buy it.

I did read that McCain's campaign intentionally leaked the pregnancy news, though it didn't have a source to back it up and I didn't go looking for one, so that's hearsay. It matches with your anonymous poster, though.

If all that's true, it shows a remarkable lack of understanding of the vocal Democrats. But then, the GOP are mostly skilled at understanding and handling the vocal Republicans, and I would put money on it that there's an inverse relationship between critical thinking skills and degree of lay conservatism.

Well then, I am heartened. Maybe this really will be noted post-facto as when McCain finally shot himself in the foot but right.

Please stop. Please.

I don't like to think about how likely it is that these MORONS will end up in office, and this post made my brain hurt extra badly.


I'm sorry. I'd magic away the stupid if I could.

On that note, you'll be pleased that this is being actively developed: StupidFilter Project. It won't keep away the persistently-dumb but grammatically-correct stupidity of Neocons, but it should lower the general level of stupidity.

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