Being Right – NOW What?

Olivia Offner

Joe Biden must be getting pretty antsy. After delivering his speech at the DNC, Biden rushed home and wrote up a series of talking points about Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty. Biden could hardly wait to take on the VP’s traditional role of attack dog. And now poor Joe Biden has to deal with Sarah Palin as an opponent. Now he has to feel like the deadbeat VP candidate who simply fills a gap in Obama’s inexperience without doing a thing to energize the ticket. Biden has to go up against a woman who has somehow simultaneously energized the Republican base and appealed to independents. The Obama campaign spent months bringing down Hillary Clinton; now somehow they have to bring down Sarah Palin without looking sexist. Biden is up to the challenge. When a reporter asked him about the historic aspect of Palin’s candidacy, Biden replied that having Palin in the White House would “obviously be a step back for women” because of her beliefs.

Joe Biden isn’t the only one attacking Sarah Palin. Liberal groups are smearing the McCain campaign, claiming that the pick was cynical and purely intended to sway Hillary Clinton voters. Feminist icon Gloria Steinem wrote an article in The Los Angeles Times claiming that McCain’s ploy to win female voters won’t work. There is even a Facebook group called “Intelligent Women Against Sarah Palin” with over 11,000 members. These tactics, put forth by people who claim to promote women’s rights, are actually undermining the efforts of the women’s movement. It is true that many female voters will be drawn to the McCain/Palin ticket, but to say that McCain picked Palin simply because she is a woman is, in fact, a step backwards.

The Left feels that having Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket can’t possibly be a good thing for women because she is pro-life. Maybe they think that as long as Roe vs. Wade stands, American women won’t be affected by terrorist attacks, the mortgage crisis, or the weak dollar.. The National Organization for Women (NOW) released a statement saying that Palin doesn’t speak for women or for women’s rights. Apparently, NOW is going to have to change their name to the National Organization for Liberal Women or Pro-Choice Women. The White House Project, a group whose name reflects its goal to get a woman into the White House and promote women in business, was more restrained than NOW. They put out a press release congratulating Palin on her accomplishments and inviting women to share their reactions to the Palin pick. But it remains to be seen whether The White House Project will support Governor Palin in the same way that they supported Senator Clinton.

The Left seems to have decided that women only care about abortion rights and aren’t allowed to have opinions about national security or the economy. They seem to have forgotten that President Bush won in 2004 in large part because of the “security moms” who were concerned about American’s safety. They aren’t paying attention to the fact that Palin is the most popular governor in America or that she has opinions on issues critical to the direction of the country, like energy independence, tax code, small government, and a strong military. Sarah Palin cannot be defined simply by her stance on abortion any more than American women can be told to care only about one issue.

It seems that McCain’s “ploy” is working. His poll numbers are up among women and independents in general, and it seems that Palin is managing to appeal to the same “security moms” who voted for Bush in 2004. Maybe these security moms also happen to be “hockey moms.” Or maybe they are just women who refuse to be defined simply by the fact that they are women. Because women do not, and should not, vote as a block. Sarah Palin’s appeal extends beyond her X chromosome, but the fact that she is a woman is a good thing for women in politics, in business, and in America. Promoting the idea that having a female contender for the second highest office in the world could possibly be a backwards step for the women’s movement is irrational and irresponsible. Polls show that Sarah Palin is relating to women across the country, regardless of her position on abortion. The attacks on Palin from groups like NOW undermine the women’s movement, but they also show the panic coming from the left-wing. NOW and other feminist groups are desperate to paint Sarah Palin as anti-women, as the wrong kind of women, because they are terrified that Americans might just decide that she is exactly the right kind of woman.