WHY WATCHING SARAH PALIN IS AGONY FOR WOMEN.
By Emily Bazelon
Posted Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008, at 6:23 PM ET
But Palin’s gender is at the center of another set of reactions I’ve been hearing and reading among women who don’t support her ticket, filled with ambivalence over how bad she is. Laugh at the Tina Fey parodies that make Palin ridiculous just by quoting her verbatim. And then cry. When Palin tanks, it’s good for the country if you want Obama and Biden to win, but it’s bad for the future of women in national politics. I’m in this boat, too. Should we feel sorry for Sarah Palin? No. But if she fails miserably, we might be excused for feeling a bit sorry for ourselves.
Palin is the most prominent woman on the political stage at the moment. By taking unprepared hesitancy and lack of preparation to a sentence-stopping level, she’s yanking us back to the old assumption that women can’t hack it at these heights. We know that’s not true—we’ve just watched Hillary Clinton power through a campaign with a masterful grasp of policy and detail. Clinton lost in part because she was the girl grind. Complex sentences, the names of Supreme Court cases, and bizarre warnings about foreign heads of state invading our airspace weren’t her problem. The fear now is that Palin is the anti-Hillary and that her lack of competence threatens to undo what the Democratic primary did for women. Palin won’t bust through the ceiling that has Hillary’s 18 million cracks in it. She’ll give men an excuse to replace it with a new one.