Imagine watching Sarah Palin, the gun-toting, lifelong member of the NRA, the PTA mom with teased hair and hips half the size of Hillary's, who went ... omigod ... to the University of Idaho and studied journalism. (Actually, Palin bounced around a bunch of universities -- Antonia) Mrs. Palin with her five kids and one of them still virtually suckling age, going wham through that cement ceiling put there exclusively for good-looking right-wing/populist conservative females by not-so-good-looking left-wing ones (Gloria Steinem excepting). There, pending some terrible goof or revelation, stood the woman most likely to get into the Oval Office as its official occupant rather than as an intern.
Sarah Palin has put the flim-flam nature of America feminism sharply into focus, revealing the not-so-secret hypocrisy of its code and, whatever her future, this alone is an accomplishment. As she emerged into the nation's consciousness, a shudder went through the feminist left—a political movement not restricted to females. She is a mother refusing to stay at home (good) who had made a success out in the workplace (excellent) whose marriage nevertheless is a rip-roaring success and whose views are unspeakable—those of a red-blooded, right-wing principled pragmatist.
The metaphorical hair stood up on the back of every licensed member of the feminist movement who could immediately see she was a monster out of a nightmare landscape by Hieronymus Bosch. Pro-life. Pro-oil exploration in Alaska, home of the nation's polar bears for heaven's sake. Smaller government. Lower taxes. And that family of hers: Next to the Clintons with their dysfunctional marriage, her fertility and sexually robust life could only emphasize the shriveled nature of the one-child family of the former Queen Bee of political female accomplishment.
Charming, and unsubstantiated.
For example, Amiel misquotes NBC's Andrea Mitchell who did not say that ''only the uneducated'' would vote for Palin. What Mitchell said actually was:
Well, they, (Republicans) think now that they have a story. They have a story of a working mom, she is a colorful character, an Annie Oakley, you know, Annie get your gun. They love her story. But when she tried to talk about Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, in western Pennsylvania yesterday at a rally with conservative Republican voters, Hillary Clinton was booed. So she can use the Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro analogy if she wants to in interviews. She cannot use that at Republican rallies. She is not appealing to the same women who were really voting or supporting Hillary Clinton on ideological issues, but they think that they can peel off some of these working class women, not college-educated, who--the blue collar women who were voting for Hillary Clinton and may be more conservative on social causes.
Feminists rose to defend Palin against sexist attacks that came from MEN -- and traditional and conservative women (Come on down, Dr. Laura!) -- who questioned her ability to be a mother and vice-president.
Feminists' problem with Palin is that she stands for nothing to help women, children and families in a shrinking economy and deteriorating environment. Lower taxes for whom? Pro whose life? (Amiel herself had an abortion, at age 24, when she was five months pregnant.) Perhaps Amiel might want to spend some time with asthmatic children with not enough to eat in run-down and scary neighbourhoods?
Not that Amiel would know.
So anyway, where was she when Hillary Clinton was being pilloried by the very same misogynistic right that now are wah-wah-wahing about the criticism of Palin?
Only nanoseconds before the choice of Mrs. Palin as VP put her a geriatric heartbeat away from the presidency, a woman's right to have a career and children was a shibboleth of feminism. One always knew that women with views that opposed those of official feminism were to be treated as nonwomen. To see it now out in the open was the real shocker.
No. As my colleague Lorraine Sommerfeld noted today, Palin wants to suck and blow at the same time.
The fact her youngest has Down syndrome makes her neither a hero nor a martyr in my view. Families with far fewer resources take on far greater challenges every day. The fact her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant is also a non-starter. I find it preventable and sad, but it's increasingly the profile of many families.
That quizzical look on my face? That's for the Bible-thumping Republicans who are suddenly celebrating the charade parade of affianced teenagers they had long found abhorrent until Sarah sparkled at them.
Her statement on both her decision to have her last child, and her daughter's decision to carry her own child use curious terminology for a staunch pro-life advocate. She "chose" to have her baby; her daughter "chose" to have hers. Yet she wants to remove that right from other women, even in the case of incest or rape? Don't they also get to choose?
Amiel, despite the reservations of very credible Republicans and conservative pundits, finds no fault with Palin -- and even draws comparisons between her and Britain's Margaret Thatcher.
An insult to the Iron Lady, if you ask me. Thatcher had cabinet service before she became prime minister, a position with less executive power than a vice president could have with a president of uncertain health in the Oval Office. What's more, Thatcher was a fiscal conservative and not a wacky social conservative who doesn't support realistic sex education, would outlaw abortion in all instances unless the mother's life were in danger, and spouts scary ''a task from God'' nonsense about war.
Amiel is so full of it.