At a November book signing at Borders bookstore in Columbus, Ohio for Sarah Palin’s first memoir, Going Rogue, liberal media bloggers Chase Whitestead and Erick Stroll interviewed eager Palin supporters to find out what it is about the governor-turned-author—whose book was ghostwritten, despite a degree in journalism—that people find so mesmerizing.
Many of Palin’s fans were unsure of her position on certain policies, but decided that Palin is a “strong woman” who is “intelligent” and “American.” They also understood that she is “smarter than Barack Obama,” who is likely “not even an American citizen.” The collective sentiment was that Palin should run for President in the 2012 election.
However, the initial questions still loom: what has Palin done to cultivate such a huge following, what qualifies her to run for President of the United States, and what gives her the audacity to promote a 400 page volume about her life? The former Alaskan governor did, after all, lose the vice presidential candidacy.
However, just as much hatred is directed toward Palin as is incessant—some might argue, mindless—adoration. But if you are like most Americans and have not a clue as to what Sarah Palin represents, save for the personification of glittering generality, here is a cumulative review of what the Alaska native has accomplished in the last few years.
In March 2009, while she was still governor of Alaska, Palin criticized Obama’s stimulus package, calling it a bribe and refusing to accept more than thirty percent of the $930 million in bailout money available to Alaska, which would be used only for construction projects and not for government funds or education programs. Palin ultimately accepted more than $900 million of the money, vetoing only $28.6 million, less than $141.4 million of what she originally vowed not to accept. So, as a political leader, Palin was fickle. But is she very far off from the majority of male politicians with promissory tendencies and short term memories?
In 2006, in reference to hypothetical abortion, Palin stated that she would rather her daughter bear the child of a rapist than terminate a pregnancy. Palin’s pro-life views are extreme and have attracted negative criticism from Democrats and pro-choice advocates, as they are in opposition to all of feminism’s postmodern machinations (i.e. brassiere burning, refusal to fold laundry, et cetera, ad nauseam), and continue to encourage the idea that women should be slaves to their sexuality. But then again, many Republicans feel this way, as conservatism and feminism are polar opposites. Palin’s views on abortion are not unusual or shocking.
Palin believes that education is in dire need of reform. She believes teachers are undercompensated and overworked, and that increased flexibility is needed in the No Child Left Behind policy. Palin strives for a stronger emphasis on teaching. She thinks Creationism should be taught in tandem with Evolutionism and supports the expansion of home schools, charter schools, and alternative schools. During her 2006 campaign for governor, Palin stated in her campaign booklet, New Energy for Alaska, that she hoped for a return to the core principles of teaching, calling it the ABC method: “Programs such as ABC have core principles of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship.”
Palin’s December op-ed for the Washington Post, in which she discussed climate change, received heavy criticism for being factually inaccurate. And while this may be true, Palin seemed to have a handle on what she was saying. She is finally covering the issues people have been pestering her about, but many are still unsatisfied.
Palin lacks the proper qualifications to run for president in the 2012 election, there is no argument over that. But even though Palin is often ridiculous, her policies are not that outlandish. Palin isn’t any more idiotic than many of the clueless and rambling male politicians we have seen in America. Can the dismissal of Palin be construed as some form of sexism?
Women in powerful positions often struggle to be taken seriously. The key to a woman’s success in a man’s world is to blend in: wear flats, keep your blouses buttoned, make a hasty return to work following a maternity leave. Palin understand this. She understands that women make up only 16 percent of corporate executives in this country, and that women hold only 8 percent of white collar managerial positions. She understands that as a woman she must work twice as hard as her male counterparts. However, Sarah Palin, unlike Hillary Clinton, still does not understand that women in high places must often distance their personalities from their jobs. Because she has failed to do this, Palin is seen as a novelty act, and she is often lampooned for simply being herself.