In 1998, voters in a focus group were asked to close their eyes and imagine what a governor should look like. "They automatically pictured a man," says Barbara Lee, whose foundation promoting women's political advancement sponsored the survey. "The kind you see in those portraits hanging in statehouse hallways." They most certainly didn't visualize Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a former beauty-pageant winner, avid hunter, snowmobiler and mother of four who was elected to her state's highest office last November. Or Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, a badge-wielding former federal prosecutor and onetime attorney for Anita Hill who has redefined the debate over illegal immigration in her state....
While this year's political buzz has been about Hillary Clinton's run for the White House and Nancy Pelosi's ascension to Speaker of the House, women leaders like Palin, a Republican, and Napolitano, a Democrat, have gained significant power in the lives of millions of Americans at the state level.
In Alaska, Palin is challenging the dominant, sometimes corrupting, role of oil companies in the state's political culture. "The public has put a lot of faith in us," says Palin during a meeting with lawmakers in her downtown Anchorage office, where—as if to drive the point home—the giant letters on the side of the ConocoPhillips skyscraper fill an entire wall of windows. "They're saying, 'Here's your shot, clean it up'." For Palin, that has meant tackling the cozy relationship between the state's political elite and the energy industry that provides 85 percent of Alaska's tax revenues—and distancing herself from fellow Republicans, including the state's senior U.S. senator, Ted Stevens, whose home was recently searched by FBI agents looking for evidence in an ongoing corruption investigation. (Stevens has denied any wrongdoing.) But even as she tackles Big Oil's power, Palin has transformed her own family's connections to the industry into a political advantage. Her husband, Todd, is a longtime employee of BP, but, as Palin points out, the "First Dude" is a blue-collar "sloper," a fieldworker on the North Slope, a cherished occupation in the state. "He's not in London making the decisions whether to build a gas line."
In an interview with NEWSWEEK, Palin said it's time for Alaska to "grow up" and end its reliance on pork-barrel spending. Shortly after taking office, Palin canceled funding for the "Bridge to Nowhere," a $330 million project that Stevens helped champion in Congress. The bridge, which would have linked the town of Ketchikan to an island airport, had come to symbolize Alaska's dependence on federal handouts. Rather than relying on such largesse, says Palin, she wants to prove Alaska can pay its own way, developing its huge energy wealth in ways that are "politically and environmentally clean."
It's no coincidence that two of the nation's most popular women governors come from frontier states (Arizona and Alaska were the 48th and 49th, respectively, to join the Union) without established social orders that tend to block women from power. In Washington (the 42nd state), Gov. Christine Gregoire and both U.S. senators are women, a trifecta yet to be achieved by any other state. As women reach these top jobs, even more women enter the political pipeline. "When voters perceive things are bad, they expect a woman candidate to come in and create change," says Debbie Walsh of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. "Voters give them license not to fit the mold."
They also are willing to embrace women in nontraditional roles as protectors or enforcers of the public interest.Although she has been in office less than a year, Palin, too, earns high marks from lawmakers on the other side of the aisle. During a debate earlier this year over a natural-gas bill, State Senate Minority Leader Beth Kerttula was astounded when she and another Democrat went to see the new governor to lay out their objections. "Not only did we get right in to see her," says Kerttula, "but she asked us back twice—we saw her three times in 10 hours, until we came up with a solution." Next week in Juneau, Alaska lawmakers will meet to overhaul the state's system for taxing oil companies—a task Palin says was tainted last year by an oil-industry lobbyist who pleaded guilty to bribing lawmakers. Kerttula doesn't expect to agree with the freshman governor on every step of the complex undertaking. But the minority leader looks forward to exploiting one backroom advantage she's long waited for. "I finally get to go to the restroom and talk business with the governor," she says. "The guys have been doing this for centuries." And who says that's not progress?
Gosh. Did they fail to vet her?
And, speaking of "established social orders that tend to block women from power"--that seems to be descriptive of today's left, where all the women are strong, except if they don't robotically agree with leftist ideology.
While I'm at it, Gerard Vanderleun makes an excellent point: there is really no difference at all between today's Democratic Party and the left, and they are getting more intimate and more lunatic with every passing day.
To pass off the actions and attitudes of the Democrats, 2008 as those of "the American Left" without seeing the overwhelming overlap between a major political party and a major American political philosophy seems to me to be a denial of the political realities of 2008.
Ms Noonan's observation that the danger is to "the American left and the Obama Candidacy" could be made clearer if she eliminated the code words and just wrote, "the Democrats and the Obama Candidacy." Shorter still, "the Democrats." After all, one of the basic things we learn in "The Elements of Style" is, "Omit needless words."
The idea that there is any significant difference between the Left and the Democrats is so 20th century. It would be nice if everybody, right, left, and center, would just stop pretending.
Read it all. And then remember how self-serving it is for them to rail on about Sarah Palin and her associations while having given a pass on Obama's. Let's just say that it's a pity Sarah Palin hasn't been good buds with an unrepentant terrorist or a race-baiting bigot for decades. Then she could run for President without a problem.
When Palin wasn't a threat to them, they could damn her with faint praise and pretend she fit into their fantasy. She could even be on the VP short-list for months--as long as she was never actually selected from that list.
VDH has coined the proper term to describe the leftocrats behavior:
Palinize: to slander and caricature a working-class female public figure for the noble advancement of liberalism.
Sarah Palin—self-made woman, and governor of Alaska—is being reducing by the left to a hickish, white trash mom of five, analogous to the manner that esteemed jurists like Kenneth ("cigarette lawyer") Starr and Robert Bork were slandered by the media as incompetent right right-wing fanatics, and Clarence Thomas was pilloried as an affirmative action sex-maniac.
Why does the left and liberal media, in McCarthyite fashion, now seek to destroy rather than just oppose these public servants?
Finally, Neo summarizes the new rules for female candidates (of the Republican persuasion at least):
Since we all know that a female candidate’s gravitas is highly suspect, and that she is solely responsible for everything about her family, from now on female candidates will not be allowed to have a frivolous past (such as some girly-girl stuff back in high school). Nor can they have families that can be found to have any flaws.
But since those things are not possible for the vast majority of the human race, this calls for drastic measures. So I hereby propose that future female candidates for high office on the Right must be pre-selected early in life and required to take a vow of celibacy, forsaking family and other obligations and entering into a special society somewhat akin to that of the Vestal Virgins of Rome (the thirty-year period could, of course, be easily extended)...
The last thing in the world the left wants running against them is someone real who threatens their fantasy story of O.
UPDATE: And then there's this:
From Ferraro to Palin: My, How The Times Change [Andy McCarthy]
The New York Times, that is.
At TheCatholicThing.org, George Marlin unearths the Gray Lady's editorial from July 3, 1984, gushing over Geraldine Ferraro's nomination and the welcome prospects it presented that little known women would be selected to serve as Vice President despite arguable inexperience and given the opportunity to grow in office. Here are the highlights:Where is it written that only senators are qualified to become President?... Or where is it written that mere representatives aren’t qualified, like Geraldine Ferraro of Queens?... Where is it written that governors and mayors, like Dianne Feinstein of San Francisco, are too local, too provincial?... Presidential candidates have always chosen their running mates for reasons of practical demography, not idealized democracy…. What a splendid system, we say to ourselves, that takes little-known men, tests them in high office and permits them to grow into statesmen.... Why shouldn’t a little-known woman have the same opportunity to grow?... [T]he indispensable credential for a Woman Who [sic] is the same as for a Man Who [sic] – one who helps the ticket.
The Dems and the MSM have truly become more vile than anyone could have possibly imagined. How's that for 'hope and change', people?