Live-blogging Midmorning: Women and Palin

Does a candidate’s gender really make a difference? That’s one of the questions we’re exploring this morning during the first hour of MPR’s Midmorning. The guests are: Anna Greenberg, pollster and senior vice president with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research; Jennifer Lawless, assistant professor of political science and public policy at Brown University; and

Kellyanne Conway, CEO and president of The Polling Company.

A new poll out today has John McCain catching Barack Obama, based largely on McCain’s selection of Palin.

I’ll be live-blogging in the studio and we’ll be discussing the issue in this space. Leave your comments and I’ll select the best ones for on-the-air mention.

9:06 a.m. We’re underway. I was thinking about this thread on the drive in today. Maybe that’ll help us dispatch with the “they’re picking on the women” theme right off the bat. We’ll see.

9:11 a.m. — Anna Greenberg, one of the guests today, was a speaker in Denver at one of the forums I covered. Does the fact she’s consulting for Democrats change things? She says there was a mixed reaction to Palin in her polls.

She brings up the fact some of the people responding to her polling said, “you wouldn’t be asking these questions of a man.” I presume she’s referring to the questions of balancing work as a family. But doesn’t that ignore a reality? Women do juggle work and family more than men. So isn’t it fair game?

9:14 a.m. — Jennifer Lawless appears to confirm this point by noting there may be a shift in the workplace, but not in the home. She says Palin was a “smart pick.” The “right” would normally be leveling these criticisms but now it can’t “because she’s their candidate.” She says it’s going to be about the issues. Is it? Since when do the issues affect election outcomes?

9:16 a.m. – Let the record show the first two comments are from men… and say gender is not an issue.

9:17 a.m. – Guest raises interesting point. Is Palin a feminist in a time of a “fluid” definition. She says there’s no evidence women will vote for McCain-Palin simply because she’s a woman. “There’s no evidence she’s had any impact on the race other than solidfying the Republican base.” She mentions this poll from ABC News, that says the issue is experience.

Tangent time: Palin to give first national media interview later this week.

9:23 a.m. – Caller says Palin is using motherhood/womanhood as a qualification, so questioning on that basis is a fair point. Greenberg says a corollary is John Edwards. There was a lot of criticism when he announced he was having an affair, but when he invited Nightline to his house, “he invited that part of the political discourse.” If Palin is invoking her hockey momness, she’s opened the door.

9:29 a.m. – “One of the culprits in this story is the media,” Greenberg says. She says the media says the media treats women as a monolithic voting bloc. I admit, here, to feeling a little icky about a Democratic pollster saying that. I’m not sure she’s indicated that she does consult for the Democrats. (Update: It has been.)

9:31 a.m. – Just wondering while listener say it’s hard to judge women by the decisions of her children: what does Mr. Palin do? “He’s a hockey dad,” says the Baltimore Sun. No, seriously, what does he do? He’s an oil worker. He’s also a championship snowmobile racer, according to CBS.

9:35 a.m. – Is this story a time bomb for the New York Times? Fusing Motherhood and Politics in a New Way attributes most of its source material to third parties.

9:40 a.m. Kellyanne Conway, CEO and president of The Polling Company, joins us. We’re talking about women as a voting bloc and she says there are blocs within blocs. Women by age, by race etc., and there is no single bloc. (Question: Does anyone really think women vote as a bloc? Why are we even talking about this?). Conway says Palin has a “commonality” among women because “she just seems like them.”

9:43 a.m. Deb makes an interesting point in the comments section below:

A topic that hasn’t yet arisen in this discussion, is that the issue is not her gender (female), but the expression of her gender in terms of how people perceive feminine or masculine behavior. And her socio-economic status. If you use this frame for this discussion, it helps to explain why there is such a range of reactions from women about Sarah Palin.

Does a woman really need to be able to gut a moose in the field to be acceptable?

9:48 a.m. – Does Palin’s decisions as a mother portend the decisions as vice president? KellyAnn says it’s nobody’s business how you choose to handle your own pregnancy. Referencing the Times story, the focus on her postpartum is ridiculous. “I think that people are overcompensating. I think if you need to see a double standard,… they never asked the basic questions about John Edwards and Elliot Spitzer.”

Over to you Anna. “There’s sexism in the coverage of Hillary Clinton. There’s sexism in the coverage of Sarah Palin.” She says the whole decision to keep the child was part of the campaign announcement. It’s very hard “to argue that these sorts of issues are off limits when they brought it up.”

The guests are having a nice debate with each other on the point. What did I start?

9:52 a.m. Ah, I see, we have a Republican pollster to balance the Democratic pollster. That brings up a thread for another time. Can you trust pollsters with at least one foot in one of the parties?

9:54 a.m. Where do Clinton voters go? This has been a debate for a few weeks now. The guest cites two points that says 20-percent of women who voted for Clinton in a primary or caucus are leaning toward McCain/Palin, says KellyAnn.

9:57 a.m. The zone of privacy. Jennifer says women and men — potential candidates — dislike the lack of privacy and this applies more to women than men. She brings up the “Hillary cry.” She says Sarah Palin is going to have to get used to it. Anna says the coverage of Obama, no one talks about his “zone of privacy” or the scrutiny his personal life has received. For example, is his religion or his church or his former pastor an issue?

== End (Keep talking below, though.) ==

  • Bob Moffitt

    I would like to see more about Palin’s policies, and less on her gender.

    Is that possible?

    I thought after Sen. Clinton’s campaign, gender wasn’t the main issue any longer. No?

  • Jen B.

    Isn’t this just a post-convention bump? I don’t believe that most HRC supporters are so easily swayed. They were not supporting her just because she was a woman. If the Palin choice was pandering to HRC supporters, then it’s quite insulting, and shows how the GOP does not understand what feminism is.

  • Bob Collins

    Bob, is gender an issue? I think so. Up until only recently, the discussion about who would be VP was ALL about the political aspect of it. Who would deliver the states etc. So why isn’t a woman possibly attracting women an issue for discussion? If it were all about issues, then why hasn’t anyone been talking about the ability of those who’d been mentioned to be president until recently?

  • bsimon

    Yes, its likely just a post-convention bounce. Usually there’s a post-VP pick bounce and a post-convention bounce. The McCain campaign has very effectively squashed an Obama post-convention bounce with the pick of Gov Palin.

    I agree with Bob, that the discussion should be about policy, not gender. If the gender angle is your thing, Anne Kornblutt has an article in yesterday’s Washington Post comparing how the McCain-Palin campaign has dealt with gender with Senator Clinton’s campaign. Interesting stuff.

  • Neal

    I find it interesting that Palin is now being labeled as a “feminist”–perhaps with a somewhat different menaing than was previously attributed to the word.

    Palin was also very heavily promoted by Rush Limbaugh in the the past summer.

    Will Limbaugh be able to use the phrase “feminazi” anymore?

  • Katie

    I am a 24 year old single female and I am personally offended by Senator McCain’s choice as a running mate. I feel that he chose “Lipstick Barbie” to slight the Democratic party of Hillary voters.

    All in all the woman is unqualified. She is at the very edge of running our nation if McCain croaks. I know Hockey moms and there are many of them that I would in no way want to run the PTA let alone our country.

    I feel that her ultra-conservative views are a slap in the face to feminism and the status of women’s rights in the 21st century.

  • Beryl Knudson duluth

    Sarah Palin is carrying a lot of baggage around while campaigning with McCain. but it’s not her ‘gender bag’ that should be the initial issue here.

    She’s carrying around her credibility in still-in-use diaper bag, plus carrying an old hockey bag and a policy bag with “Drill Baby Drill” needlepointed across its exterior.

    All three bags have a differant odor (ever smelled a kid’s hockey bag after a Friday game?)

    Other than the graffitii on the outside, the Policy bag is empty. and that unacceptable odor and lack of content, is the only one to worry about and it is dangerously overwhelming…

  • mary cummins

    I am a 62 female, x republican, who would not vote for Sarah Palin. I would have voted for McCain if Tim Pawlenty was on the ticket. I will vote for Obama. Sarah is does not represent typical women. She was picked to make McCain look better and be his pitbull. But you know what people think about pitbulls. Her family values with a pregnant 17 yr old daughter is hypocritical. She is power hungry, and Governor of a state with the population of Austin TX does not give her credibility. As a moose hunter I would be afraid if she sat across from Putin, she may take him for a moose. I think she should campaign on her own and stop getting speeches from Karl Rove. She is a loose cannon.

  • Deb J

    Palin’s poise and charm are impressive but I don’t think it is “picking on” Sarah Palin to want to gauge her knowledge of issues of importance. Regardless of her gender or parental status, comparing her ability to deal with Alaskan issues (low population density and budget surplus) to those of the nation and world is fair game. I will be surprised if she holds up beyond a veneer of being briefed before allowing interviews. Isn’t the bottom line her qualifications to be a heartbeat of a 72 year old away from the presidency?

  • Deb in St. Paul

    It doesn’t matter to me if Sarah Palin considers herself to be a feminist or not. What does matter to me are her policy positions and from what I have heard there isn’t any way I would vote for her based on that, in the same way I would never vote for Michelle Bachman if I lived in her district.

    Bob, the GOP IS making her gender an issue, so, yes, we need to discuss it.

  • Jane

    I believe the pick of Palen was cynical and mostly political. She indeed will rally the far right who McCain needs to win. In his pick we see his desire to win at all costs.

    One little mentioned effect is how this choice will rally the left. I personally picked up my checkbook the next day and made a donation to the Obama campaign. I am also looking into a neighborhood fundraiser. While I would have bemoaned a McCain presidency, I cannot bear a McCain/Palen one. She may be a woman, but she represents the politics of hate and derision that I finally thought we had overcome. A disaster at best..

  • Richard Schuster

    As a man I would not take on a 80+ hr/wk job with an infant with downs and a pregnant daughter. I wouldn’t say anyone should be kept out of a job because of this, but she will not be able to be much of a mom. She will have to have others bringing up the kids. I would never do it, and I would question the judgement of others who did. Still, in a job interview, I’d try to ignore it.

  • mike

    It’s interesting how if you’re a woman or a minority, and you’re not in the Democrat party, somehow you’re not genuine. You are a traitor. So much for tolerance.

  • I don’t begrudge Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy (although I am sure Palin funneled mucho abstinence bucks into Alaska…which apparently did little good).

    I do begrudge the theater. Palin as female Warrior, Defender of Life, Defender of Marriage, Defender of Disability, Defender of Hockey Moms.

    And, god help me, I really begrudge that this woman thinks it’s okay to leave a 3 day old special needs child to return to work, that she thinks it’s okay to cart that kid around like a prized show-off handbag, and that she thinks so little of her child’s needs and the demands of the VP office that she feels she can slack both of them at the same time.

    Downs Syndrome kids are physically delicate and need emotional engagement, especially for the first years of life. And, frankly, I would think that one’s pregnant teenage daughter might need some TLC, too, outside of publically pawning her off on the teenage boyfriend.


    And how’s this for weird: compare Palin to Biden, who, after the tragic death of his wife, became sole parent and ALWAYS was home by dinner time. So not only does Palin drag us back into the Mommy Wars, Daddy gets a piece of the action, too.

  • tony

    I don’ think her gender should be an issue. The question is whether or not she is qualified. The same questions would be valid if Pawlenty had been chosen.

    In some ways it seems like she is the one making gender an issue by repeatedly pushing the “hockey mom” image.

    I understand why some women can relate to her and think “She’s just like me!”. So the question I have for those women is “Do you think YOU would make a good President?”

  • Michael

    My wife and several friends with children question her choice to give a speech and then fly to Alaska after her water broke. A mother of four should know the danger and risk of flying. She should have known the risk.

  • Jane

    Tolerance???? Did you hear her speak???? She was dismissive, sarcastic and insulting. She is the poster child for intolerance. There are plenty of Republican women who McCain could have chosen who are capable and experienced. Opps, they are Pro-Choice.

  • Liz

    If, for some reason, John McCain were to become critically ill or God forbid, pass away between now and the election, would the Republican Party go forward putting her in the first position for the election? Not likely! How then, can they propose to put her in a position to take the job the day after the election? I can’t believe there is really one person who doesn’t see through this choice and feel played. It lessens the value of the monumentous moment of a woman being chosen. The fact that so many people seem to be so euphoric about her makes me feel more uncomfortable about the people I walk the streets with every day!

  • Jen B.

    Bob Collins wrote: “Is Palin a feminist in a time of a “fluid” definition?”

    Something that worries me about my generation is that many women and men do not want to be identified as feminist. To them, it’s apparently an “ism” and all “isms” are bad (racism, sexism, ageism, etc.) I worry about the huge misunderstanding that abounds among younger people about what exactly feminism is, and more importantly, what it is NOT. (i.e. tokenism.)

    FTR, I am 30 years old.

  • Laura

    McCain’s campaign says Palin won’t give any interviews until she feels “comfortable” giving one and she wouldn’t give any “until the point in time when she’ll be treated with respect and deference.”

    Sarah Palin could be the President of the United States in four and a half months. We tend to think of this as an abstraction; but it’s true. And yet today she’s so unprepared and knows so little about the challenges and tasks facing the country that she can’t even give a softball interview.

    Enough said.

  • A Special Needs Parent

    I am a registered Republican and I plan to vote for McCain/Palin. My only apprehension about Sarah Palin revolves around the fact that her infant son is a special needs child. Being the mother of a son who has autism, I know how much attention my son requires from BOTH his father and me. However, it’s not my place to tell Mrs. Palin how to raise her family. She and her husband are the ones who must determine what will work for their situation. She still has my vote.

  • Jim Waa

    I believe that talk against Mrs. Palin is just a political jab by the Democratic-Media team. Its obvious that there is no separating the two in a political race. But its also obvious that the Democratic voting body typically aligns with what the media tells them to think.

  • Kiki

    I don’t think Sarah Palin is a role model for women or parents. Based on time spent alone, she clearly values her career over her family. Her priorities are out of line and if she (and her husband!) was at home a little more, maybe her daughter wouldn’t have ended up in this unfortunate mess.

  • Joanne

    But if she’s a modern day fairytale, do we want her running the country? What about her story, when we see ourselves in it, makes us want to vote for her? Those of us who are working, raising a family, struggling to make ends meet, makes us qualified to be Vice/President? It’s the same as that, “do you want to have a beer with this guy?” Can they sit down with world leaders? Can they make difficult decisions when it comes to matters of war, poverty, economics. I know I can’t.

    The one success that McCain has accomplished is that we are now talking about gender in the same vein as race. The pollsters are singing the same song, “you can paint the female/race vote with one brush. It’s varied and complicated?” McCain will neutralize both of these discussions and we will back to talking about the main candidates.

  • Cela Latola

    I am 62 –The question that I have is “what does McCain view the role of the VP to be?” Is it possible he is using her just to energize his campaign–we have heard no discussion as to what role McCain would have her play on the national scene.

    I think women should be asking “What expertise Ms.Palin has that strengthens McCain.”

  • Paul

    Full disclosure, I’m a 33-year-old male, die-hard Obama supporter….

    I do think the Palin selection is inspiring because ofr her gender. Either way this election goes will be a historic result.

    As far as Palin’s gender making a difference, I’m not seeing it being a major factor come November.

    She’s an impressive person, and the fact that she’s a woman has cache. But, over the course of this campaign, she will be increasily less abstract and more defined.

    What I really don’t understand is that up until August 29, the McCain campaign’s argument was that you need to elect a ticket with experience, and that a great speech isn’t experience and isn’t sign of an ability to govern.

    Now with Palin her six years in public office is experience? Her impressive convention speech somehow makes her more qualified?

    If she’s so ready and qualified, why is the campaign hyper-sensitive to responsible, necessary questioning of her record and views? Why is it okay for her to advertise her family but then say questions about her family are off limits and sexist? Why does she need to be protected if she is all that McCain says she is?

    To say I’m skeptical of her is a massive understatement, and it has nothing to do with her gender.

  • Ana Folpe

    The questions I have about Palin boil down to these:

    -Separation of church and state: her religious background is as fundamentalist as they come. Is this the person we want a heartbeat away from the presidency?

    -Blogs and sources from Alaska indicate that her management style is blunt, confrontational, and she has a ‘my way or the highway’ orientation. Instead of taking on the ‘old boys’ network’ in AK, she seems to have installed her own version of it. So much for reform and moving forward. Her legislative priorities, including her energy policy and banning certain books from the library, are definitely not square with mine.

    -She hid her pregnancy and her son’s Down’s syndrome from her closest associates and family until the last possible moment. Why? What does that really say about her family life and the work-life balance she supposedly represents?

    -She has close associations with the Alaska Independence Party, was in fact a candidate with them until she realized she couldn’t get elected until she became a more ‘mainstream’ Republican. Do we want a secessionist in the White House?

    -I just plain don’t like to get played by Karl Rove and the other ‘operatives’ in the Republican party. There is too much serious work to be done and we need to get on with energy independence and healing the broken middle class of this country….broken thanks to too many years of Republican slash and burn politics.

  • Kay

    Frankly, I don’t really care about how her family life – although, I would not be taking on what she is. I have issues with her background, in terms of government roles (limited), pre-government resume (basically empty) and education (5 schools in 6 years – really…). But even bigger than that are her views – not my version of feminism in many ways.

    Would I want to sit down and have a beer with her? Sure – that does not make her VP material. Love the caller’s comment about “Palin as a fairy tale”. I agree 110% with the comment that women voters are not a single block. There is the sexism element, if you will.

    Also, I CANNOT wait to hear her field questions about tough issues that relate to the issues facing our country – not just the goings-on in Alaska. Remember she has lots of experience a teleprompter, so her smash hit speech should not be a surprise.

    I am 42, married, one child, college-educated and self-employed. I am a Democrat.

  • Ruth

    Just curious-how did Palin KNOW that her baby would be born with Downs? Doesn’t it require an expensive and somewhat risky procedure (amniocentisis) to identify birth defects so that the choice to terminate the pregnancy can be an option? There is no reason to take the risk unless she was considering that option.

  • Eric Inman

    How can someone consider themselves as fit to govern as Sarah Palin if they are not having the experience of raising five children, including one with special needs?

  • Kirsten

    I am a 41 year old, married RN, with a 7 year old child.

    When I herd that Gov. Palin had a premature baby with Down Syndrome, I wanted to find out more. I work in a Neonatal nursery, and I am always interested in finding out more about the experience of families with premature infants.

    I checked back to find some news articles from the Alaska news papers at the time that Tryg was born.

    After reading that Gov. Palin had traveled in her 8th month of pregnancy, and decided to make the 8 hour return trip to Alaska after her water broke, she returned to work when Tryg was only 3 days old!

    I cannot trust a person who makes such dangerous and reckless decisions about her own child’s safety! Tryg could have been born on the airplane, and suffered devistating and life threatening consequences.

    I cannot trust her ability to make the right decision.

  • Deb in St. Paul

    A topic that hasn’t yet arisen in this discussion, is that the issue is not her gender (female), but the expression of her gender in terms of how people perceive feminine or masculine behavior. And her socio-economic status. If you use this frame for this discussion, it helps to explain why there is such a range of reactions from women about Sarah Palin.

    I am a 54-year-old single professional.

  • Connie Wanek

    I’d love to see the focus shift from Palin’s personal life and sharpen on her policy positions and record as mayor and governor. I’m 56, an independent who finds myself more in the democratic camp these days because of the Bush record. I am much less swayed by personality, and more by what positions a candidate holds. Thanks for this show.

  • Dawn

    I don’t feel that Palin is qualified to be Vice President due to her inexperience.

    In addition, what a scary thought that she could become President if something were to happen to John McCain.

    McCain’s advanced age and Palin’s undeniable lack of experience, rogue behavior and lack of understanding regarding women’s issues (I speak of her stand on abortion) should make everyone think hard and long before they vote.

  • Nancy

    I am a 47 y/o “family manager” who has never voted for a Republican or Democrat in a major office. I’ve always voted for third party candidates (yes, that includes Jesse). I am seriously considering voting Republican for the first time. About Sarah Palin I say, “What a woman!”

  • Bob Collins

    //There is no reason to take the risk unless she was considering that option.

    My twin brother had a baby with Spina Bifida. When my wife was pregnant, we had the amnio, not because abortion was an option, but because we wanted to be prepared right from the start to handle it.

  • Kathy K

    I am in my 50’s, a mom of three with a special needs child ,and a working professional. I have watched with interest the recent political campaigns. surprisingly, i have found myself judging both Hilary and Sarah by different standards than male candidates. in part because it is the way they are used in the campaigns to try to attract women. for Sarah pallin, even though I have a special needs child I don’t relate to her at all. In fact I think how will she be able to raise her child-it really takes both parents. Secondly, I view her as to similar to John Mc Cain- stubborn, and a my way or the highway way type of attitude. I think these attitudes is what caused us problems with the Bush administration. to me she does not bring anything new to the ticket.

  • Barb

    From her speech at the convention, I would characterize Sarah Palin as a sarcastic attack dog. If Hillary C. had made a speech like that she would have been attacked and called the B…..

    She tried to paint herself as “I’m just a mom like you.” To me, she said, “I’m just like a man.”

    I’ve heard women say they identify with her because she is like them. Frankly, I don’t want the person a heartbeat from the presidency to be just like me. I want someone with a lot more knowledge and experience than I have.

    I am 60 years old, supported Hillary and hope to see a woman as president in my lifetime. However, it’s a woman with the experience to be the president and the issues that matter. I’ll vote for Obama-Biden.

  • Jeff Friesen

    The issue of Sarah Palin is not one of gender except in the fact that her gender seems to negate some of her more negative traits. Imagine if Sarah Palin was Steve Palin from Alaska.

    If she were a he would we be more or less concerned; if he really did ban or try to ban books in his local library? if he really did tell a successionist group in Alaska if they did good work? if hhe really did abuse his office by firing a public official for not firing his brother in law? if he really thinks that living close to Russia qualifies him as a foreign relations expert? if he really thinks that questions about his responsibilities with the Alaska National Guard are really “over the line?” if he really believes that the Iraq war is a mission from God, and if so what does God say to him about the housing crisis? if he believes that Miranda Rights should be suspended for anyone who the government “decides to deem” a terrorist without proof or judicial oversight, and what other rights does he feel should be abolished in the war on terror? if he believes that creationism should be taught in school, and what other elements of Christianity should also be taught in public schools? Further does he believe that other religions should also be taught in schools or are those kids not have the same rights as your kids?

    These are just a few of the questions that the media should be asking Sarah Palin. Are kids gloves being used because she is a women on these issues?

    It is obvious that the questions that the questions about her kids should never have been brought to the table. It is a shame that she did so.

  • mike

    If she was a Democrat, there would be outrage over whether she can be a mom and work at the same time. This clearly shows the intolerance (which the Democrats pride themselves for) that the left is showing. Since when does the pro-abort side care about family? Why would it be a concern if she can serve as vice president, and be a mom to her family? I think a lot of the anger out there is because she does have a family and doesn’t believe in abortion.

  • andie truitt

    I am a 38 y.o. mother of three. I do not criticize Palin for being a working mother of five. at all. She seems to be able of handling both work and raising a family. The balance of a career and family is a very personal decision, every one is different.

    However, I did not find her to be a woman of much substance when it came to public policy. I found her speech to be a kin to that of a cheerleader bad-mouthing the other team.

    I feel as though McCain just picked Palin to fire-up the male base and to pander to women voters. I am in complete “shock and awe” that the American electorate bases its vote on things like whether someone would be a good beer drinking buddy or a sexy hockey mom! 🙁

  • tony

    Wow, all I needed to know was her first request as Mayor “how do go about banning books?….”.

    Case closed.

  • Lori Gleason

    My immediate reaction to Pallin was how out of touch the Republican Party was with women. They did not lead with the issues. Their political strategy to attract women was transparent and pandering.

    I am 52 and self-employed and grew up with a father who believed I could do anything I set my mind to. I have 2 teenaged children and struggle with the balance of my ambitions, my marriage and the choice we have made to raise our children.

    Regarding Pallin as a candidate: At face value her governing style seems to be less than thoughtful. I must admit I am conflicted on Ms. Pallin’s full-steam-ahead attitude to running considering her family dynamics. She does not seem to have any self-doubt. To me this shows a lack of character and maturity. I believe being a great leader DOES involve self discovery as well as very hard work–resonant within themselves and attuned to others.

  • Bill

    I just don’t understand the people who feel that since they can “identify with” or “see theirself” in a candidate, that makes the candidate a good choice to be the leader of the free world. I want someone smarter and better than me running the show.

  • Joanne

    But doesn’t the zone of privacy go out the door when you’re running for the presidency? Why is this . surprising to her? She lives in this media world. why does she think she should get different treatment than all of the other candidates. She’s running for president. No privacy.

  • Nicole Lynott

    I’m really frustrated that voters keep talking about how they’re going to vote for Sarah Palin because she’s a hockey mom and a member of the PTA. Aren’t these voters aware of the absence of any actual issues in her speeches? It scares me that just liking someone personally is enough to vote them into such an important position that affects our lives, though it doesn’t surprise me based on our current presidential selection. As a single 26 year old female I’m also personally offended that anyone might think that I would vote her just because she’s a women, her issues are completely opposite of what I believe.

  • ND

    54 y.o woman, Obama supporter. Palin’s running for VP with the door open to becoming president. I think any topic is open to the media on her background.

    I am, however, geting tired of seeing her name all over the media.

  • BL


    shouldn’t just have Palin on her show.

    But she should have Palin *and* Clinton on the same show, debating women’s issues.

  • Kate

    I’m not sure who I will vote for – I’m independent, 29, married, and a full time working mom. My husband works too and our daughter is 15 months old. I believe that how Pailn will manage her family life is her business. It really makes me mad that if she was a man, we likely wouldn’t be talking about it and would assume the male candidate would figure it out with his wife. Maybe her husband will be a stay at home dad? Lots of guys do it these days and their kids are well balanced. I’m tired of listening to people judging Palin based on things that do not matter. Stop with the double standard!

    Even if the McCain campaign made these issues (pregnancy, family, etc) part of her introduction, it has gotten way out of control. So what if Palin has no privacy. Part of the game. She has an interesting family life. I don’t care if she got on a plane 9 months pregnant. People need to talk about what the candidates believe – about the ISSUES!

  • Maureen Steele Bellows

    I think that the most important issue concerning Sarah Palin’s gender is that most of us who have gained positions of success within our professions know that the “first” is the most difficult. I cannot imagine that Gov. Palin is either ready or suited to be our President should the situation arise and that she would set women’s opportunities to run for this office behind by many, many years.

    I know that I am personally very frightened to think that this person might be our President, or even our Vice Presideent for that matter.

    Shall we just look at her record as a Mom, a title she touts as do other Republicans? She has put her youngest child in jeopardy by flying at the last possible moment of her regnancy (latent wish to not have an abortion, but rid herself of this child?); she has a pregnant daughter (not enough time to have a talk with her daughter about borth control if she were to have sex? simply not paying attention to her family?”). She touts he title as a “Hockey Mom’ I will tell you that as a “Hockey Mom myself (as well as Basebeall, Soccer and Lacrosse) Gov. Palin is the kind of rabid person those of use who love the sport and our children’s love of sport detest. She is probably the Mom at the boards yelling “kill ’em – hurt ’em, run ’em into the boards.” No thanks, we have had eight years of ignorance, self serving and diplomacy last in our White House. Keep this other Carl Rove backed individual OUT.

  • ahnna

    You don’t hear obama crying racism… and there has been racism.

    As another female politician recently said, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen!

  • Mary (please withhold surname)

    Please note (in response to the pro-Palin Republican guest) that the reason a woman does not take drugs during pregnancy is the same reason why a woman in a high-risk pregnancy (44 years old, down syndrome baby) whose amniotic fluid has broken does not take an 8+ hour flight to Alaska before checking into a hospital. The issue is the health and safety of the newborn, This action is being discussed nationally because it calls into question Palin’s judgment.

  • MR

    The other reason that all of these “family” things are being discussed is that there isn’t anything else to discuss right now. There is simply no information on Sarah Palin, so people are grasping at straws for something to talk about.

    Her speech didn’t really have positions in it, she’s been governor for only 18 months, and before that she was just a small-town mayor. She has finally agreed to do an interview with someone, so there might be a little more substance to discuss once that happens. Until then, unless someone digs up a big skeleton, expect more of the same.

  • Joan D Linski

    Sarah Palin is not a feminist. In order to be a feminist a woman or a man must support a woman’s right to choose an abortion. The freedom to choose, along with respecting a woman’s decision in this very private matter is what separates a feminist from a conservative. Sarah Palin is certainly a lovely and intelligent woman, but just because she has been asked to run on the McCain ticket does not in any way give her feminist status. There are many conservative, moderate women who like to think of themselves as feminist, and they even go so far as to call themselves such. Unfortunately, all these women have done is further the support of the white male patriarchal system (they themselves have benefited from doing so) which does nothing for women like me. When women like Sarah Palin publicly support a womans right to choose and do not actively work to overturn Roe vs Wade; when they reintroduce the Equal Rights Ammendment, and actively seek to save the planet, then, and only then, can they call themselves a feminist.

    Posted by Joan Dorothy Linski | September 8, 2008 10:14 AM

  • Jodi

    I have also been a Peds RN for years and have worked accross the country in areas such as the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and I have been thinking hard about my own opinions about Ms. Pallin.

    On one hand, I find it inspiring that someone thinks she can be a mother of 5 hold down a full time job…. as our Vice President of the United States!

    BUT, I’m also a realist here, and am wondering if she is going to be part of her family at all??? People are right that it takes a team of two parents–you need SUPPORT from others when you have a special needs child.

    You never know if he’ll need to be hospitalized, and I’ve met many parents who have learned how hard it is… how sometimes you have to put the rest of your life (and your JOB) on hold because we all know things arise in our daily lives that need attention. Can you really blow off your job for a few months when you are VP or Pres. of our nation?? I think not. I’m just wondering how her and her husband would make this work. A few nannies and a team of assistants? Then maybe I would get it.

    For the record, I consider myself a feminist and I’m a mother of two girls. With only two kids, I even have a hard time juggling career and family, and I often wonder if we’ve made it harder on ourselves. I fantasize about the day I can stay home with my kids and be a “susie homemaker” when we can afford living off of one income… Also for the record, my husband wants to be a susie homemaker too 🙂 Yes, being a parent IS a wonderful job!

    I just don’t quite know about this Sarah Pallin…maybe I just don’t understand how people like her tick, and no—she seems NOTHING like me other than anatomical similarities.

  • Jody

    Sarah Palin’s provincial outlook astounds and alarms me. It seems she has been cloistered from the discourse on issues which women and everyone else have long been engaged in the rest of the United States. Her adament beliefs in creationism (replete with efforts to ban certain books), and against a woman’s right to reporductive choice should ring warning bells in every thinking person’s brain. Palin’s beliefs represent a very small but vocal section of her party, and to propel her into the Number 2 position at the top of our government would be a grave mistake.

  • Bob Moffitt

    “If it were all about issues, then why hasn’t anyone been talking about the ability of those who’d been mentioned to be president until recently?”

    Pehaps, until the surpise announcement of Palin, all serious contenders for president and vice president came to the table with strong resumes (Senator Obama’s clearly being one of the shortest).

    I find the argument that “the GOP is making gender an issue, so we must discuss” a little weak. Perhaps voters and news outlets should continue to press “Silent Sarah” to go on shows like “Meet the Press” or NPR to discuss — without handlers, speechwriters and filters — her own views on the important issues of the day.

    McCain has done it often. So has Obama. So has Biden. I still contend that it is (past) time to “turn the page” on all the gender and mommy talk, and speak of issues on the national and international scope and scale.

  • Bill

    Everyone ought to read Jeff Friesen’s post (above “Posted by Jeff Friesen | September 8, 2008 9:47 AM”).

    When it comes to the Big Question of “What are her views on the issues?” it would make a great basis for a related upcoming Midmorning: Everyone seems to be talking about the double-standard being applied in Sara Palin’s case and women’s reaction to her nomination so, as Jeff suggests, why not turn it around?: “What if it was Steve Palin from Alaska?”

    There may be a double-standard in-play when it comes to the idea of no one asking how a man would handle family and work life, but is there another (maybe bigger) double-standard happening when it comes to the type of questions she’s being asked. Or, more accurately, NOT being asked as of now, one full week after her nomination, with few full weeks left to go. Would Steve Palin (or Tim Pawlenty or any other male vice presidential candidate) have been able to get away with that? Would a completely unknown male candidate be able to get away with simultaneously bashing the opposition and not answering completely legitimate questions (related to their past statements and actions) by claiming to be a victim of “rampant media bias”?

    And speaking of the issues, dumb as it may sound, someone (who does this kind of thing for a living) ought to put together a general list of what the main issues of the election seem to be and then start filling in the blanks with what the candidates have said or done about them to this point (from whatever legitimate sources are available) so we could all see where they stand on them.

  • Jodi

    I agree–she is a scary candidate for VP for many reasons. Let’s just get on with the debates and get all of the issues out into the open.

    Once again the Republican Party has masterminded a way to get attention off of the important issues here, and how terrible the past 8 years have been under their leadership.

    It is disheartening that many Americans fall for these kind of tactics and just get swayed based on what the Media or their churches tell them in so many words to do…

    We really DO need a change…many changes in fact.

  • Katie

    I would like to respond to Mr Jim Waa at 9:35am. I am a Registered and active Democrat. If I let the “media” tell me what to do or say I would be a Republican.

    What are the issues in this campaign? The Republicans aren’t telling us – they are hosting a personality war that is genuinly focused on tearing down Barack Obama, while our Camp is making a difference and laying out programs and agenda for a REAL CHANGE in Washington.

    On another note – Palen is a puppet to the Republican strategy, more talk about her takes focus away from the matters at hand:




    These are the issues that matter. Think, discuss, tell me what you believe is more important to everyone – Now who has a clear plan of attack?

    Hands Down – OBAMA/BIDEN There is no choice that should be more clear-cut.

  • Sara

    If a woman is going to vote for McCain just to have Palin a woman as the vice president, and most likely president when McCain kicks the bucket, then that woman needs to take a good long hard look in the mirror and see what it is that she truly wants and stands for. Palin is the wolf in sheep’s clothing (a nice wool pants suit and bright red lipstick). Her conservative views take away some of the rights that we as women have fought so hard to obtain. How can she lead our country and keep the country’s best interests at heart, when she can’t even seem to do that for her own family? (As a mother, I can’t see allowing my teenage daughter to become pregnant. That doesn’t mean that she isn’t going to have sex, but it does mean that she is going to be educated about safe sex, and that she will most likely be on some form of birth control which isn’t called abstinence.)

    Palin has a baby. Who is raising this child? I have a small child, and raising her is a full time job, and thankfully my daughter is not a special needs child! Who is going to raise this child if Palin becomes president? Are matters of the nation going to be put on hold because junior scrapped his knee? There have been children in the white house before, but their mothers, who were not the president, were there to care for them. I am all for a woman in the white house, but it might be in the country’s best interest if that woman has completed her most important role as a woman, which is raising her small children into young adults before she takes on the role of running our country!

  • JSmith
  • bigalmn

    Bob looks this is a hot topic. Is this the most comments you have had on one? I will add another. To me the right candidate needs to want the power, but also has the balance to be fair with people. I see some of the idiotic comments made as a way to gauge the maturity of the candidates based upon how they respond.

    Every President has so many experts around them, they don’t need intricate knowledge, they just need enough to know which person or group of people to ask. Then they have to consider how to use that information and respond to the situation.

    If they respond badly to personal comments how are they going to respond when Putin or the new leader of Pakistan want to use their nukes.

    Some of the responses Bush made caused problems for the US in relation to the rest of the world. So lets push and prod our candidates and see how they respond to those tough situations. Lets see how empathtic they are toward the downtroden.

    As each of us sees the responses we need to make a decision and go out and vote. If you don’t vote it really does not matter what you think.

  • Bob Collins

    No, we’ve had threads with more comments, although I think most of them were threads where people were yelling at me. (g)

  • M Larson

    Admirers of Palin are quick to commend her for carrying through her pregnancy which produced a special needs child. I would like to see the same people commend her for staying home and caring for that child.

    M Larson

  • sophia

    I can’t believe you chose a VP that likes being used only to gain votes instead of actually being appropriate for the job.

    This must be the sign of a campaign based on integrity and honor. I mean thats what the last 8 years has been based on which is why things are going so well.

    I guess thats why Obama didn’t choose Hilary. Oh right, he actually has those qualities and doesn’t need to base his campaign such an obviously desperate campaign.

    Its an embarrassment that women and/or men are falling for such a desperate attempt at more votes versus an honorable campaign.

    I really believe a guy that spent years being tortured and a woman who is just that, a woman, is really trying to make the world a better place for everyone. If they are for some unknown reason besides strategy alone, then I hope everyone is prepared to fend for themselves which is basically what we are doing now.

  • sophia

    I can’t believe you chose a VP that likes being used only to gain votes instead of actually being appropriate for the job.

    This must be the sign of a campaign based on integrity and honor. I mean thats what the last 8 years has been based on which is why things are going so well.

    I guess thats why Obama didn’t choose Hilary. Oh right, he actually has those qualities and doesn’t need to base his campaign such an obviously desperate campaign.

    Its an embarrassment that women and/or men are falling for such a desperate attempt at more votes versus an honorable campaign.

    I really believe a guy that spent years being tortured and a woman who is just that, a woman, is really trying to make the world a better place for everyone. If they are for some unknown reason besides strategy alone, then I hope everyone is prepared to fend for themselves which is basically what we are doing now.