Normally, I would write this post as a letter to the person I think is a complete idiot, but I've decided to toss the conceit today because I don't want to be on good terms with Elaine Lafferty. Lafferty, the former editor of Ms. who left under shady circumstances in 2005 that no one wants to discuss, sat on the stage with other feminists and former Clinton supporters - like Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild - at a Palin rally last week and, despite boos from her new political compatriots every time Clinton was mentioned, continues to support the Republican ticket. In fact, in a Daily Beast column yesterday, she outed herself as a full-fledged Palin adviser and has some "wisdom" to lay on us feminists. And by wisdom, I mean a load of the most uninformed horseshit I've read this week, at least, and I read the National Review.First off, Lafferty wants us to know that despite the interview with Charlie Gibson, the one with Katie Couric, the Vice Presidential debate and nearly every other time she's publicly opened her mouth without a speechwriter to put words into it, "Sarah Palin is very smart." As evidence, Lafferty cites, well, exactly nothing, but we, apparently, should just take her word for it.
I mean, instead, a mind that is thoughtful, curious, with a discernable pattern of associative thinking and insight. Palin asks questions, and probes linkages and logic that bring to mind a quirky law professor I once had. Palin is more than a "quick study"; I'd heard rumors around the campaign of her photographic memory and, frankly, I watched it in action.
Oh, okay, well, if the ability to regurgitate information successfully is the definition of smart, go me and Sarah Palin. Unfortunately, it's sort of not, but that's about the only evidence you're going to get from Lafferty. So, then, I guess we're supposed to take Lafferty's word for it because she, herself, is supposedly smart. That may well be, but, if so, it's not evidenced in her piece about Palin. Apparently, Palin was going to give a speech about women's rights — which, one assumes, was the speech Palin gave last week that Lafferty attended. Of course, most of that speech attacked Barack Obama in a variety of specious ways — from the charges about how he pays his Senate staff (which I took a closer look at last week than either Lafferty or the conservative shills she got the line from bothered to), it talked about the importance of having portable health care via McCain's ever-so-great-for-women tax credit ($2,500/year if you're single) rather than Obama's plan to McCain's tax credits vs. Obama's (despite the fact that Obama's are better for most women), it wasn't exactly a celebration of what the feminist movement or the McCain-Palin ticket would bring to women today. The sole example that Lafferty or Palin could find of a feminist agenda she supports is that of Title IX — and they conveniently don't mention McCain's plan to "reform" it to take the teeth out of it. Palin likes to talk a good game about equal pay — especially if it allows her to attack Obama — but she and Lafferty left out the fact that Palin doesn't support the Ledbetter Pay Discrimination Bill because it'll "turn into a boon for trial lawyers who, I believe, could have taken advantage of women who were many, many years ago who would allege some kind of discrimination." Oh, well, if the law would allow women to enforce their rights to equal pay, that's obviously bad and shouldn't be allowed. Despite these significant flaws in Lafferty and Palin's "equal rights" speech, let alone the fact that Palin (and, one assumes, Lafferty) worked in a reference to abortion killing teh innocent babeez, watch as Lafferty sits smugly on stage and accepts the applause from audiences that are ideologically opposed to the goals of the feminist movement. Some feminist triumph. But back to the Daily Beast piece in which she defends Palin. She calls the book-banning controversy and the rape kit controversy "nonsense." Oh, really? I believe some people spent more than 6 words examining the so-called "debunking" of the rape kit issue and found that, far from it being "nonsense" it's actually a question of 1) whether Sarah Palin knew it was going on but didn't care because she figured the insurance companies would pay for it, or 2) was completely out of touch with her hand-picked police chief, the Alaska legislature and her own local newspaper in a town of 6,000 people. All "nonsense," obviously, there's no need to take anyone else's word for that besides Sarah Palin and the National Review's Jim Geraghty, of course. And while it is true that Sarah Palin didn't successfully ban any books or fire any librarians, she did try to do both things, over a book called Pastor, I'm Gay. But, once again, there was no apparent need for the ever-intelligent Lafferty to do any research or read a damn word about it once she'd made up her mind because,
I'm tired of the Democratic Party taking women for granted. I also happen to believe Sarah Palin supports women's rights, deeply and passionately.
And if Elaine Lafferty believes it — and it fucks over the 18 million other Democrats who voted for Obama in the primaries and the nearly 18 million Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton who now support Obama — then it must be true. Lafferty than goes on to castigate women bloggers — including Feministing's Ann Friedman who, apparently, Lafferty can't bother to lower herself to name — for (horrors!) noting Palin's shoddy record on everything from reproductive choice to pay equity and declaring her not an actual feminist.
Why? Well, just because she said she was a feminist, because she supported women's rights and opportunities, equal pay, Title IV-that was just "empty rhetoric," they said.
First off, for those of you who, like Prominent Feminist Elaine Lafferty who don't know, Title IV of the Civil Rights Act relates to the desegregation of schools, while Title IX is about women — and, as I noted above, Sarah Palin may be all in support of it but her running mate (and the guy who will get to make the decisions if elected) is not. The only decent point Lafferty makes in the entire piece objects to Kim Gandy's statement that Palin wasn't a woman — a statement that, like many other sexist statements, others have objected to as well. But then Lafferty goes on to say that the vast majority of American women will "get" Sarah Palin the way that elitist feminists don't and didn't "get" Hillary Clinton — despite the fact that everyone from Gandy to Gloria Steinem to Eleanor Smeal campaigned in support of her. And that there's where I had to roll my eyes. Do you know when Elaine Lafferty made her first (and only) political contribution to the Clinton campaign? In August of 2008. It is, in fact, the only political contribution Lafferty has made in the last 14 years for which records are available. Steinem, on the other hand, has been donating politically that entire time — including to Hillary Clinton's first Senate campaign, in February to her Presidential campaign and to a variety of progressive candidates throughout the years. Ditto Kim Gandy and Eleanor Smeal, to name two other feminists who supposedly didn't support Clinton enough. In fact, by their standards, Elaine Lafferty is a political dilettante. Reached for comment, Ms. pointed out that Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal — who, unlike embittered P.U.M.A. Elaine Lafferty, is not voting out of frustration and bitterness, and in fact knows shit about the fucking issues — endorsed Obama but could not comment on Lafferty because of the apparent confidentiality agreement that they came to when Lafferty "left." Basically, as far as Lafferty is concerned, there is one and only one reason to support Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin is a woman. She might be a woman who would roll back reproductive choice, deny women redress for unequal pay, stand by while her running mate dismantles Title IX (not that Lafferty knows anything about Title IX), provide women with worse options than her opponent on taxes and health care and, hell, while she's at it, get rid of those pesky VAWA provisions of Joe Biden's that force states to cover the cost of your rape kits because your nifty new insurance provider (assuming you have one, since your employer won't be providing it anymore) can just pay for that, but she is a woman. And since we share the same genitals and reproductive organs and — and since, like Geraldine Ferraro before her, she thinks that it's "speaking the truth" that Obama only got to be the nominee because of his race — there's apparently only one choice in this race. And that choice, despite the fact that she stands against everything feminism has ever stood for except for electing women to office, is Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin's A Brainiac [Daily Beast] Photo via Jennifer Posner Related: Les Ms.-erables Bust Cover [The New York Observer] Palin Displays Her Feminist Side [Washington Post] Clinton Backers By Her Side, Palin Makes Pitch To Women Voters [CNN] Health Insurance And The Single Girl: What Will the Candidates Do for Me? [Glamocracy] Tax Plans And The Single Girl [Glamocracy] Obama, McCain Answer Questions On Title IX And Women In STEM [Title IX Blog] Sarah Palin's Fake Feminism, Equal Pay For Equal Work Department [The G Spot] Sara Palin In Henderson Nevada - Part 1 of 3 [YouTube] The Pastor Who Clashed With Palin [Salon] Prominent Feminist Blogger's Identity Revealed [Feministing] Civil Rights Act (1964) - Public Law 88-352 Title 4 [About.com] Elaine Lafferty [Open Secrets] Gloria Steinem [Open Secrets] Kim Gandy [Open Secrets] Eleanor Smeal [Open Secrets] An Open Letter to Senator McCain [Huffington Post] Feminists for Obama Geraldine Ferraro, Silda Spitzer And The Matter Of When To Speak And When To Shut Up [Women's Voices For Change] Earlier: Pay Equity On Obama's Staff: Sarah Palin Is Both Right And Totally Wrong Debunking The Sarah Palin Rape Kit "Debunkers" Dear Gerry: You Gotta Think About What You're Trying To Do To Me