Earlier this week, I praised Sarah Palin for embracing the term "feminist" when so many young women shun the f-word. Well I am reneging my praise, because now she's taking the term and using it as a tool for petty divisiveness. Yesterday at a rally in Nevada, Governor Palin criticized Barack Obama for being a "faux feminist" according to the New York Times, because he didn't choose Hillary Clinton as a running mate. “Our opponents think they have the women’s vote all locked up, which is a little presumptuous since only our side has a woman on the ticket,” she said yesterday. Really, Sarah? Really? You're beating that old PUMA drum? Oh now it's on. When you combine this with John McCain's recent assertion that he chose Palin to counter the "liberal feminist agenda," this amounts to a concerted, yet completely absurd effort on the GOP's part to get women to vote for them.According to some polls, Obama is up by over 10 points, and I think the McCain camp is approaching the next two weeks as another opportunity to throw a few Hail Marys: they're throwing up every crazy thing that occurs to them and seeing if anything sticks. For the past few days, that narrative has been that Palin is the "right" kind of feminist, and women who vote for Barack Obama, as well as Obama himself, are the "wrong" kinds of feminists. Women who voted for Hillary Clinton, however, can be the right kinds of feminists but only if they're voting for McCain. Palin also said yesterday that Obama pays his female staffers less than he pays his male staffers, a claim which will be taken on by Megan later today. Palin said, “I know one senator who actually does pay women equally…That’s something I admire about John McCain. He’s not someone who makes excuses." So I guess he doesn't have an excuse for why he didn't even bother to show up to vote for the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Amendment. And maybe he has an excuse for why he favors the rights of big business over little ladies. If he had been there, McCain said he would have voted against the amendment because it "opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems…This is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system." Catharine MacKinnon, feminist scholar and law professor, used the Lilly Ledbetter situation as an example of why Obama is the way forward for women in a Wall Street Journal op-ed yesterday. Of course, she also mentions abortion access as a major reason women should support Obama. "Since 1980, when the Supreme Court permitted exclusion of medically necessary abortions from Medicaid coverage, poor women (disproportionately women of color) have not had effective access to abortion because they cannot afford it," MacKinnon argues. "This was when many women lost the right to choose." But Catharine MacKinnon would be supportive of Lilly Ledbetter and poor women getting abortions, 'cause she's one of them "liberal feminists" with their "agendas." What is this liberal feminist agenda that McCain and Palin seem to hate so deeply? Is it just about abortion? Because McCain and Palin at least pay lip service to wanting equal pay. Maybe there's a list of liberal feminist commandments written on hemp with the blood from a diva cup that I'm not aware of, but last time I checked, liberal feminists believe in many different, sometimes conflicting things. But leave it to McCain campaign manager Rick Davis to explain what liberal feminists really stand for. Apparently they Sarah Palin because she's "very attractive", "very competent" and "very happy." In the clip below, our girl Rachel Maddow sticks it to Davis. "Everyone knows that feminists hate happy women," Maddow says. "And they really hate it when women work!" I know I shouldn't be surprised by anything anymore, but I can't believe that the Republican ticket really believes that this divisive, logically inconsistent attack on "liberal feminists" is going to get them any votes.
Palin Criticizes Obama as Faux Feminist [NY Times] Obama Is the Way Forward for Women [WSJ] Rick Davis: Palin Drives 'Liberal Feminists' Crazy [Think Progress] Earlier: Why Sarah Palin's Looks Matter Meet Lilly Ledbetter. She's A Good Reason To Vote Against John McCain