A lot of people, including the much-loved Gloria Steinem, are talking about whether or not Sarah Palin was the "feminist" choice for Vice President. "This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need," Steinem argues in the L.A. Times today. "Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere." While I happen to agree with Steinem, I think focusing on Palin's feminist cred or lack thereof is a canard, just like the focus on her knocked up daughter, Bristol. However, I will say again: instead of focusing on her children or her potency as a symbol, let's take some of those ridiculous claims Palin is making about her motherhood-as-VP-qualification to task instead.In her speech last night, Palin said, "I signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids' public education even better." Her focus on public education in Wasilla really paid off when she was mayor: during her tenure researchers at Johns Hopkins deemed Wasilla High School "a dropout factory." Apparently 60% or fewer freshman who start off at Wasilla High go on to graduate. But that's not the only contradiction Palin made last night. The AP has a rundown of the outright lies Palin told last night. Here's my favorite: Palin said, "There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform - not even in the state senate." The AP notes that Obama "has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year…In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation." Gloria Steinem says that even though Palin is the wrong woman with the wrong message, she herself is drunk on "hope-o-hol" and believes people will see through the smokescreen of feminism and the already-tired "hockey mom" rhetoric. And so far, Steinem is right. According to random polling of 800 women on Sunday and Monday, "50 percent of women voters felt McCain picked Palin out of political expediency and not because he believes she has the experience to do the job," the Daily Kos reports. Hope-o-hol for all!!! Palin: Wrong Woman, Wrong Message [LAT] Sarah Palin GOP Convention Speech. Transcript. [Chicago Sun-Times] Study Gives Wasilla High School Failing Grade [KTUU] Experience Argument Hurting Palin And The Other Dude [Daily Kos] Hockey Mom [Matt Yglesias] Earlier: Why Bristol Palin's Pregnancy Should Be Fair Game To Pundits (If Not Democrats)
In answer to those of you who keep saying "Palin lied!", let's take a little fact-checking stroll through Obama's acceptance speech:
Obama said he could "pay for every dime" of his spending and tax cut proposals "by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens." That's wrong - his proposed tax increases on upper-income individuals are key components of paying for his program, as well. And his plan, like McCain's, would leave the U.S. facing big budget deficits, according to independent experts.
He twisted McCain's words about Afghanistan, saying, "When John McCain said we could just 'muddle through' in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources." Actually, McCain said in 2003 we "may" muddle through, and he recently also called for more troops there.
He said McCain would fail to lower taxes for 100 million Americans while his own plan would cut taxes for 95 percent of "working" families. But an independent analysis puts the number who would see no benefit from McCain's plan at 66 million and finds that Obama's plan would benefit 81 percent of all households when retirees and those without children are figured in.
Obama asked why McCain would "define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year"? Actually, McCain meant that comment as a joke, getting a laugh and following up by saying, "But seriously ..."
Obama noted that McCain's health care plan would "tax people's benefits" but didn't say that it also would provide up to a $5,000 tax credit for families.
He said McCain, far from being a maverick who's "broken with his party," has voted to support Bush policies 90 percent of the time. True enough, but by the same measure Obama has voted with fellow Democrats in the Senate 97 percent of the time.
Obama said "average family income" went down $2,000 under Bush, which isn't correct. An aide said he was really talking only about "working" families and not retired couples. And - math teachers, please note - he meant median (or midpoint) and not really the mean or average. Median family income actually has inched up slightly under Bush.