Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Sadistic Political Sideline of Bashing Palin and Clinton

Peter Daou, political consultant and former Internet Adviser to Hillary Clinton, recently posted a sensitive, insightful article at Huffpo on the sadistic political sideline of bashing Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. Daou begins:

The explosion of Palin-bashing (and yes, it's bashing, justified or not) across the political spectrum reminds me of a campaign that happened a lifetime ago. Back then, Hillary Clinton reprised her role as the political world's favorite target. Attacking her was elevated to an art form; participants of all stripes joined in. It was the pinnacle of bipartisanship; right and left hammering away at her in an all-out assault that ultimately cost her the nomination.

I don't want to rehash whether or not any of it was warranted -- I'm more interested in another angle that's been completely overlooked in the torrent of punditocracy about Palin's resignation.

It's that Sarah Palin, like Hillary Clinton, is a person, a human being, a mom, a wife, a daughter, once a little girl.

That last sentence was enough to set off Obama supporters in the comments section; the fine example below with its peculiar little twist of sexism was contributed by mrsgm:

As much as I hate the fact that us ladies have to be ten times everything, to be respected, I must say that I would not trade in the last of the sexism just yet. As horrible as it is when they show their true colors as in calling Palin a slutty looking flight attendant, what are us girls going to do when we get so equal that the guys stop noticing that we are girls? I know it probably sounds horrible but I know a lot of men who don't know what they are there for and so feel as if their wives are unapproachable. They often fight with their ambitious wives about sex, when the truth is that the wives are becoming so like the ambitious men they work with, that their husbands are becoming less attracted to them.

But back to Daou’s article. Again he reminds us that Palin is a human being:

Vulnerable, like all of us.

Self-centered, like all of us.

Fragile, like all of us.

Opinionated, like all of us.

Defensive, like all of us.

Deceptive, like all of us.

Lost, like all of us.

And totally wrong on the issues as far as I'm concerned


Daou points out:

Unlike Clinton, Palin didn't have time to develop the layers of thick skin required to handle the withering glare of the national celeb/politico spotlight, a glare that for some reason shines much more harshly on women like Palin and Clinton.

For some reason? Take Arianna Huffington and Maureen Dowd, for example, both of whom immediately go on the attack if any strong woman with leadership potential dares set foot on the national stage. Arianna and Maureen thus gain acceptance in the good old boys network in both the old and the new media. And make no mistake, those good old boys are still stuck in the dark ages when it comes to women’s rights: “The world is better off when us men keep women barefoot and pregnant.”

Daou concludes:

Patrick Hynes, my co-blogger at CTN, is chronicling some of the more offensive remarks about Palin. All I ask of my fellow Democrats and progressives is that no matter how wrong-headed Palin's policies, no matter how inconsistent her rationale for stepping down, and no matter how muddled her infamous press conference, we remember that she is the rare public figure who for some reason attracts infinite interest and attention, much of it negative.

Granted, you ask for scrutiny when you enter public service, but not this much, not so quickly. She may not have Hillary Clinton's character or experience to cope with the spotlight, but even if she did, it behooves us to avoid outright viciousness and mockery on a level that few of us could handle.

From glancing at the readers’ comments following his article, Daou is apparently asking too much in that last paragraph from the majority of his readers at the Huffington Post who appear to be psychologically incapable of empathizing with anyone who doesn’t share each and every one of their opinions.

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