Are The Attacks On Palin Sexist?

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THE PLANK SEPTEMBER 3, 2008

Are The Attacks On Palin Sexist?

As criticism around the Sarah Palin pick grows, Republicans and their allies
have launched a concerted counter-offensive designed to delegitimize attacks
against her.

What's fair?

Carly Fiorina's attack on the Obama campaign for raising questions about
Governor Palin's experience was off-base. The McCain campaign has been
criticizing Senator Obama's experience for months; shouldn't the Obama campaign
be able to raise similiar questions about Gov. Palin?  Experience was a
major issue in this race long before Gov. Palin was selected.  Surely it's
legitimate for the Obama campaign -- or anyone else -- to raise questions about
her lack of foreign policy credentials. Similarly, questions about Gov. Palin's policy positions or about the
official government investigation into her actions as Governor are totally
appropriate.

On the other hand, questions about how or whether Sarah Palin could raise
her five children while serving as Vice-President are outrageous.  Senator
Obama, to his credit, has made clear that such enquiries are out of bounds.
 Unfortunately some in the media have raised this issue and injected it into the
public discussion.  Let's be clear -- there is no chance that a man in Sarah
Palin's position would be asked how he could possibly raise his children while
running for high office.  Democrats would be wise to continue to reject this
line of attack.

Similarly obnoxious and inappropriate are the numerous photographs floating
around the internet that superimpose Gov, Palin's face on the cover of a fashion
magazine or on the body of a woman in a bikini.  Objectifying Gov. Palin isn't
going to win Barack Obama any votes.   

Over time, many women voters rallied to Senator Clinton's side to stand
with her against sexist criticism.  Republicans are attempting to use the
attacks against Gov. Palin to create the same dynamic.

There are many good reasons to oppose the McCain-Palin ticket.  Issues
related to Gov. Palin's gender are not among them.

--Howard Wolfson 

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