I haven't really commented much on the presidential race here, mostly because I haven't been all that excited about it. My candidate from the beginning was Dennis Kucinich, and since he dropped out of the race before the California Democratic primary, I didn't even bother voting. I leaned towards Obama because Hillary voted for the war, but didn't really care which of them ended up with the nomination. After Obama voted for the FISA bill in July, I was pissed off but figured I'd probably vote for him in November anyway, given the alternatives. I did enjoy the Democratic convention -- especially Bill Clinton's speech, but also Obama's, which I thought was really good though somewhat lacking in specifics. But the thing that is finally starting to get me fired up about Obama (and the reason I'm posting about it) is the Republicans, and in particular, Sarah Palin.
In a nutshell: she sucks. She's super anti-choice, doesn't believe in evolution, and is pro-drilling. Worse, she is nasty, sarcastic, and smug. I can't even bring myself to watch her convention speech because the clips I've been have been so deeply offensive -- of particular note would be the crack against community organizers, and her blatant lie about saying "thanks but no thanks" to the "bridge to nowhere" (in fact, she supported it very publicly). There's nothing in her record to suggest she has any business being vice president, and yet she actually has the gall to question Obama's qualifications. When I first heard that she was McCain's running mate, I was reminded of Harriet Miers -- here's some random woman who's super right-wing, totally unqualified for the job, and pretty obviously chosen because she's a woman. But now that I've seen how people are reacting to her speech, I'm thinking she's more like Dick Cheney to McCain's Bush. It's like a wink and a nod from McCain -- don't worry, I have to keep saying this "maverick" bullshit to attract independent voters, but now that I've chosen my VP you can be reassured as to what kind of president I'll be. And unfortunately it looks like it may be working.
But something else was bugging me about Sarah Palin and her fans, apart from her obnoxious speech, and it had to do with her kids. For one thing, she is having her cake and eating it too -- in order to deflect attention from her pregnant teenage daughter, she says people's kids shouldn't be made into a political issue, but then she flat-out *used* the announcement of her daughter's pregnancy to quiet a rumor that threatened to undermine her image of integrity (to the extent she had an image at all). And I don't know how much she's said this explicitly herself, but she is certainly benefitting from all the talk about how great it is that she chose to bear her fifth child to term after finding out he had Down syndrome (here is one nauseating example), and nobody can deny that she's used him as a prop. The Daily Show had an awesome bit last night with Samantha Bee with commentary on how hypocritical it is to praise Palin for making this particular choice when she wants the government to prevent women from having any "choice" at all. But there's another troubling issue here, and Sweet Machine has an awesome piece that puts into words what I was feeling, over at Shakesville. A summary: all this rhetoric about Palin's "choice" is blatantly ableist because it assumes that a child with Down syndrome is inferior and a terrible burden for a parent to bear, so any woman who chooses not to have an abortion "even" if she knows the child has Down syndrome is obviously some kind of saint. I won't go into any more detail, because you should just go over and read Sweet Machine's post.