Opinion: Where the Ladies At, GOP?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 - 02:33 PM

Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican Vice Presidential candidate speaks at a Tea Party rally at the Wayne County Fairgrounds July 14, 2012 in Belleville, Michigan. (Bill Pugliano/Getty)

When Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan as his running mate, after considering what seemed like only men (Christie, Pawlenty, Portman, Rubio, Jindal etc.), there was a sense that the "era of the woman" was over in the GOP. Whether such an era had ever really existed, in either party, wasn't much examined. What's true is that there does seem to be a shortage of GOP women in consideration for national politics.

Well, gosh, why is that?

Sarah Palin was a successful governor of Alaska when John McCain plucked her from near-obscurity to be his vice presidential candidate. She stumbled some in the spotlight and the media crafted the "she's so stupid" narrative around her. I've had arguments with people who still attribute the Tina Fey line, "I can see Russia from my house," to Sarah Palin—and yet she's the stupid one. Joe Biden behaves like our national clown and yet the "stupid" meme hasn't emerged for him beyond the conservative media.

It's not just Palin either.

Nikki Haley is the youngest governor in the country and the first woman governor of South Carolina. A blogger claimed to have had a sexual affair with her while she was married and the story spread like wildfire. News outlets couldn't get enough of the allegations. The New York Times, CBS News, and all the other major outlets who ignored the fact that John Edwards ran for president while fathering a child with his mistress as his wife suffered with breast cancer, suddenly found these allegations completely fair game.

After all, it wasn't a Democratic man whose name was being sullied, it was a Republican woman and they deserve what they get. After a false story alleging Haley was about to get indicted by the Department of Justice was spread on twitter by prominent reporters, Haley commented, "There will be another one," predicting another attempt to smear her online. "I'm not one that thinks this is going to stop."

It's not. Republican women are in a position of being the punching bag for media who love to hit. Michele Bachmann has her flaws but the shots she took during the election would be unprecedented for the men around her, or for the women of the other party.

There's a sense that women "belong" to the Democrats and choosing to be a Republican leads to a level of outrage and accusation that many people can't cope with. There isn't enough money for most people to deal with the destruction to their reputation and the harm to their family that might befall them if they run for higher office. Don't expect more Republican women to step up to the task. With the way things have gone in the last few years, I'd expect less.


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Comments [8]

bucky from San Diego

It was reported that Condi Rice was in consideration for the GOP VP nomination.

Sep. 22 2012 11:19 AM
Max from NYC

@rjschwarz from San Diego
Oh yes!.. Palin goes on TV with Katie Couric; she looks and sounds like an idiot but that was "the initial false impression created by the interview".
It's like saying: my son didn't study; he failed the test but that was the fault of the teacher who administered the test...
I absolutely love the conservative power of re-invention of reality! There is no objective evidence ever!.. Everything is ALWAYS re-interpreted to fit the rationale of the moment...

So yes. Let's say that the clumsiness of the Couric interview was due to her lack of experience with being in the spotlight. Just go on the web and make a brief google search of Sarah's greatest hits...

Aug. 18 2012 08:36 PM
Frank DeGregorie

Opinion: Where the Ladies At, GOP?

This is english? Doesn't anyone check stories anymore?
WNYC should maintain a higher standard.

Aug. 18 2012 08:25 PM
rjschwarz from San Diego

The big problem the Republicans have is throwing really good candidates is they are pulled into the national level poltiics before they are ready for how vile and manipulative the politicians and media are at that levle. That is what happened to Palin. She recovered well but the initial false impression created by the Katie Couric interview lingers with many.

Let folks like Nikii Haley season a bit first.

Aug. 16 2012 02:55 PM
K Webster from nyc

It is not acceptable and nor should it be tolerated to have any woman treated as less than fully human. It is hurtful and keeps every girl or adult woman from being ourselves and from lending our minds to creating solutions for our communities.

Sexism is run at any and every female, the more visible, the more she draws fire: focusing on a woman's hair, clothes, relationship to men, looks, motherhood status, perceived anger, perceived sexual appeal, etc. But Republican women are not more targeted by sexism than any other female. Hillary Clinton was viciously attacked as a female - remember?

As to the policies of some of the women the article focuses on - as a whole they are not helpful to most women (as mothers, workers, etc) in the lives we actually lead. Hence the party does not attract most women.

It's the policies of any party that is not attracting women's votes that need review. You can't posit a "special" victimhood for the women who uphold the values of a party that just doesn't have most women's interests at heart as an excuse for those policy failures.

Aug. 16 2012 10:19 AM

"I've had arguments with people who still attribute the Tina Fey line, 'I can see Russia from my house,' to Sarah Palin—and yet she's the stupid one." One certainly can't account for Ms. Marcowicz's acquaintances, but one MAY watch Palin's incoherent resignation speech, ( ) or almost anything she's said on Fox, and draw one's own conclusion as to her intelligence.

As for Bachmann, she of the Islamaphobe witch hunt, well, come ON!

Aug. 16 2012 10:13 AM
Karol from NYC

Paul, you most certainly did NOT hear anything about Edwards as it was happening which is funny, don't you think, that a presidential candidate had an affair on the trail and the press didn't see it? It took that paragon of independent reporting, the National Enquirer, to bust that story open.

As for "questionable smarts" I once again refer everyone to Joe Biden, our vice president who thinks we're in the 20th century.

Aug. 15 2012 05:40 PM
Paul J. Bosco from Manhattan

Never heard these allegations against Nikki Haley, but I did see & hear her on the "liberal" Colbert Report, where she was treated deferrentially enough. However, I heard every conceivable allegation against John Edwards, and --even post-acquittal-- every imaginable excoriation. The "liberal media" was right there, throwing stones with the best of 'em. (And why not?)

I doubt women shun the GOP because they are afraid they will be treated like Palin & Bachmann. More likely, they don't want to be lumped with persons of questionable smarts whose policy leanings are anti-women.

I think that is a fair description of Palin, Bachmann and many Republican MEN.

--Paul J. Bosco

Aug. 15 2012 05:03 PM

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