Henrietta Hay Column September 12, 2008

Palin would destroy much of what women fought for

I wonder why Republican presidential candidate John McCain didn’t pick Phyllis Schafley for vice president.

She is a woman, has had lots of experience and has been a far-right-wing conservative anti-feminist a lot longer than Sarah Palin. In fact, Phyllis herself was scheduled to give Sarah a pro-life award at a Republican meeting in St. Paul, but Palin’s handlers wouldn’t let her go.

Am I happy that we have a woman running for vice president? Yes.

Will I vote for a woman who is, at long last, a candidate for the vice-presidency just because she is a woman?


Am I getting kidded about it? Yes.  “How can you not support a woman after all your talk?”  In this case it isn’t hard.

I am appalled at seeing a woman being used as Sarah Palin is being used for political purposes only. This is not a gender issue. It is a political power maneuver of the worst kind, and it is an insult to women.
Sen. McCain is trying to get some of the 18 million Hillary votes.

The core of the 18 million supporters of Hillary Clinton will be as enthusiastic about Sarah Palin as they are
about Phyllis Schafley.

I have been involved in the second women’s movement since the 1970s. (The first one got the vote for women
in 1920.) We have made great progress, including an occasional CEO of a large corporation, many more U.S. senators and representatives, some governors and a huge jump in women’s athletics due to Title IX.

But all that does not mean that being female automatically qualifies a person for a major political office.

Actually, we do not know much about Sarah Palin’s political objectives. She is an impassioned speaker, and energized millions. But she didn’t really say anything. Of course, she couldn’t. The speech, according to Time Magazine, was written by Bush’s former speech writer a month before she was chosen.

But we have learned a good deal about her personal issues.

Sarah Palin wants to ban all sex education from public schools.

She is an avowed believer in creationism and has supported discussing it in schools, although she didn’t push that issue in Alaska.

Censorship is not a no-no, since she fired the librarian in the Wasilla library after they had discussed the possibilty of removing some books from the library.

She would deny women the right to control their own bodies, to make decisions about their own welfare
Gov. Palin is opposed to abortion under most circumstances, including rape or incest. She would forbid hospitals and clinics from giving rape or other victims information about the morning-after pill.

McCain needs the far-right base, and Gov. Palin is about as far right as he can get.

So, to run for the second highest office in the land, he gives us a young woman from Alaska with no national or international experience, no testing except in a state of roughly 670,000 people.

That is Sen. McCain’s demonstration of good judgment.

I have no doubt that Sarah Palin is a fine, intelligent woman. But she is no Hillary Clinton or Madeleine Albright or Condoleezza Rice.

I could never support a candidate for vice presidency of the United States who opposes so much of what we have worked for so long.

She has won election as mayor of Wasilla and as governor of Alaska.  She is raising a family of five children. 

But those things alone are not qualifications for the job of president. And in this job, becoming president is always a possibility, however tragic the circumstances.

President Palin. That thought is keeping me awake nights.


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