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As Long as We Remember...

September 8, 2008

Dressing the Moose

Steven R. Berryman

I’m loving the political jokes now: What’s the experience difference between Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama?  Answer: Not much when taken in aggregate, but Governor Palin is a better ice hockey player and can shoot straight…


…As opposed to Arizona Senator John McCain, who is reputed to be a “straight shooter.”


Oh, yes, and Governor Palin can dress a moose. (Ruining the punch line: It’s what you do after you’ve shot it!). When asked about this, Obama said: “Dress a moose? For what occasion?” Certainly Fredericktonians will get it.


Seriously, if you doubt for a moment that the Alaska governor was not chosen well to neutralize the Democratic Sen. Joe Biden pick as vice presidential candidate, see for more detail. Granted that this one is for profit.


Governor Palin – “the neutralizer” – already has an Internet media machine cranking, suddenly energized by having fewer old white men to deal with. They are much less fun to talk up as agents of change.


Recall that Senator McCain mentioned off the cuff that he had no Internet experience or prowess. Imagine how that played to the voting college crowd? Senator BHO, on the other hand, has his image plastered all over the famously successful social networking site Face Book.


Nobody’s talking about that now.


But as a Republican bonus, how could one possibly view candidate John McCain as stuffy or stale now after such a raucous choice, coincidentally empowering “new feminists” and enticing New York Sen. Hillary Clinton’s dispossessed followers.


“Old Feminism” – born when some women wanted to also be men – has certainly receded since the days of Gloria Steinem waitressing for Playboy. The strong-woman Governor Palin is represents a New Feminism borrowing from both genders while respecting the benefits of a cooperative family with a man as partner.


This is progress. As in the old day, men had to be demonized for purposes of edification and differentiation. The Palin family demonstrates this benefit outwardly, warts and all. Only cynical elitists take comfort from their all too human problems.


Attempt to interject dismay about family choices, disbelief about the “bridge to nowhere,” or whether that Alaskan State jet actually did get sold on eBay, and you will automatically be branded sexist as the new defense mechanism.


It’s really quite insular.


As you are reading this, the punditocracy surely has already unloaded for you the immense numbers of accomplishments to which Governor Palin lays claim, from mother of five to governor of our largest state, from one who has already affected real change, to a PTA mom and basketball standout.


All of this while still retaining her identity. That is much more than “multi-tasking.” It is the New Feminism at work and is the factor pulling many women her way.


She wants it all, and just may get it. Social stereotypes are dying as we witness.


Will the voting influence of white-apologists for slavery have guilt that can overcome the thrill of the continually emerging woman?


It’s the “yes-I-can” attitude born on the assembly lines of World War II from women on the homefront, taking over production from fighting men as needed – lost for a time – coming back now.


The fact that the Democratic Party is in such a frenzy as a result now is but an entertaining side-show, custom designed to be just so. Brilliant!


Eternal Senator from Delaware and vice presidential candidate for the opposition, Joseph Biden, is interesting in contrast. An insider but for change that commutes by train each day, Joe’s biggest financial backers are the corporate welfare cherry picking Visa Card banks.


Protecting both the profiteering banks and also the citizens? Has your MasterCard ever bumped your interest rate on a technicality? Ever gotten a late payment fee removed?


And, of course Senator Biden’s “F” rating from the NRA is a bit askew from the Governor Palin’s lifetime membership in said organization. This item is particularly polarizing in effect. As some would say: we must respect all of the amendments in our Bill of Rights, not just the ones with which we agree.


Cursory discussions with the women in my life have been enlightening as to the fallout of choosing Veep Candidate Palin on their political outlook. As excited as men from both parties are to see vivacious gender injected into our political process, the real impact will be heard from the fairer sex.


My informal InfoServesMe poll, which I only give to women, was most enlightening:


My sister, who was tending to lean Democratic this time – and is open-minded, reminds me a bit of Governor Palin in the breadth of her life accomplishments. She sees past the glitz to her stands on abortion, gun rights, and a proposition to teach creationism in schools.


My mother, extremely well informed and passionate, but perhaps less open minded than my sister, opposes Governor Palin as ill-equipped for the job of being one heartbeat away, and relying on a superficial beauty as opposed to substance.


My wife actually resembles Governor Palin and has always been political, but without the digging-in intense interest and passion of my side of the family. Now she debates me on the merits, stays up late watching conventions, and does CNN instead of QVC. Quite the conversion if I may say so. She loves the governor and is becoming a new feminist in her own right now.


My best guess is that there are a lot more women in this third category of opinions above than there are of the first two combined.


Certainly the swing female vote, especially independents and the undecided will make the Palin gambit pay-off. New women now involved in the political process will be the icing.


Women will be dressing for success, and Sen. Barack Obama will not be dressing the Moose.


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