So all the pundits, including me, are out in force. We all have opinions and many of them are based primarily on what we thought going into the debate rather than on what we thought about it.
Last night, I praised Sarah Palin for doing better than expected. I stand by that. She did do better than expected. However, I find some of the reactions to that performance dismaying.
Fox News said she stopped the bleeding and may have once again saved John McCain's campaign. Newspapers and websites all over are spending the first couple column inches of their stories praising her for, basically, not being a train wreck. But then they are all unanimous in saying that she got her tail kicked in the actual debating department. So why is the first part of the story, well known by every editor to be the most likely part to be read, spent praising the loser?
THIS is equality? This is the performance of a woman who is supposed to shatter the glass ceiling, a claim she made in her RNC acceptance speech? She got her butt kicked! Everybody says so, even the Republican wags. How then are we full of praise for her today? Do you think Elizabeth Dole would have done so poorly? What about Kay Hutchinson?
Or better yet... rewind a few months and watch Hilary Clinton debating Joe Biden. Not only does she not get embarrassed, she stands toe to toe and wins points. THAT'S damaging the glass ceiling. Not pathetic fallback on rehearsed talking points because you can't actually answer the question. Not thinking that we have recalled a Union General from 1862 to take over in Afghanistan. Not long pauses to search her memory of the prep work in Arizona. Not blindly repeating falsehoods that had been blown out of the water by Barack Obama when John McCain tried to use them a week earlier.
I wake up and look at the news organizations and the blogosphere and I am annoyed that we would lower our political standards in this way. When Dan Quayle did this we barbecued him. And rightfully so.
To say that Sarah Palin did so well last night just because she was not a total failure repairs the glass ceiling, it does not damage it. There are many women in national politics who would have done far better debating Joe Biden than Sarah Palin did.
You can wink at me and drop consonants off your words all you want, Sarah. It won't convert me to supporting you because you are "folksy." Yes, you're attractive. But the naughty librarian look loses it's appeal when the person wearing it favors censorship. Yes, you are the first female Republican to be nominated for a national executive office. But I can't say that you are a standard-bearer for women's rights when you favor removing many of the victories already achieved and when your campaign won't even commit to supporting legislation for equal pay.
Sarah Palin showed she's one of us. That's what I keep hearing. Well, guess what? The top two executive jobs in the country are not supposed to be held by people that are "one of us." The people in those jobs are supposed to be exceptional. Not "just plain folks."
The more I write, the angrier I get. Quit cutting her so much slack. Hold her to the same standards you held Hilary to, the ones you held Geraldine Ferraro to and, yes, the ones you hold Barack Obama, Joe Biden and John McCain to as well.
To do anything less does not shatter the glass ceiling, it repairs it.