When John McCain nominated Sarah Palin to be his running mate, the country was shocked. But we also knew part of the reason he did it. She was a woman, and she had exactly the same double-X chromosomal makeup, and all the same body parts as Hillary Clinton. There were a lot of people who were pretty miffed that Hillary wasn't the nominee, and (the strategy went) all those women would flock to Sarah Palin and fill in the bubble next to the name of this utterly unqualified woman because ... well, because she's a woman! It would be cool to have a woman Vice President, wouldn't it? And all women are the same, anyway. Women don't really care what's inside another woman's brain or anything. A woman is a woman. If we can't have this one, we'll just take that one. And so, in the mind of John McCain and his campaign, we were just switching out one female political action figure for another. Nobody would notice.
Our cynicism was validated when we learned that McCain had only met with Palin on one occasion before her whirlwind interview in Arizona for the nation's second highest job. He saw everything he needed to see.
McCain's jaw-dropping pander to women left me speechless. Almost. As I sat down to start blogging on the morning of August 29, 2008 when Sarah Palin was nominated, I had this to say:
McCain obviously is looking for the Hillary vote since apparently he thinks women need no other criteria than a set of ovaries to mark their ballot, right? I mean women don't actually make policy decisions, do they?
Never did I imagine that the next time I'd feel this particular brand of pandering, and the insulting suggestion that my vote was based solely on whether the candidate sat down to pee, would be from another Alaskan woman. Yes boys and girls, now senate write-in hopeful, and current Republican incumbent Lisa Murkowski thinks I ought to vote for her just because she's a woman. And because men can be really mean.
Lisa just told women via full-color glossy mailer paid for by corporate donors that "for all the times you have been overruled", "for all the times your accomplishments have been ignored," and "for all the times you have been called names or ridiculed" we should vote for her. This flyer goes on to tell me that Lisa is only one of 17 women in the 100 member Senate.
After talking about how mean Joe Miller's ad campaign lied about her, and how another outside group called her a 'princess' she says:
"Fair? Not. But it's what women have been dealing with for centuries. For every woman who has stood up to the Joe Miller's [sic] of the world - and those who wished they had... Write in Lisa Murkowski... it's a vote for you."
While Murkowski stands at the podium of my mailbox, calling people out on lying, it seems a good time to remind everyone that Lisa Murkowski's last mailing was full of blatant and easily provable lies targeting her Democratic rival Scott McAdams. But, you know... political candidates have been putting up with that for centuries. And women lie too.
Gloria Steinem, when talking of Sarah Palin's unlikely nomination said, "Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere." Steinem may as well have been talking about this race too.
"Write in Lisa Murkowski... it's a vote for you," says the Murkowski campaign. Is it, really? If I used Murkowski's "women should vote for women because they're women" logic, I'd be voting for Sarah Palin for President in 2012 too. And that's not going to happen.
Writing in a vote for Lisa Murkowski isn't a vote for me. It's a vote for Lisa Murkowski.
If it was a vote for me, it would be a vote for someone who would have been proud to vote for two bright and qualified female Supreme Court nominees who support women's issues. Lisa Murkowski didn't.
If it was a vote for me, it would be a vote for someone who didn't waffle about reproductive freedom.
If it was a vote for me, it would be a vote for someone who didn't vote against the vital interest of my state including on issues of domestic violence because my party leaders told me to.
If it was a vote for me, it would not be a vote for a woman who got handed her job by her dad when he got tired of it, and only kept her job because her "Uncle Ted (Stevens)" went on TV and begged Alaskans to allow her to keep it when it looked like she was losing.
And while this is not a gender issue, a vote for me would also be a vote for someone who knows that an apostrophe does not make a word plural. Just saying.
On October 16, one of the panelists on the Alaska TV program Moore Up North was long-time Murkowski supporter, campaign volunteer. and former Republican Woman of the Year, Bonnie Jack.
Jack was asked about why she was supporting Lisa Murkowski in the senate race. She talked about how Lisa Murkowski had reached across party lines when she was in the state legislature. Moore pointed out that she did do that when she was in the legislature, but that now in the U.S. Senate, she voted more than 90% of the time with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Jack, who had stated that she's known Lisa for a long time said, "I think that was because she was a woman trying to work her way up in the party structure." Audible groans arose from the audience.
I don't know if Jack was right or not, but Murkowski's voting record speaks for itself, and her record of partisanship speaks for itself. If it's true that the reason behind this is that Lisa Murkowski is willing to compromise her true principles, and vote against her conscience and against other women because she is "a woman trying to work her way up in the party structure" then women have some serious soul-searching to do. Are we willing to vote for the chromosomes regardless of the fact that they vote against our interests? Is it worth it to sell out our own principles just to see a smiling female face in a blue power suit in the halls of the Capitol?
Should we have more female representatives in Washington? Yes, I believe we should. But I also think that women owe it to themselves, their children and their country to vote for substance over form. The right candidate for women isn't always a woman.
And a woman who tells you that her gender is all you need to know cast your vote, thinks you're not very smart, or very principled. A woman who tells you that a vote for any woman is a vote for you, isn't being honest.
November 2nd, the only organ you should be voting with is your brain.
Follow Jeanne Devon ("AKMuckraker") on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Mudflats