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Joanne Bamberger

Joanne Bamberger

Posted: November 13, 2008 11:18 AM

PunditMom Defends Sarah Palin



No, I did not suffer a severe head injury or have a GOP epiphany since yesterday. My progressive bona fides are very much intact, thanks (I am the Goddess of All Things Liberal, after all!).

But as I was thinking about all the appearances Sarah Palin has had in the media since the Republicans' defeat last week, and the heat she's been taking for it (my own included), I wondered why we would expect her to fade into the Alaskan woodwork.

If anyone of us had an unexpected opportunity to move our careers or our personal and professional brands forward, wouldn't we grab it?

Palin has won the political profile lottery in a way few politicians ever do, no matter where they are from or how long they've been on the scene. Skilled politicos know how to seize the moment and move forward when others say their success is unlikely -- can you say "Barack Obama."

WAIT! Before you think I've lost all my marbles, I'm not comparing Palin and Obama in any sort of substantive way. So many Democrats and Republicans alike have agreed that Palin just doesn't have the experience, know-how or gravitas to move onto the big stage, even with that oh-so-famous "executive experience."

But that doesn't stop people from trying. It never has. And it certainly doesn't stop them from succeeding. As proof of that, I only need to say two words -- George Bush.

What Palin does have is a sense of opportunity, something that doesn't generally come to girls or women naturally in our society. She's got some serious chutzpah, something I wish I had more of. For better or worse, without a dose of that, even qualified women have a tough time getting ahead in any career, especially politics.

Palin has taken charge of this moment that is unlikely to come again and she's making the most the notoriety that was offered her.

I have to say, if I were in her shoes, I'd do the same thing. When it comes to promotion of women in high profile situations, whether it's corporate or national politics, none of the men who are still running the show are going to do it for us. Women have to do it for themselves.

So on this one, I have to give Sarah Palin a pass from my usual criticism. I don't want her anywhere near the White House, but I totally get what she's trying to do for herself and her career.

Joanne Bamberger is a writer and political analyst in Washington, D.C. She is the founder of PunditMom, a blog about the intersection of politics and motherhood. Her political commentary has been featured on CNN, Fox News, BBC Radio and ABC.com, among others.

Follow Joanne Bamberger on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PunditMom