Is Obama Afraid of Gov. Palin? – UPDATE

Sen. Obama does not get it: He’s hauling out the women (including Clinton) to counter Palin. He doesn’t get the fact that Palin’s gender is secondary or even tertiary to why she has the GOP energized out of its collective mind. It’s what she IS, and what she DOES and what she BELIEVES and what she SAYS, and how she doesn’t just talk it, she WALKS it.

Hiding behind 1000 women standing before you and saying you’re great (while ripping Palin apart) cannot counterbalance that. It will preach to the choir, and the media will sing along, but that’s all. The Dems really are working off of an outdated template. They do not, in the least, understand modern conservative women.

Refusing to engage Palin, except through these women, which seems to be the plan is a bit cowardly, don’t you think? It suggests that even if he’s not afraid of Palin, per se, he is afraid of her femininity. Because there is nothing more powerful than a smart, beautiful woman who knows precisely who she is, nothing is more powerful than authentic femininity.

He shouldn’t be afraid. His wife is also beautiful and intelligent. Maybe it’s the other part, the fully-embraced warrior-goddess that she lacks; so she is safe.

GOP strategist Kevin Madden has it exactly right: “They’re like a lion tiptoeing around a turtle — they don’t know what to do with it.”

Yes. They do not know what to do with the authentic femininity of Gov. Palin. But if Obama is going to hide behind women, then the analogy is not quite right. Then SHE is the lion, and he is the turtle, ducking for cover.

Obama is making a tactical error.

Bill Clinton would never make this mistake. He and Gov. Palin would be able to go at each other freely, because they would both completely understand each other. Clinton would know Palin was an alpha-female grizzly, and he’d tease her. She’d know he was a bad boy willing to be endure a few scars and swipes for the fun of engagement.

Also, just a thought…if you want to be CIC, you can’t hide behind a bunch of girls. We hate it when Al Qaeda does that.

Funniest line in that piece, btw: “Obama also suggested that he’d be relying on the same press that has obsessively examined his life to pick apart Palin’s.” You mean the press that won’t ask him about Tony Rezko or Bill Ayers? I’m sure he will rely on the press, though. And they’ll work like crazy for him, as they did for John Kerry.

Meanwhile, Todd Palin seems unafraid: “If I’d had a crystal ball a few years ago, I might have asked a few more questions when Sarah decided to join the PTA. It wouldn’t have mattered, though; when my wife starts talking about reform, corruption and making government work for the people, it’s just best to get out of the way.” Video here

Appealingly authentic. Refreshing, even.

Ed Morrissey wonders about the fear factor too.

UPDATE: Read Shrinkwrapped’s thoughts on why our politicans are becoming so quickly iconic, rather than human.

Allahpundit: But I thought last week the Dems were decrying identity politics?

Amused Cynic has more and links to this old Rich Lowry piece on Obama and Oprah.

More here

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • HNAV

    “He doesn’t get the fact that Palin’s gender is secondary or even tertiary to why she has the GOP energized out of its collective mind. It’s what she IS, and what she DOES and what she BELIEVES and what she SAYS, and how she doesn’t just talk it, she WALKS it.”

    Well said.

    I think you could expand that to all Liberal Democrat Partisans, that don’t get it.

    Including Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    All those years scheming, and the real success is being genuine, honest, reasoned, practical, decent.

  • newton

    It seems Barack Obama is not the only one afraid of Sarah.

    I think that, after last night’s speech, many Democrats came to the realization, for the very first time in this campaign, that Obama may well lose this election to McCain because of her. That was probably the most powerful reason why, while McCain raised a cool million online after the first hour of her speech, the Obama campaign raised $10 million last night hours after!

    And of course, the artistic class had to hit back again tonight. I bought two songs from that group on iTunes. I want my money back!

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  • fporretto

    The Democrats have been struck with terror because of both what Governor Pain is and who she is. Unfortunately for them, they’ve lost the ability to distinguish between “what” and “who,” and so are flailing around in a fashion that will enervate them for no gain. It might even cost them further in November.

  • culperjr.

    Dear Anchoress,

    Oh, that my poor, departed mother could have lived long enough to see this day! Mom was a HUGE liberal. Okay, let us be honest, she was practically a communist. Still, she could not abide phonies and loud mouths.

    My mother would have understood Sarah Palin on a very deep level. Like Governor Palin, my mother was a tough, funny frontier gal. She grew up in rural Oklahoma during the Depression, carrying a shotgun to elementary school so that she could shoot something for dinner on the walk home. During WW2 she was, quite literally, Rosie the Riveter, assembling the nose-cones of B-24 bombers in a war plant.

    It was this reality that kept my mother back from the brink of full-blown liberal insanity. When her leftist friends launched into airy-fairy rhetoric…well, let us just say the no nonsense farm girl came out in spades.

    Strong women? LOVE them, when I find them.

    I found one.

  • Dave Justus

    I’m not sure you are being very fair to Obama here. After a tough primary where a lot of women were disappointed, he does have to be careful about how his campaign attacks Palin. It isn’t fear, it is polticts.

    Further, he shouldn’t be attacking her himself, he is the one at the top of the ticket and Biden is a dangerous choice there was well, like or not, there are very real dangers of seeming to ‘pick on the girl.’ Perhaps in a perfect world gender wouldn’t matter in this context, but in the world we have, it does.

    Lastly, I don’t think Obama is marshalling Clinton et. al. to go after conservative women votes. They aren’t going for him no matter what. But the independant woman’s vote, the Reagan Democrats and Soccer mom demographics are very much in play, more so because of Palin and Clinton is a great surrogate to go after that vote. It might not work, but it is politically the best choice.

    Also I think that conservative’s who love Palin need to be a little careful. There is nothing wrong with admiring her and being glad that she is on the ticket, but if they try to make everything about her it could really backfire, after all she isn’t running for President, John McCain is and it how voters percieve him that will matter most. Palin can help people take a look at McCain, but if you want republicans to win this year you have to sell McCain, not just Sarah Palin.

    [Dave - I agree with you that some of this is politics, but I do think some of it is fear. She hits Obama where it hurts. She brings a Mayorality; he brings community organizer. She brings a 2 years as Governor with a record of real reform and action; he brings 140 days in the senate with not much to show for it. I warned the right not to believe anything is "in the bag" here, and everyone wants the indy and centrist women, BUT we're not the ones trying to make "everything about Sarah Palin; or at least we didn't start that...I know you've been around to see the last 7 days. And no, she isn't running for president. But they see clearly how she helps McCain become president. - admin]

  • amcalabrese

    I finally figured why I am so happy that Palin was chosen. Yes, I can point to her as a reformer, but she is an practically intelligent, quirky, strong willed woman, and I come a family filled with practically intelligent, quirky, strong willed women (though they are a bit deficient in the moose killing department).

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  • propter hoc

    I see your point but I think you are stretching it. First of all the parties always refrqin from attacking each other during the conventions – it is a mutually accepted protocol to assure that they each have the opportunity to present their “marketing package” to the American people with never more than token background noise from the opposition. As the electoral issues are defined I have no doubt that the Democrats will attempt to define Palin as out of the mainstream, focusing on positions and (lack of) experience rather than gender issues. They are confident that Biden’s strength among women will assist, but we shall see how they recon with the personality issues. But they haven’t had time to “be afraid,” it’s only been two days since most Americans have even heard of her.

    I think we all acknowledge that Palin is a lightweight when it comes to national politics, and it is the forse of her personality that will ultimately contibute (or not) to the success of her ticket.

    Until some consistency emerges between her positions and McCains (other than platitudes about “change” and Obama’s “lack of experience”) there is nothing to attack.

    I do take umbrage at your creating an equivalency between the Democrats to Al Qaeda. That approach destroys rather than builds constructive discourse.

    [If you see the time-stamp on that piece you'll see that it was posted late after 6 days of long, long hours. I was tired, and I suspect being less than cautious or I would have found a better analogy than Al Qaeda, but I was not "equating the Dems" with Al Qaeda, which would be stupid. I was just pulling an example out of the air. It's out there, now, and I'm not going to throw it down the memory hole, the way some on the left suddenly "disappeared" their suggestions that Trig Palin is Bristol Palin's baby of her father's rape - an idea that is at least as offensive, and much more personal. You're quite correct that Palin will either help or hurt McCain on her own. But Obama has reason to run away from her, hard and fast. Where she brings exec experience in her Mayorality; he brings being a community organizer. Where she brings exec experience as Gov for two years, with an actual record of reform, he can't match it with 140 days in the senate. It's simply what it is. - admin]

  • irascibleChef

    AFRAID? I would say petrified! Not just BO either—the whole party is running to try to take Sarah Palin out—the fighting spirit is kind of ironic, they’re against fighting the enemy, but would prefer to fight “a little old girl”…

    This revelation has just occurred to me about the women’s movement—it’s not really an EVERY woman’s movement—it’s an as-long-as-you-agree-with-my-dogmatic-ideology women’s movement. If you don’t you are only a woman by Chromosome and don’t deserve respect or inclusion—Gloria Steinem. Nice Job Gloria!


    [That "just" Occured to you? I got a gleaning of it at the Thomas hearings and then fully understood it during the Clinton years. - admin]

  • Kathleen

    You’re right – he doesnt get it. As McCain said its all style over substance with the Dems. Obama might as well send a pig in a skirt out for all the meaning it has.

  • Stosh2

    I think what we’re seeing in Obama’s bizarre reaction to Palin is the vapidness of politically correct gender politics at work. Neither Palin nor her supporters accept that framework for the election or governing. That’s what gives me hope in this election.

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  • Bridey

    Off the subject a bit, and not a flame, but if being beautiful is one of Palin’s recommendations, gender isn’t really secondary, is it?

    [Why, men can't be beautiful? ;-) Gender is still secondary. But I take your point. Golda Meir was also "authentically feminine" and no beauty, at least not at first glance! -admin]

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  • pbuchta

    Don’t think so.

    Gov. Palin attended 6 schools in 6 years scrambling to get abroadcast journalism degree from Idaho. Not quite the same as an honors degree in political science/international studies from Columbia and a laude J.D. from Harward Law. She left the mayor’s office with Wasilla $20,000,000.00 in debt, after unsuccessfully trying to ban books at the local library (Heckuva job, Sally!).

    [Would be good to read your sources. Also, don't you get tired of the elitist idea that only ivy league schools are worthwhile, and if you don't go to one, you're a Neanderthal idiot not suited to be a dog catcher? Harry Truman was a haberdasher. -admin]

  • irascibleChef

    [That "just" Occured to you? I got a gleaning of it at the Thomas hearings and then fully understood it during the Clinton years. - admin]

    Well, maybe it didn’t just occur to me… I’ve seen it most glaringly at the Clinton proceedings, but I’m much better at articulating the point now.

    Who can forget the pass Bill Clinton got, (having a long public history of infidelity and accusations) when he not only cheated on his wife and family (poor Chelsea) in the White-House, (usually cause for feminists warships to be dispatched) but repeatedly had a sexual relationship with a 21 year old intern (Unheard-of-silence by the feminists) Crickets, I heard, while groups like NOW said nothing or even still supported Bill Clinton! Gloria Steinem still supported him—SOME women be damned!


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  • Aitch748

    Hey pbuchta! Why should we believe you?

    Your fellow travellers in the media and on the Left have been throwing so many untrue and unlikely claims about Sarah Palin so hard and so fast that they’ve exposed themselves. They’ve exposed themselves as so incredibly, deeply committed to wrecking this woman’s life that they can’t be trusted to tell the truth. Why should we believe them, and why should we believe you?

    (Oh, and just to save a little time, answering by making claims about the GOP or talk radio or the Right (supposedly) doing the exact same thing doesn’t answer the question “Why should we believe you”.)

  • terip

    I am especially touched by this part:
    “What McCain has done with Governor Palin’s nomination is aim right at a demographic that Obama needs to address quickly: noncollege-educated women,” said Mike McCurry, a former spokesman in the Clinton White House. “They need to maximize Biden’s ability to reach out to them, but at the end of the day, it is Obama who has to get that very, very critical group.”

    This is the guy that trashed rural folks as bitter clingers. I can’t think of a group that he would despise more than noncollege educated women. And I would not lean too hard on Hillary, unless he plans to help pay off her campaign debt. And I am still seeing a lot of PUMAs that are not too impressed with Barry O.

  • pbuchta

    “don’t you get tired of the elitist idea that only ivy league schools are worthwhile”

    When an employer interviews a perspective employee for an important job, you look at the overall resume and assess the candidates potential. Since the employer cannot asses how effective either of these candidates would be in this position since neither of them held it before, we should go by past actions, since this is the true mettle of a candidate’s beliefs, and not what they say now. John McCain agreed with Bush that the economy is sound. Well then, is it??? Tell me then, who voted with Bush 90 percent of the time

    Who has more potential both in wisdom and judgment? John McCain was at the bottom 10% of his Navy class. Obama at the top 10% at Havard. Obama was out in community service. It is these community services today that are helping people get out from under their mountains of debt, not the Feds. Certainly not John McCain who said the economy was fundamentally sound.

    Sarah Palin is running for VP. That’s it. The main responsibility of a VP is to replace the President if anything should happen. Do you think that the Republican base would have much faith in her should John McCain not be able to continue in the Presidential elections???

    [I think the answer to that is an emphatic "yes." - and you're still hung up on "schools" and "grades." I have a son who is a genius - rolled out of bed, no breakfast, took his SAT (got a 1500 out of 1600) came home, rolled back into bed. He has a brilliant mind, a phenomenal memory, outstanding writing skills; he is a funny and eloquent speaker when speaking is required. But he will be the first to tell you that he would be the worst politician/president ever. You can't look at a person's value based only on those measures. Forget the Naval Academy; McCain has proved his mettle in Hanoi and in over 20 years of service in DC, during which time YOU GUYS LOVED HIM because he worked with you so often. His love for his country is not debatable, nor is his integrity. You CANNOT compare him, in experience, in "known quantity" or anything else, to Barack Obama, who is at the TOP of the Dem ticket. (and just as an aside, think about how you would come through 5 years in a POW camp, TWO of them spent in solitary, with a lightbulb that never went out? That tells you the man can handle what comes his way.) But if McCain dies in office, I'm quite sure that the Gov. of Alaska, with a couple years of statewide executive experience, almost a dozen years of "small town" exec experience and a life time of "getting the job done" will be quite capable to take over, and the GOP base knows it. You need to worry more about the guys on your ticket who have NO exec experience, particularly the guy on the TOP of your ticket, who may have gone to Harvard, may have been named an "editor" of the Harvard Law Review but who mysteriously has no paper trail, no publications in that erudite edition. How does someone "get things done" without leaving a paper trail? How is that possible? You want to ignore Rezko, you want to ignore Ayers, go ahead, ignore them. But HOW do you manage, in your career, to have been "effective" and "in charge" and HAVE NO PAPER TRAIL? That is something you should think about, because it's WEIRD. It's just WEIRD. If you can explain it - or find the papers, please get back to me! :-) - admin]

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  • Jay Stevens

    Obama IS afraid of Sarah Palin. Part of it undoubtedly is that he is afraid of being Rick Lazio to Hillary Clinton. Better to let his implausibly deniable surrogates do the dirty work.

    And his experience as ward heeler, excuse me, community organizer: how is Southside Chicago better off today? More people were killed there than U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Maybe it is time for a police “blue surge”.

    Off topic: I grew up in Illinois – left in 1971. I always thought that if Cook County seceded, joined Wisconsin, or somehow fell into Lake Michigan, Illinois’ problems would drop by 2/3′s.