The Thing With Palin

I have been off for the weekend, so we’ve probably all had time to get sick of Palin, or at least to get over all our head-scratching at what was certainly a very unusual sort of choice, and then we got all the rumors about her kids and pregnancy and the brother-in-law and now she was in a secession from the union group and so on and so forth, all of which eclipses what *I* feel is the really important point, which is that Sarah Palin hates polar bears.*

I don’t really care who fathered anybody’s kids, but you mess with Ursus maritimus, and I get pissy. I’m willing to allow that decent people can have difference of opinion about abortion, defense, energy policy, or anything else you like, but messing with polar bear habitat I give no quarter on. Leave the damn bears alone, they’re already suffering from massively melting sea ice, the last thing they need is another oil rig in the middle of the polar bear equivalent of Makeout Point.

Now, I’m an Obama supporter, I make no bones about it. Strategically, I’m not worried about Palin on most fronts–the VP can hurt you a lot, but even the best rarely helps you as a candidate, so even if she were totally non-controversial, I wouldn’t be terribly concerned.

What worries me about Palin is the VP debates, in a weird sort of way, because I think Biden would absolutely destroy her, and THAT, I think, is the problem. God help us, our society is still at the point where you don’t hit girls in public, and in that regard, if no other, this was a very very canny choice. Old men cannot trash attractive women on TV even if they’re right.

I wish they could. I think we’d be a better society if our politicians stood or fell on the strength of their arguments. But like it or not, we’re not, and we can’t even really talk about it because it sounds sexist to even SAY, as if we’re implying that men can’t debate women because they’re the gentler sex or some bullshit. Still, there you are. If Biden calls Palin on specific points in a debate, if he goes after her the way we SHOULD be able to go after our opponents in a debate…to a large chunk of the populace, perhaps on a level not even close to conscious…he’ll look like a big meanie.

I don’t WANT that to be true–I’m a feminist, for god’s sake, y’all KNOW that I believe in equality of the sexes the way I believe in gravity–but I think it probably is. Palin will win the VP debates for many people if she’s even slightly less vapid than Barbie (and whatever her opponents say, they do not generally call her vapid) because Biden simply cannot take the gloves off without looking BAD.

I wish he could. I wish we did not have a weird underlying tension between the sexes in this country. Still, we do, and he can’t, and it’s all very weird and even thinking about it at great length makes me vaguely uncomfortable, as if having such thoughts are a betrayal of feminism.

My suggestion to counter this is to have Biden hold a live polar bear cub for the course of the debate. (What? It could totally work!) Sexism cannot hold in the face of small, cute, and fluffy.

ETA: It appears that Palin may also oppose the PAW Act, an act introduced to ban shooting Alaskan wolves from helicopters and airplanes. I would appreciate more information on this, if anybody’s got sources other than wolf-defender press releases (the AP, say, or somebody who doesn’t have quite such a specific stake) but if this IS true, then a vote for McCain is now a vote for dead wolves.

Obviously we will give Obama a wolf cub for HIS debate.

EETA: Yup, we have confirmation. Palin is for shooting wolves from helicopters. Dude. Come ON. That’s like…Sheri S. Tepper villain cheesball evil there. The other members of the Guild of Calamitous Intent would look down their nose at THAT. Sheesh.

*Specifically she sued the Interior Secretary to get the Bush Administration’s recent decision to list polar bears as a threatened species overturned, because it might prevent oil drilling in their prime habitat. Say what one likes, but when you think that the Bush Administration is being too environmentally conscious, you gots problems….

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