Friday, September 12, 2008

The Palin Mud Wrestling Strategy

In the classic vulgar comedy Stripes, John Candy gets talked into Um, it was the Eighties. Anyway, the best bit is when he hits one of his opponents who cries "You hit me and I'm a girl." He lets his guard down to apologize and she decks him. I don't entirely trust AOL's embed code, but here goes. Warning, not entirely SFW.

"You hit me and I'm a girl" seems to be the running slogan for the McCain/Palin campaign. Specifically, Gov. Palin will feel free to jab at Obama/Biden (and embellish her own record) but any critcism of Palin causes collective vapors in the McCain campaign. "You can't hit her like that, she's a girl," they cry as she's rearing back for a roundhouse.

Jill opines that the campaign is sequestering her out of sexist concern for her weakness. I think it's a conscious strategy to immunize her from criticism. The Candy bit is funny because it touches on something primal -- we have a problem with seeing a woman being, well, manhandled. Whether it's cultural or instinctive doesn't matter -- it's there and it's powerful.

So will it work? That depends entirely on the willingness of voters to call BS, something we collectively seem incapable of doing. The media didn't help with their many missteps in the first week of Palin vetting. (It's reassuring to know that we don't have to worry about Palin cozying up to a treasonous separatist party just because it was falsely reported that she was a member.) Still, the capacity of McCain/Palin to piss on our collective legs and convince us it's the weather has thus far been breathtaking.


Jill said...

Hey Scott - I like this post. Just one addition: I agree with you that it's a conscious strategy to immunize her from criticism - and I'm saying that I think that in part, that is a very patriarchical (that's not a word is it - I keep getting red lines under it) and sexist approach. Of course, the immunization - no matter the intent, or the appearance - wouldn't have been necessary if they picked a VP candidate for more than the political punch the choice would have but actually because the person might do a 300 million person country good when needed.

Anyway - I think the sexism that's the most dangerous is the stuff we argue about as to whether it's even sexist - there's so much subtle stuff, it's hard to think about how it will ever be rooted out unless people want to.