My Friends, Don’t Go There.

Yesterday, I received an email from Planned Parenthood, an organization I have supported financially and politically for the past 15 years.  Y’all, that email pissed me right off.

The email in question read:

Dear Myrtlebeachbum,

Yesterday morning, on my way back from the high of the Democratic National Convention, I learned that Sen. John McCain chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential pick.
What might have been encouraging news for women was just the opposite — somehow McCain had managed to find a woman running mate even more conservative than he is on women’s rights.

It was heartbreaking news, especially on the heels of such an inspiring week. Right now there is so much shameless rhetoric from the Republicans about breaking the glass ceiling, especially from McCain and his running mate. What good does it do to break a glass ceiling with a woman who wants government to control women’s reproductive health? That isn’t the world I want for my two daughters.

A day later, and I’m still having trouble expressing the depth of my anger about McCain’s choice of a running mate. This shameless pandering to women — with a woman who doesn’t trust other women to make their own decisions about childbearing — has really got me going.

My dear friends and supporters, the stakes in this election just got unbelievably higher. More than ever before, the November 4 election is the most important vote for women’s rights of my generation. And our actions in the next eight weeks — yours, mine, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s — have never been more critical. Believe me, I don’t say that lightly. It’s time to get to work — and hard.

If you can only do one thing, it should be to tell every woman you meet that McCain and Palin are the most anti-choice, anti-women pair imaginable. Don’t stop at just telling your friends. You can bet that I’ll be telling strangers in the checkout line at the grocery store, the women I see at the gym, parents at my kids’ schools.

Women trust other women to tell them the straight truth — and the straight truth is that McCain and Palin would take us back to a time when women had absolutely no right to decide whether or not to have a child … zero. It’s been widely reported that Palin is against abortion even in the cases of rape and incest!
And, yes, money helps us too — very much. That’s how this all works. Your donations help the Planned Parenthood Action Fund reach voters person to person — conversations with one million women that tell the truth about John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Bear with us over the next two months. We’re going to be asking for your help, your contributions and your time a lot. Thank you in advance for doing what you can, when you can.

Times like these, it’s hard not to hear my mother’s voice in my head. I can tell you that my mother, the former governor of Texas and a remarkable feminist leader of her time, would have been downright outraged right now. What would have offended her most about McCain’s decision to put Sarah Palin on the ticket is how utterly calculated, how awfully pandering it is to women. It is the worst kind of politics. Mom would have said, “Women voting for this ticket is just like chickens voting for Colonel Sanders.”

We have the opportunity in Barack Obama and Joe Biden to elect a team that have always stood strong with us for women’s health — end of story. I’m so excited coming back from Denver — but with this decision by John McCain, I recognize that everything for us is at stake.

Thank you, as always, for standing up with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the women Planned Parenthood health centers serve. We are quite a force, aren’t we?

Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Action Fund


Okay, Planned Parenthood, we need to talk.  First, I love you.  And what I am about to say, I say out of love and concern.  I say it with memories of my mother serving as your East Tennessee president during my pre-teen years fresh in my mind.  I say it with gratitude for the services you provided me in college and continue to provide other women and for the important political work you do.  I say it with the desire to stay on good terms with you so that I will remain willing to open my wallet to you as I grow older and my wallet (hopefully) continues to grow fatter.  I say it to you and to others who stand with me on the left, because while I love you, I think you should step the fuck off when it comes to calling Sarah Palin nothing more than an affirmative action hire.  We are not allowed to say it about Barack Obama, we shouldn’t say it about Barack Obama, and shame on us for saying it about Sarah Palin.

I agree with you that Sarah Palin has a terrible record when it comes to reproductive rights.  I agree with you that she is dead wrong when it comes to her anti-choice stance and her support of abstinence-only education.  I agree with you that Barack Obama and Joe Biden offer the better choice to women for whom reproductive rights are important.  But I could not disagree with you more when it comes to whether Sarah Palin was chosen to be on John McCain’s ticket for her vagina alone.  I cannot agree with you when you say that John McCain’s vice presidential pick was “utterly calculated…and awfully pandering” to women.  Because, you know what, Planned Parenthood?  I don’t think that choice was aimed at you.  I don’t think it was aimed at me.  I don’t think it was aimed at Democratic women.  And I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I don’t think it had much to do with the fact that Sarah Palin is a woman.

I think John McCain chose an ultra-conservative governor of a state at the heart of the energy debate whose energy policies mirror those of most Americans.  I think he chose someone who would – and has – energized the party faithful.  I think he chose someone who is not a senator (I’m still shocked that Obama went with a two-senator ticket).  I think he chose someone who matches his ridiculous maverick image.  I think he chose someone who has a mortgage and young children and who drives to work every day and is a union member and is married to a blue collar worker  and likes to hunt and fish and knows how to handle a gun – someone a lot like those “working class” voters who are supposed to decide this election.  I think he chose someone whose inexperience would invetiably bring the debate back to Obama’s own youth and relative inexperience.  I think he chose someone who is a self-described reformer and an indisputable Washington outsider in a time when Congress’ approval rating is even lower than that of President Bush.  I think that, if John McCain had wanted nothing more than a woman to round out his ticket, he could have chosen Kay Bailey Hutchison, who has more experience, or Condoleezza Rice, who has foreign policy expertise like whoa.  I think that he did not pick either of those women not only because they are not anti-choice (come on, people, he had to go with an anti-choicer), but also because he simply was not looking for a woman, any woman.  He was looking for the right candidate, and in John McCain’s mind (a mind that I admittedly do not fully understand, nor do I care to), she was the right candidate.

Are he and Palin now making the argument that her candidacy and possible election are historic?  Well yes, of course they are, as well they should.  As long as irony was standing on that stage beside them in Ohio on Friday, they might as well have acknowledged it, and I for one do not mind that they did.  However, I don’t think that John McCain considers Sarah Palin nothing more than a running mate with a vagina.  I think she was the person he wanted – a person who happens to be a woman, and while her gender can certainly help him, I don’t believe for a minute that it’s all he sees in her.  It does, however, seem to be all that many Democrats are able to see in her, and that says a lot about what we think of women.

In any other year, I’d be surprised that my party would fail so utterly to see a woman for anything more than her gender, but this go ’round, I’m just counting it toward my daily dose of disappointment.  And as long as I’m working my way down my to-do list, I think I can mark off “getting beat over the head by the left with my own vagina.”  Two birds, one stone, Planned Parenthood.  High five!






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6 Responses to “My Friends, Don’t Go There.”

  1. jim Says:

    well you do have an interesting insight. Although Planned Parenthood and ou are our of your minds re so called “reprodictive rights” ie slaughtering an infant in the womb I do agree their is more to McCains decision but face it he did play the gender card from the bottom of the deck further lowering the bar on a v.p’s qualifications. A position antithetical to the republican ant affirmative action platform…

  2. lalaland13 Says:

    I wouldn’t call her an affirmative action hire either, but I think he picked her in part to shake things up. And it’s doing it, but not quite in a good way…at least with all these revelations coming out about her. I think he knew he needed to go high risk, high reward and wasn’t exactly aiming it at women like us who care passionately about abortion. You’re dead on there. If he’s aiming it any women, it would have to be at women who don’t have a firm opinion on abortion, as much as I hate to say that.

    I read somewhere that if the key thing in picking a VP is someone ready to take over, McCain failed miserably. On other fronts, he probably succeeded.

  3. AGreenEyeDevil Says:

    Jim, might I suggest you seek life else where and maybe “else where” will include a class in grammar/spelling!

    Beach Bum, salient points as always. Although I despise MrCrankyPants, there’s an impressive element to the vareity of selling points associated Palin. She is THE antithesis of Cheney.

  4. Timing Part 2 « Bebehblog Says:

    […] than I have made all the points I can think of already. Read Myrtlebeachbum’s take on it here or the Buttercuppunch post here or, like, ALL the posts on Jezebel since […]

  5. badenbaden Says:

    Jim, I couldn’t even read that. Punctuation is your friend. Learn it. Live it. Love it.

    MBB, you’re right on the money here. “It does, however, seem to be all that many Democrats are able to see in her, and that says a lot about what we think of women.” –> excellent.

  6. nadarine Says:

    I’ll disagree- my first reaction to the Palin pick was “how condescending”. I cannot think that McCain decided to pick, of all candidates out there (though I hate to use the word “qualified” in reference to a Republican), someone with zero national experience, two years of statewide experience, and a total lack of national presence. If the choice was between a more experienced, intelligent, and government-savvy man, and Ms. Jews for Jesus / Abstinence-Only / Let Them Damn Polar Bears Die, why in god’s name did he pick Palin? And re: a more experienced, intelligent, and government-savvy WOMAN vs. Palin for VP- I’m pretty sure that Rice is running far and fast from politics after this election, and other women chose not to put themselves in the position of being a party favor.

    McCain did not pick Palin for some shining personality attribute or great governmental ability- he picked her because she seemed like a nonthreatening woman. “Give them damn ladies a woman on the ticket- that’s what they want, right? They can’t be worrying themselves about things like equal pay, healthcare, and the economy.”

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