September 8, 2008

Busting the Palin Caricature

Marc Comtois

The ProJo editors and From Harrop (perhaps one and the same--and Harrop's piece is particularly nasty) are quite exorcised over GOP VP nominee Sarah Palin's social stances. As Steven Hayward writes, "The left and the media are trying to force Palin into a rigid social-con box..." But C-Span ran video of Palin in the 2006 Republican debate during the Alaska governor's race that shows she's pretty pragmatic when it comes to sex education and birth control. Byron York has more details:

[T]here was a passage in the debate that will lay to rest all those reports we have seen that Palin supports abstinence-only education when it comes to sex. It seems Palin had written in a questionnaire that she opposed "explicit" sex-ed programs, so she was asked:

In a recent survey you said that you would support abstinence-until-marriage education but that you would not support explicit sex-ed programs. What are explicit sex-ed programs, and does that include talking about condoms in school?

Palin's answer:

No, I don't think that it includes something that is relatively benign. Explicit means explicit. No, I am pro-contraception, and I think kids who may not hear about it at home should hear about it in other avenues. So I'm not anti-contraception. But yeah, abstinence is another alternative that should be discussed with kids. I don't have a problem with that. That doesn't scare me, so it's something that I would support also.

As for the charge that she would push "creationism", well, that's false, too. Here's an AP account of Palin's stance on teaching creationism and evolution in schools (via Jim Lindgren, who was initially critical of Palin on this issue):
As a candidate for governor, Sarah Palin called for teaching creationism alongside evolution in public schools. But after Alaska voters elected her, Palin, now Republican John McCain's presidential running mate, kept her campaign pledge to not push the idea in the schools.

As for her personal views on evolution, Palin has said, "I believe we have a creator." But she has not made clear whether her belief also allowed her to accept the theory of evolution as fact.

"I'm not going to pretend I know how all this came to be," she has been quoted as saying. . . .

When asked during a televised debate in 2006 about evolution and creationism, Palin said, according to the Anchorage Daily News: "Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both."

In a subsequent interview with the Daily News, Palin said discussion of alternative views on the origins of life should be allowed in Alaska classrooms. "I don't think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn't have to be part of the curriculum," she said.

"It's OK to let kids know that there are theories out there. They gain information just by being in a discussion." . . .

Neither have Palin's socially conservative personal views on issues like abortion and gay marriage been translated into policies during her 20 months as Alaska's chief executive. It reflects a hands-off attitude toward mixing government and religion by most Alaskans.

"She has basically ignored social issues, period," said Gregg Erickson, an economist and columnist for the Alaska Budget Report.

As Hayward observes:
...she's much more about bread and butter issues and good government that [sic] a frothy social-con agenda. Sure, she has social-con views, but what people don't recognize is that she exudes Alaska's very libertarian, live-and-let-live attitude, such that her expressed policy views are much more moderate.
Is it too much to ask that the press not jump to conclusions? And they wonder why they are stereotyped as the "MSM" and "liberal media"? How about a little more digging before printing your assumptions? Here's some help.

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C'mon-you stick a name like Froma on a kid and expect them to grow up into a nice person?
It was a nasty piece.If I recall Harrop herself was on the receiving end of some pretty harsh criticism from Jerzyk-land for her Clintonista loyalty.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 8, 2008 12:28 PM

Froma Harrop get something wrong? No way! There's a shocker. What's next, she comes out with stating for a fact that she saw Obama heal the sick and raise the dead? That Obama will wave his hand like a Jedi and end fighting in all corners of the earth.

"these are not the droids you're looking for"

Posted by: James L at September 8, 2008 12:30 PM

James, In fairness to Harrop, I'd hardly call her and Obama supporter. Her gal was Hillary based on the the prototypical feminist litmus test on "choice."

Posted by: Marc at September 8, 2008 12:55 PM

Like so much of the liberal orthodoxy, they are showing themselves as the true hypocrites that they are here with Palin.
What has them so worked up is the fact that here we have a woman, - feminine, but not a feminist - who clearly has it all; has a family, is still married to her 1st husband, believes in God, is for the 2nd Amendment, pro-life, hardworking and above all - happy, normal and successful. That last part is what gets the left wing nuts so worked up, "happy, normal and successful."
She did it all herself without affirmative action and other left wing policies. She embodies the anti-left in so many ways, it shows them up like the complete and utter frauds that they are. What Sarah Palin says, loud and clear, is that you can have it all through hard work, principles and determination. What the left wished she would say is she needed the handouts and affirmative action policies that they hold so near and dear. Sarah Palin represents the truth to the big fat liberal lie.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at September 8, 2008 1:27 PM

Mike-what the left would die for is for her to have had to coattail herself to a lowlife who humiliated her in front of the whole world(and then went on to sabotage her campaign with his EGO)so that the one thing she worked so hard for on her own was ruined.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 8, 2008 1:38 PM

No matter what candidate she supports (or even if she tries to pivot back left), Froma just comes across as a real snob in print (not just there; met her a time or two years ago in previous employment). She's no Molly Ivins (someone you'd enjoy a beer with if you disagree with her politically).

Posted by: rhody at September 8, 2008 2:45 PM

She's a Maureen Dowd wannabee. And who the hell would wanna be Maureen Dowd.

Posted by: George at September 8, 2008 5:51 PM

The left-wing attempted to assassinate Palin's character over her ability to be a working mother and VP, whether or not she was taking pre-natal vitamins while she was pregnant with her Down's syndrome child, whether she was her daughter was the mother of her Down's syndrome child, denigrating her small-town roots by referring to her as a mayor of 8,000 people instead of referring to her as "Governor", etc. (the list goes on).

None of that gained any traction, so now they're questioning her religion.

"When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?"
--Pete Seeger

60's re-treads like From Harrop would do well to ask themeselves that question from the 60's.

Posted by: Anthony at September 8, 2008 6:04 PM

Do we know for a fact that Froma penned that absurd editorial herself, or is that just a supposition?

Anyway, if we are referring to the one in the Saturday edition of the Projo (which I only saw because Ian Donnis posted an excerpt on his blog), then we have very little to worry about indeed. The more the MSM tries to belittle and demean her, the better it is for us. Period.

I'll cut them some slack, as the editorial was largely based on what others have said about her, and not any kind of objective facts. It was little more than a poor reiteration of largely disproven liberal talking points. The Projo, despite its current non-local ownership, still has deep roots with the liberal/moderate brand of Yankee Republicanism of a certain former junior senator who shall remain nameless.

Posted by: Will at September 9, 2008 12:56 AM

There are a lot of bitter, old atheist women journalists and activists out there who are literally in tears that the first woman in the White House might be a Christian opposed to killing babies.
Eleanor Clift, Cynthia Tucker, Fromma, Dowd and many more.
Though they won't let on they are also sick that their hero picked a used up old hack and plagiarist who got 9000 votes over Hillary who got 18.5 million.

Posted by: Mike at September 9, 2008 8:39 AM

Anthony, trust me, Froma's no '60s retread. She was a former business reporter (that biz department at the ProJo is SUCH a hotbed of liberalism LOL).
If she was around then, she'd probably have dated the football players who assaulted hippies (or been one of the Globe or Herald reporters who slipped Harvard football players fivers to bust peace rallies back in the day just so they'd have a story - I've heard that tale straight from the mouth of a participant).

Posted by: rhody at September 9, 2008 11:27 AM

The fact that Harrop was once a business editor for the New York Times, may say more about the Times' liberal leanings than about Harrop's business acumen.

And yes, Ms. Harrop was around in the 60's. She attended NYU (not exactly a bastion of conservatism now or during the 60's) from '68-'72.

Her columns usually reflect her politics, which are very liberal.

Posted by: Anthony at September 9, 2008 5:19 PM

Look at how much posting she did from her conventions. In a time where some very industrious ProJo staffers are having to take buyouts or face layoffs, she sure gave Belo some bang for its buck, eh?

Posted by: rhody at September 9, 2008 11:58 PM

rhody, agreed there. She's another one of the Projo's "veteran" columnists who was semi-retired before actually being retired. Maybe she and M. Charles could collaborate on a weekly food column. Call it "Forget Wine. Be a Food Snob. Or Just be a Snob."

Posted by: Anthony at September 10, 2008 2:12 PM

Here's a REAL Sarah Palin caricature:

Posted by: Mark at September 18, 2008 2:32 PM
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