- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Time to panic

“Make no mistake — the Democratic Party and its nominee have created the powerhouse that is Sarah Palin, and the party’s increased attacks on her (and even on her daughter) reflect that panic,” Tammy Bruce writes in the San Francisco Chronicle.

“The party has moved from taking the female vote for granted to outright contempt for women. That’s why Palin represents the most serious conservative threat ever to the modern liberal claim on issues of cultural and social superiority. Why? Because men and women who never before would have considered voting for a Republican have either decided, or are seriously considering, doing so,” said the writer, a former president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women and a registered Democrat until February, when she declined to state a party preference.

“They are deciding women’s rights must be more than a slogan and actually belong to every woman, not just the sort approved of by left-wing special-interest groups.

“Palin’s candidacy brings both figurative and literal feminist change. The simple act of thinking outside the liberal box, which has insisted for generations that only liberals and Democrats can be trusted on issues of import to women, is the political equivalent of a nuclear explosion.

“The idea of feminists willing to look to the right changes not only electoral politics, but will put more women in power at lightning speed as we move from being taken for granted to being pursued, nominated and appointed and ultimately, sworn in.”

Feminist’s lament

“Can someone please tell me what the hell happened?” Michelle Cottle writes in the New Republic.

“This presidential election was supposed to be a high-water mark for feminism. Hillary Clinton entered the primaries as the first female front-runner in our nation’s history. Better still, she wasn’t running as a Woman Candidate. … Whether she won or lost — though the widespread assumption was that her victory was inevitable — Hillary’s candidacy was expected to showcase what it means to be a broad-shouldered … modern woman,” the writer said.

“Then, amid the snows of Iowa, it all fell apart. To be fair, New Hampshire may be more to blame. Iowa was where Hillary’s inevitability narrative unraveled, but New Hampshire was where she got the idea that redemption lay in the legions of gals who rallied ‘round when the (mostly male) political establishment and punditocracy began salivating at the thought of her imminent demise.

“And, just like that, the strong, proud, fearless, gender-transcendent Hillary morphed into a disrespected, mistreated victim. Grievance feminism came roaring back with a vengeance. …

“Then, just when you thought it was all over and the recovery could begin, Republicans handed us Sarah Palin.

“The Palin pick is disheartening on so many levels. For starters, even what little we know about the Alaska governor’s policy views is enough to make a traditional feminist weep. The staunchly conservative Palin not only opposes abortion rights (even in cases of rape or incest), she also supports abstinence-only sex education and takes a strict free-market approach toward health care ….

“Even setting aside Palin’s political views, the governor’s candidacy is a slap in the face to all women. No matter how feisty she is or how darling she looks with a rifle on her shoulder, Palin is abjectly unqualified to sit one heartbeat away from the presidency.”

Obama’s mistake

“Ten days ago, Sen. Joe Biden was the most brilliant vice-presidential pick imaginable. He was going to add the experience and foreign-policy credential that Sen. Barack Obama’s thin resume was missing,” Ed Rollins writes at www.cnn.com.

“The so-called expert commentators were arguing that blue-collar Joe was going to guarantee Pennsylvania (because he was born in Scranton) and other states and get Catholic voters because he is a pro-choice Catholic,” said Mr. Rollins, who served as political director for President Reagan and national chairman of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign.

“I guess they forgot that Joe didn’t do so well with Iowa Catholics (23 percent of the population) when he campaigned there for more than a year in the Democratic caucus race. But then getting less than 1 percent of the vote and coming in fifth place showed he didn’t do real well with any voter group in Iowa. Nor did he do well anywhere else, other than Delaware.

“Then, after Sen. John McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, people laughed and said Biden was going to wipe the floor with Palin in the vice-presidential debate. Now, after her incredible convention speech, Biden is saying that he’s the underdog because he’s not a very good debater.

“If Obama had done the smart thing, he would have picked Sen. Hillary Clinton for vice president. If he had, he would have united his party for sure and energized his base.

“He just couldn’t do it and maybe thought he didn’t need to do it. He was wrong.”

Fashion statement

Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin made all kinds of political statements during her acceptance speech, but the fashion statement she made with her imported glasses is what dominated discussion among eyewear professionals, reporter Larry R. Vellequette writes in the Toledo (Ohio) Blade.

The North American distributor of the glasses, Italee Optics Inc., of Los Angeles, has increased its imports of the frames in response to Mrs. Palin’s appearance and the fashion firestorm it ignited, a company manager said.

“We were just talking about that,” said Judy Sulier, a certified optician at Pinnacle Eye Group in Bedford Township, Ohio. “I was going to go online to pull it up and see what it would take to get it into the office, because I’m sure people will be inquiring about it.”

Cathy Ashner, an optical technician, agreed that Sen. John McCain’s choice for vice president “made a good fashion statement” with her glasses during her prime-time acceptance speech. “She wears them very well. They’re very unique.”

Mrs. Palin, the governor of Alaska, wears customized glasses and frames from Japanese designer Kazuo Kawasaki. The high-end eyewear — the prices start at $600 — are frameless and allow the customer to choose from a nearly limitless variety of lens shapes.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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