Why would a woman vote for Sarah Palin?

Morten Hoi Jensen

Morten Hoi Jensen

It is largely agreed upon that Republican candidate John McCain at least partly chose Alaskan governor Sarah Palin as his VP choice in order to appeal to the women voters who supported Hilary Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee.

As renowned feminist, Hillary Clinton famously said, “women’s rights are human rights.” Sarah Palin, who recently appeared on the cover of Newsweek sporting a sawed-off shotgun and a trigger-happy smile, is a self-proclaimed “hockey mom.” But in what way does Sarah Palin appeal to women voters (especially Clinton supporters), aside from the fact that she is a woman?

One thing that struck me is that Palin is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and, judging from that Newsweek cover, enjoys hunting and killing animals (and, presumably, guarding herself from the A-rabs and commies). Guns and killing, it seems to me, are not often considered to be the kind of pastime woman usually indulge in, although there are obviously exceptions. Still, I don’t find it a sweeping generalization to claim that the obsession with firearms is most prevalent among men, which Freud will explain the reasons for.

More important than Palin’s attitude toward guns, however, is her attitude on abortion. In November of 2006, Palin apparently, and ridiculously, stated that she would not even support abortion if her own daughter was raped. So fierce is her religious fanaticism that she would rather condemn her own daughter to carry, bear, and take responsibility for a child that was consummated in complete violation of her body and her human rights than to acknowledge that every woman has an inviolable right to make her own decision about her own body.

I wonder if Sarah Palin has considered the prospect of a thirteen-year-old girl being raped and impregnated by her father. “Choosing life” is a rather cynical response in the event of such a crime.

And yet, the contemptible celebrities interviewed by various TV stations this weekend seemed reluctant to talk about anything other than Palin’s style and fashion. Never mind that there is a genuine risk of increasingly irresponsible gun laws; never mind that the government might be allowed to decide what a woman can or can’t do with her own body; never mind that Palin’s actions are governed by the illusions of the divine, convincing her that the earth, contrary to all scientific theories, is 6000 years old. Never mind all that, because at least she dresses well.

I sincerely hope women aren’t fooled by the rhetoric and the deceptive smile of “the hockey mom” who, as Sam Harris pointed out, has never met a foreign head of state. Instead, I hope that hearing Obama’s speech in the BankUnited Center on women’s issues made us all realize who the greater feminist is.

September 28, 2008


Morten Hoi Jensen

Contributing Opinion Writer

14 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Why would a woman vote for Sarah Palin?”

  1. Mel says:


    Your comments are ruthless with no premise. Both sides are at fault, both equally arrogant.

    By overgeneralizing you have failed to show your education. You are being selective with your samples, how about all the great liberals?

    To be honest, I stand here as an independent. I was so excited to see Sarah Palin get nominated, at first glance.

    To comment on Rays comment as well… Barack Obama ISNT a muslim. And what if he was? I DON’T CARE. You live in a country with thousands of cultures, religions, and you dare discriminate one religion? How dare you. You are unpatriotic, and don’t represent America’s beauty of acceptance. There are radicals in all religions, please don’t make me name the ones in Christianity alone because this post will become a scroll.

    Second, in talking about Obama and Palin’s experience, objectively… Obama has more… but I do agree ALL CANDIDATES need to be investigated…so why the overlook in Palins investigation?

    Her governmental knowledge is basic, which is uncalled for in a presidential candidate. McCain would have had a better chance with a different candidate. She has an 80% approval rating, as you cited, because of the religious trends the Republican party has polarized to.

    They are combining Christian Faith with patriotism with purity of morals and eventual bliss. This is dangerous. We are a nation of many religions…SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE?

    But for all of you chatting, I would recommend to stop demeaning the other side, because in effect you are hindering the unity of this country. Debate, talk about facts, but by attempting to demean character you are no better than the very politics you whine about.

    I wish I had more time to review what I wrote, or to develop my ideas but I am on a 10 minute class break and I must go.

  2. Euphoria says:

    You said that guns are not something that women usually like. Isn’t that a sexist statement. The feminists believe that women are equal to men so she has every right to like guns. As far as abortion, you are dealing with basic beliefs that are related to religion. Are all women pro-life? Religion is a strange thing since it was taught to kids as babies.

    For example when you are taught you have past lives since a baby, it is easy to believe. If you are taught the opposite, it is hard to believe in it. Palin has beat men to get where she is and wants to show that a woman is good enough to be in the White House and in 2016 to lead the country as President of the United States.

  3. Viviane says:

    First of all, I would like to inform the writer, Joi Jensen, that women’s rights may have to do with their own bodies; however, in case of an abortion, you’re defnitely aborting someone else’s body. Surely there are a number of babies conceived during rape, and sometimes the mother unselfishly decides to carry that child to term, even though it would be perfectly legal for her to declare the death sentence on her INNOCENT baby, even if there weren’t any reason at all. So we shouldn’t like Sarah Palin because she can shoot a gun and knows how to kill a moose, and we shouldn’t like her because she believes that unborn like if still a gift from God. And she must be brainwashed since she’s gone to church since she was 12. The same people surely believe that Obama’s radical pastor Wright is just right, and all of Obama’s other radical associations are nothing to worry about. I tell you what, with this election, one thing I’m not worried about is how much (donated) money Sarah Palin spent on her wardrobe.

  4. Aleah says:

    Uhm, Ms. Palin certainly isn’t everything I stand for. In fact, I can’t think of much of anything we have in common. I’m primarily all about teaching people to have an open mind, and book banning, abstinence only sex ed, and throwing God into every view possible certainly do NOT embody an open mind. Trust me, I’m for seeing women in power, but I am not giving my vote to someone just because they’re female. Palin, somebody who couldn’t even define her own potential job’s roles (see link), as VP would not make me proud to be a woman. It would make me fear the stereotype she sets for the powerful American female.


  5. women who care says:

    Sarah Palin is everything women stand for. Because she has values and opinions that differ from you does not mean she is any less of a woman, and probably means she is more of one. The women who lead the anti-Sarah Palin campaign that attack her character vs. disagreeing with policy have very little minds and are an embarrassment to women- yes, all of you negative vindictive women who embarrass the gender. Go Sarah Palin, make us proud- be the change Obama could not put on his ticket- wouldn’t true change have given us Hillary on the ticket too? Instead we have Biden- whew, what radical change, Hillary would have been just politics as usual I guess.

  6. Jacqueline says:

    In 2008, we saw the Democratic Party, its surrogates and partisans become unhinged with misogyny towards Senator Clinton and Governor Palin.

    It was excrutiating for me, a Republican, to find myself openly rooting for Hillary Clinton because of the execrable treatment she received in the media; moreover, that which I heard from the unscripted lips of people in the street. I saw it repeated with Sarah Palin, only far worse, and bordering on the neurotic.

    I think a lot of feminists were made in 2008. And you can be sure not many will forget how Democrats treated women running for the two highest offices in the land. Justify it any way you want: it left a very bitter taste in many of our mouths.

    As a student at the Univ. of Miami, it pains me to admit just how vituperative campus feeling is. I never remember it being this bad before. Our campus was notorious for being apolitical (and that’s a good thing). But now? Daily dreck from professors and staff alike.

    I love me some ‘Canes, but I cannot wait to see a lot of people eat humble pie in 2009.

  7. Kay says:

    Folks who read headlines and not the accompanying artiles; folks who believe Sarah Palin is anything but Caribou Barbie; and women who are simply voting for the McCain/Palin ticket because they happen to share a chromosome with Palin …. represent pure ignorance. Unfortunately, there are many of them as they also don’t believe in birth control. Oooops … apparently Palin’s daughter doesn’t either. How’s that abstinence teaching going in your house, Ms. Palin? You can rest assured if Obama had a teenage daughter who was pregnant, the lemmings would be singing a different tune.

    These are the same folks that think Obama is muslim; somebody will steal your internal organs after you are drugged in a bar; and that Santa is real.

    McCain/Palin is Bush lite and we all know where that’s gotten us. As the bumper sticker reads: the only Bush I trust is my own!

  8. Kelsey Hazzard says:

    Ray: Obama is not Muslim. And even if he were, Muslim does not equal “criminal” and “racist.”

    It annoys me that many far-right activists are simultaneously claiming that he is Muslim and that he adheres to the preachings of Jeremiah Wright. It can’t be BOTH.

  9. Mike says:

    Man, I’m glad I graduated from UM before this election. Since 2003, UM has gone from a properly balanced, open-minded university, that encouraged open debate among liberal and conservative students alike.

    The subsequent year made me realize that liberals are some of the most hateful and intolerant people I have come across. Simply supporting Bush in 2004 earned me scornful looks, degrading comments, etc. Myself, and my other Republican friends, on the other hand, accepted what was said on the left as a valuable opinion on the other side of politics.

    Now, in 2008, it appears that just being a Republican is enough to lose friends, have your opinion shouted down, and be further discriminated against. Not to mention the notion that if you support the right of the people to keep and bear arms you have a small penis.

    Still, I find all of this so very humorous. Why? The liberals are always claiming to be the party of “free speech.” At the University of Miami this is not so true. They are the party of “free speech; so long as we agree with it.”

    I wish the liberals currently attending UM were similar to the ones I knew my freshman year: truly open-minded and for real free speech.

    Thank God I graduated in time.

  10. When it comes to politics, Governor Palin has an 80% approval rating. To become governor, she beat the present governor who had been a U.S. senator (Republican) before that for over 20 years. Then she beat the former governor of Alaska. So is she like a witch or is she like St Joan of Arc?

  11. Morten Hoi Jensen says:

    Yes, there is just too much stupidity in that comment for it to be real.

  12. Kelly says:

    haha there’s no way “Ray” is a real person.. must be a troll.. that comment is just too stupid on too many levels to be legit.

  13. Ray says:

    Why are u democrats so concerned with Palin’s background but absolutely deaf and dumb with regards to that freak who is running for President in the democratic party? Are u democrats so stupid that u think by deflecting attention to Palin Americans will not pay attention to this criminal/racist/muslim who should be investigated immediately before he gets any closer to the office of the President of the USA? When are u democrats going to investigate this traitor who has gotten a free pass as to who he really is and where he really came from?

  14. Kelly says:

    Don’t be fooled by her high heels– Sarah Palin is the most anti-woman politician in years. For the sake of neutrality, I’ll ignore the fact that Palin is opposed to abortion and just focus on non-debatable FACTS.

    1. As mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, she supported BANNING BOOKS from the local library because of “bad language” and tried to fire the librarian who scoffed at her request, saying that she did not “support the mayor”. I don’t care if you’re the most left leaning or right leaning person on the political spectrum, banning books is a BLATANT violation of our Constitution, and even the concept of banning books is something only extremists support. Liberals and conservatives alike criticize oppressive governments like China, The Taliban, Iraq under Saddam, etc – and censorship/banning of literature is one of the most popular tools of oppression for both left wing and right wing extremists. It should not be acceptable to ANY American.

    Source: http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1837918,00.html

    2. She was almost recalled as mayor of Wasilla because of controversial firings of a state trooper and a library director.



    3. She has attended a church from age 12 to the present, where the Reverends Sermons make Jeremiah Wright look like a moderate. Some examples of his sermons include:
    “”I hate criticisms towards the President,” he said, “because it’s like criticisms towards the pastor — it’s almost like, it’s not going to get you anywhere, you know, except for hell. That’s what it’ll get you.”
    During the 2004 election season, he praised President Bush’s performance during a debate with Sen. John Kerry, then offered a not-so-subtle message about his personal candidate preferences. “I’m not going tell you who to vote for, but if you vote for this particular person, I question your salvation. I’m sorry.” Kalnins added: “If every Christian will vote righteously, it would be a landslide every time.”
    “Jesus called us to die. You’re worried about getting hurt? He’s called us to die. Listen, you know we can’t even follow him unless you are willing to give up your life. … I believe that Jesus himself operated from that position of war mode. Everyone say “war mode.” Now you say, wait a minute Ed, he’s like the good shepherd, he’s loving all the time and he’s kind all the time. Oh yes he is — but I also believe that he had a part of his thoughts that knew that he was in a war.”


    4. In addition to her pastor’s beliefs, Palin has made her own statements regarding God’s role in politics. Of particular note, she believes that “God’s plan” involves a 30 billion dollar gas line:

    “I think God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that,” she said.


    5. She was a member of a fringe political group that advocated secession of Alaska from the USA.

    How much do you have to dislike the USA to join a group that wants to secede from the union? Its one thing for an average citizen to support, but someone who is about to be the Vice President of a country she at one point didn’t even want to be a part of? Running alongside a man who’s campaign tagline has been “Country First” ?


    6. She was the director of a fundraising group for Sen. Ted Stevens…. who has been indicted on corruption charges. She stated that she was still “behind him”.


    7. She is a staunch supporter of “Abstinence Only” Sex Ed, while her 17 year old unmarried daughter is 6 months pregnant. Though she claims she wasn’t trying to hide this, the speculation began when her daughter was quite obviously draping herself with a blanket and Palin’s youngest child, an infant with Down’s Syndrome. In a hypocritical bit of political irony, Palin has stated that this is a “private matter”. However, not only does she not believe it’s a private matter for the rest of American women, she also made a public spectacle of her “choice” to give birth to a baby with Down’s. So its only a “private matter” when it’s going to hurt her public image, but a very public matter when appealing to the pro life vote. She is now trying to appease her “values” voters by saying that her daughter will marry the father of this baby. Would anyone like to guess what the divorce rate is for 17 year moms?

    8. This is probably the scariest of all. It appears as though John McCain actually wanted to pick Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge as VP, but was pressured or forced to chose Palin to satisfy the fundamentalist/pro life conservatives. Do we really want another 4 to 8 years of a government so easily controlled by the corrupt pockets of the religious right, and scary folks like Karl Rove?



    9. She sued the EPA for adding Polar Bears to the “threatened species” list because protecting them was “too expensive” and “there is no proof that global warming is affecting their habitat”. She also hunts moose and other wildlife with semi-automatic rifles. Awesome.

    10. She only received her passport in 2007 and has not been a part of ANY international networking or policy making. By all factual accounts, I have more foreign policy experience than our potential Vice President. If that doesn’t scare you…I’m not sure what would.

    11. Palin supported charging women for their rape examinations. This is absolutely disgusting, considering rape is already grossly under-reported and under-prosecuted, and charging women for rape-kit examinations only makes it that much harder to protect the human rights of American citizens. Ironically, Alaska is the state with the highest occurrence of rape in the U.S.

    Source: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/21/palin.rape.exams/index.html

    So there you have it. Your Christian, moral, “values” candidates for 2008. A guy who cheated on his disabled wife and then divorced her for the younger, wealthy bimbo he was having an affair with, and a woman who supports banning books, is the mother of a pregnant teen, and thinks killing living things with long-range weapons is a “sport.”

    With respectable republican women out there like Elizabeth Dole and Condoleeza Rice, and moderate republican men who could have changed the face of our political system to actually attempt to mend the huge and growing divide between the two parties, the republicans have chosen the female version of George Bush to be our vice president. Keep in mind, not even Bush supports banning books, and had at least left the country more than twice before being nominated for higher office.

    In contrast, Obama’s running mate, Senator Biden, wrote legislation that helped protect women from domestic violence. Compare this to McCain’s policies when he consistently voted against legislation in Congress that would have given women equal pay and other basic rights.

    I understand and respect that some people can not bring themselves to vote for Obama. That’s fine… but at least write in someone you can actually feel good about voting for. And a vote that leaves America one heart beat away from a Sarah Palin presidency should NOT feel good to anyone sane.

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