Saturday, August 30, 2008

What's with David Frum and Women?

National Review's David Frum refers to Gov. Sarah Palin as "an untested small-town mayor."

Earth to Frum: She's governor of Alaska. And not only that she has an approval rating above 80%. Not a bad score when Congress is at less than 20%, the President at 30%, and the two presidential candidates in the 50% range.

Back when Frum was going ballistic over the Harriet Myers nomination he called attention to Miers' secretarial skills on punctuation, as though that trumped the fact that she was a successful lawyer and White House counsel.

If you disagree with a pick, fine. But to denigrate Palin with the snide remark about being an untested small-town mayor when she's a successful state governor is the sort of ugly, sexist politics that National Review needs to reject.

UPDATE: NR's Jonah Goldberg has weighed in against the Obama campaign describing Palin as a "former mayor" though not specifically taking David Frum to task for doing the same thing:

The phrase "former mayor of a town of 9,000" was repeated all day long by Obama surrogates and talking heads. The problem is thatwhile yes, she's the former mayor of a small town, she's also currently the governor of Alaska. There's no way the phrase "a former community organizer" or "former state senator" would be allowed to stand as Obama's highest qualification. But that phrase was used or recycled uncritically about Palin all day long.

And it's only fair to note that Mark Steyn, also writing on NR's Corner blog, praises the choice of Palin stressing that his take is quite different than Frum's:

Over in the Frumistan province of the NR caliphate, our pal David is not happy about the Palin pick. I am - for several reasons.

First, Governor Palin is not merely, as Jay describes her, "all-American", but hyper-American. What other country in the developed world produces beauty queens who hunt caribou and serve up a terrific moose stew? As an immigrant, I'm not saying I came to the United States purely to meet chicks like that, but it was certainly high on my list of priorities. And for the gun-totin' Miss Wasilla then to go on to become Governor while having five kids makes it an even more uniquely American story. Next to her resume, a guy who's done nothing but serve in the phony-baloney job of "community organizer" and write multiple autobiographies looks like just another creepily self-absorbed lifelong member of the full-time political class that infests every advanced democracy.

Second, it can't be in Senator Obama's interest for the punditocracy to spends its time arguing about whether the Republicans' vice-presidential pick is "even more" inexperienced than the Democrats' presidential one.

Third, real people don't define "experience" as appearing on unwatched Sunday-morning talk shows every week for 35 years and having been around long enough to have got both the War on Terror and the Cold War wrong. (On the first point, at the Gun Owners of New Hampshire dinner in the 2000 campaign, I remember Orrin Hatch telling me sadly that he was stunned to discover how few Granite State voters knew who he was.) Sarah Palin and Barack Obama are more or less the same age, but Governor Palin has run a state and a town and a commercial fishing operation, whereas (to reprise a famous line on the Rev Jackson) Senator Obama ain't run nothin' but his mouth. She's done the stuff he's merely a poseur about. Post-partisan? She took on her own party's corrupt political culture directly while Obama was sucking up to Wright and Ayers and being just another get-along Chicago machine pol (see his campaign's thuggish attempt to throttle Stanley Kurtz and Milt Rosenberg on WGN the other night).

Fourth, Governor Palin has what the British Labour Party politician Denis Healy likes to call a "hinterland" - a life beyond politics. Whenever Senator Obama attempts anything non-political (such as bowling), he comes over like a visiting dignitary to a foreign country getting shanghaied into some impenetrable local folk ritual. Sarah Palin isn't just on the right side of the issues intellectually. She won't need the usual stage-managed "hunting" trip to reassure gun owners: she's lived the Second Amendment all her life. Likewise, on abortion, we're often told it's easy to be against it in principle but what if you were a woman facing a difficult birth or a handicapped child? Been there, done that.

Fifth, she complicates all the laziest Democrat pieties. Energy? Unlike Biden and Obama, she's been to ANWR and, like most Alaskans, supports drilling there.

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