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Citizen Voices

Palin as Working Mom Heroine - Or Not

The public's interest in validating McCain's choice of running mates in Sarah Palin, by considering her personal choices as a mom, is par for the course politically speaking. 

That said, the working mom debate fueled by Palin's nomination has outlived its usefulness.  The war between working moms and stay-at-home moms (SAHM) can't be won.  In my opinion, the main reason why this nomination has sparked controversy has to do with stereotypes of Republican women, namely that they are the SAHM variety.  The fact that Palin votes like a conservative but works like an empowered liberal seems to be creating cognitive dissonance in Democrats and euphoria in Republicans.

But unless you profess an expertise in child rearing, I say, let us Democrats leave Palin's role as a mom alone .  If she is a bad mom, it's between her and her kids.  Yes, she traveled out of state after amniotic fluid began leaking and her water broke in order to keep all pistons firing on her career.  No, I don't think this conversation would be as forgiving if Ms. Palin were a Democrat.  (That she was endangering the fetus apparently seems to be less of an issue because she's a pro-life candidate).


I still say, no matter what, working moms make sacrifices that may sound outlandish to outsiders and those decisions still mainly affect their relationships and families.

The same goes for her daughter, who will soon become a mom herself.  Many of us may hope that our own underage daughters avoid getting pregnant.  Let's (we Democrats) not confuse our own preferences or be too quick to cast the "hypocrite" stone at the Palin family, or for that matter, even the Republican base. 

A Musing Reamus from Carlsbad
September 09, 2008 at 01:31 AM
Alma-- I do not know where this "working Mom" debate is raging, but if it is, you are correct, it should stop. There are so many policy issue on which this person, a potential heart beat away, needs to be questioned, issues of work and gender,should be irrelevant. I for one care not a whit whether she works or hunts moose. I do really care to know if she does/did run a fishing company as she claims or was really not against the expense of the "bridge to nowhere" and whether she has any idea what the difference is between an "earmark" and "sequestered" funding means in federal legislation. Let's have a debate on the issues if she can do that and not be insulting about it. Then we can decide whether, based on that, not her fitness to raise children, if she is fit to help govern the country.

September 09, 2008 at 04:59 PM
I'm just waiting for the whole 'Palin' sensation/debate to die down and return to proper proportion. The primary function of the Palin nomination is as a celebrity-esque gloss on McCain's otherwise paint-drying campaign. The debate is being framed as Obama v. Palin - and the longer she can be sequestered away from the press, the longer this is an effective strategy. The McCain campaign has been reduced to a single minded strategy revolving around a single goal - win an election, then worry about how to run the country. Every 'idea' I hear coming from his campaign is a reactionary move or a negative attack. Obama is left to generate original ideas, good or bad, McCain then counterpunches. Like McCain's campaign manger said, this election is not about ideas. For McCain anyway..... Chris


A Working Mom
September 09, 2008 at 06:52 PM
As a working mom myself, I am horrified that Palin's nomination has sparked a debate about mothers who work outside the home. I think her situation is unusual, and is hardly typical of the experience of most working moms. First, I don't think it has any place in a discussion about whether or not she can do the job. From that perspective, I don't care about how many kids she has, or how many nannies she employs to care for them. Her personal choices are really none of my business. But they became my business when she (or, more likely, a political strategist) used them as talking points for her campaign. Apparently, she is a working mom just like the rest of us. And that's why we should vote for her. I know lots and lots of working moms, but none of us has a job with the demands of a vice-presidential candidate. We won't spend the next two months on the road, and (possibly) the next four years running the country. Most of us do the best we can to balance work and family. I have an infant close to the same age as Palin's. I can't imagine taking on the responsibility she has with a child so young to care for -- and a special needs child no less. I'm on the front lines of the Mommy Wars, and I am the most insulted by the stereotype of working moms as being self centered workaholics who leave childrearing to the nanny. Most of us work to bring home a paycheck. We are trying to care for our families financially, and if we're lucky we do that with work we also enjoy. Palin seems to prioritize her career above her family, and she only reinforces that stereotype. And that's fine -- it's her family, and her choice and I'm glad women have the opportunity to make that choice. Men have done it for years without criticism, and the double standard is unbearable. But to present herself as a "typical" hockey mom who works outside the home really does a disservice to the rest of us. I'm sure I speak for many other mothers when I say that I would not hit the road campaigning if I had an infant child and a pregnant teenager. All families have different priorities. I know a doctor who leaves most of the childrearing to his wife. He is a talented physician with many happy patients. And their family dynamic works well for them. He has engaging, well-adjusted children. His wife handles the house and home and that division of labor works for them. He probably won't win any father of the year awards, but he'd be my first choice if I needed medical attention. Does this mean that I think it's OK for men to pursue demanding careers while women are left to tend to the children? Not at all. It's just that the doctor doesn't try to convince me that he should operate on me based on his childrearing abilities. So it's time to focus on Palin the candidate and not Palin the mother. As a woman, I've had enough.

Matthew C. Scallon
September 09, 2008 at 08:02 PM
This may be a first, but I agree with Alma, at least to the degree of people judging Gov. Palin based on her family life. I knew if I read these blogs long enough, it would eventually happen. I also must say what hasn't been said yet. There's a degree of sexism in judging Palin's family life that doesn't apply to Sen. Biden. He spent three hours a day commuting back and forth from Washington to Wilmington, but I haven't heard the same degree of criticism of his decision to continue to work in the Senate while raising two boys on his own. It's as though Biden, as a man, isn't as responsible for the raising of his children of Gov. Palin is, as a woman, with much of that criticism for Gov. Palin coming from other women, of all people. Thus is why I don't think that a politician's family should enter into the political debate about a candidate and that politicians should leave their families out of the spotlight.

Dave from San Diego
September 09, 2008 at 09:08 PM
What do you know? There really is a democrat who is honest with themselves and the rest of the world. The greatest thing we have in American that sets us apart from third world countries and Europeans is individuality. It comes from the individual family not government. Unfortunately zealots reside in your party and wish to regulate everyone's life but theirs. I applaud you for scolding them! You are right your party is blowing it! Sending hordes of attack dogs to a little town in Alaska to try to drum up some dirt that does not exist on Governor Palin who by the way is a Vice Presidential can date. So where was all the brave press when a Presidential can date Obama was accused of associating with known Racists, Felons and has yet to explain the responsibilities of a town organizer? That’s right? Defending him! Oh by the way the only place I can find the term community organizer is in the teachings of Carl Mark’. I would think the American people would be more interested in who a Presidential Can date associates with then finding out if a Vice Presidential Can date was really a Hockey mom or not. Thanks again for being honest it’s to bad your comrades can’t say the same! I do have a question for you since I most likely could trust your answer. How does KPBS get tax dollar funding and why? When it's views only represent a small minority of the population.

Point Loman from Point Loma
September 09, 2008 at 11:02 PM
All I hear is conservatives (politicians and media) saying "the liberals need to stop attacking her personal life." But I haven't seen one attack. It's her campaign that is keeping these stories alive and then playing it up by giving us the woe is her bit. If you want to stop talking about it, stop talking about it. Let's get to some real meat. Oh wait, we can't do that, because they aren't letting her answer questions from the media. Have you ever heard of a candidate for vice president of the United States who, a week after the convention still won't take questions from the media. I could care less about her ability to run her family. I'm terrified at her lack of ability to run a country!

Point Loman from Point Loma
September 09, 2008 at 11:05 PM
Hey Dave, here are a few other "Community Organizers" to add to your list: Susan B Anthony - helped give women the right to vote Martin Luther King Jr. - Civil Rights Movement Ceasar Chavez - Migrant worker rights You must not be looking in the right places for your definitions and examples. Sheesh!

Margaret from RB
September 10, 2008 at 05:52 PM
Dave, everyone is free to post on this site. KPBS gets its funding because it is an unbiased source of information, which is key to a free and democratic process. You are here as proof that KPBS does not discriminate AT ALL as to who might enter the discussion. Let us keep looking to the candidates' records, their trustworthiness, and their platforms. Each has outstanding qualities, but we must remember that we are in times where serious deliberation must be made in our vote so that we find a President and VP capable of serious deliberation. An open mind is key to truly filter the information. This is not a game. Our children rely on us to secure their future, and we have an obligation to do our best and make an informed choice.

Lee from San Diego, CA 92014
September 10, 2008 at 09:54 PM
This current attack against Obama sponsoring a 'sex education' bill for young children.... why doesn't some media pundit bring up the fact that Sarah Palin opposed sex education in Alaskan schools and that didn't exactly work out... did it? Her teen daughter got pregnant... maybe... she would have learned to use a condom! Where's Palin's judgement? She's not a soccer mom, she's a governer, not making policy for her own home but governing a state! Heaven help this country if is this holly roller, tongue speaking 'pit bull with lipstick' is ever commander in chief!! Wake Up America!

Dave from San Diego
September 10, 2008 at 10:31 PM
Someone from Point Loma gave me their list of community organizers at least they claim so. So just what does a community organizer do? Where do you go to apply? Or do you just come up with an idea and call your self that? Who is in oversight of these so called community organizers? In other words then the 60's hippies were community organizers…they who spit on the troops when they returned from Vietnam and burned the flag of the United States. It sounds to me to be a fancy name for Anarchists who want their way and can't seem to get it through the democratic process. Margaret in RB. I agree with you this is serious. And giving any credibility to a community organizer for president is not the best way to protect our children. Especially one who has only ideas and both are ridiculous raise taxes and do away with the only security we have in this country the military? Maybe that is the definition of a community organizer. .

Matthew C. Scallon
September 11, 2008 at 02:32 AM
@Margaret from RB, while KPBS is a source of news, IMHO it's not an unbiased source of news. Think back: when was the last time KPBS ran a story critical of Planned Parenthood? Other news sources, include the Los Angeles Times, have, but KPBS has yet to report anything that portrays the abortion industry in anything but a favorable light. Now, don't get me wrong. I use KPBS as a source for news, but I don't use it as my source for unbiased news. The closest anyone gets to that ideal is C-SPAN, and they don't have reporters.

Dave from San Diego
September 11, 2008 at 03:54 PM
Lee for your information American has awakened. People are beginning to ignore the leftwing cry for more government control of our lives. Nationalizing social issues is socialism even Marxist. Why is the left so in love with being controlled by morons. The government could care less about kids other wise it would not sponsor abortions. Government does not care about eliminating poverty other wise it would not reward people for failure. Government is made up of bureaucrats who in most cases could not make a living in the private sector of the real world. Government does not care about our health otherwise they would not be trying to take over health care when they already know it will fail miserably as it has in other countries. So why would you want these people teaching kids about sex? Teaching sex in the inner city schools has really worked well hasn't it? If I am not mistaken Chicago has the one of the highest pregnancy rates. They even have special schools for unwed mothers. Oh! Excuse me messiah Obama was the community organizer or something like that. That's why the news media doesn't mention it they are more interested in Sahara Palin's Daughter and some $60.00 expense charge. Obama represents all the ugliness and arrogance of the left's useless ideology that has no merit or compassion for anything but power and wealth. This ideology has been fed to us through a biased news media as propaganda for decades. Finally it is being exposed for what it is and all the useful idiots who blindly follow it are frustrated now.

A Musing Reamus from Carlsbad
September 11, 2008 at 10:31 PM
Dave, I am not sure where you were educated, what you use for news sources or how you ever got through fourth grade with a mind that seems firmly springloaded to the closed position.Try not to embarrass yourself out there in the "private sector." It is views like yours, irrelevant to this post, that make me glad I don't know you. Why don't you and Lee just hurl your invective in e-mails and let those who wish respond to the subject of the post? If you ever come out of that fog you live in, go to a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen run by a non-profit, faith based organization at four in the morning and maybe you will see comminuty organizer making breakfast soome some of his or her god's less fortunate. You can add that to you life list of things you will know about then and move on to the next irrelevant subject.

Matthew C. Scallon
September 14, 2008 at 04:08 AM
@A Musing Reamus from Carlsbad, far be it from me to judge anyone here, but, just as a word to the wise, let me restate the User Agreement and Guidelines: "Personal attacks, profanity, harassment based on class, disability, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, race, sexual orientation, or other offensive conduct will not be permitted." I'm sure that what Dave has said can raise your ire, but, for your own sake, might I suggest that phrases like, "It is views like yours ... that make me glad I don’t know you," may come dangerously close to breaking the Agreement? Of course, I'm not standing in judgement. I'm just trying to suggest that we try to play nice.

Matthew C. Scallon
September 14, 2008 at 04:11 AM
Take 2: @A Musing Reamus from Carlsbad, far be it from me to judge anyone here, but, just as a word to the wise, let me restate the User Agreement and Guidelines: “Personal attacks, profanity, harassment based on class, disability, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, race, sexual orientation, or other offensive conduct will not be permitted.” I’m sure that what Dave has said can raise your ire, but, for your own sake, might I suggest that phrases like, “It is views like yours ... that make me glad I don’t know you,” may come dangerously close to breaking the Agreement? Of course, I’m not standing in judgement. I’m just trying to suggest that we try to play nice.

XU Student from Cincinnati
September 16, 2008 at 03:16 PM
I think that we have strayed from the original point of the blog here. The discussion I believe should be based on what we think about Gov. Palin as a VP candidate and whether her title as a working mom is relavent to the election. Personaly I would like to know more about her qualifications for being the VP. If McCain were elected and could not ful fill his duties for what ever reason she would become our president due to the 25th amendment, from what I've seen and heard, thus formulating my own opinion and not regurgitating someone elses, I'm worried that she would not make an affective president. As for the issue of her being a working mom, well thats her deal. The reason that it is being pushed into the media so much is because she and the McCain campaign pushed it into the spot light. If they droped it I believe it would be less relavent, I'm not going to act like it wouldn't have been brought up though. I base what I think about her on her qualifications to head a government and not on her family issues. I openly accept anyone's reply, but as Matt has said let's try and keep this civil, so that we may have an informed and respectable disscusion. I would like to apoligize for any misspellings, as I am not the best speller in the world.

Matthew C. Scallon
September 16, 2008 at 10:29 PM
@XU Student from Cincinnati, it is a strange feeling to have someone hold me up as the voice of civility. Usually, I'm the one accused of "poking the bear," so I thank you. There are two problems here. One is that politicians parade their families into the public sphere as if, by showing that they have a family, they deserve to be elected. Given that criterion, I have a wife and son, making me just as deserving to be elected as they are. Don't worry; I'm not ready to throw in my hat just yet. The other is that we the public expect them to talk about their family life. Politicians may not know how to read, but all of them can count. If we as a people didn't demand to know every last detail about a candidate's personal life, the politicians wouldn't try to put their family life in the most positive light. I've said this before; forgive me for repeating myself. I wish our real politique was more like the old Soviet Union, at least to the degree that the only way anyone knew that the premier had a family was to attend his funeral. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening.