Tammy Bruce has an op-ed piece plumping for Sarah Palin, “A feminist’s argument for McCain’s VP”. Bruce apparently likes a inverted form of the genetic fallacy in which she seeks to gain approval for her arguments by identifying herself as liberal and feminist. Bruce sees things starkly, as befits a Fox News analyst. Between Hillary Clinton getting a raw deal from the Democratic primary process and the Republicans choosing a female VP candidate, Bruce assures us that the feminist response must be to embrace the true feminist-sensitive folks, shown in this election to be the Republican party. Those inconvenient statements from McCain and Palin on women’s reproductive health? Never fear, argues Bruce, they haven’t made those a priority in their past political lives, so we can be sure that they will not ever use their authority to push those issues. It’s utterly safe to vote for them this fall, according to Bruce.
I don’t think so.
I don’t know that I could call myself a feminist or sign on to various examples of twaddle that have passed for feminist commentary. I do know that I’d have had no issues on account of gender if Hillary Clinton had headed the Democratic Party ticket this fall, and my current opposition to the Republican Party ticket is certainly not premised on the gender of the VP pick there. But I don’t for a moment believe that gender is all it takes to inject an appreciation for equal rights into a campaign or an administration. Would Bruce argue in the same vein if McCain had picked Phyllis Schlafly, that most implacable foe of the Equal Rights Amendment, as his running mate? Unfortunately, I don’t have any evidence that would say “No”. Others have noted that Bruce’s words rarely, if ever, seem to corroborate her self-classifications. So far as social agenda is concerned, Sarah Palin has done nothing to distinguish herself as being other than a younger, less strident, and more attractive Phyllis Schlafly. Feminism is not an obligate stance of those who are physically female (or their exploiters), and Tammy Bruce is certainly making no sale on her argument with me.