Monday, September 29, 2008

The Grand Old Party Party?

Here's a fun lawsuit! Washington state Democrats went to court to try to force Dino Rossi, Republican candidate for governor, to identify himself on the ballot as "Republican". Instead, Rossi has listed himself as representing the "GOP Party". The judge ruled that although the party listing is confusing, it's technically within the law and since early voting has already begun, should stay on the ballot.

State Democrats sued last week, saying Rossi was trying to hide his party affiliation because of low approval ratings for the party nationally. They cited a recent poll that showed some voters don't know what GOP means. "The use of the term 'GOP' by Dino Rossi to try to cloak his membership in the Republican Party, we think, is a tactic that shouldn't be allowed to be used," said Kevin Hamilton, an attorney for the Democrats. Republicans and the Rossi campaign argued that Rossi has used the term "GOP" for years and that voters know what it means.
The state, arguing against the Democratic Party's lawsuit, said there wasn't time to reprint thousands of ballots that already have been readied for the November election. More than 2,000 military ballots have been mailed, and almost 150 have been completed and returned, according to the Secretary of State's Office. "I'm not sure the extent to which all of the parties to this litigation get the fact that the general election is already under way," said Katie Blinn, the state assistant director of elections.
Much of Friday's hearing was spent discussing the administrative hassle that would come with reprinting ballots. But Judge Richard Eadie said it came down to two state statutes: one that says candidates can list their own party affiliations, and one that says the affiliations should be listed the same way on both primary- and general-election ballots.
"It seems to me some confusion is unavoidable — inevitable," Eadie said. But he felt it was better to take the chance some people might be confused in the governor's race than to have two different ballots being used in the same election. "I think going out and changing the ballot now ... would open the door to any number of issues about the finality of this election," he said.
The Democrats pointed to a Sept. 19 letter indicating that Republican leaders, too, have been concerned about polls by local pollster Stuart Elway showing that as many as 18 percent of Republicans didn't know that GOP and Republican are synonyms.
We get that the Democrats lost the lawsuit because there's nothing in the state election laws that forbids what Rossi did, and because it would have been a big inconvenient mess to reprint all of the ballots that have already been printed this close to the election. But we still think Rossi was stupid to list his party affiliation that way - ballots should have correct party names, not nicknames. Sure, most people probably know that GOP is a nickname for the Republican party, but not everyone does, so referring to your affiliation that way on a ballot can only cause confusion. Why is that necessary? Does Rossi just love the nickname GOP so much that he can't stand to ever refer to his party by its proper name? Surely he couldn't possibly be trying to distance himself from the unpopular Bush administration in what's generally considered to be a blue state, right? That can't be it.

If you're so ashamed of your party that you need to try to hide behind a potentially confusing nickname, you need to change your party affiliation, not your listing on the ballot.

Here's Rachel Maddow's take. The GOP Party - double the party, double the fun! We love her.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The John McCain Time Out Technique

So, the McCain campaign was totally suspended for a minute there. Sure, a list of talking points about the suspended campaign came out, which I guess they needed since McCain advisers were all over TV talking about the suspended campaign and bashing Obama in the process. Oh, and McCain campaign ads never stopped running. And the campaign offices across the country stayed open. But it was suspended. Really. McCain also wanted tonight's debate to be postponed, because obviously you can't debate during a crisis like this. (Of course, Bush and Gore debated in the wake of the USS Cole attack in 2000 and a Reagan/Carter debate in 1980 went ahead during the Iranian hostage crisis. And Congress probably won't be negotiating at 9:00 on Friday night, and even if they were they probably could live without Senator McCain for a few hours, especially when you consider that he is the most absent member of the 110th Congress, even beating out a senator who missed several months after suffering a brain hemorrhage.) After all, being president doesn't require multitasking, handling multiple important issues at once, or being accountable to the American people. Rock on with that whole "country first" thing, Senator McCain.

All sarcasm aside, we think McCain was really on to something with this "time out" strategy to the campaign and the debate. Rather than give up on it, he should just consider experimenting with it in other political areas. A few ideas:

~Let's ask all the terrorists around the world to take a time out for a little bit so that we can focus on the economy without worrying so much about national security issues. They'll understand. And then our troops around the world could get a time out too! Bet they wish they could do that.

~We should really get pregnant women to time out their pregnancies while we sort out this whole Roe v. Wade thing.

~If McCain gets elected, maybe he could get major gatherings of world leaders, like the UN and the G8 Summit, to agree to time out when it's time for his afternoon nap.

~McCain could ask Spain to take a time out while he figures out which hemisphere they're in.

~Since the president can't actually fire the chairman of the SEC, even though McCain claimed that's what he would have done if he were president right now, maybe he could compromise by asking him to just take a time out instead.

~Obama should take a time out for a little while to give McCain a chance to catch up in the polls. It would be the polite thing to do.

~The media should just time out until after the election. Enough with all of the tough questions and demanding access and interviews! Running mate Sarah Palin has already tested the 'media time out' strategy and it seems to be working out for her.

~At age 72, maybe he can strike a deal with God/Father Time/The Fates/The Flying Spaghetti Monster/etc. to time out his aging process for a few years.

We're open to other suggestions. And we'll be back with coverage of the debate itself, and more fun stuff on the soon as we sober up.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More Fun With Fiorina

Carly Fiorina, we miss you. Please convince the McCain campaign to let you start doing interviews again so that you can say some more stupid things and give us more material.

John McCain senior advisor Carly Fiorina dismissed suggestions Sunday that women supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (R-N.Y.) will turn away from Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) because of her anti-abortion rights views.

“The Democratic party has done a disservice to women by trying to hold women hostage to the issue of Roe v. Wade,” Fiorina said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “The truth is the most important issue to women, all the polls say this, is the economy. Women are not single issue voters.”
Democrats believe in each woman's right to choose what is right for her life, her family, her circumstances, and her health. Republicans believe in limiting options and making choices for women. If women are "held hostage", it is not by the party that believes we deserve the freedom to control our own bodies, to take advice from our doctors rather than our Senators, to have access to accurate information to help us in our decisions, and to have affordable health care and support so that we can truly plan our families in the best way possible.

There is only one candidate in this race who holds the belief that women and girls who are victims of rape and incest should be forced to carry any resulting pregnancies to term. I imagine many victims in that situation would feel like they were being "held hostage" by the men who raped them. And Sarah Palin's not on the Democratic ticket.

It's true, Carly. Women aren't single issue voters. That's why so many of us will be voting for the Democrats in November - we don't want to be held hostage by anti-woman policies for four more years.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sarah Palin: Not a Feminist

I've seen and participated in some conversations over the last few days, both online and in person, about whether Sarah Palin could ever be considered a feminist. I've been surprised to see quite a few people arguing that she can be, and I have to disagree. For every article or blog we can find sharing our opinion, there's another (usually written by someone who has no idea what feminism actually is) praising Sarah Palin's for being a feminist".

Being female, does not automatically make you a feminist. Benefiting from feminist, does not automatically make you a feminist. Feminists advocate equality for women. Sarah Palin... does not. Feminists are concerned with women's rights. Sarah Palin... is not. Feminists stand up for human rights and civil liberties. Sarah Palin... does not.

So I'd just like to do a quick review of my reasons why Palin is not a feminist.

~She has an extreme anti-choice position. She opposes the right to choose, even in cases of rape or incest. She also opposes the use of public funding for abortion. She has praised her daughter Bristol for choosing life, however she would like to deny every other woman in America the right to make that choice. I don't think we need to elaborate on this one, because it's pretty clear why this is an issue.

~She supports abstinence-only sex education. She has been quoted as being in favor of public schools teaching abstinence-only sex education. When asked if she would "support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?", Palin said that explicit sex-ed programs "will not find my support." She later 'clarified' (um, backpedaled) that she is "not anti-contraception" but I'm not completely convinced. I don't know what she means by explicit sex-ed, but it's not as though high schools are showing children pornography. Generally, use of the term "explicit" (which is a highly subjective term) when applied to sexual education classes, means "comprehensive", medically accurate, age-appropriate information. It's sort of hard to be pro-contraception if you're against funding programs that would teach students how to use said contraception.

Let's just look at the high school in Wasilla, Alaska (the tiny city where Palin was Mayor and where her daughter Bristol attended classes)... They have an abstinence-based sexual education curriculum and are barred from distributing contraception.

~She is on the ticket with a man who "certainly does not want to discuss" the issue of Viagra/BC/insurance. I don't see how a feminist (who's also allegedly "pro-contraception") could support this:

Question: "Earlier this week Carly Fiorina was meeting with a bunch of reporters and talked about it being unfair that insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control. And- "

McCain: I certainly do not want to discuss that issue".

Question: "But apparently you’ve voted against-"
McCain: "I don’t know what I voted-"
This is an important issue for women both in terms of equality and fairness and women's health, but it's also an economic issue, since that birth control costs money. And obviously there's been a lot of debate around this issue, but how fair is it to women for a candidate to say they can't even be bothered to discuss it? We have discussed this issue ad nauseum here, here, and here.

~She is on the ticket with a man who opposed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. John McCain opposed the Act, the purpose of which was to protect women and racial minorities from pay discrimination by making it easier for them to pursue pay discrimination claims. He actually went so far as to claim that the Act would not do anything to help the rights of women. (Except, you know, getting them fair wages and all that silliness).

~She is on the ticket with a man who has repeatedly voted against legislature that would benefit children and/or working mothers. McCain was rated by the Children's Defense Fund Action Council as "America's worst senator for children". When President Bush vetoed legislation that would expand SCHIP (the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides health insurance to families with children that were unable to afford insurance, but technically don't qualify for Medicaid), McCain said it was the "right call".

In 1993, he attempted to weaken the FMLA (the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows an employee to take unpaid leave due to a serious health condition or to care for a family member). While John McCain supported tax cuts for the wealthy, he opposed many programs that would benefit working families and also opposed programs that would've benefited children's schools.

~She is on the ticket with a man who voted against the Violence Against Women Act. John McCain twice voted against VAWA, which provides federal funding for sexual assault and domestic violence prevention and treatment programs. (He also employed a staff member, arrested more than once for domestic violence. Not that that really matters to his campaign, but it's still an interesting tidbit of trivia).

~She cut funding for sexual assault victims and made them pay for their own evidence testing. Alaska has the highest rape rate per capita (more than 2.5 times the national average) and the highest rate per capita of men murdering women. It's unclear if Governor Palin has done anything to address this issue, other than cutting the funding of its victims. While Mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin supported a police chief's decision to charge victims of rape for their own rape kits because he didn't want to "burden" taxpayers. We don't bill other crime victims for the costs of gathering evidence (such as fingerprinting the crime scene), so why should rape victims be any different just because the evidence may be found on their bodies? The kits can cost between $300 and $1,200, but without them it can be much harder to make an arrest or conviction. Currently most of the funding Alaska receives for sexual assault and violence against women programs come from the federal government and under VAWA, states that receive funding are barred from charging rape victims for their own sexual assault tests (so it wouldn't have actually been as much of a "burden" as they claimed).
Palin fired the former police chief because she didn't have his "full support" (which I suppose, includes counting the cost of rape kits in his budget requests). And although it's been speculated that she fired the former Public Safety Commission over a dispute about her ex-brother-in-law (in what is now known as Troopergate), Palin maintains that he was fired over "budget disagreements". New reports are suggesting that these budget disagreements may have also been related to rape; it may have had a lot to do with his unapproved request for federal money from Washington to fund a specialized sexual assault department (sorta like Law & Order SVU, Alaska-style). Sure we understand that he didn't have permission, but um, is she that much of a control freak that she'd actually have a problem with some federal funding to help investigate and prosecute one of Alaska's most prevalent crimes? If it means the state would have to pay for rape exams and if those exams included "Plan B" emergency contraception (which isn't technically an abortifacient, but that's not stopping the Bush administration from saying it is), maybe she would.

It's also interesting to note, that the commissioner she originally appointed to replace him, resigned after his prior sexual harassment claim went public.
~She slashed funding for a home for teen mothers. During her tenure as Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin vetoed funding for a state program for Covenant House Alaska, a mix of programs and shelters for trouble youths, and reduced their funding more than 20 percent. Included in the programs, was Passage House, which describes itself as a transitional home for teenage mothers that helps them "gain the necessary skills and resources" to "become productive, successful, independent adults". Guess the only pregnant teenager who deserves a chance is Bristol Palin.

~She is on the ticket with a man who opposed allowing women to serve in combat roles in the military. In 1991, during a debate over women pilots, John McCain said that the purpose of the military is to "defend the nation's vital security interests" before ensuring equality, which basically is a big slap in the fact to all the capable female soldiers who he feels aren't able to "defend the nation" well enough. He also said "some of the people that might capture them can be pretty mean" (because they'd be super nice to the men they captured) and "at no time in the history of our nation have women been in combat roles". Of course, a lot of things in the history of our nation have been pretty messed up. Our history includes slavery, segregation, denying blacks and women the right to vote... Just because it's in our history, doesn't make it right. What if when women were fighting for suffrage, we decided against it because at no time in the history of our nation have women had the right to vote? McCain is old fashioned and out of touch, but Sarah Palin doesn't seem to have a problem deferring to him.

~She is on the ticket with a man who has a history of sexist comments. John McCain has joked about rape, called a teenage Chelsea Clinton ugly, laughed when Hillary Clinton was called a bitch, called his own wife a cunt, and so much more. McCain has made so many sexist, offensive, and politically incorrect jokes and other inappropriate comments in his long lifetime. And while I'd never consider "lipstick on a pig" to be a sexist phrase, since McCain/Palin's campaign keeps insisting that it is, then I suppose McCain was being sexist too when he said it to refer to Hillary Clinton's health care plan.

~She only calls out sexism when it benefits her. She stood by and laughed while another woman was called a "cancer" and a fat jealous bitch. She said that Hillary shouldn't even mention the sexism that she faced because of the "perceived whine" and that Hillary should just work twice as hard to prove herself. Now that she's the one in the spotlight, it's suddenly okay not only to mention sexism, but to claim that any and all questioning and criticizing of your background is just sexist.

I don't agree with all of the stuff that's been said about her - for example, the rumor that she had an affair - but it's not really much worse than what they've said about male candidates in the past. (I mean, what politician hasn't been accused of an affair?) Of course, the sexism about how she is so hot isn't that great, but she doesn't seem to mind that so much. And the sexism about how she's awesome because she's just a hockey mom of five... She's guilty of that one herself. But questioning her actual qualifications? Not okay according to the Republicans.

It's interesting to note that many feminists have defended Sarah Palin against the actual sexism she's faced, despite disagreeing with her on most issues.

~Actual feminists strongly oppose her and her policies. Gloria Steinem, founder of Ms. magazine and one of the most famous feminist icons ever, called her the "wrong woman". Eve Ensler, playwright best known for the Vagina Monologues, referred to Palin's beliefs and practices as "antithetical to Feminism". Jessica Valenti, author of Full Frontal Feminism and executive editor of Feministing, wrote that Palin is "disastrous for women's rights" and "as anti-feminst as they come". Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, called her personal positions on women’s issues "extremely negative". A press release from the National Organization of Women proclaimed that Palin "opposes women's rights".

~She has garnered the support of notoriously anti-feminist people. Ann Coulter - who once said that "it would be a much better country if women did not vote" - thinks that Sarah Palin "finally gave Republicans a reason" to vote for McCain. Phyllis Schlafly, one of the leading opponents of the Equal Rights Amendment, has reportedly praised Sarah Palin as being "right on every issue". (However, it is interesting to note that she doesn't consider Palin a feminist either - although perhaps, for different reasons than ours - she said that she "doesn't have any of those attributes of feminists"). Even Mike Huckabee likes her! He claimed she "got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States." (Of course, that's completely untrue: Palin got 616 votes in 1996 and 909 in 1999, while Biden got over 70,000 votes in 23 states before dropping out of the race after the Iowa caucus. Apparently Huckabee is as bad at math as he is at science. One thing we know he has no clue about is feminism).

We recently blogged about how much more of a feminist Joe Biden is. I think his record shows an interesting contrast to the record of Sarah Palin. I think the criteria for what it takes to be a "genuinely pro-woman politician", as laid out on The Feminist Underground makes this point very well:
  • A pro-woman politician must actively defend women's equality.
  • A pro-woman politician must defend the rights of diverse types of women.
  • A pro-woman politician works to ensure that women are protected from violence, assault, and hate crimes.
And I agree with the author that Palin doesn't fit the pro-woman criteria. The question was asked "is supporting a woman candidate an inherently feminist act?" No. In this case, it's pretty clear that the most pro-woman candidate really is a man this time.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Republican Roundup: It's All Dumb!

Let's get to it, we've got a lot to cover.

~Bill O'Reilly recently talked with Vogue contributing editor Rebecca Johnson, who wrote a profile of Michelle Obama for the magazine.

O'REILLY: How did you find her in person? Was she engaging?
JOHNSON: I found her lovely, actually, very bright, very thoughtful and, you know, an impressive person, intelligent. She was great. I was impressed.
O'REILLY: Now, I have a lot of people who call me on the radio and say she looks angry. And I have to say there's some validity to that. She looks like an angry woman. Did you ask her about that?
JOHNSON: Don't they say that about you, too?
It goes without saying that Bill is a moron for pushing the old "angry black woman" stereotype here. As the segment went on he continued to push the issue of whether Michelle might be angry. But our favorite part has to be "did you ask her about that?" Johnson had just finished saying that after spending half a day with Michelle Obama, she found her to be "lovely", "great", and "impressive". So why would she have asked about Michelle's alleged "anger" when she clearly didn't perceive Michelle as angry? And even if she had perceived Michelle that way, she wouldn't necessarily have asked her about it, both because that might be kinda rude and also...well, does every person who interviews Bill O'Reilly inquire about his pompous douchebaggery? Sometimes these things just don't come up.

~The McCain campaign has already received complaints from several musicians, including Heart, who have requested that the Republicans not use their music at campaign events. But this week the campaign received a cease and desist letter from an unlikely source: Fox News. A recent McCain web ad contained an audio clip of a comment made by correspondent Major Garrett and Fox News wants Garrett's voice removed: "We demand that you immediately remove Mr. Garrett's voice from this ad. As Mr. Garrett is a nonpartisan news correspondent covering the Obama campaign for Fox News, it is highly inappropriate, among other things, of your campaign to use him in your ad." The McCain campaign replied that they will not honor the request, but Fox News had the last laugh when they were able to get the video removed from YouTube with a copyright claim. Fun!

~Fox News host Sean Hannity has forgotten one of the most important rules of this campaign, which is that family is off-limits! During his interview with Sarah Palin, one of the first things he asked was how her family felt about her being chosen by McCain and whether they all had a "hockey team meeting" to discuss it. Okay, I guess we can give him a pass for that one - it's a fairly standard and generic question and it's not like she'd have to go into a lot of personal details to answer it. But later, Hannity starts talking about Palin's son Track, who is in the army and is about to be deployed to Iraq.
Hannity: "You just said goodbye to your son, who is off, he's going to serve in Iraq. First, on the personal side, what did you say to him as he was leaving for Iraq, and what did he say to you?
Uh, Sean, isn't the "personal side" also the "private side" which is also supposed to be the "off-limits" side? Isn't the answer to a question like this supposed to be "none of your business, Sean"?
Palin: Well, as a mom, you know, he's heading to Iraq taking a fifth of my heart with him, you know? And I'm just so extremely proud of him - he's independent and he's strong and he's serving for the right reasons. I'm just as proud of every man and woman in uniform serving our country and trying to usher in democratic values to the rest of the world, protecting our freedoms. Very, very proud of these guys and these gals. They are America's finest and I think that, you know, the Army is lucky to have my son.
What my son said to me, though, was — it was an awakening for me to realize that he knows what he is doing in this and he knows that he has chosen the right reason to serve. I was just being mom to him just a few weeks ago — no V.P. talk even then — but just as mom I was probably getting on his nerves, asking him a whole lot of question about the deployment and about he and his Stryker brigade, what his job will be and he's like, Mom, I belong to the Army now. I belong to America.

She keeps saying that her son is serving "for the right reasons". We'd love hear more of her thoughts on what the "right" and "wrong" reasons are to serve in the military.

Palin: He did. And he was telling me, Mom, it's going to be OK and I've chosen to do this. And you know, I'm like, man, thank God for this voluntary military that we have with America's finest. These young men and women, they just — they just make me so proud.
Hannity: He said that to you?
We're a little confused by all of this. Why does Bristol Palin have an absolute right to total privacy, to have no questions asked and no judgments raised about her, but her brother Track doesn't have that same right? It certainly can't possibly be because Track's military service is "noble" and a plus for the campaign, while Bristol's teenage pregnancy is "shameful" and a potential minus, right?

~Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole is running for re-election in North Carolina this year against Democrat (and Emily's List candidate) Kay Hagan. One of the criticisms of Dole is that doesn't actually spend much time in North Carolina and is out of touch with the people of her state and what they want and need. She attempted to dispel that criticism by talking about her deep ties to the state, including the business that she owns there, which she could barely remember the name of.

Dole (while laughing): I think (Hagan) has indicated many times that I'm from Kansas. But my roots are very deep in North Carolina. Very deep. Here, I grew up in Salisbury, went to the public schools, spent 11 years on the Duke board after I graduated from Duke, own a home there. I own a business in North Carolina, for goodness sake. My family roots go way, way back.
Reporters: What business do you own?
Dole: We had a family farm, which was turned into a real estate development. And it's just outside of Salisbury. It's just a beautiful development.
Reporters: What's the name of the development?
Dole: [10-second Pause followed by nervous laughter] Well...
[Another pause]
Reporters: It's fine if you ...
Dole: I have to stop and think for a moment. [Brief pause]
Reporters: If you can't think of it, it's fine.
Dole: I'll get it for you. I will.
Reporters: Well, I also wanted to ask you about the tone of the race and your opponent's ...
Dole: It's Forest Glen. That's right. Because it's right in the forest where my dad had a little cabin and built a little pool for us as children. That's right. Forest Glen.
Another Dole fun fact - she was the only woman senator of either party to vote against a nonbinding resolution affirming Roe v. Wade.

~During an appearance on a radio show, McCain campaign advisor and former CEO of HP Carly Fiorina said that Sarah Palin would not be capable of doing her old job.
"Do you think [Sarah Palin] has the experience to run a major company, like Hewlett Packard?" asked the host.
"No, I don't," responded Fiorina. "But you know what? That's not what she's running for."
During an appearance later in the day on MSNBC, Fiorina added, "Well, I don't think John McCain could run a major corporation. I don't think Barack Obama could run a major corporation. I don't think Joe Biden could run a major corporation."

Well, if anyone's an expert on being incapable of doing this particular job well, I guess it would be Fiorina. But it does beg the question - if Fiorina doesn't judge McPalin capable of running a large corporation, why is she confident in their abilites when it comes to running the country? Especially since, as the events of the past week have shown, it's a job that requires quite a bit of knowledge about how corporations work and what their relationship with the government should be. Guess Carly will have time to ponder all of these issues during her McCain campaign mandated media time out.

~More fun from the Hannity/Palin interview!

Hannity: Let's talk about Senator Biden, your counterpart. He's spent over 30 years in the Senate. He's been on the Foreign Relations Committee. One might even wonder if Barack Obama would want to debate him. That is going to be your task. How big of a challenge do you view the upcoming debate with Senator Biden?
Palin: Senator Biden has tremendous amounts of experience. I think he was first elected when I was like in second grade. He's been in there a long, long, long time. So he's got the experience. He probably has the sound bites. He has the rhetoric. He knows what's expected of him. He is a great debater, also. So yes, it's going to be quite a task in front of me.
Ah, the backhanded compliment. That Joe Biden, he sure is old and he's been in the Senate forever and he's probably in a bunch of old boy's clubs and stuff, right Sarah? (For the record, Palin is 44 and Biden is 65. He's been a Senator for 35 years, having started his Senate career at the minimum required age of 30.) We know that Palin only met John McCain once before he picked her, but she has hung out with him quite a bit since then, so surely she's noticed that McCain is old (72, which is seven years older than Biden!) and has been in the Senate forever (21 years, plus a couple of terms in the House before that). She is right about one thing - the debate is going to be "quite a task" for her. We'll definitely be watching.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Joe Biden: Honorary Vagina-American?

With all of the talk about Sarah Palin, the fact that she has a vagina, the issues surrounding the various people associated with her vagina, the Republicans who are a little too excited about her vagina, the question of whether other Vagina-Americans will vote for her because of shared vaginaness, and so on, there hasn't been too much said about how Palin really measures up against her opponent, Senator Joe Biden, when it comes to women's issues. We're going to do a link and quote roundup with an overview of Biden's history on the issues that we as Vagina-Americans care about.

[Much of this information comes straight from Senator Biden's website, but we've tried to throw in a lot of other links that confirm the details and/or provide more info on the issues.]

Domestic Violence

~The one accomplishment related to women that people do often bringing up in talking about Senator Biden is the fact that he wrote the landmark Violence Against Women Act. The act was passed in 1994, and Biden has guided it through each of its reauthorizations, adding new elements each time.

We could fill up a whole entry just talking about VAWA (and we will in the near future), but here's just a quick list of some of the things that VAWA has done and tried to do over the years: provided grants for things like law enforcement programs that teach police how to respond to domestic violence and treat it seriously, provided funding for domestic violence shelters, created the National Domestic Violence Hotline, supported capital improvement programs to make public places like parks and public transportation safer, developed youth education programs, supported research into a variety of issues related to violence against women, set up confidentiality guidelines to protect domestic violence victims, counselors, and shelters, and programs to reach specific groups of women, like immigrants, women living in rural areas, and homeless women and girls.

Here's what Senator Biden has to say about VAWA:

"I consider the Violence Against Women Act the single most significant legislation that I’ve crafted during my 35-year tenure in the Senate. Indeed, the enactment of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 was the beginning of a historic commitment to women and children victimized by domestic violence and sexual assault. Our nation has been rewarded for this commitment. Since the Act’s passage in 1994, domestic violence has dropped by almost 50%, incidents of rape are down by 60%, and the number of women killed by an abusive husband or boyfriend is down by 22%. Today, more than half of all rape victims are stepping forward to report the crime. And since we passed the Act in 1994 over a million women have found justice in our courtrooms and obtained domestic violence protective orders."

For more information about the ongoing efforts to combat violence against women, start with the site for the Justice Department's Office on Violence Against Women.

~In the fall of 2007, Senator Biden (along with Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana) introduced the International Violence Against Women Act. I-VAWA was created with input from more than 100 organizations, including Amnesty International, Family Violence Prevention Fund, Center for Women's Global Leadership, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Legal Momentum.

This groundbreaking legislation (S. 2279) would ensure that our foreign assistance programs include efforts to end gender-based violence...Specifically, the International Violence Against Women Act will:
  • Create one central Office for Women's Global Initiatives to coordinate the United States' policies, programs and resources that deal with women's issues. Never before has there been one person who reports directly to the Secretary of State on issues related to gender-based violence.
  • Mandate a 5-year comprehensive strategy to fight violence against women in 10 to 20 selected countries and provides a new, dedicated funding stream of $175 million a year to support programs dealing with violence against women in five areas: the criminal and civil justice system, healthcare, girls' access to education and school safety, women's economic empowerment, and public awareness campaigns.
  • Require training, reporting mechanisms and a system for dealing with women and girls afflicted by violence during humanitarian, conflict and post-conflict operations. As the recent reports from the Congo make tragically clear, in situations of humanitarian crises, conflict and post-conflict operations, women and girls are particularly vulnerable to violence. Reports of refugee women being raped while collecting firewood, soldiers sexually abusing girls in exchange for token food items, or women subjected to unimaginable brutality and torture as a tactic of war are shocking in number and inhumanity. There is a dire need for increased training and reporting requirements for refugee workers to help crack down on these brutal acts of violence. In addition, the bill crafts a new designation of "critical outbreaks" and requires emergency measures when rape is used as a weapon of war or in conflicts where violence against women is sharply escalating with impunity.
"Violence against women and girls violates their basic human rights. It impedes women's full and active participation in their communities and societies," said Sen. Biden. "Stopping gender-based violence isn't just the moral thing to do; it's also smart diplomacy since violence contributes to the poverty, inequality and instability that threaten our security."

~In 2007, the Senator introduced the National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act, an innovative initiative that would recruit volunteer lawyers and match them with domestic violence victims. The program would use the resources of the American Bar Association and the National Domestic Violence Hotline to set up an online network that would match up volunteer lawyers with domestic violence victims in need of legal help, and would provide the lawyers with extra training and mentoring in domestic violence issues.

“Thousands of victims of domestic violence go without legal representation every day in this country. We can't allow this to continue,” said Sen. Biden. “When victims can obtain effective protection orders, initiate separation proceedings and can rely on safe child custody hearings, they are more likely to come out of the shadows.”
A variety of organizations joined together to support this legislation, including Battered Women’s Justice Project, National Association of Women Lawyers, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, National District Attorney’s Association, National Legal Aid and Defenders Association, National Network to End Domestic Violence, and

~Senator Biden joined with Susan Collins (R-ME) to introduce a resolution designating January as National Stalking Awareness Month (S.Res.414).

This is the fifth consecutive year the Senate has considered the resolution, which applauds the efforts of policymakers, law enforcement officers, victim service providers, and other groups that currently promote stalking awareness.
"Stalking is not a one-time occurrence; this is a crime that leaves its victim fearful 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No place - not even home - is safe if a stalker knows where the victim lives. Victims spend their days and nights looking over their shoulder, often changing jobs, relocating their homes, and even changing their appearance to escape the stalker," said Sen. Biden, author of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. In many instances, victims usually know their stalkers and 81 percent of women victims are also physically assaulted by their stalker. "January is National Stalking Awareness Month - the perfect opportunity for parents, lawmakers and community leaders to carefully review state and local laws on stalking and insist that laws keep pace with technology and protect victims."

Stalking is a serious and scary thing, especially because it can be difficult to take legal action against a stalker - laws vary (and are non-existent in some areas), it can be difficult to prove that you are being stalked or to get law enforcement to take you seriously or to take action unless something even worse happens to you, and some of the laws that do exist haven't been updated to account for all of the new technology out there that makes stalking so much more "convenient" these days. So it's an issue where raising awareness and increasing understanding is really important.

For more information, start with the Stalking Resource Center at the National Center for Victims of Crime (a project supported by a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women).

~Along with Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Senator Biden announced the week of February 4 - 8, 2008 as "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week". (S. Res. 388 passed the full Senate in December.) This marks the third year that the United States Senate has declared the first full week in February a time to encourage local, state and national organizations, governments and private industry to call attention to the tragedy and pervasiveness of teen dating violence in our communities. The crime of teen dating violence, including physical, emotional and sexual assault, and harassment via texting, email or Instant Messaging is a reality for many American teenagers. Like drug abuse, it's a reality of which many parents are unaware.

"Over the past decade we've made tremendous progress on transforming society's understanding that domestic violence is a crime; more women are stepping forward to report abuse and get the services they need. Today's young people need to hear those same messages and access age-appropriate services in our schools, courtrooms and community centers. It is critical that we guide our teenagers towards respectful relationships, and learn to expect nothing less than violence-free lives," said Biden.
The Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Initiative was started by teens through the American Bar Association in 2004. In 2006, the first national "week" was declared by Congress and was declared in 2007 as well. Both years, a number of governors declared proclamations, and today, the Initiative includes over 45 national, state and local agencies and organizations as partners. For help, you can call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at 866-331-9474 or 866-331-8453 TTY. And for information, visit

Reproductive Rights

~Senator Biden supports the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade that protects a woman’s right to choose. Believing family planning could help prevent many unwanted pregnancies, Senator Biden has consistently supported Title X – the nations’ family planning program - that provides information, services, support, and research for family planning.

Much has been made of the Senator's statements that he personally believes that life begins at conception, but he has repeatedly said that he supports choice because he does not believe that he has the right to impose his view on others. He does oppose public funding for abortions, because he believes that would fall under "imposing a view". He also supports the partial-birth abortion ban, but he did criticize the decision handed down by the Supreme Court in upholding the ban: "You had an intellectually dishonest rationale for an honest justification for upholding the ban. I know this is going to sound arcane--they blurred the distinction between the government's role in being involved in the first day and the ninth month. They became paternalistic, talking about the court could consider the impact on the mother and keeping her from making a mistake. This is all code for saying, "Here we come to undo Roe v. Wade." What they did is not so much the decision, the actual outcome of the decision, it's what attended the decision that portends for a real hard move on the court to undo the right of privacy. That's what I'm criticizing about the court's decision."

Senator Biden has also voted no on parental notification and voted against the ban on abortions on military bases. He supports stem cell research. He supports comprehensive sex education. He voted to fund legislation that would "require equitable prescription coverage for contraceptives under health plans and create and expand teen pregnancy prevention programs and education programs concerning emergency contraceptives". And he cosponsored a bill that seeks to reduce unintended pregnancies by increasing funding and access to family planning services, including contraception. The bill points out that use of contraceptives actually saves public health dollars in the long run, and also that "contraception is basic health care". What a concept.

Family & Kids

~Senator Biden recently received a "Best of Congress" award for his family-friendly work policies.

U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) has been honored by Working Mother Media and Corporate Voices for Working Families with the Best of Congress award, for improving the American quality of life through family-friendly work policies. The award spotlights Senator Biden’s congressional leadership in supporting working families through legislation and for employing family-friendly policies in his own office. A profile of Sen. Biden is featured in the August/September 2008 issue of Working Mother magazine, which hits newsstands today, and at
“As a parent and grandparent, I understand the challenges facing American families,” said Sen. Biden. “We need to focus on lifting up – not wearing down – American families.”
For this inaugural award, Sen. Biden was judged on his voting record, sponsored and co-sponsored legislation and his efforts to promote legislation that supports working families. Sen. Biden has long supported initiatives like paid family leave to give Americans the flexibility they need to both take care of their families and remain working. He continues to fight for a higher minimum wage and to end pay inequality. An “A-Plus Education Advocate,” Sen. Biden has supported proposals to help states provide full-day prekindergarten, championed legislation to reduce class sizes, particularly in the early grades, and offered an innovative pilot program to make college more affordable. Sen. Biden’s work in the 110th Congress also includes fighting for children’s health insurance, leveling the playing field between workers and employers and promoting women’s healthcare.
“Not only did we judge Senator Biden on his voting records for supporting working families, we also examined the benefits that his own employees receive like paid leave and flextime,” said Carol Evans, CEO, Working Mother Media. “Senator Biden is stepping up voluntarily because he believes in progressive policies and acts on his beliefs in the real world managing his staff.”
“Senator Biden has shown what can be accomplished through legislation and a personal commitment to policies that benefit working families,” said Donna Klein, president and founder of Corporate Voices for Working Families. “As our nation wrestles with a host of economic and other issues involving working families, Senator Biden deserves to be congratulated and recognized nationally for his leadership and support.”

~As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Biden helped steer two major child support initiatives into law – one makes it a federal crime to cross state lines to avoid paying child support; the other ensures state courts honor the child support order of other states.

~A series of laws Senator Biden authored in the last two decades help America’s parents protect their kids from sexual predators. In 1994, he required every state to establish a registry for convicted sexual offenders; in 1996, he helped create the national registry of sexual predators, so these criminals could not move from state to state to avoid being tracked. In 2003, he authored the Victims of Child Abuse Act, increasing funding for Child Advocacy Centers. And in 2006, he authored the Adam Walsh Act, which establishes registration requirements to ensure convicted sex offenders can’t slip through the cracks and harm our children. And the Combating Child Exploitation Act, passed by the House of Representatives in October 2007, takes a bold step forward in addressing the growing problem of child exploitation by creating a strong nationwide network of highly trained law enforcement experts to track down these offenders and put them away. Specifically, the bill requires the Department of Justice to develop and implement National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction. Requiring the Department to develop this strategy will ensure that we are taking a comprehensive, forward-looking approach to address this growing problem. In addition, the bill increases the number of federal agents focused on child exploitation and builds upon the critical Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program to ensure that we have at least one cyber unit in each state dedicated to these cases.

~Senator Biden supports the idea of making two years of pre-school available to all parents. He also wants to make big increases in the numbers of kids who are served by the Early Head Start and Head Start programs - from 900,000 to 2 million for Head Start and from 60,000 to almost a quarter of a million for Early Head Start. He has also advocated for more resources for the Women, Infants, and Children program that provides food, nutrition counseling, and access to health services to pregnant women, new mothers, and their infants.

~Senator Biden supports expanding SCHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, to allow more children to participate, and increasing outreach efforts to enroll every child eligible for SCHIP and Medicaid—so that families won’t have to rely on emergency rooms to get needed health care for their children.

Equality/Non-Discrimination/Civil Rights

~Senator Biden was one of the co-sponsors when the Equal Rights Amendment was reintroduced in 2007.

~Senator Biden believes in equal pay for equal work, so he supports both the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Fair Pay Restoration Act. This is the statement that he issued on Equal Pay Day of this year:

“It is true that America has come a long way since the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law. Yet, we observe Equal Pay Day in the month of April because a woman typically has to work nearly four months longer than a man just to earn what he did in one year. This is simply not fair. And with a record 70.2 million women in the workforce, this wage discrimination hurts American families across the country.

“In the coming days, the Senate has an opportunity to take a step toward correcting this injustice by passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007, as our colleagues in the House did earlier this year. It is time to put aside partisan politics and uphold this country’s longstanding commitment to equal rights – including the principle that equal work should yield equal pay.”

The Fair Pay Restoration Act and its companion bill in the House were introduced after the Supreme Court's (stupid and unfair) decision in Lily Ledbetter's discrimination case, where the court ruled that Lily was not entitled to compensation even though she had been paid less than her male coworkers doing the same job for decades because she didn't file her claim within 180 days of her first unequal paycheck. They determined that only the first paycheck counts - each new check doesn't count as a new act of discrimination...except that, of course, it is. So if, as in Ledbetter's case, you don't find out about the discrimination until years later, you have no recourse and no way of fighting to get the money that you deserve. That's why this bill is so important and it's hard to imagine why any Senator would oppose it. (Maybe Senator McCain can explain it to us.)

~Senator Biden supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit job discrimination of any kind. While workplace discrimination is not as obvious as when the Senator Biden’s ancestors faced “No Irish Need Apply,” signs, today minorities, women, and gays hear excuses like, “she won’t fit in,” or “he’s too qualified,” as employers pass on them. It may be subtle, but it’s hate in the heart, nevertheless.

~Senator Biden believes legal recognition should not be denied to same-sex couples. He advocates for re-examining federal laws, including the tax code, to ensure our national laws are not unfair to same-sex couples, and that committed adults who are adopting are not discriminated against because of sexual orientation. He supports letting states determine how to recognize civil unions and define marriage. In a statement on the selection of Biden for VP, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said:

“In selecting Senator Joe Biden as his running mate, Senator Obama has chosen a proven and effective advocate for fairness and equality that our entire community can be proud of,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Senator Biden’s record in the United States Senate is one of support and understanding that has been unwavering throughout his career.”
Recently, Senator Biden, as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, played an instrumental role in securing the passage of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), legislation which included Senator John Kerry and Senator Gordon Smith’s provision repealing the discriminatory HIV travel and immigration ban. His working across the aisle guaranteed that the Kerry-Smith provision was adopted. Furthermore, when opponents of the provision attempted to garner support to strip the provision from the bill, Senator Biden fought to keep the provision in the bill and helped secure the votes for PEPFAR'S final passage.
“We only need to look back to the recent passage of the repeal of the HIV travel and immigration ban to see the type of leadership we can expect from Senator Biden on the issues important to our community,” continued Solmonese. “It was because of his determination and tenacity that we were able to see this relic of discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS torn down.”
“If the support Senator Biden has proven on our issues is any indication of the type of Vice President he will be than our community can be assured that Senator Obama has chosen a thoughtful and staunch advocate for equality as his closest adviser,” concluded Solmonese.

~Senator Biden supports ending the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy. Twenty-four of the nations serving alongside U.S. forces in Iraq permit open service, and it has no negative impact on their forces or the morale of the soldiers. Senator Biden believes turning away patriotic Americans who volunteer to serve solely because of their sexual orientation is wrong.

~Senator Biden is a strong supporter of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act to expand federal and state coordination to fight hate crimes. Every year more than 7,000 hate crimes are committed. Senator Biden believes these acts not only hurt victims, they damage the values that are America. The Act would enable the Justice Department to assist local agencies in investigating and prosecuting crimes, and would expand the definition of hate crimes to include offenses based on sexual orientation, gender, or disability.

~Senator Biden also supports the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act which would dedicate resources at the Department of Justice and FBI to re-open unsolved murders from the civil rights era. “These unsolved murders leave a stain on the integrity of the judicial system in America,” said Rep. John Lewis who was also an original co-sponsor of the first bill and has pushed for reintroduction in this Congress. “The credibility of the government is in question here. These lingering unsolved cases lead African Americans and other citizens to wonder whether this nation is truly committed to justice or whether there are times when we find it convenient to look the other way. That is why it is so important to bring this chapter of our dark past to a close.”

HIV/AIDS & Breast Cancer

~Senator Biden was a co-sponsor of the original Ryan White CARE Act, which helps provide funding for low-income and uninsured people with HIV and AIDS, and has maintained his commitment to funding research and treatment for people with HIV/AIDS in the U.S., while also supporting international efforts to reduce the scourge of HIV/AIDS in Africa and developing countries around the world. And on July 16th of this year, the Biden/Lugar Global HIV/AIDS Bill passed the Senate.

Senator Biden and Lugar’s legislation (S. 2731/H.R. 5501) specifically:

  • Authorizes $48 billion for global HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis programs for the next five fiscal years;

  • Sets ambitious targets for saving millions of lives through treatment, care, and prevention and the training of health care workers;

  • Provides for a flexible approach to helping countries combat their local epidemics;

  • Strengthens efforts to address the special vulnerabilities of girls and women to HIV/AIDS, prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to children and expand access to treatment for children;

  • Substantially increases U.S. assistance to prevent and treat malaria through insecticide treated bednets, indoor residual spraying, access to anti-malarial drugs and other tools;

  • Expands efforts to combat tuberculosis including the growing problem of drug resistant strains of TB; and

  • Repeals the visa ban for those with HIV/AIDS.
“In 2003, we launched the largest public health program the world had ever seen and it had a dramatic impact, saving millions of lives,” said Senator Biden. “We’ve made tremendous strides, but our work is not nearly finished. Two million people died last year of HIV/AIDS. Over two and a half million people died of malaria and TB. That’s over 10,000 people killed per day – per day – because of these diseases. These are mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers – whole families have been devastated, whole communities have been affected. It is our moral obligation to lead this global fight against these diseases. We’ve been negotiating this legislation for many months and it is a product of bipartisan compromise and commitment to saving lives worldwide. I would also like to thank the President. His decision to launch this initiative was bold and unexpected and I believe historians may regard it as his finest hour. We will be proud to send this legislation to his desk.”

~Senator Biden has supported a variety of breast cancer initiatives, from sponsoring legislation to expand Medicare to include coverage of mammograms down to supporting the creation of a special fundraising postage stamp for breast cancer research. He has worked on prevention and screening programs for breast and cervical cancer that attempt to make sure that low-income women and women without health insurance have access to services like mammograms. He also originated the legislation that recognizes National Mammography Day in October of each year. 2007 was the 15th consecutive year Congress has recognized Sen. Biden's National Mammography Day resolution.
"We know that women often avoid getting a mammogram because they are afraid of what they may find or afraid they cannot afford it," said Sen. Biden. "Now is the time to remind the women you love of how important early breast cancer detection can be."
Senator Biden's wife, Jill Biden, is the founder of the Biden Breast Health Initiative, a non-profit organization that seeks "to empower young women through awareness and education to assume responsibility for their overall well-being with a strong emphasis on breast health". The organization provides educational materials on breast health free of charge to schools and other organizations in the Bidens' home state of Delaware.

Senator Biden has also fought to guarantee that insurance companies do not deprive breast cancer survivors of reconstructive surgery. Maybe he could have a chat with fellow Senator John McCain about how to answer when a woman asks a question about what her insurance will and won't cover.

So do we completely agree 100% with Senator Biden on every issue and every piece of legislation he's ever been involved with? Of course not. But we admire all of his hard work on lots of issues that we strongly care about, and we really have to respect the fact that the list above is so damn long, especially since we know that many other members of Congress don't have records even approaching Senator Biden's on any of these issues. We'll take him over Governor Palin any day.

I guess we could explain it in t-shirt slogan form:

Or, to put it another way:

But really, we think this is the best way to sum it up:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

John McCain Wears Lipstick.

I'm just going to say it... the conservatives have lost their goddamn minds.

It was pretty lame when John McCain accused Barack Obama of being a celebrity and then picked Sarah Palin as his VP. It was bad enough when Sean Hannity said that the liberals were attacking Bristol Palin but he didn't remember Chelsea Clinton ever being attacked. Even if people were attacking Bristol, which I don't believe they are, it would be for something she did (getting pregnant at 17), unlike Chelsea who was attacked for something she couldn't control at all (being "ugly"). It was even worse when everyone who had accused Hillary Clinton of whining about sexism during her campaign (not that she was actually whining about it, even though she'd have had just cause to)... is now bitching and moaning that Sarah Palin is expected to prove herself as a qualified candidate just because she's female.

But now they have just gone too far.

The Republicans have their panties in a bunch over a Barack Obama saying:

"You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."
Why? Because it's sexist. Except... that it's not sexist at all and suggesting that it is makes no fucking sense. I know the GOP is fond of comparing women to animals (like when Rush Limbaugh called Chelsea Clinton a dog) but Obama didn't do that.

First of all, it's a fairly common expression. Basically it means that you can't make superficial or cosmetic changes and hope that it will make the product or outcome more attractive. Second of all, many many many many people - including John McCain himself - have used that expression in the past in the same way that Barack Obama recently used it. (McCain actually used it to refer to Hillary Clinton's health care plan, does that make him sexist too?)

To assume that it was a sexist remark is not only ridiculous, but it is also... kind of sexist. That expression has nothing whatsoever to do with women, except for the fact that coincidentally some women wear lipstick. If he was literally talking about lipstick, then you could suspect that he was calling Sarah Palin a pig... but clearly he was speaking figuratively about the McCain/Palin campaign. To imply that Barack Obama was referencing Sarah Palin's gender when he made that statement, the Republicans are basically reducing her to just her gender instead of acknowledging the fact that there are issues with their political platform.

For a while now, Obama has been talking about change (you know, a change we can believe in!) and McCain... hasn't been. Now all of a sudden, after repeatedly supporting George W. Bush's horrible decisions, now McCain wants change! I won't even get into the actual changes he wants to make (I suspect one of them is overturning Roe v. Wade, which terrifies me). I'll just explain what Barack Obama clearly meant. McCain's 'change' isn't really change at all. McCain's change is superficial and artificial and an attempt to disguise his bad policies. He doesn't really want change, he's just giving his old ideas a new name. McCain's change... is lipstick. Underneath this phony change, is just a replica of the lousy Bush administration... the pig.

Nowhere in that message does Sarah Palin's gender ever come into play. Sarah Palin's gender is irrelevant to me. I want the best candidates to be in the White House and whether or not she has a vagina or wears lipstick has no bearing whatsoever on whether she would be best suited for the job.

Obama also used another animal-based expression to explain this point:
"You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still going to stink after eight years."
He's saying that McCain can wrap up his policies in anything he wants, but they still stink. Does that mean he's calling Sarah Palin a smelly fish? Of course not. Not unless that fish is wearing lipstick. It really comes down to lipstick.

Sarah Palin made a lipstick-related joke in her RNC speech...
"You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick."
So since Sarah Palin wears lipstick and mentioned lipstick... any mention of lipstick ever again has to do with Sarah Palin. I don't really see what that little joke has to do with her ability to be Vice President anyway. The Republicans cry sexism, while their own candidate is going on and on about being a mother. Does Barack Obama suggest that he should be President because he was able to get Michelle Obama pregnant? Nope. I don't care how many oddly named children Palin squeezes out... it's irrelevant. There is a huge difference between running a household of kids and running the country.

Sarah Palin's entire speech was... lipstick. It was all either slams on Obama (including the inexplicable contempt for community organizers) or the old song-and-dance about McCain's POW history. There was very little substance about her actual policies or qualifications. Palin may have proven herself to be an engaging speaker, but she wasn't really saying much of anything.

Perhaps Sarah Palin herself is the lipstick. A lot of people believe that McCain's selection of Palin was an act of pandering to women... a desperate attempt at getting both the "disgruntled Hillary vote", as well as all of the uninformed women who will vote for Palin just because she's female. So maybe Palin is the lipstick? Although Obama has stated that he didn't mean it that way either, he did joke about it on the Late Show with David Letterman:
"Technically, had I meant it this way she would be the lipstick, you see. The failed policies of John McCain would be the pig," Obama said, drawing laughter from the audience. "Just following the logic of this illogical situation."
John McCain is a pig. A sexist pig. The Republicans are being far more sexist themselves than anyone on the other side. Seriously, think about it. Harping on this stupid lipstick comment is their attempt at hypocritically playing the gender card yet again. Former Massachusetts governor, Jane Swift, was recently quoted as saying:
"As far as I know there is only one candidate in this contest who wears lipstick."
Sorry Jane, but we're not talking about actual lipstick. I know metaphors are tough to understand, but in this race, both McCain and Palin are wearing the figurative lipstick. And I happen to have it on good authority that former presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani wears real lipstick from time to time.

Saturday Night Live