Monday, July 26, 2010

Battle of the Juggernaut Amazon Politicos

It is common in politics for national figures to be drawn into state and local races, usually congressional. Big names can endorse or raise money for candidates or they can drag a candidate down. One party tries to tie national names to congressional or senatorial candidates in hopes of tarring the candidate with the animosity directed at the national figure. This year is no exception.

What I find fascinating is that two of the biggest national names this year are women. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, on the left, and Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska and former vice presidential candidate on the right. In past years women's role in national policy and ideological debates has often been that of appearance. Both the left and the right have tied the morality and purity of their policies to the degree to which "their" women relate to the cultural beauty ideal or the degree to which their opponent's women have deviated from it.

This year, however, with Pelosi and Palin, while there have been comments of that nature, what I've seen most often in the media I consume, is more policy oriented. For instance, a number of Republican campaigns have used the phrase "the Nancy Pelosi circus" to describe the Democratic campaign. For example, in the 7th congressional district here in Pennsylvania, Pat Meehan ran an ad using that phrase when Pelosi headlined a fundraiser for Bryan Lentz. Another ad that has been used by Republicans in Pennsylvania uses "the 50 foot Pelosi" image.

The Democratic Governors Association, among other Democratic groups and campaigns, have used Sarah Palin as the bogeyman. TheDGA's new site includes images of Palin that are not flattering but she is professionally dressed and her features not overly altered.

In neither case is the relative attractiveness of either woman an issue. It is her policies and her political behavior that is being called into question. Having both women on the national stage at the same time allows them to become or be used as polar opposites. As a girl growing up there were relatively few women in politics at all, let alone on the national stage. The idea that two powerful women politicians would have such name recognition and well-known political philosophies that they could be used in this fashion would have been unimaginable.

At any rate, I've found it interesting.

No comments: