Republican women see their task of defending Sarah Palin against a ravening press corps as being all about “sisterhood.”
Whether John McCain’s selection of the Alaska governor was the cynical play for female voters that Democrats claim or the “gut decision” that Republicans see, the women of the GOP have been galvanized by the media response to her candidacy.
“We’re not going to have this foolishness,” said Pennsylvania Republican Deputy Chairwoman Renee Amore, flanked by a stern-looking crew of female party bigwigs. “No, we are not.”
The “foolishness” that Amore and others, like former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift and Republican National Committee Victory 2008 Chairwoman Carly Fiorina, were talking about was their claim that Palin has been unfairly maligned by the press corps.
“The Republican Party will not stand by while Sarah Palin is subjected to sexist attacks,” Fiorina said Wednesday, singling out particularly the description of Palin as a “cheerleader” by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
Former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin, who like Palin has a child with Down syndrome, said she was “outraged” at the number of stories that have explored the question of whether a mother of five including a special needs child can manage the vice presidency.
“It’s not something that they would ever ask a man,” said Marin, treasurer from 2001 to 2003. “It’s offensive to me.”
The official party line among Republicans even invokes Hillary Clinton and allegations that Democrats stood by while Clinton was demeaned for being a woman.
Rank-and-file Republicans may not be ready to embrace the former first lady, but when it comes to Sarah Palin, they are not in doubt.
“She has the story that some, many women look at and say, ‘gosh, that’s incredible,’ ” Mary Stauffer of Orlando, Fla., said. “And you hate to see anybody who’s done so much be torn down.”
Fiorina and other party leaders allow that any first-term, little-known governor of a sparsely populated state would be subject to a media scouring if suddenly placed on a national ticket. But there should be limits.
“Let’s just keep it to the issues,” Fiorina said.