Rebecca Traister asks that question in an essay by that name at Salon here (you’ll have to suffer through an ad to read it if you aren’t a subscriber). She makes some decent points, but also gets a few things very wrong, such as:
1. She insultingly dismisses “the handful of so-called PUMAs who spent this week jawing about how they were going to vote for John McCain.” I am not a PUMA, but I know a lot of them IRL, and not a single one is voting for McCain. Their point, as I understand it, is that though women are the mainstay of the Democratic Party, men continue to run the party, their governance is infused with misogyny, and improving this situation requires blunt force, which includes actively working against Obama’s election. Dismissing these women as few in number, stupid, and/or allied with Republicans is very foolish, in my opinion. SEE ALSO.
2. She describes Joe Biden as follows:
Biden is a strong candidate for Democratic women, with a good record of supporting reproductive rights and opposing antichoice nominees to the Supreme Court. Biden also wrote the groundbreaking Violence Against Women Act, and is great on the lunch-bucket economic issues so vital to so many American women.
It is true that Biden has been a whole lot better on reproductive rights issues than McCain has been, or than Palin would be if she was in position to vote on them. But it is also the case that Biden has always opposed public financing of abortion and late term abortion and in 2003, NARAL gave him a 36% voting record. He got a 75% rating in 2007, and has gotten a 100% rating some years, but it has dipped below 50% others. I would categorize this record as mediocre at best, rather than “good.” That he may be the best we can expect from the Democratic Party as currently configured may be part of what is driving the PUMA rebellion.
And Biden is far from “great” on “the lunch-bucket economic issues so vital to so many American women.” As my brilliant law school contracts professor Elizabeth Warren pointed out here, bankruptcy is a disaster for working class people, especially women. See also, see also. You can listen to Biden mocking Warren for this here. Warren explicates the link between health care and bankruptcy here.
3. Traister asserts “Palin’s spot on the ticket will also mean the diffusion of feminist energy.” No, it won’t. Feminists are perfectly capable of opposing the election of Palin, and opposing the sexism thrown at Palin, simultaneously. That’s certainly what I am going to be doing with my feminist energy. If the Supposedly Liberal Doods don’t like this bifurcated approach, all they have to do is stop with the sexism. It’s really pretty simple.
ETA: I think Historiann nails it when she says:
Democrats have gotten really good at not taking their opponents seriously and acting superior to them. Any fool could see how completely superior Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, and John Kerry were to their opponents! But guess what we’re not so good at? Winning presidential elections. Go ahead and have a laughâ€“you can cry in November when you realize that the voters never thought you were laughing about Sarah Palinâ€“they think you’re laughing at them!