Anna Holmes (one of the founding editors of Jezebel) and Rebecca Traister from Salon wrote an Op-Ed for the New York Times on how the progressive movement needs their own "Sarah Palin:"
Since the 2008 election, progressive leaders have done little to address the obvious national appetite for female leadership. And despite (or because of) their continuing obsession with Ms. Palin, they have done nothing to stop an anti-choice, pro-abstinence, socialist-bashing Tea Party enthusiast from becoming the 21st century symbol of American women in politics.I have a lot of problems with Sarah Palin, and after the 2008 election I thought she'd just go away, but obviously she hasn't, and it doesn't seem like she will anytime soon. I don't think she has any chance at winning the presidency- although I think she may try.
What makes this all the more frustrating, of course, is that progressives helped to give Ms. Palin her start; her political career was a natural outgrowth of feminist successes. As a teen, she played basketball thanks to Title IX; as an adult, she enjoyed a professional life made possible by the involvement of her load-bearing husband Todd, entering Alaska’s governor’s mansion at 42 with four children in tow and giving birth to a fifth while there.
Ms. Palin, in turn, has been making a greedy grab at claiming feminism as her own. She recently marked the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment by expressing her gratitude “to those brave feminist foremothers who struggled and sacrificed, endured imprisonment and ridicule ... to grant future generations of American women a voice.” On the same day, she sent out this Twitter message: “Who hijacked the term ‘feminist’? A cackle of rads who want 2 crucify other women w/ whom they disagree on a singular issue.”
But Holmes and Traister are right- progressives need someone who will actually work for women's rights instead of just paying women lip service.
Imagine a Democrat willing to brag about breaking the glass ceiling at the explosive beginning, not the safe end, of her campaign. A liberal politician taking to Twitter to argue that big broods and a “culture of life” are completely compatible with reproductive freedom. A female candidate on the left who speaks as angrily and forcefully about her rivals’ shortcomings as Sarah Barracuda does about the Pelosis and Obamas of the world. A smart, unrelenting female, who, unlike Ms. Palin, wants to tear down, not reinforce, traditional ways of looking at women. But that will require a party that is eager to discover, groom, promote and then cheer on such a progressive Palin.
Well, there's still time before 2012.