September 13, 2008
Okay, here's new McCain ad, and this is a nice contrast to the Obama ad in the last post. It eschews grabbaggery and sticks to one clear point: Obama got jealous when Palin upstaged him so he desperately disrespected her.
So I like the clarity and thematic unity. It worked well to begin with a reminder of the "biggest celebrity" ad. That set Obama up as a big narcissist who can't stand to see a prettier star steal his spotlight. Of course, that's not the real reason why Obama attacking Palin, but it's an effective, funny way to portray the attacks, which really do sound too desperate.
But I want to talk about sexism. Is this ad playing on the notion that women should be treated with special respect? Yes. I understand why the McCain campaign wants to do that, just as I understand why they decided -- correctly -- that a lot of people would get very excited about a woman VP candidate. But that notion offends me. If a woman is going to seek great political power, she must be scrutinized and attacked just as harshly as a power-seeking man.
You shouldn't be able to get away with the contradictory arguments that a woman is capable of handling the presidency and a woman must be accorded special respect. You shouldn't, but you probably will, and I can certainly see why you're trying. I just hope it doesn't work on me.
And it goes without saying that Obama's attacks tap into sexism too.