Sisterhood Blog

Forward Editor: As a Mom, I'm More Conservative Than Sarah Palin

By Jane Eisner

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Maureen Dowd’s recent musings on whether she and Sarah Palin had anything in common — “She hunted moose, and I hunted for Bullwinkle on TV” — made me wonder whether the former Alaska governor and I might share any similar life experiences.

It’s true that I epitomize the feminist, liberal, urban, careerist, quinoa-eating media elite that Palin loves to hate; plus, I don’t like hockey and moose isn’t kosher. But there are real and important things we have in common: We’re both happily married to our first husbands. We both are familiar with juggling work and family, and are devoted to our respective faiths. And we both have three daughters — though she did me one better with the two extra sons. I have two male dogs, instead. (No day school tuition for them.)

After some careful thought, I had a surprising revelation: Contrary to our politics, I’m actually the more conservative mom. How can that be?

• I’d never take a full-time job 565 miles away from home — the distance between Wasilla and Juneau — while my kids are still young, as Palin did when she became governor. I didn’t accept an out-of-town job until my youngest daughter graduated from high school.

• I’d never travel extensively in the late stages of pregnancy, as Palin did before her last child was born. I turned down assignments because they might have compromised the fetus I was carrying.

• And I’d never, ever put my pregnant, unmarried teenage daughter on the national stage, with or without her dropout boyfriend. Whatever struggles my daughters experienced in adolescence stayed within the family, for to expose and exploit a young woman in distress is selfish and cruel.

Perhaps someone could explain how Palin’s alternative model of motherhood gets to wrap itself in the mantle of small-town, all-American conservatism, while those of us who have pursued careers, but also made sacrifices for our children are pilloried. I guess I don’t have much in common with the lady from Alaska after all.

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Richard Tupper Fri. Nov 20, 2009

Why does the author think that moose are not kosher? Do they not chew the cud and have split hooves? I believe they do.

Gabi Fri. Nov 20, 2009

A moose shot in the wild is not kosher. Read all about moose and kashrut here:

SD Fri. Nov 20, 2009

Sarah Palin is not kosher, either. :)

She's seriously toxic and dangerous. Ignorant, power-hungry, bible-thumping populist. I'll leave it at that.

Matthew Schutz Sun. Nov 22, 2009

Moose can be kosher, if it is properly schected. That being said, Ms. Palin is quite interesting. Polling shows that two things. One she has a relatively low approval rating about 23%. However about 37% of respondents have not formed an opinion. This means that depending on the outcome of the book tour and coverage she could quite easily change that around.

As far as the intelligence issue is concerned, I have not looked at her IQ scores. I have read pieces she has written for the Wall Street Journal and other publications. They seem to well informed and reasoned. To write her off as an "Ignorant, power-hungry, bible-thumping populist" seriously underestimates the woman. I would observe his oponents said similar things about Ronald Reagan. History showed Mr. Reagan to be quite precient.

elana Sun. Nov 22, 2009

Getting back to the point: Excellent article. I fully identify. What I would add, though, is that what makes me more of a Democrat than Palin is that all those sacrifices you mentioned that you made for motherhood -- I want men to make those sacrifices, too. It's not about responsible motherhood as much as it is about responsible parenthood.

and maybe once my kids are out of the house, i would try that moose. :-)

Silvermom Sun. Nov 22, 2009

The moose issue is not the point. And does anyone really think she wrote the WSJ pieces. They are ghost written as is her book.

SP is a woman who wraps herself in the cloak of "family values" and uber-motherhood. But she is not really putting her families interests above her pursuit of political power. Further, some of the issues raised in this article show remarkably poor judgement. If she doesn't have the sense to keep her pregnant teenage daughter out of the limelight, could we expect any better judgement in a sensitive world issue?

silvermom Sun. Nov 22, 2009

I agree with Elana-no one would raise some of these issues were she a man. But she is not, and the world is imperfect and unfair. Having said that, until men carry the fetus, it is the woman who safeguards the unborn.

Rina Copper Sun. Nov 22, 2009

And the woman guards her born children, which is why Sarah Palin's candidacy was entirely irresponsible, as Jane Eisner clarifies, above.

bill Pearlman Sun. Nov 22, 2009

Sarah Palin got elected governor on her own, she wasn't anybody's wife, or daughter. And she took on a corrupt Republican party establishment. She has a kid in the army, and she walks the walk when it comes to how she sees abortion. Which is a hell of a lot more than you can say about Nancy Pelosi. And she is pro-Israel. Which is a hell of a lot more then you can say about Hussein Obama. Yet non orthodox Jewish women hate her worse than they hate Hamas or Hezbollah. Someone please enlighten me>

bill Pearlman Sun. Nov 22, 2009

btw, I'd be interested in whether Obama wrote his books. Or more tothe point, whether he can talk without his telprompter.

Matthew Schutz Mon. Nov 23, 2009

There is a claim here that the WSJ pieces were ghost written. All I know is that the pieces appear under her by line. What evidence is there of ghost writing?

This line of attack and the claim that she is somehow less a woman becuase she ran for office and has a young family is sexist. The arrangements she makes to handle family issues is her business, as long as it does not disrupt her family or foist additional responsibilities on the society at large.

The media picked on Bristol's pregnanacy. This was done in order to show an allegeded hypocracy. It is unclear to me what the hypocracy is. People have values and try to meet them. No one is perfect and sometimes we all fall short. That is what Yom Kippur is all about. Bristol failed. In a sense the elder Palins failed. Hypocracy is where you hold the world out to given standards and don't even try to meet them yourself. It is a shame that the press chose to focus on this and other distractions.

Judy BF Mon. Nov 23, 2009

Bravo, Jane!

Nick Mon. Nov 23, 2009

Why do you use the word Conservative, surely you are just a bit more grounded and sane.

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