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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Palin criticisms distract from real issues

    With this year proving to be one of the most controversial presidential elections America has ever seen, one of the most prevalent factors seems to be the “”Woman Factor.”” It first hit with Hillary Clinton announcing her candidacy for the Democratic primary nomination, and has resurfaced once more with McCain’s announcing Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate.

    Immediately after making his decision, McCain came under heavy fire from critics on both sides of the political race on his choice of Palin. Throughout the campaign and race for the presidency both Obama and McCain have been put under a very harsh political “”microscope.”” The criticism of the women, however, is somewhat less harsh and even somewhat questionable.

    Recently, photos of the Republican Vice President hopeful leaked onto Yahoo News. Yet, unlike the harsh criticisms of Obama or McCain, which usually contain some sort of disapproval toward their foreign policy or other political stances, the buzz around Palin was centered on her choice of attire. The photo depicts Palin sitting on her bed in her dorm at the University of Idaho wearing a shirt that contains the text: “”I may be broke, but I’m not flat busted.”” Though the shirt’s message is somewhat suggestive, it isn’t crude or incredibly distasteful. The picture isn’t anything more than something one might see in an average family photo album.

    It does nothing more than increase the “”everyday American”” appeal that has proved to be a heavily sought-after trait in both campaigns, which questions whether or not her critics are actually critical of her at all. Simply put, if you count the leaked photo as dirt, her misgivings could be crushed up and made into a “”Political Perfume'””for the rest of the candidates. In races such as these, both sides rush and scramble to find any information that could be potentially devastating to their opponent. These most recent findings, though, seem lax and haphazardly implemented. Adam Nagourney, the National Political Correspondent for the New York Times, said in a short piece centered around the current presidential race that “”It would have been easier with a Mitt Romney… to attack the running mate…it’s harder with a woman. That’s just reality.””

    The incongruities in critique – whether from men or to women in the election – don’t solely reside in the pseudo-controversy around Palin. Michelle Obama has also come into a bit of criticism as a possible first lady. At Obama’s speech immediately following the clinch of the Democratic nomination, his wife was shown wearing a fashionable blue dress. The criticism came from announcers and others saying she should not have been wearing a “”cocktail dress'”” to a national speech and that she should have instead been wearing a suit.

    It seems ludicrous that anyone would claim that a woman wearing a dress is inappropriate for a formal occasion. This high concern over her choice of clothing seems frivolous in the grand scheme of things. After all, we are electing the next leader of the United States of America and I don’t think “”what not to wear”” should rank highly on the agenda of “”things to do once you take office.””

    Why is it that a woman in politics is criticized for wearing a dress, yet when a question of character should be in order, like with that of Palin, it is instead replaced with pointless findings of so-called dirt on her past? Is the slogan-clad, college-bound Palin worthy of negative press, or should the responsibility of the media concentrate on reporting what each candidate is planning to do about outrageous fuel prices? Of course, we have come to expect this drama and dirt rather than pertinent information.

    In a story reported by MSNBC, Palin was reported as having flipped on an issue from her home state. The article stated that Palin had originally been supportive of a multi-million dollar plan to build a bridge from mainland Alaska to an island containing a population of 50 and one airport. Recently, Palin denounced her original stance, saying that she told the government: “”Thanks, but no thanks.”” The criticism suggested that she only changed her position on the plan to gain political ground, and had also somewhat used her
    support of the bridge to gain favor while in office as governor. Her staff later released a statement saying that she was never sold on the bridge and had only gained a broader understanding of its fiscal impracticality as she moved up in office. The latest gossip is that her 17-year-old daughter is five months pregnant.

    Though the information is somewhat alarming, it still doesn’t carry the same weight as the current economic crisis in America. Put in simple terms, it is our responsibility to demand excellence from our news sources rather than let our political race for the presidency become another failed reality show.

    – Isaac Mohr is a journalism freshman. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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