by Bob McAlister, in The State
Nikki Haley was shocked. A Democratic official known throughout South Carolina as an enlightened feminist counseled that she should not run for public office because she had two young children. But later on the same day in 2003, Mrs. Haley was in the audience when another prominent Democrat, Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, challenged women to seek office.
Spurred by both encounters, the Lexington resident ran the following year and was elected as a Republican to the S.C. House of Representatives. Some insiders say she has statewide potential.
As we discussed the shameful media reaction to John McCain’s pick of Gov. Sarah Palin on the GOP ticket, Mrs. Haley said she has never publicly told the story of the feminist who tried to keep her out of politics. “That just made me more determined,” she said.
Mrs. Haley is reluctant to discuss the double standard for female officeholders (“I am not a victim and don’t want to sound like one”), but she can relate to the pounding Gov. Palin is taking over whether a mother of five should be vice president.
“Every week I’m asked how I handle my little ones and serve my constituents,” she said. “It’s no different from anybody else’s life. I prioritize with my children and husband and do the best I can and refuse to feel guilty.”
So Gov. Palin is not the first political woman to experience the old double standard. But the brutal and loathsome treatment she’s getting from the national media is unique in American history.
Leaders of the intelligentsia, so progressive and tolerant of liberal women, express faux concern over whether her Down syndrome baby will get enough motherly love. They breathlessly conclude a mom of five just can’t hack it, especially when her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant.
As Helen Reddy sang, “That ain’t no way to treat a lady.”
“It’s unfortunate they are focusing on one aspect of a lifetime full of courage and talent,” Mrs. Haley said. “This is a story we should all feel good about.”
The mainstream media and Democratic liberals — excuse the redundancy — are not feeling too good nowadays.
John McCain found a woman for the ticket who has done everything that political feminists spent the last 30 years saying a modern woman should do, except abort her children, and she has done it brilliantly.
This gun-totin’, fish-catchin’ machine steamrolled her way through the corrupt good old boys in Juno and landed in the governor’s office with an 80 percent approval rating. She charmed the big-oil lobbyists, picked their pockets and sent the proceeds back to the taxpayers.
She has managed a balanced budget while balancing the needs of her family with her official responsibilities.
So why do the libs feel so bad?
They were the ones supposed to break the glass ceiling, because they owned the women’s movement. Then The One arose to lead His children to the Promised Land, along the way charging over and through the would-be ceiling breaker, who wasn’t even considered worthy of being The One’s No. 2. An old bald guy took her place.
And they don’t feel too good about what came out of St. Paul this week. The day after Gov. Palin took the GOP convention by storm, polls showed more than half the American people thought reporters were trying to destroy Mrs. Palin, and 24 percent said that makes them more likely to vote for the McCain/Palin ticket.
Score one for the people, who know a media scam when they see it.
I’m guessing the American people have made three discoveries during the Palin rollout:
1. If a woman is pro-life and doesn’t hate men, the chattering class won’t give her an equal playing field.
2. Her daughter’s pregnancy is nobody’s business.
3. A woman who blew up Alaska’s good-old-boy network and shoots bull moose at point blank range is not intimidated by a bunch of sissy reporters who think moose is a dessert.
Mr. McAlister is a public relations consultant and was an adviser to Sen. John McCain in the S.C. presidential primary.