Sarah Palin and the glass ceiling

While crying foul over Joe Biden's attacks on the Alaska governor, one Republican suggests that there'll never be a female president.

Published September 9, 2008 8:40PM (EDT)

When a local TV reporter in Milwaukee, Wis., asked Sen. Joe Biden if electing Sarah Palin as vice president would be a step forward for women, he replied: "I think the issue is what does Sarah Palin think? What does she believe? I assume she thinks and agrees with the same policies that George Bush and John McCain think. And that's obviously a backward step for women."

This remark prompted an e-mailed statement to reporters on Tuesday from Amber Wilkerson, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, who decried Biden as a sexist:

The only person taking a step backward is Joe Biden, whose appalling and arrogant statements are better suited for the back rooms of his old boys club. Sarah Palin's nomination as the Republican vice presidential nominee is an historic opportunity to break the highest glass ceiling. While John McCain and Sarah Palin continue to press their message of change, Joe Biden should stop these sorts of old-style attacks.

Aside from the lunacy of the assertion that it's sexist to challenge Palin's views on actual policies, there's another troubling aspect to Wilkerson's statement. Exactly what "opportunity to break the highest glass ceiling" is Wilkerson talking about?

Last we checked, Palin is running for vice president, not president. At best, Palin will break the second highest glass ceiling. Or is it the RNC's view that a woman will never be president and the supportive role of veep is the best a girl can hope for?

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Katharine Mieszkowski

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