Sarah Palin defends Dr. Laura

The "mama grizzly" backs the right-wing radio moralizer who trashed her as a bad mother

Published August 19, 2010 2:19AM (EDT)

On the same day Sarah Palin trashed the "cackle of rads" who "hijacked feminism," she also came to the defense of a staunch anti-feminist, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, on Twitter.

Early Wednesday Palin attempted to declare herself a feminist, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of women's suffrage. She tweeted: "Who hijacked term:"feminist"?A cackle of rads who want 2 crucify other women w/whom they disagree on a singular issue; it's ironic (& passé)"

But about five hours later, she embraced the defiantly anti-feminist Schlessinger, tweeting, "Dr.Laura:don't retreat...reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence 'isn't American,not fair')" Then she added, "Dr.Laura=even more powerful & effective w/out the shackles, so watch out Constitutional obstructionists. And b thankful 4 her voice,America!"

Digression: It's scary to think we just had a vice presidential nominee who doesn't understand the Constitution, who thinks Schlessinger's First Amendment rights "ceased 2exist" because she was criticized for haranguing a black woman who called for advice, using the word "nigger" 11 times. Again, Gov. Palin, the First Amendment protects us from government infringing on our speech rights; it doesn't take away other Americans' right to criticize.

But it's also funny that Palin goes from pretending she's a feminist to embracing the anti-feminist traditional-values preacher Dr. Laura, who is herself to family values what the four-times-married Rush Limbaugh is. (That's no surprise; the two wealthy entertainers clearly live by the "Do as I say, not as I do" maxim.) I guess when it comes to Palin, right wing politics will trump feminism every time.

But Schlessinger's anti-feminism had a very specific target two years ago: Palin herself. I vaguely remembered Dr. Laura expressing disapproval when Palin was nominated. But I didn't remember how vicious she was. Here's what Schlessinger blogged Sept. 2, 2008:

I am extremely disappointed in the choice of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential candidate of the Republican Party. I will still vote for Senator McCain, because I am very concerned about having a fundamental leftist, especially one who is a marvelous orator, as President…

I'm stunned - couldn’t the Republican Party find one competent female with adult children to run for Vice President with McCain? I realize his advisors probably didn’t want a “mature” woman, as the Democrats keep harping on his age. But really, what kind of role model is a woman whose fifth child was recently born with a serious issue, Down Syndrome, and then goes back to the job of Governor within days of the birth?

I am haunted by the family pictures of the Palins during political photo-ops, showing the eldest daughter, now pregnant with her own child, cuddling the family’s newborn.

Now, you can see Palin's Dr. Laura defense as the work of a big-hearted, forgiving mama grizzly. It's also possible she forgot about Schlessinger's diss (but unlikely, because Palin has a talent for holding grudges.) I'd take it as evidence that even among right wingers, sisterhood (as well as victimhood) is powerful. Whatever, they deserve each other.

As a fellow mother, though, I'd suggest Palin keep Bristol, a single mom, away from Dr. Laura. The syndicated bully treats single moms about as viciously as she treated the black woman who phoned in for help dealing with her white in-laws' racism – and does it with far more frequency. I'm not sure why Palin is more outraged by "a cackle of rads who want 2 crucify other women w/whom they disagree on a singular issue" than by Schlessinger's attacks on her and her daughter. Maybe she'll explain on Facebook.

And you're right, "cackle" makes no sense there, but since Palin has already bragged about her Shakespearean way with words, it barely merits mentioning anymore.


By Joan Walsh

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Bristol Palin Feminism Motherhood Sarah Palin