Rudy Giuliani says something interesting…and something daft

// 3 September 2008

Apropos of the whole Sarah Palin/daughter story, Rudy Giuliani was on Sky News earlier. I’ve not seen his comments reported elsewhere, and I was in the middle of running a 5k on the treadmill at the gym, so this may not be entirely accurate, but he said something like: “Why are people asking whether or not Sarah Palin can be vice-president AND a mother? Nobody’s asking if Barack Obama can be president AND a father.”

And then he went and ruined it all by saying that these “people” who were asking these questions were “feminist groups”.

Comments From You

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 3 September 2008 at 11:06 pm

Well if Rudy Giuliani did say ‘these people who are asking these questions are all ‘feminist groups’ then it just proves that feminism and feminist groups are always to blame for everything. Wonderful is it not having a ready made scapegoat handy and so convenient because it enables the media to once again claim ‘it wasn’t me guv it was those horrible, nasty feminists.’

Anne Onne // Posted 3 September 2008 at 11:46 pm

Yeah, it’s feminists insisting that women can’t be mothers and hold down a job….riiight. You know, you’re supposed to get it right, Rudy. Those eevil feminazis believe in female superiority, and demand that all positions of power are held by women, and that all men are castrated and forced to wait on them, whilst the baby killing feminists take over the world…

It’s funny that even when demonising feminists, they just can’t get their act together. Look, either we’re arguing female superiority and clamouring to lock men in the kitchen, OR we’re trying to hold women back and bitching about our sisters and demanding they choose cos they ‘can’t have it all’. We can’t be doing both.

Laurel Dearing // Posted 4 September 2008 at 12:31 am

i wonder if someone phoned him up and told him what feminism was hed be like OH!

BenSix // Posted 4 September 2008 at 12:40 am

As far as I know, the only person that’s made that claim is the right-wing icon Laura Schlessinger, who asked: “couldn’t the Republican Party find one competent female with adult children to run for Vice President with McCain?“


Kath // Posted 4 September 2008 at 9:55 am

According to Newsbusters (“a project of the Media Research Center, the leader in documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias” – so don’t know how much to trust them) he said on CBS “They’re asking can she be vice president and be a mother. Come on.” Followed by “Where are the feminists? I mean, is it just — there are all these feminist groups. Where are they?”

Diane Hepburn // Posted 4 September 2008 at 5:19 pm


I think what they are saying is that feminist groups have gone missing and are not defending Sarah Palin simply because she is a conservative republican.

Lets be honest, it rings true.

Hazel // Posted 4 September 2008 at 8:38 pm

If I am reading you correctly, Diane, and apologies if I am not, you will find over at the feminist site Shakesville a series of posts about the sexism already directed at Palin.

Diane Hepburn // Posted 5 September 2008 at 2:40 am


I just had a look at Shakesville, thanks for the link.

This is from their homepage, under the link where they describe themselves as progressive (which is what lefties call being left wing):

‘Feminism is an integral part of progressivism.

If you’re not a feminist, you’re not a progressive.

No matter how much you hate Bush.

No matter how much you hate the Iraq war.

No matter how much you hate our current torture policy.

No matter how much you want to restore habeas corpus.

No matter how much you’re totally going to vote for the Democrat in November.

If you’re not a feminist, you’re not a progressive.

You’re a fauxgressive.

End of story.’

As I said thanks for the link.

You were saying?

Kath // Posted 5 September 2008 at 9:38 am

Diane, Hazel,

It is clear there are many feminists on the internet and elsewhere who are prepared to defend Sarah Palin against sexist attacks whilst at the same time criticising her stance on abortion and sex education issues (thanks for the link). However it was sad to see some feminist sites, including this one, involved in spreading rumours about her and her family.

Sarah // Posted 5 September 2008 at 11:40 am

I’ve actually been very heartened by the feminist response to the publicity surrounding Sarah Palin – it’s absolutely possible to disagree (strongly in my case) with her politics while acknowledging her successful career, speaking out against the misogyny directed at her, and believing that the choices she makes about her personal life and pregnancies etc. are a private matter.

Diane Hepburn // Posted 5 September 2008 at 12:40 pm

Barbara Ameil puts it better than me here:

For me, she is quite right. Below I have quoted what I consider to be the most important passage:

‘Sarah Palin has put the flim-flam nature of America feminism sharply into focus, revealing the not-so-secret hypocrisy of its code and, whatever her future, this alone is an accomplishment. As she emerged into the nation’s consciousness, a shudder went through the feminist left—a political movement not restricted to females. She is a mother refusing to stay at home (good) who had made a success out in the workplace (excellent) whose marriage nevertheless is a rip-roaring success and whose views are unspeakable—those of a red-blooded, right-wing principled pragmatist.

The metaphorical hair stood up on the back of every licensed member of the feminist movement who could immediately see she was a monster out of a nightmare landscape by Hieronymus Bosch. Pro-life. Pro-oil exploration in Alaska, home of the nation’s polar bears for heaven’s sake. Smaller government. Lower taxes. And that family of hers: Next to the Clintons with their dysfunctional marriage, her fertility and sexually robust life could only emphasize the shriveled nature of the one-child family of the former Queen Bee of political female accomplishment.

Mrs. Palin’s emergence caused a spasm in American feminism. Caste and class have always been ammunition in the very Eastern seaboard women’s movement, and now they were (so to speak) loading for bear. Sally Quinn felt a mother of five had no business being vice president. Andrea Mitchell remarked that “only the uneducated” would vote for Mrs. Palin. “Choose a woman but this woman?” wrote Baltimore Sun columnist Susan Reimer, accusing Sen. McCain of using a Down’s syndrome child as qualification for the VP spot.

The hypocrisy was breathtaking. Only nanoseconds before the choice of Mrs. Palin as VP put her a geriatric heartbeat away from the presidency, a woman’s right to have a career and children was a shibboleth of feminism. One always knew that women with views that opposed those of official feminism were to be treated as nonwomen. To see it now out in the open was the real shocker.

The fact that this mom had been governor of a state was dismissed because it was a “small state,” as was the city of which she had been mayor. Her acceptance speech, which knowledgeable left-wing critics feared would be effective, was dismissed before being delivered. She would be reading from a teleprompter. The speech would be good, no doubt, but written for her.

Had she been a man with similar political views, the left’s opposition would have been strong but less personally vicious: It would have focused neither on a daughter’s pregnancy, nor on the candidate’s inability to be a good parent if the job was landed. In its panic, the left was indicating that to be a female running for office these days is no hindrance but an advantage, and admitting that there is indeed a difference between mothers and fathers that cannot necessarily be resolved by having daddy doing the diaper run.

All the shrapnel has so far been counterproductive. The mudslinging tabloid journalism—is Mrs. Palin the mother or grandmother of her Down’s baby?—only raised her profile to a point where viewers who would never dream of watching a Republican vice-presidential acceptance speech tuned in.’

Cockney Hitcher // Posted 5 September 2008 at 4:34 pm

Diane, is it really so difficult to understand why feminists aren’t coming out in support of a woman who, if elected, will repeal many of the gains that feminism has made? Why is it hypocritical for feminists to oppose the election of a profoundly anti-feminist person?

I agree with you that it’s hypocritical of feminists to criticise Palin for sexist reasons (e.g. she’s a mother, therefore she shouldn’t have a career), but every feminist blog I’ve read on the subject of Palin has condemned sexist attacks directed towards her. Including the feminists on this site.

Hazel // Posted 5 September 2008 at 6:22 pm

“You were saying?”

I’m not sure why you quoted that stuff about being a progressive when it has nothing to do with what I was saying which is that some feminists have been criticising the sexism aimed at Palin. Nothing more.

PS As for what Amiel has to say, this quote “[Palin’s] fertility and sexually robust life could only emphasize the shriveled nature of the one-child family of the former Queen Bee of political female accomplishment”, takes me deeper into her mind than I’d like.

Anne Onne // Posted 6 September 2008 at 3:37 pm

How is this site spreading rumours about her family? There have been three posts about her, one of which is this one which reports on the media reception and defence/criticism of her, one criticising the misogyny directed at her from the very start (VPILF) and one announcing that she’s running, and suspecting the tokenism and how dangerous the ‘vote rof a woman’ philosophy is if that woman is anti-choice and overall anti-woman.

I’d have to disagree with Cockney Hitcher slightly : It’s not enough to not attack her in a sexist way. It Is up to us to point out the misogynistic shit, even if it comes from our own side, ESPECIALLY if it comes from our own side, because being a misogynist asshat who tells Palin to go back to the kitchen is NOT being a progressive. The way to be progressive is to oppose her election on her issues, and criticise her issues rather than relying on

But talking about the misogyny directed at her is best if furnished with examples and that’s where I think the limit of this discussion is. If concrete examples of progressive or especially feminist misogyny against her are brought up, we can discuss those, but it’s getting a bit repetitive here: ‘some progressives insult Palin!’ ‘Plenty don’t!’ ad nauseam.

There hasn’t been any misogynistic slander of Palin on this site, as far as I am aware, only criticism of her policies, belief this is tokenism, and wonder at the hypocrisy of her stance. People here have made it clear, in general (and this is including comments, which of course, the writers are not personally responsible for) that sexism against Palin is still wrong, and nobody has denied that swathes of the left conveniently forget their sexism scruples (if they ever had them) when the woman in question is an opponent.

There’s a limit to how much American Politics (or anything) will be covered in this UK-based hotchpotch feminist site that has a bit of everything, so if the issue is detail, there are plenty of US feminist sites covering the political aspects very thoroughly.

With all due respect, but it’s funny how when it’s a white, conservative woman, suddenly everybody’s (ie non-feminists) positively DEMANDING that all feminists should fall about themselves to protect this poor paragon of virtue. Nobody in the mainstream press was clamouring for feminists to defend Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama (even when it came from fellow ‘progressives’, because they were liberal women, so much more threatening to the status quo. Hell, nobody clamours for feminists to stand up for anyone; normally, we’re vermin!

Yet, instead of them defending their own, suddenly everyone expects the left to go all out to defend the right! We will, but only because that’s our priciple, and principles can’t and shouldn’t be discarded when inconvenient. It’s not feminists defending her against sexism that’s the issue here (since we undoubtedly should), but the issue that :

a) defending anyone from sexism is the sole job of the feminists. Nobody else need lift a finger.

b) only rich white women are worth defending.

c) only conservative women with anti-woman policies are worth defending.

We can see where the article quoted is heading: criticism of feminsm by someone totally ignorant of it, broad generalisations, pretending that feminists have not done something when many have, expectation that ‘feminists’ should get off their arse to do something YOU are as capable of, and throwing in plenty of snide misogyny whilst pretending to stick up for a woman who eats crumbs from the Patriarchy’s table.

Geez, what is with the media obsession of getting some ignorant loser in to talk about feminism and feminists, but you know, never bothering to talk to real-life breathing feminists? I can’t think that reporting rumours and generalisations does a lot for accuracy, but that’s never been the media’s aim, has it?

@ Hazel: That quote is NASTY. Although, someone has to tell her that ‘fertility’ and ‘sexually robust life’ are not linked. Geez, not everyone wants 20 kids, or thinks contraception is evil. Not that how much sex you have has anything to do with political ability, because it doesn’t!!

Hazel // Posted 6 September 2008 at 11:09 pm


In this round up post it mentions rumours about Palin’s family.

Cockney Hitcher // Posted 7 September 2008 at 5:53 pm

I agree with you, Anne, about pointing out and condemning misogyny coming from all sides, including our own. I didn’t mean to give a different impression.

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