March 7, 2009 / Uncategorized

Two governors and the double standard


Editor’s note: Kathy Skerl is a team captain for The New Agenda in Asheville, North Carolina. This essay was originally posted at her own blog in slightly different form.

Jeez, it seems it’s been awhile since Bobby Jindal last saw Louisiana — you know, the state he’s supposed to be governing. 

First, it was the Governors Conference, then giving the rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union speech, and finally it’s CPAC, the conservative convention. Who is paying for Jindal’s room and board this past week? Who bought his clothes? Who’s running Louisiana while he’s trying out for the presidency? What are his qualifications since he’s only been governor for a year and has no foreign policy experience? Doesn’t he have a big ego to think he could be president since he is so young and lacking in experience? Isn’t he only thinking of himself and ignoring the people of Louisiana?

Just wondering, because if that was Sarah Palin, it would be all over the networks in the lower 48 and in Alaska that Palin is out campaigning at the state taxpayers’ expense (even if she were paying her own way; the truth might be whispered a month or so from now in the back pages of the local newspaper next to the obituaries); that Palin is only interested in herself, not the people of Alaska; that Palin sure has a big ego thinking she could actually be president since she has no foreign policy experience and comes from a remote state like Alaska.

Don’t seem to be any questions or comments like that about Bobby Jindal. I think it has something to do with SEXISM. I mean, it’s to be expected that a young male politician aspiring to higher office would go to conventions where he could look important and meet important people, and that the people of his state should be proud of him and proud of themselves for electing such a bright rising star. I mean, isn’t that normal?

It’s normal only if you are a man; if you are a woman, you are back in your state fending off malicious allegations intended to smear your reputation so that you never leave Alaska again, much let alone run for POTUS. You are criticized for collecting $8,500 in per diems even though you saved $900,000 compared to the previous governor. You are questioned about your children traveling with you and at whose expense, and even though the conclusion is that nothing wrong was done, you will voluntarily seek a higher standard to make sure no one can question your actions regarding your family again.

In the meantime, the GOP will keep pushing forward men as future candidates and no one will ever question their ethics, their expense account, their ego, or their loyalty to their state. No one, that is, except me.

You go, Sarah! See you in 2012.


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  • Great piece Kathy and thank you for contributing.

    There was a wonderful article on the Daily Beast a couple of weeks back – I’ll have to dig it up. The premise was that since Jindal gave the rebuttal speech rather than Palin, it showed that the RNC was trying to follow the model of the 2008 election — that the country cares more about candidates based on their skin color than their gender.

    Let’s work to change things and prove them wrong starting in 2010!

  • Carolyn

    Great point, Kathy!

    What is so frustrating is that actually doing something about this kind of sexism is like nailing jello to a tree. We just all have to keep talking about it until maybe one day it will start to sink in.

  • LOL – nailing jello to a tree – yes!

    We must keep speaking out bravely, boldly and loudly!

  • Sis

    Can someone tell me, are their wolves in Louisiana?

  • Carolyn,

    Repeated serious press releases on what look like minor issues or non-issues, would get pushback. Ridicule might be a better weapon against jello.

    For instance, someone could commission a cartoon showing Jindal flying around saying “Me too, I’m just like Obama” while Sarah is home doing serious work (on her Canada pipeline etc).

  • Sis

    She’s not wearing one of those ‘mother’ necklaces is she, with the birthdate and/or name of each child. Has she no shame?

    The pipeline. Remember, this is the marketing dept’s point of view.

  • Sis,

    Here’s background on the pipeline.
    The Alaskan legislature had been trying for 30 years to authorize something like this and, up until now, had blown it. Palin got it through. Getting it off the ground, the state says, will be the biggest construction project in U.S. history.
    Palin considers the $26 billion project her biggest accomplishment as governor. “It was not easy,” she told Investors Business Daily. “ Alaska has been hoping and dreaming for a natural gas pipeline for decades. What it took was getting off the dime and creating a competitive market in Alaska .”

    I’m not sure of the original cite; this is from

  • tpt/ny

    I believe she is wearing a “mother” necklace & I like it.
    The point made here about the GOP pushing Jindal over Palin is “SPOT-ON”!!
    They are trying to recreate the “successful” Democratic model of 2008. That is counter-act:
    a “Historic” candidate (a woman) with another “historic candidate” (a man of color & diversity).
    I never “bought into” the “Patriarchy” thing; until I saw the GOP in action last weekend.
    At the end of the day:
    They would “settle” for a “man-of-color” BEFORE allowing in a WOMAN!!!

  • The parties always copy each other. Clinton won originally because of Perot, and W. Bush won because of Nader. W. Bush picked a devilish old man as assassination insurance, and so did Obama. Bush and Obama both assailed the candidate who should have won and who was the best choice. They have these things in common because their on the same team, working for the same people, and it’s not the American people. Those people drive elections using insidious tolls like demographics to market lies to the electorate.

    That said, I do adore Palin. She’s got my vote any time she wants it.

  • they’re, not their…damn Kentucky education…

  • yttik

    I do believe the Republicans are probably thinking they need minorities, so they’ve scrambled all over trying to put some front and center, going with Steele and Jindal. Meanwhile it seems to have completely eluded them that half the human race is also a minority. Everybody seems to have missed the big picture, 2008 was the year of the woman. The Dems didn’t put a woman in charge of the DNC and neither have the R’s. Both parties have so far completely missed the boat. Republicans need to back a female candidate. So far they haven’t and it completely frustrates me.

  • Anna Belle,

    I tend to agree. When an honest wonky person might win, both sides gang up on them, and so does the press: Goldwater, the Clintons, Gore, now Palin.

  • bruce nahin

    Dont count sarah out…Check out and, but the reality is when Palin does something right,like her recent Supreme Court appointment, not one feminist blog other than this one reported on it, even blog which you would assume would have an interest in Supreme Court Appointments, and which considers itself a feminist watchdog group- so ladies you cant rely on women’s groups anymore than men’s group so it seems to be fair on the Palin issue

  • bruce,

    Stray Yaller Dog and Heidi Li praised Sarah’s appointment. Iirc it was discussed at Confluence, Hillaryis44, and Istr some mentions at more blogs at

    (Jamie Goldberg, PHd. Co-authored study)

    “Women in power feel there is a masculine dynamic that they have to match. Sarah Palin is considered a beautiful woman. Beautiful women have a generational role in society and politics is not deemed one of their roles. They have a hard time looking competent, because beautiful women DON’T go into politics. Political women tend to be more androgenous!

  • Anna from AK

    I remember that “huge blowout” about that per diem thing and about the Palin girls traveling with their mother. Even the media in Alaska jumped at the chance to make her look bad. I thought it was ridiculous.

  • kitkat


    We really do need to start thinking of 2012 and this article really hits home – to me. A reminder of 2008, what could of been, and how much work we have before us to try to create a level playing field in 2012.

  • Cynthia Ruccia

    let’s just keep talking about women voting for women. We’ll get the upper hand—-and the rest of society won’t see it coming. A delicious thought…..

  • Kevin

    Interesting dialogue.

    We are only about 3 weeks into the new administration and several women have been appointed to key post that impact the employment and health opportunities for women and we are talking about gearing up for 2012.

    How about actively focusing on supporting existing women in positions of authority as a strategy to get more women in similar positions as well as bettering the lives of women.

  • bruce nahin

    Flora I knew of ” Stray’s” blog as it was quoted in New Agenda and I signed up for her rss then, what floored me is that even a feminist law professor site( which meant the topic was right on point for them)and a so called watchdog site ignored it even after I called it to thier attention- thanks for alerting me to some others

  • Bruce,

    I agree that many blogs that should have covered the Christen appointment are ignoring it — unreasonably imo. Imo that’s evidence that TNA’s approach is needed.

  • Anna from AK,

    I’m puzzled by the anti-Palin slant of some AK media. She must have been doing great to get a high approval rating in spite of them.

    Are there any AK media you can recommend?

  • Thia Lawson

    Great article! I like Jindal just fine but he’s no Sarah Palin. We need to let both the Republicans and the Democrats know that women will not be ignored! We want women!

  • Someone from Alaska posted this on my blog. Re: newspapers:

    I am from Alaska, the majority of people(in a recent poll)taken in the Juneau Empire newspaper her popularity is still 63% and the chances are still really good for reelection. The small percentage that criticize Sarah are the politically motivated Democrats and liberals. They have no set agenda about her they just want to smear her. These people are not happy with anything, they just want to whine and some are coming in from out of state with the same agenda. The ADN newspaper is the most biased in Alaska. The Alaska Dispatch and Juneau Empire seems to be fair and balanced.

  • Juliette

    For the democrats who were willing to vote for John McCain until they were brain washed with the numerous lies that CNN and MSNBC reported about her, refusing to correct them even when did-(Sliming Palin), here’s a little wake up call.
    Sarah Palin bucks pressure and appoints a PRO-CHOICE judge to Alaska’s supreme court! Just like John McCain who approved of supreme court appointments of Judge Ginsberg and Breyer (both Pro-Choice,) Palin did the maverky thing and did not let her personal belief affect her decision. I tried to tell my brain washed fellow democrats that Palin is a progressive governor of a very conservative state, and that her position on abortion is no different than that of Jimmy Carter’s. They chose to belive the lies of CNN and MSNBC. To them I say, how’s that 401K looking?

  • bruce nahin check it out

  • Sis

    Bruce that website is so tacky. I think giving it out harms Sarah, and feeds into the (I think) erroneous impression that she is.

  • bruce nahin

    Sis: perhaps you are rightHere’s another one I found:

  • Thia Lawson

    Wow I don’t think Team Sarah is tacky at all! It’s just like any other site, some great people and some that make me shake my head but I’d hardly call it tacky.

  • bruce nahin

    Thia: I personally love the site and the interaction, but brilliant minds differ and if Sis doesn’t care for that site, there are several other sites created by Sarah Supporters icludings Sarah’s pac site,We Need Sarah.Com and others too

  • bruce,

    l came across this page listing many pro-Palin sites that I’d never heard of. Haven’t had time to check any of them

    As a liberal, I’m working on a new blog supporting Sarah without getting into the conservative support for her.

  • Sis

    Thia, I mean the design, tone, cacophony of fonts colours, etc. Compare it to here. For example. I think the less of that flashing neon approach the better for her.

  • bruce nahin

    flora: love to see the site- is it up yet?

  • Sarah Palin Tundra is the blog you reference above. It is by the author of Charlotte Front and Center…but no republican here.

  • bruce,

    Here it is.

    If anyone has material to add, pls post it as a Comment wherever convenient and I’ll move it wherever.

  • bruce nahin

    Trisha,Flora, thanks I have added both sites to my google reader, blessings bn