Ken Connor

"Here ruining people is considered sport," so concluded Vince Foster in what many believe was his suicide note. "Here" is Washington D.C., and the instrument of ruination is the politics of personal destruction.

Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin is the latest person to find herself in the crosshairs of those aiming for her ruination. Her offense? She accepted Senator John McCain's invitation to be his running mate for the 2008 Presidential election. This historic milestone of a woman running on the Republican ticket was soon transformed into histrionics. Any real analysis of Governor Palin's public record was jettisoned in favor of digging up dirt about her personal life, real or concocted.

First came the snide comments on Governor Palin's looks. Most of those comments came from feminists, the same women who decry sexism and complain that too much attention is paid to how a woman looks. Nevertheless, they are the same women who keep us abreast of Hilary Clinton's changing hair styles and her preference for pantsuits. Who can forget the vitriol aimed at Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris during the 2000 Florida recount? How she applied her makeup became more important than how she applied the law. We may have come a long way baby, but cattiness persists among the feminists.

Next, Governor Palin was attacked for being a bad mother. Suddenly the crowd who proclaims women can only find fulfillment working outside the home have become homebodies. Crocodile tears were shed over whether Governor Palin would be abandoning her children if she became Vice President. It's ironic that feminists now complain that she should be at home with her kids.

But let's not kid ourselves. Many of the folks now supporting Governor Palin's bid for Vice President would be casting similar aspersions upon her if she were Senator Obama's running mate. Their unconditional support for Governor Palin, notwithstanding her family circumstances, is, for many, an abandonment of the notion that motherhood is a woman's highest calling.

Then came the attacks on Governor Palin's family. Her husband's DUI when he was 22 years old (over twenty years ago) was trotted out to see what kind of reaction it would receive. It didn't receive much of one but hey, it was worth a shot.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.