The great Palin debate

Rush Limbaugh says she’s a “babe.”  Jon Stewart says that “her resume appears to be more suited for a ‘Northern Exposure’ reunion show” than for the office one step away from the Presidency.  And Fred Thompson notes that “She is the only nominee in the history of either party who knows how to properly field dress a moose … with the possible exception of Teddy Roosevelt.”

It’s worth noting that Thompson’s claim is one of the few about Sarah Palin that isn’t the subject of furious debate.

Indeed, the polemic over Sarah Palin has been going strong every since John McCain’s surprise announcement of his running mate last week, prompting a frenzy of arguments between the right and left in what’s been, already, a contentious election throughout primary season.

Whether McCain’s choice was aimed to attract disenfranchised female voters still embittered by a brutal Democratic primary, to shore up the Christian right and uber-conservatives who think he’s too liberal, to lower the average age of his ticket or to help him find suitable outerwear choices for cold winters in D.C. is up for debate.

Then again, everything’s up for debate with Sarah Palin these days, and nowhere is that more evident than on the almighty t-shirt.

Animals seem to be a common theme for Palin merch; perhaps not surprising, given that she hails from the bucolic state of Alaska.

Not to be outdone, the acronym-lovers out there were only too happy to agree with Rush Limbaugh’s assertion that Palin is an attractive candidate.  That the happy owner of – as Huffington post writer David Weiner noted – had the foresight to get that site up and running two months ago might lead some to wonder whether this was a truly a case of foresight or whether he was, with a perhaps misguided sense of optimism, counting on rabid Joe Lieberman groupies to storm the barn doors. has official t-shirts up and going, and of course there’s lots of variations on the MILF theme for you purists out there.

It’s worth noting that we don’t have a single PILF t-shirt that’s about Hillary Clinton, though we do have a handful made for Obama.  What this means to Clinton is, again, up for debate.  However, Hillary fans can still revel in her love of the almighty pantsuit – and what a pantsuit extravaganza it’s been of late.  With that blue background, it would seem that HRC has a firm grasp of the color theory, most notably complementary colors.

In any case, one thing worth noting is that Palin herself seems to have engendered an unprecedented amount of discussion and merchandise related to her outward appearance.  This is unheard of in a presidential race (of course, we weren’t around making t-shirts for Quayle), and there’s some debate as to whether this kind of labeling and the coverage she’s received is sexist.  One of the more interesting things about these kinds of labels is that, as noted, the Republican pundits (and Cindy McCain) began lauding her external appeal as soon as her appointment was announced and seem to consider it at advantage.

But of course there’s always an answer to any possibly sexist acronym…

Whatever you want to call her, Palin herself has been labeled by right and left (and herself) alike: Hockey Mom, Military Mom, barracuda, VPILF, card-carrying NRA member, hunter, outdoorswoman, pro-lifer, Mother of Five.  As the debate rages on over her inexperience, whether she’s an anti-feminist, the clash between her stance on abstinence and the GOP’s traditional positions about unwed mothers and “traditional family values” being at odds with her inconveniently unmarried pregnant teenage daughter, and of course why McCain – who’s pointed out inexperience as Obama’s failing – would choose her in spite of her own inexperience, a steady stream of user-generated designs tell us that these debates won’t go quietly.

  1. Yes Sarah Palin sure is a hit. It seems both Party tickets have their share of fandom going on. It was a comprehensive and enjoyable post – and a clever way of inserting the panoply of Palin designs. Her biography and persona certainly lends itself to more interesting visual puns, moreso than the original Mr Popularity – Obama.
    Time will tell how long Palin-mania will last, but there’s no sign of it dwindling anytime soon.

  2. No, I don’t vote for a woman because she’s a woman, either; but I definitely will vote for Sarah Palin. She has the best interests of the country at heart, she’s dynamic, she has the right outlook on the rights of the unborn, she promotes traditional values.

    Sarah for President 2012!

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  4. You need to a t-shirt with “Pigs for Palin.”
    I am a retired cop.
    Pig stand for Pride

    It fits her to a Tee.

  5. CafePress:

    Could ya just stop with the trash on Sarah Palin…..putting her face on a thong! Where’s the decency in this country???? I would like to know???? Some people in this country have hit an all new low…..I’m embarrassed and ashamed to see how depraved we are….you can count me out as a customer….any company who would treat a woman like that doesn’t deserve any business.

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  7. why don’t sahah palin and john mccain have any free bumper stickers and buttons all people can’t afford to buy them obama has free things for people to order i want a bumper sticker and a botton with john mccain and sarah palin on it so come on if u want my vote

  8. Has it not occurred to all the people who intend to vote for Sarah Palin because of her “traditional values” that traditional values called for women to not work outside the home, to not be educated, to not have the right to vote, to not be able to inherit or even own property, to be completely subservient to men, etc etc. ?

  9. To Chris and all others – I know many people who are dynamic and who have the country’s best interests at heart, but that does not mean they are qualified to be President or Vice President. Do you seriously want someone’s hand on or near the red nuclear button just becuase they seem like the guy or gal down the street you want to have a beer with? how many of those buddies would you want running the country – YOUR financial life, YOUR educational opportunities, YOUR work and pay opportunities, YOUR kids war requirements? My regular bar friends or PTA friends or fellow parents are great nice folks, but they don’t know nearly enough to be that powerful. Neither does Sarah Palin.

  10. I think you’re confused about conservative Christian values – you have mistakenly refered to conservative Islamic values. The last time I checked the right to education, career, equality with men intellectually and spiritually have all been products of this Democracy. Duh!

  11. Sarah Palin has gone into the Vice-Presidential debate tonight, swinging–and come out shining. Oft beleaguered for her poor performance in interviews with the liberal media, Palin’s history as a candidate for Governor of Alaska reveals a savvy and talented debater, with a gift for speaking from the heart to the heart of America. Only Ronald Reagan has been more underestimated in recent memory.

  12. “that traditional values called for women to not work outside the home, to not be educated, to not have the right to vote, to not be able to inherit or even own property, to be completely subservient to men, etc etc.”

    Wow you are clueless, Stan.

  13. Holy Wow!!!!! People were impressed with Palin? For real? Her biggest goal tonight was not to screw, and she did that. YAY. Talk about a LOW bar!!! And, yeah, Biden is boring to listen to, and is not the dude down the street. The stakes are HIGH folks. If you had to go to court, stakes being life in prison, you had to choose a lawyer – one is boring, but YEARS of experience and knows everyone in the court room.. The other, a soccer mom who just passed the bar and knows nobody for real but is well spoken… ALLLLL of you would choose the esperience over the soccer mom. You LIE if you disagree. That is the same thing now. Stakes are HIGH!!!! Palin is a parrot who wont even answer tough questions in a debate, but good at diversion. Liberal is NOT a bad word you freaks, nor does it mean ‘soft’, Bush put that into your weak minds. Conversative is equally bad. I hope the ‘Bush’ states wake the heck up.

  14. As a blue coller worker that lives in a blue coller area I feel Joe Biden was trying to speak as a lawyer would explaining things to someone who does not understand. Hhe belives his job is to make decisions and we should not ask questions but except these decisions. On the other hand Sarah seems to be one of us, someone we can trust.


  15. Im a professional, educated upper middle class female.

    I love SP. I am switching to Republican party. They have my vote and most of my friends votes. The issue is..we dont yell our plans all over the place, we don’t put McCain stickers on our Lexus. We don’t try to manipulate the media. We are quiet. And we will win this election. Take that to the bank.


  16. So the professional, educated upper-class professional women love SP for: what? Her clothes? “We don’t yell our plans all over the place…” Neither does Sarah, unfortunately. There’s yet to be a moment when she has anything of substance to say that hasn’t been pre-tested as a soundbite.

    Too, too bad for supposedly educated women to get excited over ‘girl power’. You’ve been watching too many Disney movies about loveable wacky moms who manage to make everything right, despite not knowing what the hell is going on.

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