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.”
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 VPILF.com – 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.
VPILF.com 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.