Sunday, March 27, 2011

Geraldine Ferraro, First Female VP Candidate, Dies at 75

Image from Forbes
I'm old enough to know and remember that Sarah Palin was not the first female vice presidential candidate. Nor was Palin the smartest, not by a long shot. But I do have to say that I came from a Republican household, and that Walter Mondale was far from a charismatic candidate. So--other than Geraldine Ferraro's husband's vaguely shady dealings--distinct memories of Ferraro are sketchy. Likewise, Ferraro's later career as a FOX "News" commentator leaves a sour feeling in my memory banks, but nothing particularly distinct. Was it something racist? Was she overtly anti-Obama/pro-Hillary? I don't know if that's exactly it, since I basically flipped a coin to pick between those two (no Obama-bot here!).

So, when The Other Half said I had to eulogize Ferraro here on the blog, I agreed. . .she has a notable position in history. But I can't claim to have any special  emotional ties. RIP, Gerry. Sorry I didn't pay more attention.


First woman on US national ticket, Geraldine Ferraro, dead at 75

Geraldine Ferraro, who became the first woman on a US major-party national ticket as the 1984 Democratic vice presidential nominee, died Saturday in Boston after a long battle with cancer. . .
Read more at: Monsters & Critics


  1. I happened to vote for Mondale/Ferraro in 1984, because I thought that Reagan's trickle-down economic policies and deficit-expansion were bad for the country. That was not the end of Ferraro's influence on American politics, however.

    In 2008, Geraldine Ferraro underlined the difference between her generation of feminists (who still suffered from enormous chips on their shoulders) and my generation, who benefited from greater opportunities and the self-confidence that brings. I did not share Ferraro's view that it was sexist to vote against Hillary. On the contrary, I found it troubling that old-school feminists were touting the notion that being married to a great man somehow imbues special wisdom and qualifications on a woman.

    Ferraro was the face of the PUMAs (the resentful "Party Unity My Ass" democrats who threatened to vote Republican because Hillary did not get the Democratic Party nomination). Two of my first three blog posts were actually on the topic of McCain's PUMA-hunting.

    John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate was partly a cynical attempt to get the PUMA vote. In that way, Ferraro had a much more recent and lasting (though unintended) impact on American politics. This is what I said (in my third-ever blog post):
    "Wow. McCain's really going after Geraldine Ferraro's vote. Why else would he choose an obscure Governor who is most distinguished for being one of the few Republican politicians in Alaska who isn't under threat of indictment? Oh, maybe because she happens to possess two X chromosomes. I thought conservatives didn't believe in affirmative action. I guess McCain really is a maverick. "

    So, now you know (as Paul Harvey would say), the rest of the story.

  2. Yeah, I wrote a bit about the PUMAs too, mostly with a skeptical view that they'd have an effect. They were so NASTY and borderline (or not so borderline) racist. They kept leveling charges of how extraordinarily hostile Obama's people had been to Hillary, something I never really believed. And the PUMA's radical flip to McCain made no kind of logical sense.

    There are still fragments of the PUMAs around--ever read the train wreck that is HillBuzz?--but I still doubt that they were an authentic movement.

    And when it comes to Ferraro, my memories are still fuzzy, though I remember being turned off by her statements in 2008. I probably wrote a blog post or two about it back then. I guess I'll have to revisit them! Thanks for your perspective, Jill, and thanks for stopping by.


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