Does a candidate's gender really make a difference? That's one of the questions we're exploring this morning during the first hour of MPR's Midmorning. The guests are: Anna Greenberg, pollster and senior vice president with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research; Jennifer Lawless, assistant professor of political science and public policy at Brown University; and
Kellyanne Conway, CEO and president of The Polling Company.
I'll be live-blogging in the studio and we'll be discussing the issue in this space. Leave your comments and I'll select the best ones for on-the-air mention.
9:06 a.m. We're underway. I was thinking about this thread on the drive in today. Maybe that'll help us dispatch with the "they're picking on the women" theme right off the bat. We'll see.
9:11 a.m. -- Anna Greenberg, one of the guests today, was a speaker in Denver at one of the forums I covered. Does the fact she's consulting for Democrats change things? She says there was a mixed reaction to Palin in her polls.
She brings up the fact some of the people responding to her polling said, "you wouldn't be asking these questions of a man." I presume she's referring to the questions of balancing work as a family. But doesn't that ignore a reality? Women do juggle work and family more than men. So isn't it fair game?
9:14 a.m. -- Jennifer Lawless appears to confirm this point by noting there may be a shift in the workplace, but not in the home. She says Palin was a "smart pick." The "right" would normally be leveling these criticisms but now it can't "because she's their candidate." She says it's going to be about the issues. Is it? Since when do the issues affect election outcomes?
9:16 a.m. - Let the record show the first two comments are from men... and say gender is not an issue.
9:17 a.m. - Guest raises interesting point. Is Palin a feminist in a time of a "fluid" definition. She says there's no evidence women will vote for McCain-Palin simply because she's a woman. "There's no evidence she's had any impact on the race other than solidfying the Republican base." She mentions this poll from ABC News, that says the issue is experience.
Tangent time: Palin to give first national media interview later this week.
9:23 a.m. - Caller says Palin is using motherhood/womanhood as a qualification, so questioning on that basis is a fair point. Greenberg says a corollary is John Edwards. There was a lot of criticism when he announced he was having an affair, but when he invited Nightline to his house, "he invited that part of the political discourse." If Palin is invoking her hockey momness, she's opened the door.
9:29 a.m. - "One of the culprits in this story is the media," Greenberg says. She says the media says the media treats women as a monolithic voting bloc. I admit, here, to feeling a little icky about a Democratic pollster saying that. I'm not sure she's indicated that she does consult for the Democrats. (Update: It has been.)
9:31 a.m. - Just wondering while listener say it's hard to judge women by the decisions of her children: what does Mr. Palin do? "He's a hockey dad," says the Baltimore Sun. No, seriously, what does he do? He's an oil worker. He's also a championship snowmobile racer, according to CBS.
9:35 a.m. - Is this story a time bomb for the New York Times? Fusing Motherhood and Politics in a New Way attributes most of its source material to third parties.
9:40 a.m. Kellyanne Conway, CEO and president of The Polling Company, joins us. We're talking about women as a voting bloc and she says there are blocs within blocs. Women by age, by race etc., and there is no single bloc. (Question: Does anyone really think women vote as a bloc? Why are we even talking about this?). Conway says Palin has a "commonality" among women because "she just seems like them."
9:43 a.m. Deb makes an interesting point in the comments section below:
A topic that hasn't yet arisen in this discussion, is that the issue is not her gender (female), but the expression of her gender in terms of how people perceive feminine or masculine behavior. And her socio-economic status. If you use this frame for this discussion, it helps to explain why there is such a range of reactions from women about Sarah Palin.
Does a woman really need to be able to gut a moose in the field to be acceptable?
9:48 a.m. - Does Palin's decisions as a mother portend the decisions as vice president? KellyAnn says it's nobody's business how you choose to handle your own pregnancy. Referencing the Times story, the focus on her postpartum is ridiculous. "I think that people are overcompensating. I think if you need to see a double standard,... they never asked the basic questions about John Edwards and Elliot Spitzer."
Over to you Anna. "There's sexism in the coverage of Hillary Clinton. There's sexism in the coverage of Sarah Palin." She says the whole decision to keep the child was part of the campaign announcement. It's very hard "to argue that these sorts of issues are off limits when they brought it up."
The guests are having a nice debate with each other on the point. What did I start?
9:52 a.m. Ah, I see, we have a Republican pollster to balance the Democratic pollster. That brings up a thread for another time. Can you trust pollsters with at least one foot in one of the parties?
9:54 a.m. Where do Clinton voters go? This has been a debate for a few weeks now. The guest cites two points that says 20-percent of women who voted for Clinton in a primary or caucus are leaning toward McCain/Palin, says KellyAnn.
9:57 a.m. The zone of privacy. Jennifer says women and men -- potential candidates -- dislike the lack of privacy and this applies more to women than men. She brings up the "Hillary cry." She says Sarah Palin is going to have to get used to it. Anna says the coverage of Obama, no one talks about his "zone of privacy" or the scrutiny his personal life has received. For example, is his religion or his church or his former pastor an issue?
== End (Keep talking below, though.) ==(67 Comments)
The signs are subtle, but they cannot be mistaken: the images of the falling World Trade Centers are fading. The latest example? The General Services Administration (the government's property manager) and a coalition of building groups are trying to overturn post-9/11 building standards for skyscrapers.
Now the elusive local connection: The showdown will come next week in Minneapolis, when the International Code Council holds its meeting. Minnesota has adopted the ICC's codes as part of its statewide building code. In the Upper Midwest, only South Dakota has not adopted the standards.
Three changes are involved:
>> More stairwells in skyscrapers. The building owners say it adds $13 million to a 42-story officebuilding, and costs $600,000 a year in lost rent.
>> More fireproofing.
>> Glow-in-the-dark markings in stairwells so people can find their way in the dark.
Are these provisions real improvements to safety, or just an overly emotional response to 9/11?
The answer is simple, the chairman of the International Code Council, Gary Lewis of Summit, New Jersey, told the New York Times.
"We want buildings that stand long enough for people to get out and stairs that allow people to get out quickly," Mr. Lewis said. "If we reverse any of those improvements, we are not learning from the lessons of Sept. 11."
What do our moving habits tell us about us?
The Census Bureau has released tidbits of the way we moved -- or not -- between 2006 and 2007.
>> Next to the Northeast, the Midwesterners move least.
>> Most people stay in the same county when they move. Of those who crossed counties, most moved less than 50 miles.
>> African Americans have the highest moving rate (17 percent).
>> People were were separated were the most likely to move. Widows and widowers were least likely to move.(1 Comments)
No sense beating around the bush. Should the government be bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?
Yes, say those who think the financial markets needed to be reassured.
No, say those who suggest it'll force more banks to fail.
Yes, say those who want to refinance or buy a house.
No, say those who think it amounts to American taxpayers bailing out the rich boys.
Yes, say those who say it'll stem the crisis and turn things around.
No, say those who say the crisis is coming anyway.(3 Comments)
Wilmington, North Carolina today became the first community in the country to experience digital TV transmission. The switch-over, which occurred at 11 a.m. CT, was expected to show whatever flaws exist in the plan to end analog TV signals next year. The biggest problem appears to be telling people analog transmissions are going to end. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed in Wilmington didn't know that today was the day the old Zenith would stop working.
It'll be 162 days before Minnesota's TV stations turn off the analog signal. Most of those affected are those who use rabbit ears or a rooftop antenna to receive the signals. Cable TV and satellite TV customers may be mostly unaffected (but it wouldn't hurt to call the company to find out).
Eighty-five percent of people in this country now get their TV from either cable or satellite. About 500,000 people in Minnesota get their TV "over the air."4 Comments)
United Airlines was nearly wiped out today because -- somehow -- an old story about its 2002 bankruptcy filing ended up on a Florida newspaper's site. Editor and Publisher Magazine reports. (Update: Florida paper says 'it wasn't us.' But Forbes.com quotes some newspaper officials earlier as having 'pulled' the story. Which is it?)
Then, according to Bloomberg, the story got posted on Bloomberg's newswire (an operation that's supposed to provide dependable information for investors) by Income Securities Investor, an outfit that describes itself as an independent research firm.
The situation shows that airline analysts don't believe their own analysis, Marketwatch proclaimed.
Oh, it revealed much, much more.
For this to happen, several realities have to exist:
1) "Research firms" have to get their information off newspaper sites or via Google.
2) Newspaper and Web site editors have to be that incompetent to post six-year-year old stories on their Web sites.
3) Actual investors have to be that lazy about researching how they'll invest their money to depend on either #1 or #2.(3 Comments)
We've got Minnesota Nice, but are we somehow genetically predisposed here to being honest, too?
In Minnesota, we have our share of government-related scandals, but we're not exactly a state with Teapot Dome-sized misdeeds.
The latest "scandal" in these parts involves the DNR spending $300,000 on a conservation officers program in 2007. A hearing at the Capitol was held on Monday.
But scandals involving state officials seem to fade fast around here, partly because there aren't that many.
Sonia Morphew Pitt couldn't find her way back to Minneapolis when the I-35W bridge collapsed last year. The former MnDOT emergency response coordinator was on an unauthorized trip to the northeast, and made personal calls to a guy on the company phone. With that on her record, she was hired by the Department of Homeland Security. But even this "scandal" appears to be more about stupidity than criminality.
Now think of another Minnesota state government scandal. It's not easy (at least for me).
Jesse Ventura's broadcasting job with the XFL occupied a ridiculous amount of time in newscasts. But how big of a scandal was it, really?
In 1994, a state rep (Alan Welle) resigned at the height of the "phonegate" scandal. Legislators misused the states toll-free phone line for personal calls.
In Minneapolis, a couple of city council members -- Brian Herron and Dean Zimmermann -- have spent time in the slammer. A couple of political allies of Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher were convicted on corruption charges a few weeks ago.
But statewide, three scandals (maybe four but it doesn't "feel" like it) in 14 years seems relatively clean, because it is.
An analysis last year showed Louisiana is the most corrupt state in the country, followed by Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama and Ohio. In the survey of the 35 most populous states, Minnesota ranked 33rd.(2 Comments)