Shelly Mandell, President of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women, endorsed the McCain-Palin ticket yesterday. Greta van Susteren, of Fox News, ran a clip of Mandell claiming that Palin “supports women’s rights.”
I’m not sure what planet Mandell’s on to suggest that Palin supports women’s rights. She has not done anything to deal with rape and sexual assault (the rape kit controversy notwithstanding) in Alaska, which has the highest number of rapes in the country. She is opposed to abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. She supports the McCain healthcare initiative, which will leave 20 million more people without health insurance, many of whom will be women.
Mandell also said earlier in the speech that she’s not there as a representative of NOW, but as an individual.
That, my feminist friends, is a joke. Someone in such a high-profile position cannot represent only herself. She is taking a clear stand against the national group’s position. Kim Gandy has been stumping for Obama-Biden for the past month, and here comes the leader of one of the largest chapters of NOW saying that she’s supporting the other ticket. As an individual she’s free to support the candidate she likes, but she should not use her title as the leader of LA NOW to support Palin.
Beyond that, for the McCain-Palin strategists to present Mandell as an individual is disingenuous. They used her precisely because of her affiliation with NOW. If not, then why choose her? Why not choose one of the millions of other people in the country who support Palin?
Patty Bellasalma, President of California NOW, issued a statement explaining that the chapter’s support is not the same as Mandell’s support. I’m not sure how much good Bellasalma’s statement will be, but I hope it will work and that on-the-border feminists will understand that Mandell’s position is in conflict with NOW.