A cry for help is ringing across the land! Sarah Huckabee Sanders needs your support!
That’s the message from Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas’ Attorney General (and a key figure in the fight against gay rights in the Natural State). She’s personal friends with SHS and wants us all to knwo that SHS “a kind and loving daughter, mother, wife, and friend. She is an amazing and beautiful person inside and out.”
Notably, Rutledge does NOT say that SHS is “honest,” which is what the criticisms of her delivered by Michelle Wolf in comedic form were about.
On the surface, Rutledge’s words seem like an odd defense since no one in the “liberal media” is calling SHS a bad mother, daughter, wife, or friend.
Maybe what Rutledge really means is: SHS is a white Southern woman, and that should protect her from criticism, no matter her behavior.
In fact, that sounds like EXACTLY what Rutledge is saying. Here she is again:
“You see, here in the South we stand up for each other when our friends are being bullied, and you’ve picked a battle with the wrong Arkansas girl. It’s hard enough being a working mom, and I can assure you it’s very hard to be a woman in politics, especially if you’re a conservative. If you want to attack us for our beliefs, for our policies, and for our politics then bring it on. But there’s a line you just don’t cross….There’s right and there’s wrong, and what happened to Sarah was just plain wrong.”
Perhaps Rutledge doesn’t know quite how… um… clannish(?) she sounds. Like, no, there is not a secret club of white Southern women who need to spring into action any time one of them has rightly been accused of lying.
She lists the reasons why it’s fair to attack a politician: beliefs, policies, politics. But certainly telling lies is a reason we can criticize people, too, especially when their job is to help us understand the administration’s perspective.
Rutledge then delivers her call to action. She asks all
“my fellow hardworking women, Republicans and Democrats alike, to stand up and stand behind Sarah and all of the other successful women the elitist, liberal media have berated like Kellyanne Conway and Ivanka Trump. This isn’t about politics — this is about empowering other women. When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us!”
Um, er, what? Wolf’s criticism of Conway was that she’s a con artist, which is a fair way of talking about a politician. Her criticism of Ivanka Trump was that she talks about helping women but doesn’t put her promises into action–also a fair way of talking about politicians who fail to live up to their promises. It is not berating to mock someone for lying. People calling you a liar is a social consequence of lying.
If Rutledge wanted to make a non-political statement about the treatment of women in politics, she could have spoken out against the sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton during the last presidential election. She could have spoken against Donald Trump’s repeated attacks on women, including other Republicans, for their looks and because they menstruate. She could put up a slick website to drive traffic to her re-election campaign that defends Democratic women or criticizes conservatives who use misogynistic rhetoric.
Above, Scarlett O’Hara accuses Rhett Butler of not being a gentleman because he caught her in an embarrassing moment. He reminds her that her behavior is a good indicator that she’s no lady, either.
Despite her insistence that Republican women are some kind of at-risk group, the majority of white women voted for Trump. That means that, whether they like or it just tolerate it in pursuit of their other goals, the majority of white women are okay with misogyny. This “Save Sarah” campaign isn’t a rebuttal to sexism in politics because Republicans don’t really see a problem with sexism. Instead, it’s a rallying cry for white Southern women (and, by extension, ladies everywhere and the gentlemen who defend their honor) to get upset that people don’t believe their lies any more.
None of this is surprising (I believe that Margaret Mitchell wrote the handbook, of which SHS is quite fond, to this kind of behavior ages go). Liars often get upset when people don’t believe their lies, and they may, in response, get angry. How dare you accuse them of being dishonest! We can all see who the REAL victim is here!
But then Rutledge goes a little further. She urges us to “join the #SarahStrong movement and show your support by visiting SarahStrong.org!”
It’s that hashtag taken from campaigns to honor victims of mass shootings (#OrlandoStrong) and support cancer patients. Rutledge’s use of it as tacky as a plantation wedding.
PS. A very special thanks to my friend C. who shared the call for support for Sarah Huckaee Sanders.