UPDATE at end of post: this is the first time NOW endorsed a presidential ticket without a woman on it!
In the finest example of Palin Derangement Syndrome yet, the National Organization for Women on Tuesday endorsed Barack Obama for President.
In its formal announcement at the National Press Club (video embedded right), members of NOW, along with leaders of other women's groups, personally attacked Alaska Gov. Palin as if she was a criminal that deserved to be behind bars rather than someone that should be seriously considered as vice president.
Here's what NOW chairman Kim Gandy said:
The more women learn about what Sarah Palin stands for, and the fact that as mayor of Wasilla, she required rape victims to pay for the cost of processing the police evidence in their cases, up to $1,200. The fact that she opposes abortion even in the case of a child who's been raped or is a victim of incest. Her positions are so completely out of touch with those of the majority of American women that I think those polls, even if they were right to begin with, I think they'll be swinging back the other way very quickly as women find out what Sarah Palin stands for.
Even more absurd, this was stated by Ellie Smeal, the chairman of the Feminist Majority:
You know, women have true equality when conservative women and liberal women and progressive women and women from all stripes have an equal chance at the top. So, you know, we are not against a woman being on a ticket for president. But, we wish it was a ticket that stood for women and women's rights. Since it doesn't, we're opposing that ticket...This ticket is not standing for the advancement of women.
This is what Deborah Frett, the CEO of Business and Professional Women actually said:
One other thing I wanted to say is that, you know, the ultimate working woman or mother is one that has the support and resources to be a successful caregiver, and an employee without penalty. And we want to see all working women have that opportunity, not just one, not just ten, all working women.
But maybe the most absurd statement came a tad later when NOW chairman Gandy stepped back behind the podium:
NOW does not frequently endorse in a presidential race. This is very unusual for us. And we did wait to see who would be on the ticket. Although Sen. Obama has a wonderful record, we did wait to see because not only was Hillary Clinton considered, but there were some names being tossed out I think not by the Obama campaign, but perhaps by the press. But there were some pretty nerve-racking names that were being tossed out as potential running mates. But, when Joe Biden was named as running mate, we've worked with Joe Biden literally for decades, we know him well, we know he's an advocate, we know he's a supporter, and we know that he'll stand up for women because he's done it.
Imagine that: A 65-year-old man is a better advocate for women's issues than a 44-year-old woman that is currently a governor.
This is why syndicated columnist Suzanne Fields wrote Saturday:
NOW ought to change its name to WOW. Such stunning independence. A working woman with five children, the governor of a sovereign state, isn't a sufficient accomplishment. Who knew?
I agree, Suzanne...WOW!
A group of Hillary Clinton supporters condemned the National Organization for Women's endorsement of Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden earlier this week.
"The New Agenda is concerned that NOW's recent endorsement of Barack Obama leaves many women in this country out in the cold," the nonpartisan nonprofit group said in a release Friday. "The endorsement seems all the more puzzling given the fact that the Republican Party is running its first female candidate for Vice-President, Gov. Sarah Palin, and the Green Party is fielding its first all-woman presidential ticket with Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente."
The New Agenda points out that since its 1966 founding, NOW has previously endorsed at the presidential level only four times -- and each time there was a woman on the ticket: Shirley Chisolm in the 1972 Democratic primary; Democrats Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro for the 1984 general election; Carol Mosely Braun in the 2003 Democratic primary; and Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary.
"We find it quite perplexing that NOW has chosen to endorse an all-male ticket after not endorsing recent candidates such as Gov. Bill Clinton, Sen. Al Gore, or Sen. John Kerry," said New Agenda co-founder Amy Siskind in the statement.
So do I.