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March 14, 2011 09:14 PM UTC

The Victim Card--It Didn't Work For Sarah Palin, Either

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: In the interests of our casual readers’ eyesight and unknown propensity for seizures, we’ve replaced the animated image of Rep. Amy Stephens that’s the subject of controversy with one of the individual still frames (below). For those of you without motion sickness problems, the full-size original animation is displayed after the jump. Please note that this change was made strictly because it was making us dizzy on the homepage, not any qualitative judgment.


Before we address the interview with Colorado House Majority Leader Amy Stephens this weekend in the Colorado Statesman, wherein this blog figures rather prominently, Politico’s Jonathan Martin updates today as well–on former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. If you don’t already know where we’re going with this, you will shortly:

Sarah Palin has played the sexism card, accusing critics of chauvinism against a strong woman…

Most famously, she has played the victim card – never more vividly than when she invoked the loaded phrase “blood libel” against liberals and media commentators in the wake of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting.

Palin’s flamboyant rhetoric always has thrilled supporters, but lately it is coming at a new cost: a backlash, not from liberals but from some of the country’s most influential conservative commentators and intellectuals.

Palin’s politics of grievance and group identity, according to these critics, is a betrayal of conservative principles. For decades, it was a standard line of the right that liberals cynically promoted victimhood to achieve their goals and that they practiced the politics of identity – race, sex and class-over ideas.

Back to the Statesman’s Marianne Goodland, with the above commentary in mind:

When asked, Stephens said she does believe she’s sometimes treated unfairly by the press, but she reserved most of her criticism for blogs. She didn’t name any specifically, but referred to pieces she’s either seen or heard about on

“Part of that is that you want to be heard, to be portrayed fairly, and that’s all I can ask for,” she said. But she also said it’s different for the “vicious blogs,” and she pointed to a recent piece (on ColoradoPols) that had taken an image of her and altered it in a short video. Stephens said she didn’t see it but someone had written to her about it. [Pols emphasis] “I chose not to [look at it],” she said. “Blogs like that, hate blogs, it’s unfortunate that you have people like that.” When a blog abuses someone who’s a public person, “it’s a form of bullying and abuse” and “a viciousness that on some level at some point we should speak to.”

As to misuse of her image, she said it borders on hate, and it has an unfortunate impact – not only for herself, but for her son. “It’s unfortunate more because I have a son in high school who sees it or hears about it.” She said her son understands about these things. But she finds such attacks “sexist, bigoted, and hate-filled.”

First off, and before we say anything else, let’s not forget that Stephens is being critical of something that she admits she hasn’t personally seen. If you are going to speak critically about something, at the every least, maybe you should first look at it yourself.

Now…we heard before the publication of this interview that the animated image in question (below the fold–see update) has circulated widely around the Capitol in the days following its original publication by one of our readers. The three still images that make up the animation have not been altered in any way–we verified this by closely examining the original video they were pulled from, which we posted a few hours before the reader created the animation. We invite others to confirm this.

In defense of that reader, not to mention our community in general, we absolutely reject the accusation that the above graphic is in any way “sexist, bigoted, and hate-filled.” For one thing, nobody forced Rep. Stephens to turn, face the camera, and deliver those now-infamous air quotes. Just like nobody forced her to tell a reporter that “well-funded,” referring to Colorado’s systemically underfunded public schools, “is in the eye of the beholder.” We sincerely believe that this gesture, and these comments, would have been just as newsworthy–and subject to ridicule–had they been offered by a male politician. To whatever extent Rep. Stephens embarrassed herself, and showed a side of herself that is unflattering and unsuitable for prime time, those who merely captured it on camera are guilty of nothing.

To be honest, we’ve seen Palin depicted in much less flattering ways, sometimes the result of real image manipulation–in some cases, arguably ways that are demeaning to women. We should be able to agree Rep. Stephens has not been subjected to anything like the criticism Palin has, and to use the same terms to describe this self-inflicted embarrassment…well, they say Palin demeans real victims with the terms she throws around, don’t they?

We’d say this is the only part of Stephens’ reply that isn’t very funny.


19 thoughts on “The Victim Card–It Didn’t Work For Sarah Palin, Either

  1. If this silliness is sexism, she needs to ask Boehner about his sex change, because his image has been manipulated way, way, WAY more often (and more offensively, and more effectively).

    Case in point:

    1. She has no specific claims to bias or subjectivity, or maybe methodology, she just dosen’t believe in the ” studies “.

      If you’re going to parade yourself in front of world as a bumbling anti-intellectual, you’re going to be treated as such !

    2. That’s funny, but I have to point out: the three frames of video I made into the animated .GIF that seems to have caused all this controversy, other than the sharpen tool in Photoshop, have NOT been “altered” in any way.

      This is the real, true to life, unaltered Amy Stephens. This is not Sarah Palin in a Photoshopped bikini with a gun. Thank you, Pols, for seeing the difference.

      1. Made into a gif… yes. Altered… no.

        (and Sarah in a photoshopped bikini with a gun is a lot less funny than real Sarah on the beach with McCain’s name blacked out on her hat.)

      2. Seriously, if anything you owe the gentlemen in the back an apology.

        Kidding there, too. I just wanted an excuse to post for the Twitter part of my sig line.

        She’s a woman and deserves respect she has neither earned nor reciprocates! Shame on you, nasty man! 😉

    1. High schoolers read this blog nearly constantly (even ones from Montana). GIFs are super-duper hurtful when they’re made of real pictures of you. Jerkwad.

  2. Yet, according to her, that video image of her only “borders on hate”…well then, someone’s not doing their job here. That’s all I have to say.

  3. how traditional conservatives are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the Palin cult of aggrieved victimhood. Reminding folks that playing the victim card is something liberals are supposed to do, that the idea of a particular class and ethnic identity and criticizing blue bloods ( class warfare) is supposed to be something liberals do. Maybe they are realizing that promising to be the party of red state white folks who aren’t all smart and too “hoity toity” is not going to be the way to ride the demographic wave into the future.  

    1. at that apologizing stuff.

      You are supposed to say “I apologize if you are unable to appreciate my animation without exhibiting signs of weakness from having been feminized by teachers’ unions.”

      Practice in front of a mirror.

    2. So you admit that this hate blog attack animation is sexist? I’m surprised you didn’t mention that Stephens is blonde (mostly). You libs have no shame!

  4. She doesn’t appreciate the fact that I think it’s funny that she can’t haz cheeseburger. All those images are abusive and show the massive amounts of cat-hate on teh interwebz.

  5. Thank you, Amy Stephens, for giving us the opportunity to laugh at you again and to re-appreiate Jeffco’s genius. Frankly, you should be happy that JB’s remake at least lent humor to your creepiness. The still is just plain creepy. And since you brought your kid into this: Sorry, kid, that she’s your mom. But you’ll come to terms with it and forgive her someday. Now get off the internet and get back to your studies.

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