In typically Manichean fashion, Palin divides the feminist movement into the hardy, maternalist foremothers who fought, justly, for the right to the vote, and the whining, anti-family radicals who came along in the 1960s and ’70s. With a rather stunning lack of self-awareness, she rehashes Dan Quayle’s attack on the TV show Murphy Brown for glorifying single motherhood. She takes a swipe at what she calls Hillary Clinton’s former appearance of “1960s-era bra-burning militancy.” Against such viragos, she sets earlier feminist heroines, who she seems to imagine were a lot like Sarah Palin. “What is hardest to take about liberals calling the emerging conservative feminist identity anti-feminist or even anti-woman is that this new crop of female leaders represents a return to what the women’s movement originally was,” she writes.
The historical revisionism here recalls that of Christian conservatives who try to paint our deistic Founding Fathers as devout evangelicals. At one point, Palin refers to Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s “Declaration of Sentiments,” which came out of the historic 1848 women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York. Stanton deliberately echoed the language of the Declaration of Independence, referring to the rights that women are entitled to “by the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” To Palin, this mention of God proves that Stanton shared her faith: “Can you imagine a contemporary feminist invoking ‘the laws of nature and of nature’s God?’ These courageous women spoke of our God-given rights because they believed they were given equally, by God, to men and women.”