John McCain wants to give a little something to the ladies
It seems faintly obvious that John McCain’s surprise pick for vice-president, Alaska governor Sarah Palin, is an attempt to lure female voters still smarting over Hillary Clinton’s loss of the Democratic presidential nomination. After reading a bit about Governor Palin’s background, I’ve compiled this handy comparison chart:
WHAT HILLARY SUPPORTERS WILL LIKE ABOUT SARAH PALIN
- She’s a woman.
WHAT HILLARY SUPPORTERS WON’T LIKE ABOUT SARAH PALIN
- Everything else.
While I was initially alarmed at this zero hour attempt at making McCain seem like some sort of maverick (“Maybe Democrats aren’t ready for a gal in the White House, but by golly, we Republicans sure are!”), I’m no longer sure this new development is all that troubling. Take away the fact that she’s a woman and Palin is an all but stereotypical Republican: pro-life, pro-death penalty, anti-same sex marriage, NRA member. Her husband works for BP, for Christ’s sake, add the fact that she’s reasonably attractive and she could be Miss September in Right Wing Honeys Monthly. Women’s issues don’t appear to be a huge part of her political platform, ergo I don’t see a lot of liberal women suddenly fighting to become of her constituents, just because she seems like someone with whom it’d be fun to sip cosmos and go shopping. Sisterhood isn’t that powerful.
Besides showing an extraordinary amount of hypocrisy in choosing as his running mate someone whose political experience extends to serving two years as governor and mayor of a tiny town in Alaska, with zero involvement in foreign policy, despite frequently blasting Barack Obama for his supposed lack of experience, McCain may also be alienating the more hardline members of his party. These are the people who were pulling for Mitt Romney as VP candidate, those who, as I keep pointing out, simply don’t think McCain is conservative enough. They’re going to resent McCain’s obvious pandering to Hillary supporters who are on the fence about voting for Obama. Let’s also not forget his Conservative Christian constituents, many of whom, even well into the 21st century, still believe that a woman’s place is in the home, especially when that woman has five children, four of them minors, one of them special needs. Is Todd Palin willing to stand by her side at every public event smiling vacuously and silently, and will old-school sexist right-wingers put up with that without derision? Can you just imagine how apoplectic that would make blowhards like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage? All those same people who made that lame “I wouldn’t want a woman in the White House, she’d have her finger on the red button five days out of the month!” joke would all be busting blood vessels in their eyes trying to backpedal.
How interesting that in trying to win the favor of members of his opposing party, McCain may ultimately end up losing that of his own party. This really will prove to be an astonishing moment in American history.