Friday, August 29, 2008
McCain/Palin: A Bad Choice For Women
I've gotten quite a few e-mails asking what I think of John McCain's choice of Governor Palin for his VP. Here are my initial thoughts.
First, Barack Obama gave an historic speech last night. It was soaring, it was grounded, it was inspirational, it was lethal to the Bush junta, and I was feeling very honored to have lived long enough to get to hear it. And, second, no woman should vote for McCain/Palin. He and she are anti-choice, anti-woman, anti-polar bear, anti-Social Security, neo-cons. They'll give us 16 more years of Bush policies and we can't take even 16 more months.
That said, I disagree with the majority of liberal bloggers (whom I've been able to read so far) who think Palin was a dumb choice. I think she was a smart choice and one that points out that, as I've maintained all along, Biden was a dumb choice. (She was on my short list until she gave birth a few months ago to a child with Downs Syndrome, which I assumed meant that she wouldn't be interested in the job.)
Palin's young, attractive, middle class, a sympathetic figure as the new mother of a child with Downs Syndrome and the mother of an 18 year-old son about to be shipped to Iraq. She hunts and fishes and is married to her childhood sweetheart. She's going to suck up a huge amount of media attention and comparisons to Geraldine Ferraro are going to keep opening wounds in the Democratic Party and give Ferraro, who's had almost as big a problem running off her mouth as does Biden, more air time. Lots of rural, Southern, and working class voters -- the one group that has yet to really warm up to Obama -- are going to like her. I include men from those groups; the large population in the racist and sexist overlap of that Venn Diagram will pick the anti-woman pretty woman over the black man. She undoes some of the damage that being married to a millionairess with a jillion houses has done to McCain. Elections aren't won or lost based on the VP debate, but Biden's going to have a tough time debating her and, if he mistreats her or patronizes her, that could have larger ramifications. Let's hope he's learned something since the days when he treated Anita Hill like the dirt on the bottom of his shoes.
Will she attract some votes from women because she's a woman? As I said above, women should not vote for her. But consider this. If the situation were reversed and Clinton had won after a long and emotional primary battle against Obama and had then chosen Biden for her VP, indicating that she didn't see any need to give African Americans the VP slot, and then McCain had picked an African American VP, would you expect some African Americans to be tempted to vote against Clinton/Biden? I would.
Obama made this problem for himself. If he'd picked Clinton or Siebelius or McCaskill or any of a dozen other good Democratic women for VP, McCain would have picked Romney or Lieberman or some other man. So, once again, if I were advising the Obama campaign, and, Goddess knows, they never listen to me, I'd advise them to find some new and important ways to reach out to women. Endorse the ERA. Announce some early cabinet picks and make them women. Democrats always count on the "women's vote" -- they can't win without it. The difference this time is, they shouldn't continue to take it for granted.