So John McCain picks Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for his #2. To be "a heartbeat away". Talk about bold. Talk about a gamble.
Sarah Palin’s experience as an elected official is, well, thin. She served two terms on the Wasilla (pop. 8,000) City Council and then served as the town's mayor, a part-time job. She’s been governor of the state for less than two years. She has zero experience in national and international affairs. She is three years younger than Barack Obama.
Okay, the experience argument is out the window, on both sides. Which is fine by me. I don’t think “experience” is worth a hill of beans. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were the two most experienced people in the previous administration, by a country mile. And Abraham Lincoln was the least experienced president in our history.
So I don’t hold Palin’s lack of experience against her, but I’m curious why McCain would forfeit that argument against Obama. I guess the McCain camp has determined that their primary argument (“he’s not ready”) is not doing the trick, since he has just named as his VP someone with far less experience than the Democratic nominee.
I listened to Palin’s speech today. She invoked Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro, and talked about Clinton’s “18 million cracks” in the glass ceiling, and said that the women of this nation are not finished yet, “and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.” A clear plea to disaffected Clinton supporters.
But do you really think that women (and men) who supported Clinton will jump aboard the McCain/Palin ticket, just because Palin is a woman?
If that is true, it is very, very sad.
Palin and Clinton agree about very little. For example, Palin has called herself, “100% pro-life”, and would appoint Supreme Court Justices who would further erode a woman’s right to choose. Way to “shatter that glass ceiling,” girlfriend.
An aside: In high school, Palin was the head of her school’s “Fellowship of Christian Athletes”. Which makes me wonder, who was the head of the school’s “Fellowship of Heathen Athletes”?
Anyway. According to recent polling (yeah, I know, but…) 27% of former Clinton delegates plan to vote for the McCain this November. And that poll was taken before Palin was named to the ticket. McCain is betting that adding a woman to the ticket (regardless of her policy positions) will solidify that support and will draw even more Clinton supporters.
That simply baffles me.
Listen, I’m not saying that there aren’t plenty of good reasons to support McCain. If you’re a conservative (man or woman), he’s a very attractive candidate. But if you’re a conservative, you wouldn’t be supporting Clinton. And if you were supporting Clinton, why were you supporting Clinton? Hopefully, the fact that she has a uterus was not the primary reason for your support.
The thing is, our next president will probably appoint two, maybe three Supreme Court Justices. The next president will be gone in four or eight years, but that president will leave a legacy on the nation’s highest court for a generation.
This gamble on Palin may be a stroke of genius on McCain’s part. But only if a significant number of voters will put their votes on a ticket simply because there’s a woman on it, regardless of her policy positions and how they affect the rights of women.