Needless to say, there have been a LOT of blog posts and articles flying around the blogosphere since Friday when John McCain announced that his choice for vice-president is Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
While I hadn’t posted about it, I had been saying privately for months that I thought McCain would choose Palin as his running mate. Why?
Why not a candidate all the other pundits were sure would be chosen — Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Joe Lieberman, Tom Ridge, Charlie Crist? Because that’s exactly what people were expecting him to do and you know that old “maverick” John McCain likes to keep us guessing!
Seriously, for the voters McCain decided he had to appeal to — the Christian conservative base — none of those really fit the bill.
Mormon, Democrat-turned-independent, pro-choice, and just another white guy.
But Sarah Palin is an Evangelical’s dream. A working mom of five children, with a new baby she refused to abort after she found out it had Down’s Syndrome, “pro-life,” lifetime NRA member and supporter of teaching creationism in the schools. Does it get any better for the religious right than that?
In 2004, Karl Rove came up with a strategy to get certain issues on ballots around the country that would bring out the Christian conservative base in numbers that had not voted in prior elections — issues about which they felt so strongly, they would need little additional motivation to get to the polls on election day. Some believe that that’s one of the reasons George Bush was able to defeat John Kerry in 2004.
This time around, maybe the attractive, maverick mother of five who is the secret weapon for the GOP. And there’s also this to consider — while she may get a handful of disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters to vote for the newly-minted McCain/Palin ticket, there’s another reason why this isn’t as totally crazy as some think.
I’m already hearing from conservative women. They’re upset that people are dismissing Palin out of hand — if many expected women to defend Hillary’s candidacy, why not expect them to defend Sarah’s, as well? Some are excited at the prospect of being able to point to Palin — for their daughters — as an example of a conservative women who has also succeeded in making a political name for herself.
No matter how much progressives — especially progressive women — believe she is barely minimally qualified to take the reigns from Dick Cheney, we shouldn’t dismiss Palin out of hand.
We did that with Dan Quayle and look what happened. The conservative religious base is a powerful and motivated one. If we could get more Democrats to be as committed to certain ideals as some on the right, we wouldn’t have to worry about whether John McCain will be handed the keys to the Oval Office in January.
Now if we could just get Palin to take that plastic hair-clip out of her up do!