Sarah Palin for VP???

by Susan Getgood on September 4, 2008

in Gender, Politics

I’m a lifelong Democrat and have been pretty vocal this summer about my disappointment at the way my political party selected its nominee for president.  I’ve said it here, and on comments on other blogs: I think the Democratic party machine was more interested in not having Senator Clinton than anything else. I don’t think they had the confidence that a woman could win the general election.  Obama, and his charisma, presented the best, possibly most malleable, alternative. His (?) VP choice Joe Biden is a distinctly uninspired but necessary choice to counter Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience.

Nevertheless, even though I will never think that the Democrats fielded the best candidate they could, I will vote for Obama and Biden this fall. They are a much better choice than McCain and whoever ends up as his running mate.

Sarah Palin? I don’t think she’s going to make til the end of September. I’ll be surprised if she lasts until next week.

Even before I read Tim Rutten’s column from  yesterday’s LA Times, in which he invokes Thomas Eagleton’s short tenure as George McGovern’s running mate in 1972, I had started to wonder if she would make the mission.

And I can’t help but ask — could that have been John McCain’s plan from the very start?

Bear with me for a moment.
May 07 VT, Field Trip 074

Sarah Palin is not qualified to be president of the United States, and we should never put someone in the VP slot who cannot assume the duties of president, immediately if necessary.

It has absolutely nothing to do with her family status or children, or even her political views, most of which I personally find abhorrent. I could list them here, but Gloria Steinem did a much better job than I could ever do in today’s LA Times.

But, there are some interesting angles that make her an appealing choice for a running mate. Or at least a first choice. Starting with her gender and her family history, up to and including the pregnant teenage daughter and soon-to-deploy son. Right now, we’ve got a full-scale version of the “mommy wars” raging on the Internet, with people on all sides criticizing her for her choices. Different criticisms of course, but criticism nonetheless.

Which provides a total distraction from the real issue – her political opinions and qualifications for the job. She’s not qualified, but not because she’s a woman or because of the choices she’s made as a parent. The only people who have the right to decide whether she’s a good mother are her children; quite frankly, I don’t care one way or the other. Ditto all the speculation about her youngest child and how soon she returned to work. Distraction.

She’s not qualified. Full stop. She doesn’t have any national experience. Obama doesn’t have much, but he’s been in the Senate and the long primary season afforded him the opportunity to at least think about international issues. Palin freely admits she hasn’t thought much about Iraq…

And the real concern are her political views, and how they would impact this country should McCain be elected and die in office. He’s 72. It could happen.

Writes Steinem:

“She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women’s wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves “abstinence-only” programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers’ millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn’t spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.”

Steinem argues, and I believe she’s right, that Palin was a choice to please the far-right, Christian conservative wing of the Republican Party.

But what if McCain picked her knowing that she wouldn’t last, that she’d have to bow out. Leaving him free to pick a more middle-of-the-road candidate?

Sinister? Machiavellian? Yup. And I could be wrong, very wrong. Maybe McCain didn’t do it on purpose.

But I’m still betting she won’t be his running mate for too long.

Because she won’t bring the female vote. Many disillusioned Clinton supporters who were considering McCain are far less likely to do so now. Once we get over the mommy war segment of the program, they’ll quickly come to the realization, as Steinem put it:

“To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, “Somebody stole my shoes, so I’ll amputate my legs.”

Now, maybe the GOP leadership knew that she wouldn’t bring the Clinton vote, but thought she’d appeal to a different segment of the female voting population, as PunditMom suggests. Who knows…

But I’m still betting she doesn’t last.

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