Much has been made of the process of selecting a running mate for presidential candidates. The necessity of balancing the ticket to appeal to the widest range of voters becomes more a process of elimination than one of selection. In John McCain’s case the selection had to be one that would not alienate the wide conservative base he needs to win the election while maintaining his beloved mantle of maverick and harbinger of change. His support for all the failed policies of the current failed administration means he has to have someone with him to be the spear carrier of change that he can’t really lay claim to. His first choices, Tom Ridge, and Joe Lieberman, were rebuffed by the poobahs of the Republican party as too pro-choice on the abortion issue and Mitt Romney who was unappealing to the female and white worker constituency. So whom does he turn to? Sarah Palin, an unknown arch conservative evangelical who spouts feminist rhetoric while laying claim to her own maverick mantle.
Sarah Palin’s stated stands on the issues of the day are deeply embedded in the evangelical den of conservative thought. She is anti-abortion even in the case of rape and incest, pro-gun, pro-creationism, anti-gay rights, and anti-sex education (am I the only one who sees the irony in a mother opposed to sex education having a pregnant teenage daughter?). She wants to wear the label of environmentalist while denying that global warming is man-made. And most ridiculous of all she calls the war in Iraq “God’s task.”
John McCain’s selection of her smacks of a desperate attempt to pander to the female vote. He appears to be counting on women voters to be superficial enough to vote for any woman despite her stand on the issues. He seems to be counting on those women who were Hillary Clinton supporters to switch to the Republican side just because he has put a woman on the dais next to him. His choice of running mate appears to be another of his quick decisions that got little serious consideration. Another one of those damn the consequences snap judgments that he is known for. So now he has to try to pass her off as career mom, balancing work with family, while opposing the measures that would make woman’s difficulties in such multitasking easier, like expanded family leave and paid sick days and equal pay. McCain has found a running mate who has walked arm in arm with him and George Bush against the interests of women and working people in general.
Sarah Palin has been thrust into the role of attack dog (wearing lipstick, of course) against the Democratic ticket. Her introduction to the country at the Republican convention outlined quite clearly her role in the campaign. She is to be the sarcastic, caustic, snide, and mocking voice that attacks the opposition personally as well as politically. That attitude is hardly presidential. So far we have heard nothing of substance from her, only the constant vitriol of partisan politics lightly disguised with humorous sarcasm.
Granted, she has her good points too. I just can’t think of any right now that would enhance her qualifications to be president if circumstances dictate. But if I ever have a moose in my backyard, I’ll know whom to call.