I've read a ton of articles, blog posts, and comments in the last week or so condemning McCain's choice of Gov. Sarah Palin for the R's VP slot. Some points are valid others are decidedly not valid. While I'm sure we'll all get to hear much more about my feelings towards the Palin Gambit in the coming months I would like, at this time to address one particularly irritating subject that wont seem to go away.
Left Wing Feminists have been coming out in droves to express their disgust at the mere idea that people think they can be bought with a little 'obvious pandering' by the R's candidate. The LWF's have been railing about the level to which they are insulted, how deeply their intelligence has been underestimated etc. etc. etc. But here's the thing that I just can't seem to wrap my brain around; does anyone really believe, or did anyone really believe that the choice of a super conservative, pro-life, anti gay marriage, religious, mother of five was designed to woo liberal democrats? Really? People think that? I don't buy it. And frankly you shouldn't either.
The truth is this choice has been an ugly look in the mirror for a great many Lib's who may suddenly have discovered that the world does not revolve around them. The fact that McCain's choice was a woman seeks only to energize and revitalize the members of his own party, members who might otherwise have stayed at home on election day. I know it's difficult for the LWF's to comprehend, having spent the better part of the last 50 years disowning 50% of the American female population, but there are actually women in the Republican party. There are in fact a great many notable and amazing women in the Republican party. Many of whom have chosen a lifestyle that is all but shat upon by the Left Wing Feminist movement. Now at a time when the R's have chosen, for better or worse, to bring the issue of Right Wing Women to the front and center, they are once again treated like lesser humans by the LWF's. Every time you read an editorial by some LWF about how insulting this choice is, remember that what they actually mean is 'any man is better than a Right Wing Woman'.
Susan Nielsen an associate editor for the Oregonian asks "how dumb does John McCain think women are?" and it makes me wonder; I don't know Susan, how dumb are you? Are you dumb enough to believe that women who happen to be pro-life aren't women any more? Are you dumb enough to believe that women who have an R on their voter registration don't have the same drive to protect and further their own rights? Neilsen says "McCain seems to believe that millions of women voters will coo indiscriminately over any female candidate who comes along. He wants disappointed Hillary supporters to stampede to his side, followed by all other women who are enthralled by Palin's life story." What exactly does she mean by "all other women"? She certainly can't be referring to the 48% of women in this country who vote for R candidates and R issues. She goes on to ask "are women -- particularly moderate pro-choice women -- really as impressionable as McCain hopes?" And I wonder again how self centered do you have to be to think that this move to the right is a move on "moderate pro-choice women". If anything McCain being on the ticket himself is more of a move on "moderate" women than Palin. Many women in the Democratic Party were already threatening to vote McCain if Hillary Clinton didn't get the nomination. Mostly blustering to be sure and certainly not the 'stampede' Neilsen eludes to, but what exactly is a stampede in a close race?
According to the Center for American Woman in Politics (citing Edison Media Research) just three percentage points separated George W. Bush and John Kerry in the last election, amongst women voters. This represents one of the smallest gender gaps in recent electoral memory and it stands to reason that McCain (as a moderately unpopular member of the Republican Party) might want to make a move to hold on to that margin, and that trend. To say nothing of the fact that he desperately needed a VP choice that helped cement both the women and the men in his party. Lest we forget that W. won with a 14% positive margin among male voters as well. Cementing the base would mean that McCain was free to pursue the moderate voters who have been his bread and butter audience all along.
Gloria Steinem argues as eloquently as ever in an op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times that Palin "shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton", and that "to vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, 'Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs.'" Which is missing the point. Nobody in their right mind thinks that hordes of Left Wing Women are lustily begging their leaders to let them defect like characters in an Aristophanes play. Right Wing Women, however are lacing up their shoes like never before and are canvasing communities, spreading the word and getting out the vote, while angry Hillary Clinton supporters may choose election day to stay at home and do their proverbial hair instead. And what's more every time Steinem and her ilk voice protest they only serve to affirm for many on the Right that Palin is exactly what they were looking for; a woman who shares 'nothing but a chromosome' with Hillary Clinton.
The LWF's need to get over themselves, not every decision made involving a woman is a decision aimed at them, in fact not every decision involving a woman is aimed specifically at women. Men, I've heard, vote quite a little bit as well. A fact I'm sure they would love to downplay. Let us not forget that angry feminists couldn't even manage to take the D's nomination over a handsome under-qualified man. What makes them think that John McCain would suddenly begin shamelessly courting their massive influence when a hugely popular well known Feminist Democrat couldn't take the Democratic nomination from a first term senator? Feminism has a long long way to go and I think maybe the first steps include finding a way to treat men and women of all parties and all viewpoints with some level of respect.