I first heard rumors of some woman from Alaska being considered for VP as I was boarding the shuttle at o-dark-thirty (around 6am) Friday morning. Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention, figuring that the talking heads on TV were just doing their normal filling airtime. As I was sitting in the smoking lounge at the Denver airport, I started seeing pictures of this woman flashing on the screen. Moments later, the caption was changed to indicate that she was Sarah Palin – and Republican John McCain’s pick for VP. NBC’s Matt Lauer broke the news on MSNBC.
My initial reaction was WOW. On the surface, this appeared to be a bold pick for McCain: a female, who could possibly appeal to the disaffected Clinton supporters, a youngster (she’s 44) which could help with McCain’s health and age issues, and a conservative who could shore up the base. An added bonus was that this choice would force the Democratic Convention and Obama’s speech from the front page and limit the so-called “convention bounce” in the polls. (According to Gallup, McCain and Obama were virtually tied prior to the start of the convention but by Friday (which doesn’t include the announcement), Obama’s lead had stretched to eight points.) Even though the announcement included some information that she was under investigation, I figured there must be nothing to it. After all, she’s been vetted, right? Surely the McCain folks wouldn’t choose a running mate who had real issues.
Two days of non-stop coverage (McCain at least got that one right) have led me to a different response.
The party of “family values” has taken on a woman who has five children to care for, including a four-month-old with Down Syndrome. Isn’t that a bit disengenuous? Somebody explain to me how she can trapaise around the country for the next two months?
As for capturing the disgruntled Clinton supporters – um, no. Despite giving Hillary her props in her announcement, Palin earlier said Hillary was whining when she complained about the sexist treatment by the media. And, of course, her laughing at a cancer survivor being called names. Somehow, I can’t imagine these things will endear her to the Hillary contingent.
And then there is her stance on abortion. Palin is even more anti-choice than most:
The candidates were pressed on their stances on abortion and were even asked what they would do if their own daughters were raped and became pregnant.
Palin said she would support abortion only if the mother’s life was in danger. When it came to her daughter, she said, “I would choose life.”
Given this stance, the rumor that her youngest child is not hers, but that of her 17-year old daughter, it not too far fetched. (Of course, I don’t expect the MSM to do anything to try to get to the bottom of this. Calling the National Enquirer!)
If McCain were serious about capturing the Hillary vote, he would have picked a different woman. As others have said, she’s no Hillary Clinton. Not even close.
McCain achieved his goal of getting Obama off the front page. And he likely achieved his goal of firing up the conservative base, which might very well make this election competitive. But at the end of the day, I think America needs to follow the lead of another conservative woman, Nancy Reagan, and just say no to Sarah Palin.