True, Palin brings traditional political strengths—such as gun enthusiasm and a pro-life record—to the ticket. Her fight against self-dealing in Alaskan politics counters the inside-the-Beltway corruption that damaged the Republicans in the 2006 elections. And her stance on drilling for Alaskan oil admirably bolsters the Republican Party platform on energy issues. But admit it, fellow conservatives: none of these attributes pushed her over the top. Your enthusiasm for her is driven in large measure by the fact that the McCain camp has beaten the Democrats at their own game, and in so doing, driven Obama's moment of glory off the wires.
Republican strategists openly hope that Palin will attract disaffected Hillary Clinton voters, who believe that they had a right to a woman in the White House. There are, alas, many women who are pathetic enough to put gender above politics, for whom a candidate's stand on substantive issues matters less than her reproductive plumbing. But just because such voters are out there doesn't mean that the GOP can cater to them without permanently compromising its principles.
The process has already begun. On Saturday, Weekly Standardexecutive editor Fred Barnes wrote in the Wall Street Journal: "As a 44-year-old woman Mrs. Palin brings desperately needed diversity to the Republican ticket." Wow. So now gender (and even age?!) diversity is not just needed, but "desperately" needed. Republicans might as well hire Eleanor Smeal and Jesse Jackson as party chairmen (oops! I mean "chairpeople").
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Sarah Palin (R-Diversity) by Heather Mac Donald, City Journal 30 August 2008