Tag Archives: presidential race

Thoughts on Sarah Palin

Everyone else has commented on Sarah Palin, the surprise VP pick of John McCain, so I might as well throw down my thoughts.

In several ways, she is a very clever tactical pick for him:

  • The Republican base loves her
  • Picking a woman reestablishes McCain’s maverick reputation
  • And makes a blatant play for the disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters
  • She is a fresh new face, a Washington outsider, so McCain can play the change card

On the other hand, her selection completely eviscerates the McCain argument against Obama that seemed to be working best: that he is too inexperienced to be president. Palin’s dearth of experience makes Obama seem like a wizened old man. Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population 8,471, leading to a couple of years as governor of a state with population: grizzly bears. Seriously, Alaska has a population of 670,000, which is smaller than San Francisco, where I live, and nobody is suggesting that our mayor Gavin Newsom is qualified to be president (and that’s not just because he is a marginally competent pretty-boy tool).

Republican supporters are talking up Palin’s “executive experience,” but that is as moronic as Fox News’ claim that she has international experience because Alaska is near Russia. Does anybody really think that being an “executive” is that much different than running a Senate office? That’s like saying your marketing VP isn’t qualified to be CEO because she hasn’t run a whole company even though VPs of marketing make great CEOs all the time.

Most Hillary Clinton supporters I have seen interviewed have been insulted by the concept that they will get behind Palin just because she is a woman. However, the hard core PUMAs, who I have queried before, seem mixed. Which is moderately crazy, given that Palin supports none of the causes that Hillary does, and is especially conservative on the traditionally feminist causes.

Finally, I reckon I should comment on the new controversy, about whether Palin will have time to be VP and to be a good mother, and whether it’s sexist to even bring it up. She is the one who positioned herself as a “family values” candidate, so I feel like her family values are fair game. I should also note that having five kids, one an infant with Down’s syndrome, is a lot of work, for both the mother and the father. As I told my friend Catalina, when feminists say “nobody questions whether Obama can manage being president and being a father,” I have to reply that Obama has only two children, both healthy. That being said, there is no question that our society has higher expectations of mothers than of fathers, and it’s entirely likely that if Todd Palin were the VP candidate, nobody would be questioning his ability to manage.

What Do Clinton Supporters Want?

A new poll is out that shows McCain in a dead heat with Obama, closing the several point lead that Obama had been holding. The same poll shows that fully half of those who voted for Hillary Clinton are not supporting Obama. And I am wondering why. It seems to me that if you support Clinton’s policies, there is no way that you can vote for McCain; he is fiscally and socially conservative and staunchly against reproductive rights. So why are so many Clinton voters against Obama? Here are some possibilities:

  • They believe that experience really is paramount, and that Clinton had it while Obama doesn’t
  • They are more conservative than their support of Clinton would indicate
  • They think Obama is arrogant and elitist
  • They won’t vote for a black
  • They are still angry about perceived sexism in the primary and are taking their anger out on Obama (by the way, I still haven’t seen a concrete example of this sexism)
  • They are still angry that Clinton lost and are taking their anger out on Obama

I’m sure that there are other reasons too. And while I could deconstruct all of the above rationales, right now I am curious which ones are driving the Clinton supporters. So if you have any ideas, or if you are a Clinton supporter, please comment and let me know. Because I am genuinely curious.