If we were to sum up McCain’s politics since 2000 a single word would suffice: hypocrasy. The same can be said of Governor Sarah Palin. She was picked primarily to shore up support in the conservative Christian community. Because of this, I don’t think either of her scandals around pregnancy will really hit home (or cause McCain to drop her).
On the one hand, she may have faked her 5th pregnancy for the sake of her daughter. The same daughter who is now pregnant and plans to have the child and marry the father. The key here is that both pregnancies led to a birth, and I see that playing very well with the anti-choice crowd. Life isn’t about perfection, its about making the right choices with what you are given. And while the rest of the US looks on in shock, I’m willing to be the conservative Christian community will look on in admiration. In their view Bristol Palin shouldn’t have any moral choice other than caryring to term, and thus her mother’s efforts to hide the first pregnancy, and her determination to carry through with the second, are examples of her pro-life position in action when it hits close to home. That can only engender trust that she is completely pro-life. Add in her support of creationism, and she seems like a great choice to cater to the religious right.
So that takes care of the religious base. But Governor Palin brings more to the table for McCain, and not all of it is beneficial for the Republican Presidential campaign. She’s supposed to be a reformer, a paragon of principled politics. Turns out she is in the middle of an investigation for sketchy firings of State Troopers for personal reasons. Alaskan newspapers openly question whether she’s fit for the position. (Not that the McCain camp would have known this, it seems like they never checked local papers to vet her in the first place!)
This is the kind of stuff that can upset anyone, but particularly independents (whom Obama appeals strongly too, and McCain needs to win the Presidency). It is here that his choice of Palin cuts him deep. Because Palin isn’t just pro-life. She’s crazy pro-life:
In November 2006, then gubernatorial candidate Sarah Palin declared that she would not support an abortion for her own daughter even if she had been raped.
Granting exceptions only if the mother’s life was in danger, Palin said that when it came to her daughter, “I would choose life.”
At the time, her daughter was 14 years old. Moreover, Alaska’s rape rate was an abysmal 2.2 times above the national average and 25 percent of all rapes resulted in unwanted pregnancies. But Palin’s position was palatable within the state’s largely Republican political circles.
You don’t need to be a feminist to see that this is a seriously fucked up position to take. She is in fact, to sum things up, an extremist. In addition to opposing abortion, she (edited the html to remove formatting and fix a link):
She supports teaching creationism in schools.
She denies global warming and opposed listing polar bears as an endangered species because it might prevent off-shore drilling.
Speaking of drilling, she supports drilling in ANWR.
I guess not surprising, Palin is in big oil’s pocket.
On top of it all her lack of experience makes McCain’s attacks on Obama look ridiculous by comparison.
She was essentially chosen to tackle three problems the McCain campaign faced. How to get the religious right fired up, how to reinforce his appeal as a “maverick” and reformer, and how to somehow get former Clinton supporters to jump in. I don’t see that happening:
I have a piece up at TAP:
Palin’s addition to the ticket takes Republican faux-feminism to a whole new level. As Adam Serwer pointed out on TAPPED, this is in fact a condescending move by the GOP. It plays to the assumption that disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters did not care about her politics — only her gender. In picking Palin, Republicans are lending credence to the sexist assumption that women voters are too stupid to investigate or care about the issues, and merely want to vote for someone who looks like them. As Serwer noted, it’s akin to choosing Alan Keyes in an attempt to compete with Obama for votes from black Americans.
Now would anyone really fall for that? Yes of course they would:
As for Governor Palin, her supposed views on abortion and lack of national security credentials are supposed to make her unsuited for the office of the Vice Presidency, yet Barack Obama’s actual views on abortion and lack of national security credentials are supposed to make him perfectly suited for the Presidency.
Supposed views on abortion? (Riverdaughter has really outed herself as a Republican on this one.) An actual Clinton supporter would never vote for someone with the positions on reproductive choice, and the environment Palin has. (Nor would they feel much affinity for a politician who called Hillary whiny.)
Governor Palin is sure to boost McCain’s rating with the religious right, and if he holds on, might just be enough to keep that piece of the Republican party from drifting off. However that comes are the expense of independent voters and disaffected Clinton voters. He couldn’t be doing more to turn them off. It also might come at the expense of Republicans who have had enough of lobbyists and rampant corruption. Governor Palin is not clean when it comes to lobbyists:
Palin’s relationship with Alaska’s senior senator may be one of the more complicated aspects of her new position as Sen. John McCain’s running mate; Stevens was indicted in July 2008 on seven counts of corruption.
Palin, an anti-corruption crusader in Alaska, had called on Stevens to be open about the issues behind the investigation. But she also held a joint news conference with him in July, before he was indicted, to make clear she had not abandoned him politically.
Stevens had been helpful to Palin during her run for governor, swooping in with a last moment endorsement. And the two filmed a campaign commercial together to highlight Stevens’s endorsement of Palin during the 2006 race.
Given all of this, there is understandable speculation that Palin will be dropped from the ticket (perhaps in favor of Mitt Romney). I highly doubt this, as dropping his VP pick would be a disasterous admission of poor judgment and weakness by McCain. That is a perception he cannot afford to reinforce. Additionally given his stubborness, I doubt he’d be able to bring himself to admit he’s made a strategic error.
Choosing Sarah Palin as his VP may have cost McCain the election, and there’s no way for him to back out without damaging his chances further.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: Abortion, Choice, Conservatives, Corruption, Creationism, Extremists, Feminism, Global Warming, Investigation, McCain, Politics, Pregnancy, Religious Right, Republicans, Sarah Palin, Scandal, Strategy, Troopergate | 28 Comments »