As the husband of a bright, beautiful and talented wife who, after birthing and parenting our eight children is now earning her PhD in political science, and as the father of five bright, beautiful and talented daughters, I am stunned and somewhat outraged at the “talking points” response of some pundits and Democrats to the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as Sen. McCain’s running mate.
I’ll admit I was skeptical when Hillary Clinton’s supporters claimed the Obama campaign was sexist. But I’m rethinking that after reading their petty and demeaning response to Friday’s announcement:
“Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush’s failed economic policies — that’s not the change we need, it’s just more of the same.”
And talk about classless — this mean-spirited response to the historic selection of a woman on the national ticket came while the McCain campaign continued to air an ad in which Sen. McCain congratulates Obama on becoming the first African-American presidential nominee.
In addition to seeing her accomplishments be minimized — something professional women have had to deal with for many years — some Obama supporters are suggesting she can’t be Vice President (or presumably Governor) because she has children at home. Is that really an argument the Democrats want to make in 2008?
But the most ridiculous arguments relate to her ability to deal with foreign affairs. In the first place, as the Commander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard, as the mother of a son who is about to be deployed to Iraq, and as the Governor of a state that deals with Russia and Canada regularly on border issues, the Republican No. 2 has far more executive and foreign policy experience than the Democrats No. 1, Sen. Obama.
But more importantly, we heard talk about a host of Governors — Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Charlie Crist — as potential vice presidents. All are or were state governors, and none of them has any more experience in foreign policy than Sarah Palin, but that issue was never even raised during speculation about those candidates. And had one of them been selected, no one would be asking those questions now. Why? Because they are seen as competent, in-control chief executives of states who would bring balance to a ticket that has a foreign policy expert in Sen. McCain at the top of the ticket.
It is difficult to escape this painful conclusion — the ONLY reason people are raising questions about Sarah Palin’s ability to be Commander in Chief when they didn’t raise those questions about other governors considered for Vice President is because … (gasp) … she is a woman.
Sarah Palin is a Reagan conservative. She is bright, tough and capable. I would much rather have Sarah Palin in the Oval Office dealing with a foreign policy crisis than either Barack Obama or Joe Biden — two of the most liberal members of the United States Senate whose general approach to foreign threats is to apologize for all the bad things America has done and ask for mercy.
Does anyone remember Margaret Thatcher — she dealt with the same attacks when she became Prime Minister of Great Britain. Does anyone recall the “iron lady” having to shore up the first President Bush when he started to go “all wobbly” about using force to expel Saddam Hussein from Kuwait?
One Alaska pol said that the ground in Juneau is littered with the bodies of political opponents who underestimated Sarah Palin.
All I know is that on Friday morning I saw a poised, confident, competent chief executive of a state. And when I looked in her eyes I’m pretty sure I saw steel.
Word of advice to male Obama supporters, pundits and unconvinced Republicans — you need to do an internal scan check for latent sexism before you embarrass yourself any further.