It seems forever since the Democrats completed their triumphant Convention in Denver with its Obama/Biden/Clinton/Kennedy unity ticket and its intoxicating sense of take-it-to-the-finish line momentum. What happened? Not Sarah Palin. How could a small-time Alaska mayor and first term Governor derail the Obama freight train? No it was not Sarah Palin but the extraordinary reaction to McCain's wildly irresponsible decision to make her his running mate that seems to have paralyzed the Party.
Something about Palin scrambled the otherwise steady nerves of the Obama campaign. As if they were believing everything she was saying. Assuming that the Republican base was the country and hence thinking her success at her Convention there would be replicated nationally. (Did you see the face of that convention? Is that really the face of America?) Afraid to be accused of sexism (ironic after how it disposed of Hillary); or of unwarranted anger (Obama sometimes seems like Governor Dukakis, unwilling to rise to the bait even when it would be politically smart to do so).
Why is it so hard simply to tell the truth about Palin? Yes she is a successful and politically smart woman to be admired for that reason. But she is also a typical Republican values hypocrite preaching choice for women - except when it comes to pregnancy; preaching that family should be kept out of the political searchlight - except when it is useful to parade her own family on center stage; preaching against earmarks - except when it help her career to solicit them for Alaska; preaching about America first - except that she actually has made a career out of putting Palin first, Alaska second and America last (check out her Alaska secessionist husband).
She is a successful and politically smart woman, but she is also a right wing extremist who tried to delete books she didn't approve of from the town library where she was mayor and tried to fire the librarian when that didn't work; who is a creationist and, like the current occupant of the White House, who has little use for science, whether it is the science of evolution or the science of global warming; who never had a passport until last year when she visited her National Guard troops in Kuwait. Otherwise a stranger to the world in which America must make its way.
She is a successful and politically smart woman, but she is not merely pro-life, she is a no-exceptions-never-mind-rape-or-incest pro-lifer who thinks woman have no right to participate in decisions about what happens to their bodies if they become pregnant.
What the Democratic leadership has yet to figure out is that the real gender bias in the Palin appointment is the patronizing attitude that assumes what would and should be savaged and ridiculed in a man must be condoned or even welcomed in a woman.
Dukakis was skewered by twisted stories about rapists and released prisoners because he wanted to appear reasonable. War hero Kerry got swift-boated by men who never served in the military. Is Obama now going to let himself get moosed by a parochial Alaskan know-nothing because she's a woman?
Time to get mad. At Palin. At McCain. At the Bushes (yes both of them). Gender equality means women can't hide their biases and dogmatism behind gender.
Speaking of men, it is not really Palin but McCain who is the perpetrator we need to criticize. It is McCain who cynically chose a far right wing ideologue who shares the worst biases of the current administration in Washington and made her his running mate in a "campaign against Washington."
In other words, it is not the pit-bull in lipstick but the man who unleashed her who bears the responsibility. Michael Vick went to prison for turning his pit-bulls loose on others. I'm not recommending putting McCain in jail, just keeping him and his snarling (or is that a smile?) running mate out of the White House. Your move, Senator Obama.