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August 29, 2008
DAYTON, Ohio (GamaWire) - One night after the Democratic Party made history with their first ever African-American nominee for president, presumptive Republican nominee and living fossil John McCain made an equally progressive move...by being the second old white guy in the last twenty-five years to select an equally white woman to be his running mate.
At yet another tiring and labored rally, this time in the perpetual swing state of Ohio, McCain introduced his destined political partner, Sarah Palin, a woman so unknown that she governs the furthest state on the continent, Alaska, also one of the few states where McCain doesn't own a house.
McCain is hoping that Palin's perceived "outsider" (read: nobody) label will be to his campaign's advantage. The presumptive nominee was taking absolutely no chances, as NBC News correspondents Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd reported that McCain had only ever met Palin twice, at most, before selecting her for the number-two spot. Not even McCain's own campaign chairman, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), had ever met Palin before the unveiling.
Sure enough, Palin had told "Time" magazine on Friday that she didn't even know her running mate's official platform or strategy on the current unjust Iraq War; only that she would support it unconditionally.
In a year in which the country was two primary victories shy of instead having its first female nominee for the top spot, McCain's choice seems almost like a step backward and an extremely transparent attempt to pander to the scant few remaining female voters who still want Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) to get the nod, even though Palin herself referred to Clinton at a March "Newsweek" forum as a whiner.
"Obviously, this is a calculation about going after those disaffected Hillary voters," said Susan Carroll, a professor of political science and women's studies at Rutgers University, indicating that McCain is so desperate for a victory that he would essentially sell out half of his ticket and bank on someone who, despite having no national experience whatsoever and despite telling CNBC in late July that she didn't even know what a vice president does, only brings to the table the fact that she has a vagina. Mr. Straight Talk, indeed.
It became clear after the announcement that the GOP and McCain do not understand how different people think, assuming that women would support one of their own regardless of how little they know or trust her.
The key difference in this, of course, is that Clinton had more than just her gender going for her. She had been at the forefront of the national political spotlight non-stop since 1992, during which time she had championed and supported issues that mattered to women. Palin, meanwhile, is virtually unknown outside of Alaska and had only been governor of that state for as long as Clinton had been officially running for president.
What is known about Palin, though, is that she has promoted and pushed for policies against minorities, including women. She is staunchly against her own gender's right to have access to abortions, even if the mother's life is in danger. She is also a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, even though 1,800 women are killed by handguns each year.
Ironically, despite their not knowing each other until the end of this week, Palin's anti-women positions do in fact fall in line with those of the undead Republican presidential hopeful. McMunster proudly opposes giving women equal pay, insuring birth control, and programs to provide low-income and uninsured women with such vital health care services as breast and cervical cancer screenings.
Currently Palin is being investigated by her own state's legislature over allegations of abuse of power, following the removal of Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan last month. Palin had ordered Monegan to fire Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten, who had recently ended a bitter divorce with Palin's sister. Monegan was unsure if he had the legal authority to dismiss Wooten solely on those grounds, so Palin instead fired Monegan.
Palin became governor of Alaska in December 2006, following a six-year stint as mayor of the tiny town of Wasilla (population of 5,500), making her just the right person in case the 72-year-old McCain happens to die in office in an election the GOP wants to define by experience.
Even Republican analysts had no knowledge of Palin's career, credentials, or existence. Alaska State Senate President Lyda Green commented, "She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president?"
The crotchety Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) echoed this sentiment by telling CNN, "Who the hell is she?!?"
Despite Palin's lack of experience, lack of national presence, lack of qualifications, lack of credibility, and lack of reason to be on the same stage, McCain summed up his strategy at the Dayton rally.
"Women will vote for women, right?" he bellowed.
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GAMAWIRE 05/01/2007: Bush refuses to support troops
GAMAWIRE 03/07/2007: Cheney aide found guilty in CIA leak case; Cheney off hook
GAMAWIRE 01/13/2007: Bush feels 3,000 dead not nearly enough, wants 21,000 more
GAMAWIRE 12/30/2006: Saddam executed as distraction from increasing troop deaths
GAMAWIRE 11/08/2006: Democrats win Congress, Rumsfeld steps down
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