I'm not sure which this decision is, and I tend toward cynical although it may turn out to be a very smart decision. Sarah Palin may well pull the Hillary Clinton supporters, whom she called whiners, into the Republican fold. I don't believe that any demographic group votes as a block. All Black people don't support Barack O bama, for instance. And I certainly don't believe - even despite acquaintances who tell me I'm wrong - that all women, most women, or even a substantial number of women, especially Hillary Clinton supporters, will vote for Sarah Palin merely because they all share anatomy.
Sarah Palin's views are diametrically opposed to Hillary Clinton's. According to published reports, Sarah Palin believes that any sort of birth control, including a married couple using a condom, is wrong. Unlike HC, she has neither national nor international political experience; in fact, her main claims to elected office include being named first runner up in the Miss Alaska competition in 1984, being a council member and then mayor of the little town of Wasilla, Alaska, and then governor of Alaska for one month longer than Barack Obama has been junior Senator from Illinois. In science, she denies that global warming is caused by human carbon use, and she advocates teaching creationism rather than evolution, which, after all is merely a theory rather than a proven fact. She is a life-long member of the NRA. None of these positions mirrors HC's.
I also wonder about Sarah Palin's common sense. She doesn't seem stupid, but she does seem insular and perhaps self absorbed. Why else would she deliver a speech in Texas after her water broke and then fly eight hours home to Alaska to have the baby a month prematurely?
Why would she name her children Trig? or Track? or Willow? or Bristol? or Piper? Can you guess which of them are male and which are female? Hint: she has two sons. (In the interest of fairness, I do believe that children's names should be gender based and not chosen because they're "a cool name." I don't believe that names should be a source of embarrassment or grounds for teasing.) Somehow, I'd like a little more quiet wisdom in my national leaders.
An acquaintance suggests that having five children, including four under sixteen and one an infant with Down's Syndrome, should preclude her from being in political office, indeed from working at all. This acquaintance, a female, a strong feminist, says that that choosing to have children means also choosing to take care of them; that being a baby machine and a full-time member of the work force means delegating to others the raising of children. If our country's most important resource is our children, then cherishing and nurturing and caring for them should be a priority.
Another friend suggests that having a developmentally challenged child will pull voters to her as the underdog. Who knows?
Perhaps, on the other hand others are more equipped to raise children than parents whose work is more important.
Will Sarah Palin help McCain's chances of being president? I have no answer to that. Is her choice cynical, smart, practical, insulting, anti-feminist, risky, or a joke? Again I have no answer. But I suspect that American's hidden bigotry may well play a more important role. No one wants to appear prejudiced and will therefore tell pollsters that they have no trouble voting for a person of color. But once they're in the privacy of the voting booth, they may not be able to vote their public declarations.
As always, I invite your comments.