Most everyone who comes here knows, I’m sure, that I was a Sarah Palin supporter before McCain chose her for the VP candidate spot. I had actually supported her privately, and mentioned her to friends and colleagues for quite a while before it occurred to me to write that post. I didn’t realize that I might change some other people’s minds, because I didn’t think she had a chance.
I wrote some of my reasons for believing that she’d be a good pick, at that time.
We need a shake-up, and fresh thinking. And McCain needs someone who’s more conservative than he is, and who has the backbone to stand up to him when he does things (as he does) that piss off the base.
If you don’t believe that she has executive experience, I’m unlikely to change your mind at this point. Yes, Obama has a slightly longer record in the Senate than Palin has in the Governorship. The difference is that the US Senate is a committee. You place your vote, and you’re 1% of the final decision. No personal responsibility rests on you, no fingers are pointed, unless you happen to be a tie-breaker (which almost never happens).
As a governor, your vote is 100% of the decision. If you make a bad choice, there’s no one to be blamed but you. Alaska may not be the most densely populated state in the Union, but Palin’s decisions affected the whole state, every day. The “buck stopped” on her desk, as the saying goes. And they loved her for it.
If you don’t consider that to be executive experience, then I question how you could call Obama’s 1% responsibility “executive experience.”
Will she be ready to lead on day one, if the worst happens? If they win next week, then I think, yes, she can be up to speed by January. History and names and dates and conflicts can be learned. I’ve learned them, you’ve learned them, and we’re just bloggers. She’s got the whole executive branch ready to teach her everything she needs to know. What you can’t learn is poise and likability and confidence, and she’s already proven that she has those. Look at the international leaders that she’s met already. They love her, just like the Americans who’ve met her.
And there’s the question of McCain’s selection of her simply because she’s a woman. Obviously, that was a consideration, and I still believe it was a smart one. If he’d picked another old (or even middle aged) white guy, it would have been a mistake, frankly. The era of boring old white guys in this country has passed.
But the strength and brilliance that I see in Sarah Palin has little to do with the fact that she’s female. Otherwise, I would’ve supported Hillary Clinton, right?
She’s tough and resilient, without being bitter. She’s a rebel within her own party, fighting Republican corruption even when it hurt her reputation with them. She stands up for what she believes, even when it’s unpopular. It would have been easy for her to succumb to the corruption around her, to see how far under the radar they were, and assume that no one would be the wiser. But she took the hard road, instead. Sure, it took her a little time to start fighting after she became governor. Perhaps some people do start “kicking ass and taking names” the moment they have an opportunity, but she got her bearings first, and it made her more effective.
The corrupt politicians that embarrass us, and make us cringe and ask, “Why did it have to be a Republican?” embarrass her too. But she had the opportunity to fix it, and she did. I want to see her fix more. I want to see her (and John McCain) gut the American federal government like an old house with rotten fittings but good bones, and start over.
And I do want to address her being a woman, because it does matter. As much as I hate for it to be an issue at all, it is.
As a conservative woman, I’m tired of being represented in the media by screeching, angry harpies like Ann Coulter. And I don’t want to cling to every Senate vote by Hillary Clinton or Claire McCaskill, that doesn’t reek of socialism, as a victory for female politicians “trending right.” I want the women who represent me to do it every day, not once a year, making me feel like a weak, unloved wife who clutches at every tiny act of kindness like a life preserver, as I send my groveling emails thanking them for their votes.
I don’t have kids. I might never have kids. But I’d like to tell my nieces (and daughters if I ever have them), that this is what you can do.
You can be beautiful and feminine, and still be powerful and conservative and a force to be reckoned with. You don’t have to wear pantsuits and talk like a man and act like a man. You don’t have to be bitter and angry. If you lose your womanhood in order to get ahead, how does that help anyone? How is that remarkable? The glass ceiling should be able to be shattered with a high heel, as easily as with a sensible loafer or steel-toed boot.
I’m not a particularly feminine girl. Between the guns and the St Bernard and the Bob Vila Weekends, it’s not exactly a mystery that I’m a tomboy. I don’t wear dresses or low-cut blouses, or lipstick, or get manicures. But I wear my hair long and wear high heels to work, and I’ve never tried to downplay my looks. No one’s ever going to mistake me for a man. I’ve gotten where I am in business by being knowledgeable and competent, continuing to learn the tools of my trade – and I’m notorious for jumping in to fix the problems that my male colleagues can’t solve – whether I get credit for it or not.
Sometimes being capable and keeping the system running smoothly is more important. Sarah Palin knows that, and I know she can do it.
Please don’t give up, guys. There’s still a chance that we can win this, but it can’t happen if you don’t vote. I really want to see this amazing, outside chance come to fruition.
But win or lose, it’s been an honor to have watched this election, and been witness to Palin’s conservativism, knowledge, humor, and unfailing grace under disgustingly unfair fire.