PRO Shes a woman. More than 50% of voters are women, and we are seriously underrepresented in American government.
CON Shes against women. Palin is part of the most extremist anti-woman platform the Republicans have put forth in years. These Republicans are on the warpath, trying to limit access to ordinary contraceptive methods like the birth control pill, which the majority of American women depend on at some point in their lives. Palin is right in with this crowd, going on record to state that she is against abortion even in the case of rape or incest.
PRO The restoration of a female to this election could appeal to some voters who are disillusioned over Hillarys primary loss.
CON Palin is no Hillary Clinton. Palins resume is so thin, it actually includes her high school basketball career. She is a one-term governor of the fourth-smallest state by population, and before that she was the mayor of a town smaller than Fort Oglethorpe. Most Americans only heard of her last week. She is best known as the beehived governor who was almost Miss Alaska. She has no experience outside the state, much less with foreign affairs. According to The New York Times, Palin only got her passport in July 2007. Even then, she did not visit Iraq as she has claimed.
By contrast, Hillary Clinton is a serious, seasoned political leader known all around the world. Its not just the age difference. Since her twenties, Clinton has been featured in publications like Life Magazine. She attracted attention not for beauty pageants but for historic accomplishments, like being the first Wellesley student to deliver the commencement address and using that opportunity to criticize the senator who spoke just before she did.
While Republicans hail Palin as a reformer, it is Clinton who is a true crusader. Hillary was a force to be reckoned with even before she teamed up with Bill. In the late 60s, she fought for civil rights, and in the 70s she helped impeach Richard Nixon. In the 80s, while Palin was strutting down the runway in a bikini, Clinton was fighting for education reform in Arkansas and being named Mother of the Year for the second time.
As First Lady for two terms in the nineties, Clinton was so active in domestic and foreign affairs that critics printed bumper stickers reading Impeach the President and her husband, too.
Clintons greatest obstacle is being ahead of her time. Consider her bid to reform health care. As First Lady she was unable to make it happen, but that plan is now integral to the Democratic platform. Thats what reformers do; they change the way we think about the world. Simply challenging an incumbent in your own party doesnt make you a reformer.
The differences go beyond education and experience; Palin opposes everything Hillary Clinton stands for health care, education, individual freedoms and economic security for the middle class.
McCain must think women are stupid. He hopes to win Clinton supporters simply by adding a woman to his ticket. Some men may believe that all females are interchangeable; women know better.
PRO Palin is a Washington outsider. After eight years of Republican corruption, lies and unjust war, many Americans are looking outside the Capitol for a fresh leader without ties, allegiances and debts.
CON She is not just an outsider; she has absolutely no national experience. Republicans try to brush this away by pointing out that Obama has never been a governor and therefore has no executive experience but the same can be said for McCain. If Palin is more qualified than Obama, then she is also more qualified than McCain. The Republicans need to reverse their ticket! The truth is, Sarah Palin is the least experienced candidate put forth in recent history. The presidency is far too important to risk on a loose cannon like McCain and a complete unknown like Palin.
PRO A short resume means less baggage . . . right?
CON For a politician with such a short history, Palin has been remarkably quick to immerse herself in scandalous abuses of power. Currently she is under investigation for trying to force the firing of her ex-brother-in-law as a favor to her sister.
As governor of Alaska, she has held her hand out for plenty of pork. Palin claims she opposed the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. Not true. Support for the bridge was part of her campaign platform. She only gave up on it after Washington turned against the project. Then she canceled the bridge, but kept most of the money for other projects. Although she claims she opposes earmarks, she has requested more per capita than any other governor.
While requesting federal dollars to study the mating habits of crabs, Palin used her line-item veto power to slash important funding for education and teen pregnancy prevention. She opposes teaching teens about condoms in spite of statistical and now personal evidence that abstinence only education has poor results.
Palin has an interesting strategy on changing Alaskas status as the rape capital of America: discourage victims from reporting. Under Mayor Palin, Wasilla women who reported rape had to pay for the cost of the forensic exam, reportedly a charge of $300-1,200. Charging women who report sex crimes is a sure way to reduce rape well, rape reports, anyway.
PRO Palin is an avid outdoorswoman, giving her a tough, not-afraid-to-get-her-hands-dirty image.
CON Sarah Palins hands are a little too dirty. Palin wants to turn the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge into a private oil field for her corporate buddies.
Hunting does not always translate into caring about the environment or its inhabitants. Palin scoffs at global warming even as scientists document the shrinking of the ice caps and drowning of polar bears. Not that Palin cares about polar bears; she actually sued the Bush administration to have them taken off the endangered species list.
Wolves have fared no better under her watch. Until the program was stopped by a state judge, Palin was offering wolf hunters $150 for every hacked-off front foreleg they brought in.
PRO The selection of a female vice presidential candidate is a historical first for the Republican Party. Finally, the Republicans have entered the 20th century. Thats not a typo. The press seems to have forgotten that Democrats met that milestone last century when Walter Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate in 1984. The Republicans are finally playing catch-up.
CON In choosing Palin, John McCain passed over a long line of more qualified Republican leaders. If he wanted a female running mate, why not Kay Bailey Hutchison? Hutchison served as state treasurer of Texas before starting her 15 years in the Senate. She is the most senior female Republican senator, with a great deal of experience and responsibility.
Or how about Olympia Snowe? Snowe is the first woman who ever served in both houses, both in the state and nationally, and one of the first to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She was named one of Americas top senators by Time Magazine, and holds a 79 percent approval rating in her home state of Maine. Snowe is as powerful as she is popular. She chairs the subcommittee that oversees the Navy and Marine Corps and also serves on the Finance Committee. In 35 years, Olympia Snowe has never lost an election.
With choices like Hutchison and Snowe and Condoleezza Rice, and the list goes on why did McCain choose a political newbie from the sticks? The answer is clear to hard-working women in all sorts of careers who have watched a younger, less-qualified woman soar past them to assume positions at the top. Its an old gimmick, really put a token female near the top to placate the other women in the organization.
Just make sure its a woman who will fully support the good ol boys, without caring what happens to us other women, or our children, or our world.
Jeannie Babb Taylor may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can leave a public comment on her blog at JeannieBabbTaylor.com.
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