I don't get it.
Newspapers I generally respect have spent two days having orgasms over President-elect McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. "With Pick, McCain Reclaims His Maverick Image," was the rhapsodic headline in the Washington Post. "Can You Cross Out 'Hillary and Write 'Sarah?,' the New York Times asked in its Week in Review section. This is a "game changer." This shows what an independent maverick McCain is, "bucking" the Beltway establishment.
Instead, McCain's decision shows he is both cynical and cowed into submission. Cynical, in that he thinks women will vote for him simply because he chose a vice presidential candidate with the same body parts as them. Nevermind where she stands on issues concerning women. She is, for example, opposed to measures demanding equal pay for equal work or child care. She would criminalize abortion even in cases of rape and incest. "Women," also, apparently won't care about her lack of experience (the media seem eager to equate her thin resume with Barack Obama's rather heftier accomplishments).
Cowed because Palin is the darling of the extreme right wing of his party: anti-abortion crusader, climate-change denier, fundamentalist evangelical, Bible literalist, pro-creation teaching, etc. A maverick? Hardly. McCain totally caved. Apparently the Democrats successful Denver convention scared the crap out of him, so he had to get the vaunted evangelical, social conservative base behind him. These were once denounced as 'agents of intolerance' by the great maverick.
Amid all the media glee over the cute Palin with her five children (one named Track), and the Democrats apparent wariness over dealing with her, consider this: Were she a Democrat, the social conservatives would be quick to condemn her for leaving her motherly duties for a harsh campaign schedule, particularly with a new baby born with Down syndrome. And can you imagine the GOP response if Obama had a 17-year-old unmarried daughter who got pregnant?
There is an interesting parallelism between McCain and Palin. Both are from the exurban West. Both are from states that depend heavily on federal dollars and a single industry (oil in Alaska, housing in Arizona). They don't do urban issues or complexity in general. They profit from federal dollars while condemning the federal government. So both fit squarely in the mold of today's "conservatism," which we have seen in action in all the disasters of the past eight years.
Only Frank Rich at the Times seems willing to be a real maverick against the corporate media's determination to elect McCain. They think women are stupid. They think we're all stupid. Enough of us may prove them correct.