Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sarah Palin: The Clarence Thomas of 2008

I am a middle-aged white guy. If I were a member of a race, gender, or ethnic group that was underrepresented in presidential politics, I am not too sure I would think well of it if the majority group -- black people, say, or women -- came to me and said, Ray, we are going to give you a consolation prize. We aren't going to nominate a white guy as president, but here's some whack-job white guy to represent you. Take your pick: Richard Nixon? Dan Quayle? Adolf Hitler? This is the sort of thing that could backfire. I could find it offensive that the majority's views were so clueless as to think that these guys would represent who I am and what I want from my government. So we come to Sarah Palin. Her views only begin to emerge from obscurity, and I wouldn't be surprised if half of the complaints I've heard about her already are wrong. Nonetheless, this is no Hillary Clinton. She didn't get where she is by being the best, by fighting her way to the top. She got where she is because she's female. She has the potential to be a great politician. Likewise, the members of Milli Vanilli had the potential to be great singers -- but that's not what their concertgoers were paying for. It is as if these white guys were saying, OK, you women can't actually come out on top, so we'll throw you a bone to make it seem like you're equal. The thing would have flown better if McCain had at least chosen a woman who had earned national-level respect and had shown national-level capability. If he's going to embrace the Bush legacy so wholeheartedly, why not Condoleeza Rice? Female, and black to boot, and with global experience. There are accomplished women who demonstrate superior credentials for the task of handling the presidency in a crisis. I predict some women will be supremely displeased at the choice of Sarah Palin -- as I would be, if I were one of them.



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