Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Chase for Change 2008: Sarah Palin Vs. Hillary Clinton – It’s No Time to be Fooled

So I've said what the pick means for Obama, but what do I think of Sarah Palin as VP? Well first of all kudos to McCain for picking a woman. We do need more women moving up the ladder in politics and it’s more than about time the Republicans finally did this. BUT while it’s important to have more women it’s MORE important to have those women fight FOR women’s issues and women’s rights. Hillary Clinton was certainly that kind of woman and Obama and Biden may not be women but I know they’ll fight for them. Sarah Palin? Well let’s see how she stacks up against Hillary Clinton on the issues:
On a woman’s right to choose: She is against abortion EVEN in case of rape. That’s even MORE conservative than the Bush administration’s official position.
On the environment: Doesn't believe that humans cause global warming and is in the pocket of Big Oil and mining companies. I thought John McCain was going to be a champion of the environment? I guess this pick says otherwise, no wonder the Sierra Club is angry.
On education: Wants creationism (not just intelligent design) taught in public schools
On life-saving research: Opposes stem-cell research (which McCain says he supports)
On pork-barrel spending: She supported the infamous "bridge to nowhere" that McCain claims she opposed.
On ethics: She’s supporting Alaska Senate Ted Stevens Senate re-election campaign while he is under indictment in a corruption scandal (don’t think that a big deal? Well the video in the post I link to curiously disappeared from her website). She also was a staunch backer of Pat Buchanan who has said so many offensive things that even the bulk of the Republican Party shun him these days.
On Hillary Clinton: Nothing but a whiner. According to Palin’s own words sexism is “just part of the game” in politics and she seems to imply that it should just be accepted and that it’s something women shouldn’t talk about. And the P.U.M.A. crowd like this woman? Palin mocks everything they stand for!

So does this woman have ANYTHING in common with Hillary Clinton other than her gender? No wonder the old boys club of the Republican establishment is ecstatic. John McCain/Palin have no plan for child care, poverty, extended parental leave (it’s shameful how far the U.S. is from Canada on that), and pay equity, while Obama/Biden do. If you read the latest article on McCain's website for why women should vote for him it just says McCain will help the economy and that will help women. What a champion!

The reality of the Palin pick though I think is summed up well by the National Organization for Women:
“What McCain does not understand is that women supported Hillary Clinton not just because she was a woman, but because she was a champion on their issues. They will surely not find Sarah Palin to be an advocate for women.”

To be clear again I think Sarah Palin is to be admired for what she has accomplished, being a successful businesswoman and a very popular governor, and I’m not someone who’s gonna say she lacks the experience to be President. It’s good to see a woman on the Republican ticket as it will make it easier for other women to run for the Republican nomination in 2012. I hope Sarah Palin runs for the nomination in 2012, but given where she stands on the issues that matter to me and I’m sure millions of others who want to see women’s rights and issues ADVANCED not moved BACKWARD I can’t say she would be a friend of women as Vice-President or President. Therefore, if she and McCain pick up ANY Hillary Clinton supporters it would be profoundly disappointing because Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin (or John McCain) have virtually NOTHING in common on the issues.

I would have liked to have seen a woman (like the governors of Arizona or Kansas) on Barack Obama’s ticket but as I’ve said from the very beginning (before it was known who would win the Democratic nomination) it’s absolutely essential that all progressives line up behind the Democratic nominee because there is too much at stake on too many issues that matter to the U.S., Canada and the world (certainly not just women’s issues) to allow someone as Conservative as John McCain to become President. I'd say that case is even stronger now with someone more Conservative than Stockwell Day and Cheryl Gallant as McCain's choice for VP.

However, whether Barack Obama admits it or not will need Hillary Clinton’s supporters to win – he would do well to do more joint appearances with her and pointedly reach out to her supporters. The convention was not the place in my view, but I see little harm in doing an event with Clinton where Clinton lays out the case of why Palin is not a friend of women and Obama gives his standard stump speech but with added praise again for Clinton (I know he’s done this), but crucially with some lines about how he needs Clinton’s supporters and all Democrats to win and he asks for their support. Obama could say he doesn’t need 20% of Clinton supporters to win and surely some will never vote for him, but any voters gained leads to a much more comfortable lead-up to, and actual, election night.

I think Obama’s DNC speech made an excellent case for why all Americans should vote FOR him, but he hasn’t yet sealed the deal fully within his party. I hope he takes the next few weeks to do that. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d like to see him have an insurmountable lead in the polls weeks before Election Day.

h/t to for the sources
Other Liberals have commented on the Palin pick here, here, here, here, here, here, and here

UPDATE: The Democrats definitely should not underestimate Palin’s appeal. As of now her favourability ratings are a fair bit higher than Biden's and I know there were some who argued that Biden’s favourables were a good reason to have him on Obama’s ticket. So for now Palin is clearly positive for McCain’s chances. But again I think the only way for Democrats/progressives to approach this pick is by focusing on her stands on the issues, anything else I think will backfire.

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Anonymous said...

Hi Danielle,

I thought you might find this interesting. Numbers from a poll on opinions about readiness for the VP role:;_ylt=AhUdLYsrdGPXZsBUOaInAHCs0NUE

I figure she starts with 40% adoration because of her staunch conservative views. In the US, a candidate could be a doorstop and get that vote as long as they have the down-the-line conservative pedigree.

I figure most of those people saying she is fine fit that mode. It will be interesting to see how that shapes out as things proceed.

And - whether those numbers turn into support. 58% think Biden could be, but obviously they won't all vote for Obama/Biden because of that ; ).