September 7, 2008
McCain's Choice Won't Fool Women
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Sarah Palin is a woman. Hillary Clinton is a woman. Women just love voting for other women. Women candidates are interchangeable. Therefore, women who would have voted for Clinton are obviously going to vote for Palin.
If this syllogism strikes you as stupid, that's because it is. Not to mention cynical and not a little bit sexist. Yet it also appears to be one of the reasons behind John McCain's choice of a running mate.
Women, the Republican Party seems to be saying, are interchangeable. Worried about a weak ticket? Concerned about voters losing interest? Just stick a woman in there. Pretty much any woman will do.
And by choosing Sarah Palin above the dozens of far more qualified women in their party (Sens. Olympia Snow and Kay Bailey Hutchinson, to name just two), John McCain and the Republicans have exposed every future female candidate to the same creeping, dangerous suspicion feminists have been fighting since the first female politician stepped forward: She's at that podium for all the wrong reasons: novelty, or shock value, or because her X chromosomes make her a politically expedient choice. Not because she's the best person for the job.
Jessica Reaves is a reporter for the Tribune magazine.