Hillary To Sarah - How Did We Get Here?
If I were to tell you a few weeks ago that the first woman to become Vice President would not be a Senator from "New York," but the Governor from Alaska, you would have thought I was crazy. Then Googled to see who I was talking about and what her name is. But for a week now, Sarah Palin has been the talk of the country, if not the world. With the exception of the chatter surrounding the browser Google surprised everyone with, the Internet was abuzz over the issues created since John McCain named his running mate, her experience, rise to fame, and the controversy surrounding taking a baby with Down's Syndrome to term and the unexpected announcement that her soon to be wed 17 year old daughter is also going to have a baby.
The question is obvious (if you've read the title of this rant) how did we go from Hillary Clinton - the presumptive Nominee a year ago, to a different woman from a different party to a different part of the country?
Hillary Was Never Going To Be President.
Some people just don't like Hillary. Never have, and never will.
Here's a woman of whom people have been writing poison-pen tomes about for ages. The best seller of all of them was Dick Morris' "Rewriting History," a rebuke of Ms. Clinton's own autobiography. It was an exceptionally hurtful tome, mostly because it came from her husband former political advisor.
She had her own share of critics, never making things easy for herself because she laughed everything off as a part of a vast "Right Wing Conspiracy." The Rose Law firm billing records, Whitewater, "Travelgate," the removal of vital files from the office of Vince Foster after his apparent suicide... and the other controversies that surrounded her painted her as an "Evita," or a "Lady McBeth."
Ms. Clinton never really learned how to talk to people while making speeches, making it clear to everyone that she thought she was always the smartest woman in the room. Then there's her fake laughter and forced, contempt-full smile. Her tone and cadence always suggested that she was talking to a room full of "Retards" who were hard of hearing.
Hillary never enjoyed high poll numbers, even as First Lady. As she ran against Barack Obama in the primary, she never enjoyed a sizable lead as it seems to me anyway that she was always neck-and-neck with the Senator from her home state of Illinois.
With all these factors against Hillary, never being able to secure the party's base at a national level while at the same time it seemed clear that the former darling of the "liberal media" and the DNC had lost the attention and the commitment to those she counted on, those who were vital to winning this election. At least 16 years of criticism in the national media - fair or not - finally took a toll and eliminated her chances of ever being elected to The White House.
According to the news reports I've read, Hillary Clinton wasn't even considered to be the Vice Presidential candidate, Barack Obama's running mate... she was never going to be "Vice President," either. That was never going to happen... Hillary was asked to turn over her delegates to her opponent, given the chance to make a high profile speech about Party Unity, and allowed to bow out gracefully and return to the Senate quietly.
Many people, from loyal men with in the Democratic party to Non-Partisan feminists have cried "foul" and started to do something about what they see is a crime against democracy.
"Party Unity My Ass"
Recently a new special interest group/grass roots organization has arrived on the scene to challenge the DNC for not honoring Hillary Clinton and the delegates she earned during the primary election. "PUMA" ["Party Unity My Ass" or "People United Means Action."] has been making as much noise and captured the imagination of Talk Show hosts and pundits everywhere.
But what began as a "Support Hillary" campaign has become another watch-dog group, hosting news and information that questions who Mr. Obama is and who his supporters are. They're challenging the apparent anointing of Mr. Obama by the media and not digging into his past and stance on the issues he's voted for (or declined to vote on) while being a State Senator in Illinois and U.S. Senator serving in Washington D.C.
The PUMA organization is also questioning the conventional assumptions that if you're a woman then you must vote for what ever candidate the Democratic Party nominates, even after what they claim is unfair treatment of Hillary Clinton during this past election. Some with-in PUMA and some of their spin-off organizations have requested that women vote for Mr. McCain this November and send a message to the DNC...
Enter The Huntress
Which brings us to Sarah Palin - John McCain's running mate. In all fairness, Mrs. Palin wouldn't have even been considered if it wasn't for the past year or so of hearing "it's a woman's turn" from those who had supported and pushed for Hillary. Thanks to Hillary, we now have "The Anti-Hillary" to root for or boo... depending on your political bias and inclination.
The nation has only known Mrs. Palin for a whole week by the time this rant will be published. What do we know about her? She served on the Wasilla city counsel for two terms, she was mayor of that town from 1996 – 2002, she was on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Ethics Supervisor of the commission in 2003 and 2004. She was elected Governor of Alaska in November of 2006... She's also "super Conservative" on the political issues, she's anti-Abortion, she's a hunter and able to field dress her own game, and gun-owner rights advocate.
She's a true feminist in the sense that she has her own opinion and is not in-line with every issues that the Feminist Movement had adopted since it began - since the fight for a woman's right to vote that brought about the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, the struggle for the Equal Rights Amendment that began in 1926, or the founding of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966... take your pick.)
While driving home tonight I heard the story that in the latest Rasmussen Poll indicated that she has a 58% favorable rating, "higher then either Senator Obama or Senator McCain." It this keeps up, it'll be Mrs. Palin that drags John McCain across the finish line on November. Since when has the Vice Presidential nominee been more popular then his (and now her) running mate.
The question isn't whether or not Sarah Palin should be the Vice President of The United States, even though there were moments in during her acceptance speech during the convention earlier this week when I thought she seemed more qualified and capable then some of the other candidates... meaning the two on the top of the tickets.
The question is, again, how did the country go from the Democrat "Presumptive Nominee" to the actual Republican nod?
I'm sure that the chances are high that this is just the "honeymoon" between Mrs. Palin and the general public. Anything that I say now might be untrue if she does something in the future to undo the public admiration...
But as it stands now, she has something that many of the candidates who are running right now doesn't have. She has recent real world experience. She's a working mom with a large family who got ride of her driver and cook (after she found new jobs for them, she claims) and did those things for herself. She married her high-school sweetheart at a very early age and has 5 kids, the most recent one with a disability.
Not only is she "easy on the eyes" as our own Bazooka Goof has said elsewhere. But during the two speeches I've heard of hers so far, she talks to people the way we want to be spoken to. There's no condescending, slightly unmasked contempt from Sarah Palin that's been in my opinion Hillary Clinton's trademark.
There's something about her that's both youthful and unafraid, some of which might come from being a hunter. There's this quality that comes with people who have lived out in the wilderness and have been up to their elbows in the blood and flesh of the prey that makes being in front of a large group of people while giving a speech less intimidating. It's a difficult thing to describe to someone who hasn't done what you're talking about... if you've never harvested an animal - either wild or raised on your own - then you it's nearly impossible to explain.
How Will This All End In November...
If there's one thing I am sure of is that the future of this election is uncertain. There are a lot of variable out there that have made it impossible to rely on polls and statements made by the media and other "political experts." Who* would have predicted months ago that some of the biggest opponents of the Democratic Presidential Nominee would the block of voters who are usually sewn up and could always be counted on: the feminists? [*The same person who predicted the VP nod would come from Alaska?] Some women voters are going to be punching a ticket not FOR McCain/Palin, but against Obama/Biden out of spite. Others won't be voting for McCain, but for Mrs. Palin, simply because of gender.
There are going to be a lot of staunch Pro-Choice voters who are going to vote for a Pro-Life (Anti-Abortion) candidate, a woman on the ticket who - as of this writing - is now more popular then her running mate and the man on the top of the other ticket. Nobody with any sense would have predicted this. There's a randomness, this script wouldn't sell in Hollywood because it's just so "out there."
But what I can easily predict here and now that political junkies and historians will be talking about the election of 2008 for many years to come. Historians are going to look back on this election as a land-mark event. It will become a pivotal point in time when the dynamics of the country changed and history took a turn in one direction or another. I envy those historians already, I can't wait to find out how this works out...