So I figure Focus on the Family will gush Monday morning. Any Dobson lovers will want to tune in. Hannity and Rush have already given her the two thumbs up, and like to comment on her moose and caribou hunting, her enthusiasm for guns, her unapologetic pro-life stance and her support of teaching creationism in the public schools. She's a new governor, two years younger than Obama and was a part-time mayor of a small town prior. I read an interesting diary over at dKos yesterday by a resident of that town. If you want pictures of Wasilla, check out this diary.
She has five kids (like me!) and is expected to draw in the soccermom vote and to reassure the Christian mom that there is someone with her values who can be at the top of the ticket too. Hillary fans will no more vote for Palin, though, than send Christmas cards to Bush. Please. These two women couldn't be more different, nor do they stand for the same things. So the line of reasoning that says Hill-fans will now flock to McCain is absurd.
Additionally, had Palin been a man, I don't think anyone would justify this choice of VP. Her credentials are so slim, her connections so few, her foreign policy understanding so shallow, and McCain's health so genuinely in question, it seems irresponsible to nominate Palin just because she is female and an arch-conservative. There's no way a man with her same background would have been chosen. Huckabee would have been a better choice in terms of all those credentials. He's evangelical, he got a lot of votes in the primary season and he's been a governor for longer, of a bigger state.
Palin is about the estrogen, make no mistake.
My take on Palins, though, is not strictly ideological, nor is it based on her lack of experience (which does still concern me). No, I don't support teaching creationism in public schools as though it is a science. I am pro-life, though not in the Republican sense of the word. I'm more in line with the "whole life" concept that Rick Warren talked about or that fits the pro-life Democrats. I love women in prominent positions. There is only one exception to that and that's what I want to state here.
Palin has a 5 month old baby... with Down's syndrome. She is the mother of five kids. She clearly is a high energy person with a passion to see the world reflect her values. That she took on being a part-time mayor while mothering is not surprising in a small town. I have another homeschooling friend who is a mayor in a small town in South Dakota. Works out fine.
To be governor in a state the size of AK (read small: the 47th largest in the country in population) is not the same thing as to be vice president of the entire country. I'm not even sure what I think about her being a mother of a special needs child and governor at the same time, but I know without hesitation that I can't bear the thought of her being the vice president and raising that baby, caring for it, nursing it while she is on the campaign trail, while that special needs child especially needs her.
Unless Palin has a husband who is taking up the slack for her political career (and if he is, no one has mentioned it yet), she's undermining one of the strongest values of the arch-conservative: that one parent will raise the children and be there to do it. A five month old special needs child deserves a mother (or father!) who puts him first.
I know how hard it is to run a business (from home!) and still be a good mother. How in the world can it be done when you are the candidate and then the vice president, and then, God forbid, the president?! Joe Biden's example is pretty impressive in this regard. When his wife and daughter died in 1972, he chose not to live in DC. He commuted two hours each way by train to be with his sons every night. He was a senator, and almost quit to make sure his sons had a normal life until he came up with this arrangement.
I find it hard to believe, after all the focus on the importance of child-rearing, that mothers who put their kids first will identify with Palins who is choosing not to for the sake of political advancement. She's only 44. Still has four kids at home. She's proposing that they radically alter everything about their lives... for her.
And I consider myself a feminist. I just think kids are that important.
Update: Lisa says that Palin's husband is a stay-at-home dad. That helps to know that. Still a big transition for the family, still a lot to take on with a special needs child. But at least there is one consistent parent available.
Update Two: Here's an AP article on Todd Palin, Sarah's husband. He's a commercial fisherman, a snowmobile racer and a hands on dad. They sound like they spend more time in their home town than Juneau.