ST. PAUL - Sure, it’s John McCain’s convention. But don’t bother reminding the attendees.
Here at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, the name that is all the buzz this week is “Sarah Barracuda.” And, somehow, I think this is precisely how McCain intended things to be.
Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, McCain’s vice presidential running mate, has electrified this entire convention. While McCain’s support among the conservative base of the Republican Party has often rested on an “at least he’s not Obama” foundation, now, suddenly, conservatives believe that one of their own is on the ticket. Her selection by McCain was announced one week ago, and even before this convention began, an influx of more than $11 million in McCain-Palin campaign donations had been received, with even more donations coming in this week.
Why all the excitement over Palin? Well, at the Democratic convention, we did just narrowly miss the first-ever nomination of a woman for the presidency. As expected, Palin’s presence on the Republican ticket no doubt offers some solace to those who were eager to see a woman elected president, and at least offers the hope that we could possibly elect the first female vice president this year.
But Palin is a symbol of something that is quite common in America (in the East Valley in particular), yet is rarely acknowledged or understood in Washington, nor among the intelligentsia of American political punditry. Palin represents the reality that today, a woman in America can break the “glass ceiling” and be in charge, while still enjoying the otherwise “traditional” and “antiquated” things of life, like malefemale relations, marriage and motherhood.
Palin symbolizes the reality that a woman can unapologetically be a responsible business owner and a compassionate community activist without succumbing to the extremism of the Marxiststyled, redistributionist, big-government economics of Hillary Clinton. She also demonstrates that a woman can be truly feminine, while enjoying the wilds of the outdoors. She is the “soccer mom” (or, in her case, the “hockey mom”) who is not easily swayed by political ads and feel-good campaigns, but rather, is resolute in her political views and values.
In short, Palin demonstrates that, today, a woman in America can be all that she is meant to be, and all that she wants to be, without being a political or social liberal. She has achieved the expressed goals of “feminism” — independence, stature, equality — without, apparently, hating men and swearing-off parenthood.
Oh, and she has accomplished this without clinging to the coattails of her more famous husband (yes, that is an intended reference to former first lady Clinton) or any other man.
Oh, and another thing. Palin has accomplished all this, while also defying the stereotype of the “frumpy,” religiously conservative, right-winger mom who gives no care or concern to her physical appearance. Palin is articulate, poised — and “hot,” in a modest sort of way. She has the “look” that easily fits on the cover of a glamour magazine, yet she is an anathema to the worldview represented by such publications.
This fact is resonating with women and men alike. My wife mentioned to me last weekend how “gorgeous” Palin is, long before I dared to hint at the subject. And convention goers here in St. Paul this week are unashamed to acknowledge that their V.P. candidate is beautiful.
The total package that is “Sarah Barracuda” is, apparently, very threatening to the political and cultural left. Hence the ridicule of her over a teenage daughter who turns up pregnant and a sister who is apparently going through a nasty divorce and child custody battle. But the more Palin takes a beating in the press, the more the faithful love her.
Austin Hill of Gilbert is a host for Arizona Web TV (www.Arizonawebtv.com) and is heard on XM Satellite Radio. He is co-author of “White House Confidential: The Little Book of Weird Presidential History,” and is an editorialist for the national news and commentary site Townhall.com. Contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.