There’s been a lot of noise this cycle about Senator Barack Obama’s purported “problem with women,” a talking point which gained popularity during his historic battle for the nomination against Senator Hillary Clinton. Though Obama’s numbers dipped slightly after the GOP convention, polls indicate he is trending upward again. Conventional wisdom among the talking heads and doomsday prophets is that Senator John McCain’s vice presidential pick Sarah Palin might prove capable of pulling Clinton’s female supporters away from Obama, but unfortunately for the McCain campaign, his choice of an unvetted, little-known woman governor for vice president was woefully transparent.
Transparent enough to infuriate women across the nation, but particularly, it seems, in Palin’s home state of Alaska, where the hundreds-strong anti-Palin rally held outside Anchorage’s new convention center drowned out the voices of her supporters the day she returned home from the campaign trail for the first time since being chosen as the Republican vice presidential nominee.
The anti-Palin movement is gaining momentum among women, who are speaking out, organizing rallies, and building websites like WomenAgainstPalin.com. The front page of the site lists and summarizes some of McCain and Palin’s finer “accomplishments” in their fight against women’s rights:
Their agenda against women:
* McCain voted against The Equal Pay Bill for Women. He said
women ‘need education and training’ instead. [Source: aflcio.org; H.R. 2831,
Vote 110, 4/23/08; Associated Press, 4/28/08]
* Palin wants to outlaw abortion, including for victims of rape or incest.
* McCain voted against the family and medical leave act, making it
hard for women and men to take time from work to care for loved
ones.[Source: aflcio.org S.Amdt. 16, S. 5, Vote 7, 2/4/93; H.R. 1, Vote 11, 2/4/93]
* Palin wants to teach creationism in the schools, making it harder for
our teachers to compete with up-and-coming nations in science
* McCain opposed spending to prevent unintended and teen
* Palin does not believe that humans contribute to global warming
and she wants to take the polar bear off of the endangered species
list so she can drill for oil in Alaska.
* McCain opposed legislation requiring that abstinence-only
programs be medically accurate and scientifically based.
* McCain’s health care plan will require that benefits be taxed, the first
time this would ever happen in America’s history. This will make it
next to impossible to pay high medical bills with insurance benefits.
* During Palin’s time as mayor, Wasilla was the only town in Alaska to
charge rape victims for rape kits essential to finding their assailants.
The woman who was meant to put McCain over the top appears to have hurt the Republican ticket, especially amongst white women. Prior to the conventions, McCain led Obama by approximately 7 points in this demographic, 44% to 37%. Following the conventions, white women have begun migrating to the Obama camp, and he has now closed the gap, currently leading the Republican nominee in the overall women’s vote. Having now pulled even with McCain in support among white women, he has overcome one of the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee’s greatest stumbling blocks. At this point in the campaign, Bush led Senator John Kerry by 56% to 37% among white women. Palin is less popular among women than men, and may in fact have frightened many of the last Hillary hold-outs into voting for Obama:
As poll numbers roll in and women step forward in droves to loudly reject Palin, the more it appears that choosing her was a strategic mistake by the McCain campaign. In recent days, her favorable rating has fallen to 40%, down four points from last week, and her unfavorable rating has risen to 30%, an eight point increase. But among women, Palin’s favorable rating has fallen a full 11 points in this period. If McCain was looking to peel off Clinton’s voters from Obama, he’s now discovering that this wasn’t the way to do it. Women don’t just vote for a chromosome. Hillary Clinton’s supporters voted for Hillary Clinton, not her reproductive organs, and they won’t put John McCain over the top in November just because he chose Sarah Palin for his running mate. She may be a woman, but she’s the wrong woman.
Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton’s candidacy stood for — and that Barack Obama’s still does.