Like most pro-lifers, I’m ecstatic at the choice of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as Sen. McCain’s vice presidential running mate. I’ve already received more than a dozen calls from pro-life leaders around the country, both Catholic and Protestant, who are giddy at Sen. McCain’s choice.
At the Saddleback Civil Forum, Sen. McCain said that he was pro-life and would have a pro-life administration. The first selection of a prospective McCain administration has been made, and the senator could not have made a more pro-life appointment. I have already received two calls from pro-life Evangelical women who are delighted almost beyond words that they will now have a prominent pro-life woman who is the mother of five as one of the most prominent spokespersons for their cause. Gov. Palin is a person of faith and a devoted wife and mother whose oldest son volunteered to serve his country and will be deployed to Iraq shortly.
This election cycle seems to have no end to surprises. Who would have thought that the candidate of “change,” Sen. Obama, would select one of the longest serving senators in the U.S. Senate (35 years) and a consummate Washington insider, and Sen. McCain (the old guy) would make the bold, out-of-the-box, unconventional choice of a vice presidential running mate?
This also means that Sen. McCain is going to make a major play for the most fluid demographic in this campaign cycle: women, 25 and above. Many of them voted for Sen. Clinton in the primaries and feel, rightly or wrongly, that Sen. Obama was less than respectful in his treatment of Sen. Clinton, including making it clear that she was never even considered as his vice presidential running mate. Many of those women will now give Sen. McCain a serious second look.
Obviously, the weakest point in Gov. Palin’s resume is her lack of experience on the national political scale. However, the Obama campaign will have to be very careful about going after her on that score. First, her years of experience as a city councilwoman, mayor and governor are approximately the same as Obama’s as a state senator and U.S. senator. Second, if the Obama campaign decides to make an issue of experience, I’m sure the McCain campaign will point out that the relative lack of experience on the Republican ticket is on the No. 2 spot, whereas the relative lack of experience on the Democratic ticket is on the No. 1 spot. Third, many women will feel that the Obama campaign is being disrespectful of Gov. Palin if they attack her experience too vigorously. After all, she has been a city councilwoman, a mayor, and a governor and is successfully rearing five children.