Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Palin Can Do It!

I get the morning papers delivered, I'm looking at the front cover of the hard-copy edition of the Los Angeles Times right now, which features this photograph at the top:

Palin Can Do It !

The photo is paired with the paper's lead story, "Palin Bounce Has Democrats Off Balance."

I've been reporting regularly on the polling trends in the presidential horse race, and the Times' suggestion that the Democrats have been caught "off balance" is putting it mildly. Frankly, as my dad used to say, the Democrats have been "hit by a Mack truck."

John McCain, in his selection of Palin as vice-presidential running mate, apparently hoped to attract disaffected former Hillary Clinton supporters. Although the data on gender voting dynamics are still coming in, we're seeing some payoff for McCain's hunch already, as seen in this repor from the Irish Times, "
White Women Flock to McCain Over Palin choice, Poll Reveals."

The Washington Post looks at the question of McCain/Palin's support among women in its piece, "
Palin Energizing Women From All Walks of Life":
Susie Baron is a Republican, a mother of two and a home-schooler. She voted for Mike Huckabee in the Ohio primary, but now -- because of Sarah Palin -- she thinks she is part of something much bigger.

I wouldn't even call it a Palin movement, I'd call it a sleeping giant that has been awakened," Baron, 56, said at a rally here Tuesday. She described its members as a silent majority of women in Middle America who "are raising our families, who work if we have to, but love our country and our families first."

"And until now, we haven't had anyone to identify with," Baron said, adding that traditional feminist groups such as the National Organization for Women do "not represent me."

Since her rapid transition from obscure Alaska governor to GOP vice presidential nominee, Palin has reenergized the presidential race and also further polarized it, setting her instant fan base, which sees her as a pit bull with lipstick, against those who dismiss her as just another Republican who happens to be a woman and seems intent on rekindling a culture war.
Actually, it really is a "movement" we're seeing.

As a result, the Democrats seem like they're moving through the "
Five Stages of Grief." Right now, the party's faithful are either "bargaining" over whether they can stretch out their "Hillary moment" by changing horses midstream to stave off the death of leftist feminist aspirations, or they've already moved on to the "depression" stage, and some perhaps even to "acceptance" (although I'm sure most radical feminists are still in the "anger" stage, and will be for some time).

The Politico capture this sense in its story, "
Could Clinton Have Palin-Proofed Dems?"

Republican Rep. Candice S. Miller says Barack Obama had only one shot at Palin-proofing the Democratic ticket — and he missed it when he passed over Hillary Rodham Clinton as his running mate.

“Every woman in America knows what Barack Obama did to Hillary Clinton: He looked at her and thought, ‘There’s no way I’m doing that,’” said Miller. “If Hillary was on the ticket, he’d be in a much better position to win women voters.”

Sarah Palin’s presence — coupled with Clinton’s absence — may be altering one of the great verities of American politics: that women voters overwhelmingly favor Democrats.
The article goes on the discuss some of the same data I've cited above.

When John McCain decided to focus on change over experience in his vice-presidential pick, I don't think even he realized how much the selection of Sarah Palin would upend all political calculations this year. Of course, what matters for the election now is how well Palin validates McCain's judgment and strategic decisionmaking, and so far the transference of political energy from the left to the right of the political system is nothing short of history-making.

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times