My VP week would not be complete without mention of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, another "rising star" in the GOP, who has a unique ability to appeal to several key constituencies.
This election has been about breaking barriers, shattering glass ceilings, and overcoming stereotypes - and that's a good thing. I have discussed before why I don't think merely being a woman or minority candidate is sufficient, in principle or in practice, to earn the votes of Americans and win an election. However, as my friends on McCain Now pointed out, the strategic reality before John McCain is that millions of would-be Hillary voters are about to come "up for grabs", a significant number have shown consistently they are willing to vote McCain. Choosing a female VP would be a strategic move to show disenfranchised Hillary supporters that women have a prominent place in a McCain White House.
That issue aside, Palin would be an outstanding pick even if she were equipped with different body parts. Palin complements McCain's strengths and would, I believe, strengthen the Republican party's national image. With unheard-of approval ratings near 85-90%, former beauty queen Palin was not an obvious choice to lead a state that many of us associate with igloos and parkas. Like Jindal, she ran for office to fight the notorious corruption in her state (remember the "bridge to nowhere"?) and like McCain, fighting for responsible spending and accountable government has been a hallmark of her leadership. Palin walks the walk on conservative values, as a cautious spender, avid sportswoman, 2nd-amendment defender, and true example of pro-life values in action.
Already a mother of four, Palin became pregnant at age 44 and learned early in her pregnancy that her child would, most likely, have Down's syndrome. Palin showed courage and character, leading throughout her pregnancy and even posing for Vogue. She went into labor early (been there, done that!) during a Governors' conference -- at which she had the opportunity to informally 'remove herself' from VP consideration, and didn't take it.
To be clear, I don't think we should hand this woman the vice-presidency because she gave birth a lot and in brave ways (although I have to admit, as a Mom, this appeals to my head and my heart). I also don't think we should take lightly the responsibilities of raising a special-needs child - but other women in Washington have done it, and it would be sexist and presumptuous to make that decision for her. As long as she keeps her hat in the ring, I think McCain should try it on for size.
For LOTS more on Gov. Palin, see http://palinforvp.blogspot.com/