Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Representative Democracy

A few days ago, I saw a comment on a fairly prominent conservative blog lamenting that (paraphrase), "A major party ticket won't be able to have two white guys on it anymore" because of the Palin/Obama effect this year. While I'm not a big supporter of such things as race or gender-based preferences in hiring, I just can't get myself worked up too much about this. Sure, it will probably be the trendy thing to do for a few election cycles to have a woman or minority on the ticket, but so what? I believe these politicians are supposed to be in Washington to represent the people, and I don't think it's wrong to include consideration of race or gender in that idea of representation (even if it should be far from the most important consideration).

That being said, I don't think what has the elite level of the mainstream media, the Democratic Party leadership, and the "Beltway insiders" in such a tizzy is Sarah Palin's gender or even her conservative views on matters such as abortion. Rather, I think it's mostly something that Laura Ingraham touched on during Fox News Channel's rundown of yesterday's RNC highlights: a lot of people (probably including some of the old guard in the Republican Party) can't stand the fact that Gov. Palin went to the University of Idaho and not an Ivy League school, that her parents were public school employees and not governors or senators. A lot of people have questioned whether either Palin or Obama would be where they are now if they were white men...well, where would George W. Bush be if his father hadn't been President? Would Kathleen Sebelius be a blue governor of a red state if she weren't part of a political dynasty? Would Bob Casey, Jr. have any cred as a "pro-life Democrat" if his father hadn't been a political martyr for that cause?

I'm just saying that the part of the Sarah Palin selection that could change American politics the most is not so much that she is a woman, but that she is one of us: she ran off and married her high school sweetheart, she's had some trouble with her in-laws, and her kids haven't always made the best decisions. We can relate to that...and it scares the heck out of the Washington insiders!

No comments: