05 September 2008

Palin-Nation

Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court and appointed Jeane Kirkpatrick as U.S. representative to the United Nations. Bill Clinton made Madeline Albright Secretary of State, nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the supreme court, and made Janet Reno attorney general. George Bush appointed Condoleezza Rice as his National Security Advisor and hired as White House legal counsel Harriet Miers, whom he also (perhaps regrettably) nominated to the Supreme Court . Shirley Temple Black served in various capacities under presidents Nixon, Ford, and George. H. W. Bush (the dad). The English elected Margaret Thatcher, another conservative.

Here's a list of some other "Notable Women in U.S. Government."

In other words, there are plenty of qualified women, many of them conservative, who have been out there working in various high-profile positions for a lifetime.

But the best qualified woman McCain could find to nominate as Vice President is Sarah Palin. That speaks volumes about his judgment.

Given more years in state government, perhaps a term or two as a U.S. Senator, she could have developed into a mature politican worthy of respect and of the vice presidency. Today, however, her experience consists solely of a brief stint as governor of Alaska, whose entire population is less than that of Memphis, Tennessee -- the eighteenth largest city in the U. S. Before that, she served as mayor of Wasilla, a suburb of Anchorage incorporated as a "city" (a term the media are using rather loosely, in my opinion) way back in 1974 whose population, according to the town's web page, is just over 7000.

Neither the town of Wasilla, nor the city of Anchorage, nor the state of Alaska bears much resemblance to the geographic and ethnic diversity of the rest of the nation: Anchorage, the largest city, has fewer than 300,000 inhabitants, and the state's population is just over 3 percent each Hispanic and African-American.

Palin can boast of being a bear hunter and a hockey mom, but really, how relevant are those things to international diplomacy? Or even to the majority of Americans, at least 75 percent of whom live in urban areas?

There's no dearth of commentary out there. But one of the best pieces is Judith Warner's New York Times commentary, "The Mirrored Ceiling."