Friday, September 19, 2008

'Hillary's women' reject McCain's VP choice.

There were many of us who thought that McCain's choice of Palin as his VP was actually inherently sexist as it seemed to imply that women, and more specifically Hillary's female supporters, would vote for her on the basis of her gender rather than her policies, which would be an an anathema to most Hillary supporters.

Now it appears that the move has backfired on McCain with one of America's largest women's rights organisations snubbing Palin and publicly supporting Obama.

The National Organisation for Women (NOW) is 500,000 strong and hugely influential. The feminist organisation almost never supports a presidential candidate, but the Alaska governor's Christian fundamentalist faith and her opposition to abortion rights has forced its hand.

Other women's rights organisations are also campaigning against Governor Palin, pushed along by a spontaneous anti-Palin movement among women.

In Alaska at the weekend, a Welcome Home rally for Mrs Palin was dwarfed by a demonstration organised by Alaska Women Reject Palin, which was held on the lawn of a downtown Anchorage library.

Palin's views on abortion and the right to choose were always likely to bring her into collision with women's groups and it was astonishing that McCain didn't consider this before he made the controversial choice. Indeed, there is every indication that Palin is turning into a liability.

The latest polls also show that the "Palin effect" – the bounce the McCain campaign enjoyed after the nomination of Alaska's governor, Sarah Palin, as the vice-presidential candidate – has run its course. There was an initial surge of interest in the McCain-Palin ticket, especially among white women voters, which energised the evangelical conservative base of the Republican Party.

But scrutiny of Governor Palin's record on issues such as abortion and her inexperience on the national stage appears to have rallied the so-called "Clinton Democrats" to the Illinois Senator's side. Some observers believe she may soon become a liability to the Republicans. Her "favourability score" averaged across four recent polls gives her the worst scores among the four candidates for the White House and vice-presidency.

The National Organisation for Women apparently rarely support a presidential candidate and it is especially unusual that they should make such a big deal of endorsing Obama when the other ticket has the historic possibility of placing a woman in the Vice President's office. And yet they say that is precisely why they are doing so:

"The addition of Sarah Palin gave us a new sense of urgency," Kim Gandy, the head of NOW, told National Public Radio. "She is being portrayed as a supporter of women's rights... as a feminist when in fact her positions on so many of the issues are really anathema to ours.

"A lot of women think it's a great thing for a woman to be running for vice-president," she continued, "but they are completely dismayed when they find out her positions. The idea that she opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest – those kinds of positions are completely out of step with American women and once they find out about those positions, they get a little less excited."

The polls are showing that, once the initial excitement subsides, and women learn of just how extremist some of Palin's beliefs are, they will start to drift away from her in droves.

McCain believed that the simple fact that Palin was female would blind women to the fact that, if Palin had her way, their right to choose would be gone.

It's backfiring on him. Apparently women consider policies when voting... who would believe it, John?

Click title for full article.

No comments: