At first I was worried, when a friend wrote me that John McCain's VP choice Sarah Palin was a conservative anti-choice Christian, with a union-member husband, a son going to Iraq, and membership in the NRA. "A deeply cynical choice," I wrote back. "Sure," he agreed, but "she is going to appeal to a lot of working-class women and Hillary supporters."
Then I got a call from my friend Wendy Strothman, an accomplished businesswoman who ran a publishing house for a decade, and worked as VP of Houghton Mifflin before opening her own literary agency (full disclosure: she's my agent). Wendy just retired after 17 years on the Corporation of Brown University, the last ten as Secretary.
She was furious. "Appeal to Hillary supporters? Choosing Sarah Palin is an insult to Hillary supporters," she said. And I think she's right on target. Sarah Palin's qualifications to be president of the United States -- that's right, President. The vice president has to be qualified to step into the Oval Office -- are simply that she happens to be a woman. We can hardly be expected to take seriously her track record: being mayor of a town of 9,000, and less than two years of being governor of a state with fewer residents than 19 American cities (if it were a city, Alaska would rank just above Baltimore, just below Charlotte).
And the Republicans have had the nerve to suggest that Barack Obama lacks experience! In what universe does Sarah Palin's experience qualify her to be vice president -- or president -- of the United States of America? The choice is not only cynical -- it's insulting to women, and insulting to the entire American electorate.
It's the Republicans who ought to start worrying.