The drive-by media made much of Hillary Clinton's conciliatory speech at the Democrat Convention last week. Not satisfied with merely praising her superficial call to her supporters to unify behind Obama, they made much of her close run for the nomination and what it meant for young women and girls all over America. Thankfully, this shrill, Machiavellian, duplicitous woman will not be the one who breaks the so-called "glass ceiling" for women after all. Better yet, a real role model of whom we can be justly proud is now in the race and may just be the one to do so.
For years, the drive-bys have propped up Mrs. Clinton as an inevitable and eminently qualified candidate for the presidency. Her time in the Senate was seen as a mere stepping-stone toward her ultimate destiny. Indeed, the media, as much or maybe more so than her husband, daughter, or close confidantes, provided frequent affirmation to justify her sense of entitlement and inevitability.
Meanwhile, her many scandals as the First Lady that would have thwarted the political careers of most before they ever started, were blithely minimized or quashed altogether as her all-important viability was protected. Hiring a bar bouncer to heist the FBI files of enemy (that is, Republican) politicians was perhaps the worst in a series of arrogant, over-reaching maneuvers designed to silence her husband's critics. Or maybe it was Hillary the ardent feminist standing by her man and even running his defense when the Monica Lewinsky affair went public.
As a senator, however, she has projected an air of competence and cooperation with fellow Democrats and Republicans alike that made it appear as if she was actually accomplishing something important (which of course was not the case). Her calculated vote in favor of attacking Saddam's Iraq to remove the dictator was the first concrete step toward assuring the voting public that she could be envisioned as Commander-in-Chief, despite her previous contempt for all things military.
Although the drive-bys gradually turned on her once they saw that Obama actually had the chutzpah and charisma to defeat her, it took her brazen lie about facing sniper fire as she deplaned in Bosnia back in the late 1990s for them to finally-finally-become openly critical for the first time in her 16 years in the national spotlight, hundreds of lies and obfuscations later.
For the drive-bys or anyone else to then profess this contemptible woman as a worthy role model for young women and girls across America is, in itself, scandalous.
Compare all of this against the fresh, honest face of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Senator McCain's choice for his running mate. The contrast couldn't be more striking, especially as the immensity of the Clinton faÃ§ade is finally starting to crumble.
After listening to her inspiring speech on Friday, the only regret I have about this selection was that it wasn't made sooner, and voters will only have 60-plus days to learn about this extraordinary woman and great candidate. Just like that, many fence sitters lukewarm, to put it charitably, about the McCain candidacy-myself included-are reenergized.
Here are just a few things to get excited about when looking at what Governor Palin adds to the Republican ticket. How about her 90 percent plus approval rating in a state where being a Republican is good but by no means a guarantee of continuing popularity. Her smarts and competitive nature earned her the moniker "Sarah Barracuda" in her high school days. During her short time in the political arena, this toughness has served her well and made her an effective if unconventional doer of good deeds in her hometown mayoral and now gubernatorial duties. Instead of building a career in the shadow of the ultra-corrupt Chicago Democrat machine a la Obama, Palin has taken it to the crooks and corrupters, including some in her own party. This undoubtedly is a big part of McCain's attraction to her as someone who can fight the status quo in Washington.
Her toughness and mental agility also means that the condescending, often snide Mr. Biden will have his hands full in a debate that will hardly be reminiscent of the Lloyd Bentsen-Dan Quayle debacle of 20 years ago. In fact, any effort by Democrats to paint Palin as a modern-day Quayle-political neophyte, in over her head, etc.-is likely to backfire in a big way. Palin is simply too smart, articulate and accomplished to let the Democrats get away with such antics. And too much such criticism risks exposing Democrats once and for all as the hypocrites they are about most big issues, including women's rights.
Governor Palin is staunchly pro-life, a member of the NRA, and a regular church-goer who enjoys hunting and fishing in the beautiful wild country of her home state. Her eldest son, Track (yes, her five children do have unique names) is in the Army and is headed to Iraq. What's there not to love about this candidate? Well, the drive-bys will do their darnedest to find something negative, as they always do about Republican candidates. But we can be sure that whatever comes at her, this lady is tough enough to handle it.
Whatever else we may think of McCain, we owe him a debt of gratitude for this smart, gutsy selection which may just prove to be the ultimate win-win scenario for him and the nation. Let's hope that Governor Palin uses the next two months to show America what a real role model for women looks like, and in so doing propel the Republicans back to the White House.