In the beginning, there was Hillary Clinton and her 18 million votes. Barack Obama and John McCain are courting women voters, who make up more than half of the electorate and represent a majority of undecided voters.
On the eve of the Republican
National Convention confab, McCain changed the game. The maverick introduced the new woman in his life, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a gun-toting, mother of five -- and grandma-to-be.
The Obama camp initially questioned McCain’s judgment for choosing a running mate with “zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency.” Obama has since released a statement calling Palin “an admirable person and will add a compelling new voice to this campaign.”
Truth be told, Palin has more executive experience than Obama and Joe Biden combined. And in contrast to Obama’s rhetoric of change, Palin has a track record of shaking up the system.
Fox News analyst Kirsten Powers wrote:
Is she a gamble? Definitely. But so is Barack Obama, who has himself dismissed experience as a prerequisite for leadership, despite his spot atop the Democratic ticket.
At this point, Palin is so unknown, there's no way to make a clear judgment about her. But listening to Obama supporters take to the airwaves to shriek with indignation about her lack of experience is just a little too rich. Where were they when Obama, two years into the Senate, announced his candidacy for president?
The bottom line: Palin’s on the ticket because she energizes the conservative base.
While Biden has been marinating in the Senate for 35 years, Palin has taken on the good-old-boy network. A Rasmussen poll found that Palin made a good first impression. Fifty-three percent view her favorably. By contrast, on the day that Biden was selected as Obama’s VP pick, he was viewed favorably by 43 percent of voters.
With Democrats in control of Congress, there is little chance that Palin’s conservative agenda would see the light of day. So for disaffected Clinton supporters and undecided voters, gender may trump issues.