Sarah Palin came to praise Hillary Clinton and to bury liberal feminism. It’s too bad for the rest of us, but don’t cry for Hillary; she provided the shovel. Relying on pre-ideological appeals to female solidarity, blaming sexism when she got stuck in second place, Clinton played the dangerous game of identity politics. Her loss is Palin’s gain. She gets to play office wife to John McCain.
Mitt Romney must be fuming, being eclipsed by a woman; but he shouldn’t be surprised. When Romney ran for Massachusetts governor in 2002, after swatting aside the Commonwealth’s first female governor, Republican incumbent Jane Swift, (who subsequently endorsed McCain,) he chose a female lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, to walk ten paces behind him. Then, he rarely looked back: pursuing the presidency, Governor Romney provided little help to Lieutenant Governor Healy when she ran for governor against Deval Patrick in 2006 (and lost by some 20 points.)
McCain may prove more loyal to Sarah Palin, but selecting an attractive, grossly inexperienced, anti-choice, anti-science, (pro-creationist) female as vice-presidential arm candy, he seems no less contemptuous of women. If he’s elected because disgruntled Hillary harpies reward him for patronizing them, his contempt may seem justified.