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Paint McCain Pink

Posted on | September 2, 2008 | 1 Comment

by Fara Warner

My first reaction to John McCain’s vice presidential pick was: slam dunk.

Why? Because I’ve been saying for weeks that both candidates have to win over white suburban women–and not only the women who are Hillary Clinton supporters. Sarah Palin is the kind of women other women can like–especially married women with children who are social conservatives. Obama doesn’t appeal to these women. Nor does his wife Michelle. She’s too poised while Palin is pretty and approachable. I don’t actually think Hillary appealed to these women either.

So McCain, I thought, had seen the need to reach out these women… But as the news sinks in of Palin’s overnight rise to vice presidential nominee, I find myself insulted. Insulted and disrespected and angry. I think every women in America should feel the same way. McCain’s decision reminds me of marketers who think if they put a woman in their ads, paint their products a pretty color, and tell us they were thinking of us that we will buy whatever they are selling. Many marketers have grown up since then. John McCain, the marketer and politician, still has a lot to learn. Women aren’t a single, homogenous market who will be wowed by the simple choice of a woman being on the ticket. Just as black voters won’t vote for Obama simple because of the color of his skin.

But McCain seems to think that choosing a woman, any woman, is enough. He doesn’t realize that choosing this woman–so inexperienced that it’s frightening to think of her as the person a heartbeat away from the presidency–could be and should be viewed as condescending and patronizing. I hope he learns the same lesson as those marketers who wonder why we don’t buy their products. It’s because their ads don’t work. We don’t like the colors they pick. We won’t stand for being patted on the head and told: “see I was thinking of you.”

I would have applauded McCain for picking a woman–but out of all the women in the Republican Party–this was his best choice? I think all women should be asking themselves just what was McCain thinking, but most of all I think Republican women should be asking this:

Is this the best you could do, Mr. McCain?


One Response to “Paint McCain Pink”

  1. Andrea Learned
    September 4th, 2008 @ 1:20 pm

    That’s the thing, Fara. We can assume Democratic women would be appalled at this choice, but Palin on the ticket is/should be doubly insulting (perfect word!) for Republican women. There are a lot more experienced and tested female governors or politicians out there who’d have really been a slam dunk toward McCain’s efforts to reach the women Michelle, Hillary and Sarah Palin just can’t seem to.

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