Putting Gender First
Ronald Reagan wrote this about his (successful) bid for re-election:
But I think Mondale made a serious mistake when he picked Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. In my view, he guessed wrong in deciding to take a congresswoman that almost nobody had ever heard of and try to put her in line for the presidency.... I don't know who among the Democrats might have been a better choice, but it was obvious Mondale picked Geraldine Ferraro simply because he believed there was a "gender gap" where I was concerned and she was a woman; I don't think they picked the most electable woman.
Reagan was decrying the identity politics he recognized in formulation of the Democratic ticket in 1984. And Joe Conason notes that The National Review in August, 2004 editorialized
The Democrats will attempt to project the issue as 'whether a woman can be Vice President,' a point the Republicans can cheerfully concede, returning to the question of whether this woman in particular should be the Vice-President ... Mrs. Ferraro is manifestly an affirmative-action nominee. She has been in the House only since 1979 and cannot be said, on the record, to be as qualified to be President, if necessary, as, say John Glenn, Fritz Hollings, Mo Udall, or -- George Bush.
Twenty-four years later, on August 19, 2008, another icon of the conservative movement, Rush Limbaugh, declared
To me, it is striking how unqualified Obama is and how this whole thing came about within the Democrat Party. I think it really goes back to the fact that nobody had the guts to stand up and say "no" to the black guy. Liberal policies are always going to end up strangling liberals, too. I think this is a classic illustration here where affirmative action has reared its ugly head against them. It's the reverse of it. They've ended up nominating and placing the top of their ticket somebody that's not qualified, who has not earned it. It's perfect affirmative action. And because all this guilt and the historic nature of things, nobody had the guts to say, "Wait a minute, do we really want to do this?" They do it, and then they start behaving in manners and ways that let us know that they know that they've goofed up with the choice. It actually has been somewhat fascinating to watch.
The Repub Party has created a cottage industry out of assailing affirmative action. Until Friday, August 29, 2008. That was the day that conservatives, who have made a cottage industry out of ridiculing affirmative action as "political correctness," began to praise the selection of Sarah Palin as the Vice-Presidential nominee of their party. This is Kenneth Blackwell, chairman of the Coalition for a Conservative Majority and former Secretary of State of Ohio (the state which discouraged 350,000 persons from voting for president in 2004 and so delivered the election to GW Bush.): “I think John McCain showed that he is ready to break through some of the glass ceilings that have existed in our political system with somebody that is principled and experienced." And Rush Limbaugh himself contended
It happens in the Republican Party. I knew that it would be the Republican Party that first had a woman who works at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.... They're attacking women. What's going to happen here is, ladies and gentlemen, the Democrat Party and their accomplices in the Drive-By Media are going to attack women when they start attacking Sarah Palin....Who's got the woman on the ticket, Ed? Your party or McCain's party? And Ed, you are a Democrat.
Michelle Malkin, George F. Will, Jonah Goldberg, William Kristol, Laura Ingraham, and Fred Barnes, who wrote "As a 44-year-old woman, Mrs. Palin adds desperately needed diversity to the Republican ticket." The list of conservatives who have praised this selection of someone unqualified reads like a who's who of pundits which previously couldn't contain its criticism of the Democratic Party for welcoming qualified women and minorities.
This is clearly not putting "country, first." It is hypocrisy, above and beyond what one has come to expect from the Grand Old Party.
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