Friday, August 29, 2008

Suddenly Working Women Become Campaign Issue

Dick Cheney eats babies. Sarah Palin has contempt for motherhood.

Within hours of Sen. John McCain tabbing the Alaskan governor as his vice presidential pick attacks from progressive female commentators have already risen from the din of the punditocracy.

The issue: Palin has a four-month infant born with Down Syndrome. She infamously returned to the governor's office three days after giving birth and now begins her precipitous climb from the Wasila City Council to vice president in just ten years.

Kim Stagliano, a contributor to the Huffington Post, who herself has three children with autism, finds herself struggling with the role of working women and their families.

I believe in a woman's right to any career she desires. Yet as a mother of kids whose needs have taken precedence over my career for over a decade, I know the realities of special needs parenting. And I find myself asking a question that makes me feel like Donna Reed: Once you've chosen to have five children, and your infant has special needs, who needs you more, your family or your job? And if I can ask this touchy, old fashioned question, I wonder if conservatives will warm to a woman willing to make such a profound family sacrifice.

This issue, supremely destined to be pursued on programs like The View and Oprah, are at the heart of McCain's hugely risky choice of Palin.

It could work fabulously with the dialogue benefitting McCain's apparently tack towards Hillary Clinton supporters, but it could also come at the expense of working class men who might view the issue through the glasses of contempt for professional women.

It's a gamble that McCain has invariably analyzed with the metrics showing a net profit of votes over Palin and an unwillingness of those same working cllass men to vote for a black man.


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