A master stroke

Let’s give the McCain campaign credit for one thing: They sure know how to steal the Democrats’ thunder.

Democrats dominated the nation’s attention this week with their convention, culminating with their historic affirmation of Barack Obama as the first African-American to nominated for president by a major political party. Sen. Obama punctuated that with what has been generally hailed as a successful acceptance speech in front of some 80,000 rapturous supporters in Denver last night.

It was, in short, a very good week for Democrats.

The Republicans, who hold their convention next week, have detonated a political bombshell that will sweep away attention from Democrats and undercut some of the historic nature of Obama’s ascent with their pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate. More than the obvious ploy of picking a woman in hope of stealing some of the still miffed supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, it is the attention-grabbing nature of the pick that is astounding.

I am not saying that Gov. Palin is either qualified to be president, or that she is a good pick for Sen. John McCain. I am saying that for today, at least, she helps Republicans shift attention for the Democratic ticket.

The incredible thing is that Palin exposes a significant weakness in the Democratic ticket. McCain’s pick of Palin shows now that Obama was not wise to pick Joe Biden as his running mate. Those disaffected Hillary voters can now vote for the McCain-Palin ticket in some good conscience. The Republicans found a woman who was good enough when Democrats couldn’t. I’m not saying Obama should have picked Hillary. But she is not the only woman in the country.

By not picking Kathleen Sebelius or any of the number of qualified women around this nation, Obama left the door open for McCain to make this play.

Some of abhorrently sexist manner in which Hillary was treated during the primaries and caucuses, especially by the media, has pissed off a sizeable number of her supporters.

That Palin is a conservative Christian who is anti-choice and disagrees with Hillary on virtually every issue is not lost on me. Her supporters have a legitimate grievance that the Obama campaign did not pay enough attention to. Now Democrats may pay in November. I just know that women will now vote for the Republican tickets in some states in numbers significant enough to make a difference come Nov. 4.