There has been a lot of talk during this campaign about percentages. In his acceptance speech the other night, Barack Obama got big applause when he said that John McCain had voted with President Bush 90 percent of the time, and that he didn't want to gamble on a 10 percent chance for change.
What Obama didn't tell you is that he has voted 95 percent of the time with the liberal Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid. That would be the same Harry Reid, who along with uberliberal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, head up a Democratic-led Congress with a sensational 9 percent job approval rating. Obama is part of that liberal Congressional leadership of which 91 percent of the American people disapprove. Obama votes with them 95 percent of the time.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to gamble on just a 5 percent chance on change from that.
And then there is McCain's new running mate, the Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. The fact that Democrats are jumping all over her (albeit haltingly because they aren't sure exactly HOW to attack her), tells you how worried they are. She's a tax-cutting, pro-drilling, environmentalist, gun-toting, ice-fishing, hockey-playing, pro-life mom of five, with a son about to be deployed to Iraq. She's one incredibly relatable person. Cool too.
The Democrats and their fellow travelers in the media have tried to attack her for being "inexperienced." I certainly hope they continue down that path, considering the guy at the TOP of their ticket was approving dog license fees in Chicago 3 years ago.
And I also hope they continue to criticize her mothering skills ("will she be able to raise a Down's Syndrome baby AND be vice president?"), her hair, her fashion choices (loved the ginormous flag pin she wore at her VP debut---take THAT, Barack!), and her ability to lead (the silence from the feminist groups is deafening. Where's NOW now?!). If they continue down this road, they will only further irritate those disaffected women still irritated Hillary isn't on the other ticket.
Speaking of Hillary, watch her closely over the next few weeks. She will say and do all of the right things in support of Obama, of course, but she also won't be able to hold her tongue if sexist criticisms of Palin grow louder. She will point out the sexism as something she herself suffered, and thereby forge something of a sisterhood bond with Palin---and with a lot of other women across the country. It'll be Hillary's way of helping the McCain-Palin ticket---and her own cause.
A final thought on the Palin choice: for any undecided, moderate, or Independent voter who felt the pull of Obama because of the historic nature of his ascent, you now have another place to go. Palin's placement on the Republican ticket allows you to vote for another historic run. It allows you to vote for McCain without feeling guilty about dissing "a first." Now you don't have to choose between "tastes great, less filling;" You can have both with McCain-Palin.
In a campaign of dueling percentages, Sarah Palin has one that Obama, Pelosi, Reid, even President Bush would walk over their grandmothers for: as Governor, her job approval stands at 80 percent. Even apple pie doesn't have 80 percent approval.
She is McCain's secret weapon: solidly conservative, living family values, attractive, warm, and---what do you know?---NORMAL.
She's also stealth: underestimated, under the radar, dismissed. And therein lies her power.