Today in the Washington Post, conservative columnist Kathleen Parker suggests that Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) “judgment may have been clouded” by Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-AK) good looks when he chose her for his running mate. Responding on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Andy Card, President Bush’s former White House chief of staff, said McCain had chosen Palin because she could “introduce” women to politics:
CARD: He selected her because she could motivate the base, excite people, and introduce women to participating in the process that really did not receive an invitation during the Democratic primary. So I thought it was a pretty exciting choice.
It is insulting for Card to suggest that Palin somehow “introduced” women to politics — as if they had not been participating before. Since 1980, “the percentage of eligible women who actually voted [has] surpassed the percentage of qualified men casting ballots.” Around the world, women are getting more involved: A recent report by the United Nations Development Fund for Women found that “[w]omen have entered politics in greater numbers than ever in the past decade, accounting for 18.4 percent of parliament members worldwide.”
In fact, the election of Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) in June “mark[ed] a milestone for women in Congress, bringing the total number of women serving in the 110th Congress to 91, including a record 75 women in the House of Representatives, and sixteen women in the Senate.”
Finally, Palin isn’t even the first woman to run for vice president, that honor being held by Geraldine Ferraro, in 1984. And of course, as Palin herself acknowledged when she accepted McCain’s pick, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) received nearly 18 million votes in her run for the Democratic presidential nomination.