It's true: I'm a recovering Hillary supporter. A part of me felt I owed it to Hillary as a fellow product of an all-female education. When anyone bashed on the pantsuits, I called them "practical." When they said she was cold, I said she was "objective."
Another part of me just wanted to see a woman in office -- someone to take charge, clean up the pork rinds, balance out the testosterone and yes, get a little bitchy if need be. Alas, the rest is ancient history, and the day that there will be an emergency stash of dark chocolate bars in the executive desk or a full supply of toilet paper in the Oval Office powder room will have to wait.
That's what I thought -- until Sarah Palin hit. OK, I know, you're as sick of over-analyzing her as the rest of us -- I mean, she was so last week. So Michael Phelps. But I'm still intrigued. What's fascinating is that this woman is the shrewd solution to wooing women like me -- regular, everyday Hillary admirers left out in the cold when their heroine bit the campaign trail dust. Palin was the one meant to pull us out of our dull torpor by our apron straps. A PTA-mom-turned-high-ranking-politician.
I figured since she was supposedly talking to me, I might as well give her a chance. I may not technically be a "hockey mom," but I am a mom who happens to play hockey, so that's practically the same thing (minus the lipstick -- gets in the way of the mouth guard). But the similarities don't stop there. She likes to shoot guns, I have been known to take shots -- tequila mostly. Her favorite dish is moose stew; I once ate Rocky Mountain oysters on a dare (wouldn't recommend them). She's got five kids, I've got two, plus a neurotic dog with a vendetta for the mailman, a couple of spider plants and a cactus. She and her husband ride snowmobiles for fun; we like to rip on snowmobilers for fun. Apparently, she's a happy homemaker, too, even going so far as to fire the live-in chef at the gubernatorial digs. I mean, why would you want a personal chef when cooking for a family of seven after a 10-hour workday is so much more fun? Who do we think we are, Oprah?
Evidently, Palin's just a regular Wild West frontierswoman, who wears North Face and is ready to slay dinner at a moment's notice. But deep down, under that rawhide exterior, she's still savvy enough to put on lip-liner in the rear-view mirror, text simultaneously on two Blackberries and run the caribou slalom while driving herself to work in the dark. Talk about walking on water. This woman isn't just a fresh, new face, she's a modern-day Joan of the Arctic. I've always loved a multi-tasker.
So why am I so, so unconvinced? Sure, she can give a rousing speech with that "steely resolve" that I admire so much. But I can't help noticing a 300-pound elephant in the room (no, not Karl Rove.) Sarah Palin is a working mother with five kids, including an infant with special needs. If you throw in the grandbaby on the way, which will surely come under granny's care assuming her daughter plans on finishing high school, that makes six. And they're supposed to be raised by whom? Snowmo dad? I know he's the equivalent of some sort of Alaskan superhero, but not even Superman could fight his way out from underneath that much dirty laundry.
Although I am highly skeptical of how she'll juggle her personal and professional life, I wish her the best of luck. However, I do find the way she juggles her political views to be a bit troublesome. If she is such a champion of the modern woman, then why is she threatening to blast us back to the 1950s with out-dated, conservative ideologies? If she is such a supporter of family values, why is she willing to sacrifice our sons' lives for oil and veto our daughters' rights to choose when and whether to have a child? And if she truly loves her home state, why has she proposed plundering a wildlife refuge and delisting the poster child of global warming, the polar bear?
Something about her story just doesn't add up, and I'm not buying it. If you do, I've got a bridge in Alaska I'd like to sell you.
Missy Votel is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News (hcn.org). She is the editor and publisher of the Durango Telegraph in southern Colorado.
Note: the opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of High Country News, its board or staff. If you'd like to share an opinion piece of your own, please write Betsy Marston at firstname.lastname@example.org.