Thursday, September 04, 2008

How Big is the Tent Really?

I'm going to start this post with a disclaimer - I am a registered Democrat and I am even a member of the county central committee and I serve as a precinct captain.

The Democrats are theoretically the party of inclusiveness - of the big tent, if you will. I always understood the ideology of the "big tent" to mean that there was a place at the table for people with multiple viewpoints. The kerfluffle in the liberal blogosphere about the nomination of Sarah Palin for vice president is truly making me question how inclusive the party of inclusiveness really is.

Here's a middle of the post disclaimer: I am Catholic, ergo, I am pro-life.

If the Democrats were truly as inclusive as they'd like to think they are, then this shouldn't be a problem. Unfortunately it is. As a more conservative Democrat, I am becoming more convinced that there is no place for me or for people like me at the Democrat table.

I come from a family of yellow-dog Democrats and I would never have ever considered voting for a Republican. The nomination of Sarah Palin for vice president is changing that. I didn't like either of the choices for president for this election, but the addition of Palin to the ticket brought a new level of respect for John McCain.

The liberal blogsphere is in a panic about Palin. They argue that she has no experience or that she's too far right. I think what the problem that they can't articulate is that Palin is highly appealing to those like me who feel we have been pushed to the fringes of the party because our relative conservativism.

Palin represents a whole generation of women who look to the excesses of the 1970s feminism and realize that it was too extreme. She is doing what many women want - raising a family and following a successful political career. I think most women can't relate to the Hilary Clintons or Gloria Steinems of the world. Sarah Palin is someone that we CAN relate to - she could be one of us. I think that scares some of the more liberal Democrats.

So, is there really a place at the Democrat table for people like me? I'm not sure. Am I going to switch my party affiliation? Probably not, especially when it comes to local politics (the local Republicans don't have the best ethical record). Is there a possibility I'd vote for a McCain-Palin ticket? There's a good possibility that I just might.

1 comment:

Kasia said...

You are dead on the money.

I'm from a hard-core Democrat family myself. I would like to have the option of voting Democrat, but except for a few people at the local or state rep level, life issues absolutely preclude it.

As regards McCain, I have mixed feelings. I have a lot of respect for his service and for a lot of his political record. I don't agree with him on everything, but I don't expect to agree with a candidate on everything; but still, I was sort of warm-ish to him but not especially excited.

Palin is electrifying. And I think you're exactly right about why the liberal blogosphere (and my more liberal Facebook friends...and the media...and a lot of Democrats) are responding so viciously to her. I think that they sense that she might really be a threat. I for one have trouble relating to the Hillary Clintons and the Nancy Pelosis. I have no trouble relating to Sarah Palin, even though she and I are very different and don't agree on some issues.

What's more, a lot of liberal pro-choice women see a pro-life woman as nothing short of a traitor. I remember being at a Women's Studies Student Association organizational meeting, and one of the other students present said that the group should adopt a pro-choice position, because "no one can call themself any kind of a feminist otherwise." I didn't go back...and I wasn't even fully pro-life then.

I've long since come to the sad conclusion that I can't be a Democrat. However, I have reasons to not be a Republican either. So I sit in political limbo - thank Heaven that Michigan is an open primary state!