McCain’s Veepstakes As He Revives Maverick Image

For the sexual and reproductive health community, the most interesting veepstakes is not the choice now facing Sen. Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States but the choice that Sen. John McCain might make to motivate the social conservative base of the Republican Party.

Last night McCain attempted to revive his image as a maverick in a speech critical of President Bush, staged near New Orleans to highlight the tragic failure of the Bush Administration to respond to Hurricane Katrina. In an effort to moderate his image after being forced to run to the right in the primaries, McCain wants to sound like a centrist and paint his opponent as liberal and out of touch. In his speech last night McCain said,

My opponent believes government has all the answers to every problem, and government should take our resources and make our decisions for us. That type of government doesn’t trust Americans to know what is right and what is best in their own interests — its the attitude of politicians who are sure of themselves but have little faith in the wisdom, decency, and common sense of free people.


But McCain’s faith in free people doesn’t apply to women’s reproductive freedom. While he may attempt to pivot to the center rhetorically, it is increasingly clear he must find a way to placate social conservatives who’ve never really trusted him in spite of his consistent anti-choice voting record, and pledge to appoint "strict-constructionists" (a.k.a. anti-choice activist judges) to the U.S. Supreme Court.

One potential veep mentioned with increasing frequency is Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK). In the warped and insular world that is "pro-life" politics, her selection is also seen as an effort to make a play for disgruntled female supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton.


Anti-choice McCain, with an anti-choice Palin, no matter how young and attractive she may be, would stand for policies so far removed from the reality of the women who loyally supported Sen. Clinton, as to reduce the Palin nomination to the status of political novelty. Palin’s policies would be offensive to the vast majority of Clinton supporters, as well as moderates and independents. Her selection would be a telling move that McCain failed to solidify his base, and like the nomination of Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, would be historic for the GOP, but ultimately signal a lack of confidence in their general election strategy.

Palin is a young, attractive, mother of five including a recently born baby with Downs Syndrome. A heroine of the "pro-life" movement, she could give disaffected social conservative voters reason to rally.

The American Spectator describes Palin:

She’s young being only
44 (two years behind Senator Obama), she is widely known to despise
government corruption. She defeated a horribly entrenched and corrupt
Republican political machine in Alaska. She has a son in the U.S.
military. She’s strongly pro-life, belonging, in fact, to Feminists for
Life. Gov. Palin could become the Republican Party’s Segolene
Royal, the French Socialist Party’s glamorous leader known for her
heels and political bite. She is the perfect antidote to Sen. Obama’s
cheap thrills, and would help rejuvenate conservatism.


The Washington Times said of Palin,

And her presence could highlight Mr. Obama’s extremist abortion views on whether certain lives are worth living.


Indeed, a McCain-Palin ticket would make this election a clear referendum on nearly a generation of divisive politics on reproductive health issues. Palin could also help put a kinder-gentler face on anti-choicers, as well as breathe new life into a GOP race that has seemed stale from the start.

But no matter how attractive the packaging, it will only serve to move the GOP further to the extremes of their ideological base. In an election of seismic proportions, a McCain-Palin ticket would add one more important dimension to the change that is taking place, once and for all allowing us to demonstrate at the polls that Americans embrace pro-choice values, and reject the divisiveness of the anti-choice community that has defined the rise, and perhaps fall, of the conservative era now passing. 

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  • invalid-0

    It’s not anti-choice. It is Pro-Life, and by the way, choice goes with that.

    When has a young woman really had a choice in regards to what to do with a pregnancy out-of-wedlock? There is no choice because others near her (abortionists, family, Planned Parenthood) convince her there is only one choice and that is killing her unborn baby, and in some cases killing a baby outside the womb (check Obama’s fight to deny that a baby surviving abortion, crying and needing assistance is NOT a human being and shall be left to cry for help and die, maybe even while the poor mother then realizes her terrible mistake and must live with the decision).

    Palin’s view for the most part is the same as Catholic doctrine. If you insist that it is an extremist view, you are saying well over half the worlds people is extreme.

    Who is really the extreme one?

    Palin knows that the issue is with the Supreme Court. If Roe vs. Wade was ever overturned, abortion laws would immediately change in the state legislatures which would mean more liberal abortion laws over many states such as California and New York. But, and here is the clincher, it would be decided by the people through their state governments. If California wants to kill children up to age 5, and Alabamans want to protect fertilized eggs, so be it. But the decision would have at least legality.

    You secular Republicans are just like your Democratic counterparts: You believe in lightly-regulated selfishness and they believe in heavy-regulated selfishness.

    Mrs. Roe doesn’t even support the decision.

  • invalid-0

    Do you have a right to life? The Declaration of Independence says you do. That’s the kind of freedom to think about.

    When my son was born, he was crying. He wanted help and love. He got a whole lot of it. But I loved him before he was born. But if I did not love him, he still would have cried out for help and love. He didn’t know English at the time, but I found a translation:

    “I wanna live! Please love me. Momma!”

    • invalid-0

      it’s beautiful that you love your son so. but, there are many of us who do not believe that a zygote is the same as an infant. furthermore, there are many of us, especially women who carry said zygote, who think it’s incredibly offensive that others claim a zygote’s existence within us instantly trumps our rights.
      also, a fetus does not have adequate lung function until the 23rd or 24th week of gestation (after last menstrual period). even then, the likelihood of survival is dim.

  • scott-swenson


    Having an honest disagreement on this issue is possible and many people do. But the misinformation that is contained in your response does nothing to advance the discussion. How can laws that force women to have a child when they may not be ready to ever be considered “a choice”? No one is trying to convince any woman to do any single thing, at least not in the pro-choice movement. Our efforts are to insure that the woman and family have all the options before them, in a safe and legal environment. In addition, in countries where abortion has been prohibited the rate of abortion is not lower, but the rate of women harmed by unsafe, illegal abortions rises dramatically. As has been discussed here many times, the issue is not about abortion — for there will always be abortions. It is about a woman’s right to a safe, legal medical abortion if that is her choice. Many pro-choice people are working on prevention first efforts, education efforts and helping women to better understand how to avoid unintended pregnancies. But many anti-choice people are also anti-contraception, making prevention even more difficult. Those are not choices, those are prohibitions and mandates from people who otherwise believe that government should stay out of people’s private lives. That sir, is hypocrisy.

    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

    • invalid-0

      How can we consider a human life a “choice?” I am a woman and I believe in women’s rights. However, this isn’t really about women’s rights. It’s about the right to life for all human beings. Life begins at conception. How can anyone condone killing a baby for convenience?

      And concerning women’s rights:
      In regards to other comments in another post, it is disturbing to me that women have to still battle against the “pretty face” mentality. Do we ever accuse men of getting somewhere because they “have a pretty face?” DO we base our vote on male politicians based on how attractive they are? Does it ever even come up in the conversation? Then why with women? Women have brains. They are intelligent. They have ideas that have nothing to do with whether they have a pretty face or not.

    • invalid-0

      Scott Swenson said, “How can laws that force women to have a child when they may not be ready…”

      There are not too many people, woman or men, who are EVER prepared to have a child or be a parent. It takes a lot of work. Maybe what should have been stated is men and woman should stay away from sex until married or if you really don’t want any kids stay away from sex until after one is married and until one wants kids.

  • invalid-0

    Your decision to use the term “anti-choice” vs “pro-life” is typical of the misinformation campaign those like you have been running for years. How would you react to a massive drive to define “pro-choice” as “pro-abortion”? Ultimately, it is what it is! What choice exists for the baby? Hypocrasy is the backbone of your arguement.
    As someone who waited 5 years to adopt domestically, before ultimately being forced to travel to China, there is a solution to this issue that does not involve murder. Education, contraception, and adoption options seem to me to be a great “choice”.

  • mellankelly1

    Education, contraception, and adoption options seem to me to be a great "choice".

    Education and contraception would most certainly be important in reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies.  Adoption, however, is not an alternative to abortion; it is an alternative to raising your child yourself.  Only when a woman has made the decision to gestate a pregnancy does adoption become an option.  Further, it doesn’t matter how you refer to those of us who believe that the person most qualified to make decisions regarding her pregnancy is the pregnant woman – we are "pro" whichever decisions she makes.

  • invalid-0

    the right to use another person’s reproductive system against their will, even to save their own life. I don’t have that right. You don’t have that right. A fetus does not have that right. And as for this whole “but pregnancy is natural, therefore the fetus has the right to use her uterus and vagina” – shall we say the same about rape? A woman’s vagina is created for a penis, after all. Then, following anti-choice logic, it should be criminal for a woman to not allow a man use of her vagina in that manner, since that’s what it’s there for.

  • mellankelly1

    How can we consider a human life a "choice?"

    It is considered a "choice" when it comes to bringing children into our families and into the world.  Family planning includes the "choice" of whether or not you want to have children, the "choice" of when you will have children and the "choice" of how many children you will have.  

    I am a woman and I believe in women’s rights. However, this isn’t really about women’s rights. It’s about the right to life for all human beings

    I don’t understand how it is that you can take women’s rights out of the equation when speaking of pregnancy… a pregnant woman is the most qualified person to make decisions regarding her pregnancy.  This is about the rights of pregnant woman… you are okay with women giving up their personal liberties upon becoming pregnant?  Perhaps you wouldn’t mind if legislatures, made your medical decisions for you. 

    Life begins at conception.

    Depends on your definition of life, I suppose.  The only personal belief system that matters is that of the pregnant woman… your personal belief system is completely irrelevant to any other person.

    How can anyone condone killing a baby for convenience?

    Nobody condones killing babies.

  • invalid-0

    Nobody in their right mind wants an abortion. It is the last resort in a desperate situation, and anyone who says otherwise is simply ignorant. Everyone is “anti-abortion”. That has never been the issue. The issue truly is that of a person’s right to choose what to do with their bodies, vs. the government’s right to restrict that right. Contrary to anti-choice propaganda, pregnancy is not a risk-free program, and forcing a person to assume significant physical risk in order to carry to term the potential offspring of rape, incest, or the like is categorically immoral and antithetical to true conservative values, like minimal and unintrusive government.

  • mellankelly1

    Stevenam, I agree with what you said, except this:

    Everyone is "anti-abortion".

    I never have been nor do I ever plan on being "anti-abortion", meaning that I do not oppose abortion (which is what "anti" means).   You are right, an unwanted pregnancy is a desperate situation; however I am "pro" or "for" any option a woman faced with an unwanted pregnancy chooses.  I am "pro" (for) abortion forever and always remaining a safe and legal procedure for any woman who may need it.

  • invalid-0

    The sooner our nation collectively “gets it”; that the sport of killing unborn children – so amply demonstrated by Barack Obama with his unbelievable willingness to leave infants born alive in a trash bin – is no less hideous than the sport of enslaving blacks 150 years ago, the sooner this unspeakable carnage will end.

    Governor Palin is nothing more than an incredibly compelling example of how to have it all: brains, compassion, beauty, effectiveness. Her willingness to lay everything on the line and experience life in a way that reflects the time honored standards that have made this nation the greatest in the world will finally make a turn in this campaign that is at once refreshing, emboldening and inspiring.

    To those who still hold to the worn out view that this nation is somehow becoming more pro-abortion, read this VP selection and weep. Palin will do more to singlehandedly defeat this spirit of killing innocents than any person on the planet since Mother Teresa. Her zest for life and her many successes will serve as a solid example of how to have it all for the entirety of America, not just those who would selfishly line themselves up with the moral and historical equivalent of the slave trade. 175 years ago, it was considered proper by some to be “pro-choice” on slavery as well. How ironic that some black “leaders” are now solidly on the wrong side of history after all they have been through.

    This movement has a dream too. All people should be able to enjoy LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Welcome Governor Sarah Palin. On your first day of this new responsibility, you have it out of the park!

  • invalid-0

    Stevenam said, “Nobody in their right mind wants an abortion. It is the last resort in a desperate situation, and anyone who says otherwise is simply ignorant. Everyone is “anti-abortion”. That has never been the issue. The issue truly is that of a person’s right to choose what to do with their bodies, vs. the government’s right to restrict that right.”

    So killing and torturing the body of an innocent being is ok because one has decided that sex is ok for ones own pleasure? What about the RIGHT of the innocent. Should those innocent who are going through genocide suffer because of the poor choices of others.

    There are many people who “in their right mind…” could care less if they have an abortion. Not everyone is “anti-abortion”.

    Maybe people should take a moral stand by doing whats right instead of fullfilling ones own desires.

  • mellankelly1

     What about the RIGHT of the innocent

    I’m glad you brought that up… I believe it is imperative that we defend the rights of the innocent women who would have no say over what happens to their bodies.  The innocent women whose personal belief systems would become insignificant, whose judgment and morality would not merely be questioned, but would be completely and utterly discarded as worthless.  I will fight for the rights of these innocent women because I can’t imagine my daughters living in a world where their personal belief systems would be considered insignificant within their own lives.

    Maybe people should take a moral stand by doing whats right instead of fullfilling ones own desires.

    Right.  Deciding to terminate an unwanted pregnancy can not only be a moral choice, it can also be the right choice.  However, the only person qualified to make this choice is the pregnant woman.  Your opinion about what is moral or right is irrelevant to anyone other than you. 

  • invalid-0

    to see so many of you align yourselfs with the people discussed on this forum
    enouph said

  • invalid-0

    between how an unwanted pregnancy effects a woman, and how it effects a man.
    abstinence? really? why are there still people hung up on this myth of abstinence? sure, i bet there is a minority of people who can do it. but, IT IS NOT REALISTIC. even my grandmother, the most uptight irish protestant you’d ever meet, EVEN SHE got pregnant before married.
    also, far too often this “don’t wanna get pregnant, don’t have sex” crap is used to judge and shame the female, as she’s the one who ends up with “proof” of pre-marital sex, and she’s the one effected the most (which is an understatement, really).

  • invalid-0

    that you had difficulty adopting, i really am. but, it is offensive to me when anti-choicers try to guilt women into going through an unwanted pregnancy. as if it’s just that simple. so, i should put my body through pregnancy, effect my career, and all other aspects of my life, because a stranger might want to adopt my baby? what about all the unwanted children in foster care? just because so many people refuse to adopt any child that isn’t an infant, i should go through with an unwanted pregnancy? nope, i don’t think so.
    as far as anti-choice vs. pro-life? no. i will use any term i so wish. even on this website i’ve seen the term “pro-abort” used over and over. furthermore, pro-life is a broad term, and demeaning to me, as a pro-choice woman. i am pro-choice, and pro-life. i’m against the death penalty, against war, and a 24 year vegetarian.
    you can call yourself pro-life, you have every right to do so. but, i don’t think you have the right to tell others what term they can or can not use. if so, then i say stop calling abortion murder. it’s offensive to the families of actual murder victims. to compare the removal of a zygote from a woman to the shooting/strangling/stabbing of a person is a repulsive way of using emotional terms instead of logical argument.

  • invalid-0

    i won’t speak about every ludicrous statement you made, melankelly already did a good job of that.
    but, i do need to respond to this:

    So killing and torturing the body of an innocent being is ok because one has decided that sex is ok for ones own pleasure?

    again with the emotionally loaded words, not logical argument. “killing”, “torturing”? oh, you mean “abortion”, right? “the body”? oh, you mean the zygote, or fetus, right?
    and sex for one’s own pleasure? geez, is this 1938? stop with the attempting to guilt women out of sex already! people have sex. people like sex. people includes women. and just because one of the possible outcomes for woman is an unwanted pregnancy, THAT DOES NOT MEAN SHE SHOULDN’T HAVE SEX AND THOROUGHLY ENJOY IT – MARRIED OR NOT!
    i’m actually beginning to feel sorry for people such as you. how sad that someone taught you sex is dirty and not part of normal human functioning, unless married.
    and morals? subjective. so, judge women who enjoy sex outside of marriage all you want, just please stop trying to punish them by legislating your moral and/or religious beliefs.

  • invalid-0

    do you do any research outside of right wing sites before running to a site like this? did you read anything else on this site? you make me lose hope for this country.
    barack obama is not a “baby killer”, he is not “pro-infanticide”. this is a right wing nutjob meme, that clearly found it’s target audience, and regardless of COUNTLESS articles refuting it, your ilk refuses to hear logic.
    *sigh* – once again, for the uneducated:
    senator obama voted against that particular bill for two basic reasons: it was an attempt to chip away at a woman’s right to choose, granted to us via roe v. wade. and because the illegality of a doctor refusing medical care to the infant is ALREADY COVERED BY LAW.
    furthermore (and i’m tired of having to point this out, too, but i will in the hope it reaches SOMEONE): it is repulsive and offensive that anti-choicers are taking advantage of tragedy in the name of their cause. yes, TRAGEDY. not only is this the least performed type of abortion, it is performed when there is risk of the mother’s and/or fetus’ death. these are not women who were pregnant for 7 months, then woke up one day and though, “gee, i don’t want this baby, i’ll go have it killed”. these are tragic, horrible circumstances. and i’m tired of anti-choicers taking advantage of these tragedies. (oh, and jill stanek’s website DOES NOT count as research)
    wow, and i thought the self-righteous anti-choicers couldn’t get any more offensive. it’s not bad enough you guys compare abortion to the holocaust (dare you to say that to a holocaust survivor’s face), now your comparing it to slavery? you’re all so morally uppity, yet you seem to have no qualms with offending whomever you so choose. REAL PEOPLE were stolen from their country, put through a terrible ordeal, forced to work back-breaking work, women were raped by slave-owners, children/husbands/wives sold at the whimsy of their “owners”, and so much more – i could go on for much longer. and you have the nerve to compare their very real hell to the removal of a zygote from a woman’s uterus? shame on you. also, those who were “pro-choice” on slavery were not only christians, they used the bible to defend slavery. so, not so sure christians should really want to “go there”.
    yes, all PEOPLE should enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. that’s pretty much the reason that REAL PEOPLE/WOMEN have the right to NOT be forced to continue with an unwanted pregnancy.
    glad to see someone’s physical looks make them a good v.p. candidate. of course, as you’re willing to go with a 72 year old, pro-corporate welfare, war-mongerer (yeah, that’s pro-life!), anti-equal pay for equal work, rape-joke-making, bush, jr., i guess i shouldn’t put much stock in your opinion of what makes a good vice president.

  • invalid-0

    funny that you end your comment “enough said”! really? you leave a link to a page that contains countless articles, and i guess we’re supposed to know which when you mean? hmmmm…i am intelligent, but i’m not psychic.
    but, i’m going to assume you mean the rumors about whether gov. palin’s child is really hers. if so, i honestly don’t know how you connect with people who are pro-choice and like to educate themselves in regards to reproductive health, and people who believe that rumor. i don’t believe it. what i do believe is that gov. palin acted INCREDIBLY irresponsibly, and TERRIBLY SELFISH (especially for such a supposed “pro-lifer”).
    here’s a link that spells it out pretty well(and her behavior is not a rumor, she was the original source of the story):×6855834