Clinton faithful ponder Sarah Palin

Sandy Goodman was deeply disappointed when Hillary Rodham Clinton didn’t get the Democratic nomination, then again when she was bypassed for the VP spot. So Goodman, a longtime Florida Democrat, flirted with thoughts of shunning Barack Obama, and perhaps even voting Republican.

Then John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, and suddenly things became clear to Goodman: The Republicans had no place for her.

"Boy, you are sure not talking to ME!" Goodman, 61, says she thought when she heard Palin’s views on issues like abortion rights. Now, Goodman is volunteering for Obama.

But then there’s Chrissie Peters. The 37-year-old librarian from Bristol, Tenn. has always voted Democratic and supported Clinton. She assumed she’d vote for Obama — until she saw Palin speak. Now she’s voting Republican.

"She was so down-to-earth, a regular person," says Peters. "She hasn’t been in politics her whole life, so she isn’t jaded or tainted. And I love that she’s a mom. Yes, I disagree with some of her positions, but that’s what this country is about."

One of the most intriguing questions about the Alaska governor’s sudden arrival on the national scene has been what impact it’ll have on women voters — especially those who supported Clinton.

Palin made an overture to those voters in her first speech after being chosen by McCain.

Will the pitch work?

Evidence so far shows that Palin is not drawing a lot of support from voters outside the Republican base.

An ABC News poll released Friday found the selection of Palin makes people likelier to vote for McCain by just 6 percentage points — half the 12-point margin by which Sen. Joe Biden makes them more likely to support Obama.

And as for Clinton supporters, eight in 10 said they’d vote for Obama in November, according to a Gallup Poll conducted last weekend after McCain announced his selection of Palin.

Diane Mantouvalos, for one, thinks the numbers are behind the tide.

"We’ve always been a few weeks ahead of the polls," says the founder of the JustSayNoDeal Web site, a clearinghouse for groups of disaffected Clinton supporters seeking to punish the Democratic Party and Obama for what they see as inexcusable treatment of Clinton.

Mantouvalos hasn’t decided whom she’ll support in November. But she believes many former Clinton supporters will end up voting for McCain. And she thinks Palin will help make that happen.

"I was there," Mantouvalos says of Palin’s convention speech. "I was blown away. She seemed so confident in her own skin."

And what about all the issues on which Palin differs so sharply from Clinton? "Principle trumps issues for this group," she says of her and others like her.

To Gloria Steinem, the nation’s most recognizable feminist, that logic is mystifying.

"Selecting Sarah Palin … is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters," Steinem wrote this week in the Los Angeles Times, arguing that McCain’s running mate is seriously underqualified. "Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton."

In an e-mail to The Associated Press, Steinem added: "I have yet to meet one single human being who was for Hillary and is now for McCain, with or without Palin, but some must exist somewhere."

Historically, women vote on the issues, not by the gender of the candidate, and since 1980 they’ve trended Democratic for that reason, says Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

"I wouldn’t expect that the McCain-Palin ticket will pull in Clinton supporters," says Walsh. "They were supporting her on the issues. Her gender just added to the appeal."

Whatever appeal gender has for female voters, Obama’s campaign is not about to let McCain corner the market. Clinton herself, along with Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, all are scheduled to campaign for Obama in the coming weeks, particularly where they can vouch for Obama to large female audiences

The Washington group EMILY’s List, which backs female candidates who support abortion rights, says its own polling shows that a majority of Clinton supporters — 55 percent — say Palin’s presence on the ticket makes them even less likely to vote McCain. Only 9 percent say it makes that more likely.

"There really couldn’t be more of a distance between Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton on the issues and the agenda that Clinton fought so passionately for," the group’s executive director, Ellen Moran, said in an interview. "The more (Clinton supporters) are learning about Palin, the more they are coming to the Obama-Biden ticket."

That’s not the case for self-described "Clinton die-hard" Amy Goldman. The consultant from Edgewater, N.J. says she’d been leaning toward McCain for a while, but his pick of Palin sealed the deal.

"His pick goes outside the box," said Goldman, 52, who like Mantouvalos is involved in the Internet-based efforts to challenge the Democratic party. "I’m not being bitter by voting this way. I really think they’re a great ticket."

Liz Hunter won’t go that far. The 25-year-old Clinton fan is deeply conflicted. She’s not ready to support Obama, but doesn’t think she could seriously vote Republican. She read Palin’s speech online, so she could pay attention to the details. "Sometimes on TV, you get caught up with all the applause," she says.

"I really respect the fact that she has five children and a career, and keeps her family strong," said Hunter. But at the same time, "I just don’t think I could go over to that side." The debates will decide it, she says.

For Goodman, the Florida voter who’s shifted to Obama, there will be no such indecision. She’ll work to convince fellow Clintonites that they shouldn’t be swayed by the woman on the Republican ticket.

"I was insulted when she referred to Hillary and the 18 million cracks in the ceiling," Goodman says, referring to Clinton’s line that her primary votes put that many cracks in the glass ceiling that has held women back. "I don’t believe Hillary was making those 18 million cracks for Sarah Palin."


  1. Flapsaddle

    I have no idea how many women voters feel as you do, but I’m sure it’s a cause for concern to the Obama campaign – especially if the race becomes very tight.

    This matter has been a sword of Damocles for the Democrats, and they are worried as to how strong – weak? – the thread holding it is.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  2. sherry

    I am neither impressed by Michelle or Sarah. Sarah has at least balanced a budget and created a surplus. I would take that any day over what we have now.
    The VP doesn’t matter unless it was Dick Cheney. I am not supporting the DNC this year. If they lose perhaps they will discern it’s not nice to piss off the ladies.
    Yes, some of us really are that vindictive.
    A party that slapped us in the face cannot be trusted to look out for our best interests.
    And don’t use the Roe V Wade crap. It’s a control thing to keep us in your corner. It no longer works.

  3. spartacus

    Unbelievable. Chrissie Peters, a librarian, is going to vote for…… A BOOK BANNER????? Someone who asked the town’s librarian to resign, then tried to fire her outright when she REFUSED TO BAN BOOKS FROM THE LIBRARY SHELVES, because, she was told, Palin thought librarian Emmons (who’d been the town’s librarian for over 7 years) didn’t fully support her and had to go??? That’s who this ditz wants to vote for? How logical is that? How seriously does she take her job? Is she a Nazi too? Is she a creationist? Does she believe in freedom of speech, of the press, or the other rights granted in our Constitution? If so, then since Palin has assaulted someone who might very well have been HER, it makes one wonder if she’d have caved, or if she’d have done what was right and stood up to the mayor, trusting that the townsfolk would be outraged enough to come to her aid, as they did for Mary Emmons, who was able to keep her job as a result.

    Of course, by then, Palin’d also sent resignation request letters to other high ranking town officials, including the police chief, the public utilities manager, and the chief financial officer, among others. She managed to fire more than a few. All of these, she stated, were an attempt at a “loyalty test”. The townsfolk liked all of that so much they started a recall movement, with the result that an administrator was mainly responsible for running the town for the rest of her term.

    I say town, because a suburb of Anchorage with 9000 people hardly qualifies as a city. It’s a large town.

    The earmark reformer hired a Washington lobbyist for her large town to rake in as much pork as possible. Does a city of 9000 need $27 million in earmarks over just a 3 year period? One of those boondoggles, a sports complex, was built on a piece of land that was taken under emminent domain, and has been in the courts ever since; plus, instead of making money for the town, as Palin insisted, it drains money from it every year.

    She fought oil companies: over oil profits, specifically forcing them to pay out more to the state treasury on their WINDFALL PROFITS (an idea McBush opposes on the federal level). Money made by the state for the gas pipeline was REDISTRIBUTED to the state’s residents (let’s also not forget that every Alaskan is paid by oil companies for all that oil), instead of keeping it in the treasury; then she borrowed $600 million for Alaska’s roads. In what way is that reform? She’s supported Ted Stevens, and took money from VECO management for an unsuccessful political run, the SAME people at the very center of his influence peddling investigation. She supported every bit of the largesse he was able to garner from the federal government in earmarks, including the infamous ‘bridge to nowhere’ (before she was against it). This is no reformer. She’s a hypocrite. (Before you right wingers go off spouting but Obama and Biden yada yada yada…. they aren’t parading themselves around as anti-earmark crusaders. Earmarks are frequently read as updating roads, bridges, infrastructure, and other necessary community services that the federal government has been responsible for over many years. Only radical Republicans, who rail about those to hide the REAL CAUSE of the huge deficit – the disastrous Bush war – would call those earmarks, unless you’re talking about things like sports complexes that lose money every year and cost their communities thousands upon thousands of dollars, as well as tying up their courts, or silly things like a ‘bridge to nowhere’.) Let’s also not forget she kept the money given to the state by the feds for the ‘bridge to nowhere’.

    Palin is anti-choice, even in the case of rape and incest. There’s a chilling clip from a debate when she ran for governor and was asked questions about those views, and her answer was “I would choose life”. ‘In the case of incest?” Ditto. What if your daughter was raped? “I would still choose life.” She believes in abstinence only education… PERIOD.

    She’s suing the federal government to have polar bears delisted from their threatened species: protecting their habitat interferes with oil companies. She even claimed Alaska’s biologists agreed with her; a reporter from the Anchorage Daily News was able to pull emails which proved their adament disagreement with Palin’s position; in other words, Palin is a liar, and not only a liar, she lied in court, and in federal documents to a court.

    She spent $400,000 to promote a referendum for the aerial slaughter of wolves in an election year, which had twice been voted down by Alaskans. When it passed, she offered a $150 bounty for each one killed; there weren’t enough being eliminated for her. Bear watching is a $100 million tourist business in Alaska; she took steps to eliminate 60% of the black bear population around Anchorage, despite the warnings of biologists, and the huge draw for the economy. She supports the aerial hunting of bears. Palin also wants beluga whales, another endangered species, delisted because protecting their habitat interferes with gas exploration in that specific area. The woman is an environmental nightmare. Like Bush / Cheney, science takes a back seat to the facts, and she is more than willing to subvert it and lie, lie lie if the facts don’t support her anti-environmental agenda. Alaska is one big oil and gas reserve to her; the effects of global warming are more readily apparent there than anywhere else in this country because of its location. Arctic ice caps are melting; native villages are flooding, eroding, or are soon to be underwater; and Alaska’s glaciers and landscape are changing, and changing fast. THIS WOMAN REFUSES TO ADMIT THAT GLOBAL WARMING IS MAN MADE. HOW CAN SHE POSSIBLY BEGIN TO SERIOUSLY ADDRESS THE PROBLEM?

    ANYONE looking at McBush because of this woman needs to really take a good look at her. Just because she looks good on the outside doesn’t mean there isn’t something rotten and foul on the inside. She’s more like Bush / Cheney than even McBush is.

  4. Flapsaddle

    The height of hubris for both sides is to assume that the Hillary Clinton faithful were hers to bequeath to Democrats, or that they would automatically gravitate to the Republicans in order to punish the party for the sacrilege of denying Clinton the nomination and the presidency they/she feel is owed.

    Yes, I believe a certain number of the angry will vote Republican in order to punish the party or because they feel that a woman on a national ticket – even if it’s Republican Sarah Palin – is preferable to a hack like Biden.

    But I believe that the majority of women who were loyal to Clinton will, despite the feeling of betrayal by the Democratic party, nonetheless vote for that party for the simple reason that they do not want to wake up some morning feeling like traitors, and also because they believe in their heart of hearts that a victorious Obama will offer Hillary Clinton a significant role in his administration – a cabinet appointment or a nomination to the USSC.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  5. acf

    Have you noticed how the campaign is describing her choice as veep wannabe as historic? They won’t admit to the fact that the Democrats selected Geraldine Ferraro 25 years ago. That was historic. This is merely, about time. OTOH, it seems to have worked for the Chinese. They’ve wiped Tiannamen (sp?) Square from the consciousness of an entire generation of Chinese.

  6. Timr

    So tell me, when Mondale(dem) ran for prez with a woman for VP-G. Farraro-all those years ago-and you will notice that palin never mentions her, neither does the MSM when the McCain camp claims that palin is the first-did all the women vote for Fritz and Gerry? No, they mostly voted for Reagan(where’s the beef)-so why on earth do the current repigs think that just because she is a woman altho she is the antithesis of HRC and all she stands for. I believe that the choice by st john is very insulting to women. The fact that the repigs are hiding her from the MSM-what remains, and those who would actually ask solid questions(few and far between) means that they really believe that women everywhere will vote for a woman no matter what. Even tho she be a clone of P. Shafley.

  7. Stratocaster

    I’m a white male but if I had a daughter I would use Michelle Obama as a role modle for what I wanted her to be like, and I would use Sarah Palin as a roll modle for what I didn’t want her to be like.

  8. acf

    Anyone who was supportive of Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for President, and disappointed that she wasn’t asked to be Obama’s Veep running mate, is not going to find themselves in synch with Sarah Palin at all. He policy positions and beliefs are polar opposites of Clinton’s, and McCain’s positions are the opposite of Obama’s. To say that you support McCain instead of Obama because of Palin is just nonsense. All she does is make McCain’s positions more radically opposed to Obama’s, not more acceptable.

  9. Malibu

    Timr. You are right on the money. I’ve given up discussing politics outside my own home. I did get a phone call this morning asking me if Lobbyists were legal. I had to explain they were legal but it was the members of congress who are bought off by the Corporations for their votes who are breaking the law. Our own elected Representatives are breaking the law and we cannot touch them as they are the law makers. The White House has encouraged this for years and without oversight the voters are helpless.

  10. JudyB

    I am a woman who don’t give a rats ass about having a woman in the W.H. IF she is against my best interest! I have long thought Hillary would have made the best POTUS, but never thought she could get elected because of the vast number of Clinton haters and sexists. I do believe if Obama is elected that he would allow Hillary to choose the capacity she could best serve his administration and the nation. (I also have some doubts about this,since there are millions of closeted racists)

    The McCain/Palin ticket and their policies go against everything that I believe to be in the nations best interest. They are offering more of the same and would be starting off with the nation in grave peril, (the nation was in good shape when Bush was appointed to office and look at it now) due to the Bush administration’s abuse of power, ignoring the constitution, not stop lying and uber-secrecy.

    I do not know a single person who honestly believes the Bush adminstration has done anywhere near a good job for the country, but I know plenty who will go and vote for the party that brought him and his posse to us. They will vote for whomever the GOP candidates are because they believe they have Republican blood running through their non-funcioning brains and might die if they didn’…and/or because they could not bear to see a black man elected. Not one of them give a damned about what happens to this country and its citizens…they are throwing us all under the bus and could care less!

    I am still holding out hope that Americas voting youth and the many voters who were once die hard Hillary supporters will come to their senses and vote for for the racist bigots..I don’t have any hope!

  11. Stratocaster

    As far as who will get the female vote it will probably come down to who they percieve as the better advocate in the White House, Michelle Obama or Sarah Palin. Don’t leave out the Michelle factor.

  12. Timr

    Candy is dandy, but liqueur is quicker. This election, like most since the 70’s is all about the “low information voter” What I call “the sheeple”. These are the couch potato sports or soap watching people who never read a newspaper and never watch TV news. They have only a very vague idea of WHO is running, WHAT they are running for and WHY they want the job. It is these sheeple who comprise almost 50% of the voters in this country who will decide-based on attack ads and mud slinging along with absorbing rush during the day and billo and shawn at nite-who they will vote for.
    We are still in the early days of the decline and fall of the American Empire, but several facts are clear. The sheeple-who rarely go more than 100 miles from home(unless its a trip to Disneyland)believe what their favorite TV programs tell them, that we are not only the greatest country in the world and that all other countries love us except those that don’t, but their citizens all yearn to become miniamericans. This then is the truism that has become, over the decades, the reason for our being the greatest country in the world. It is our burden to liberate all the poor downtrodden, yearning to breathe the free air of the US. We are the beacon, the shining city on the hill. Wilson started it all with his vision of a League of Nations(democracies and other ‘liberated’ peoples) and his vision that it was GODS will that we remake the world in our image. That was the begining.
    We have become an extremely militaristic society. We believe in guns, not butter. It is far easier to send in the Marines than to use diplomacy to achive the same ends. Our military now operates on a hair trigger and the presidents finger in on the trigger.
    The New American Century Neocons-NACN- who consist of Big Oil, Big Arms, Big Media and Big Jesus want several things. Since 1995 they have wanted to invade Iraq.Big Oil-Exon-Mobil, BP, Total, Shell and Chevron have wanted to regain the oil fields that they had until Iraq kicked them out in the 70s. Unfortunately for them and dispite pressure applied on the puppet Iraq govt by the US, Iraq refused to pass a law that would have given all the oil fields back to BigOil and would have paid Iraq very little. Instead, the Iraq puppet govt broke away from US influence stood up and signed a contract with China worth $3Billion to exploit Iraq oil. We not only lost Iraq thru the ham handed incompetence of the bush administration, but we also are going to lose all access to Iraqs oil. They signed a contract with China, remember? Bush tried very hard to remake Iraq in our image by forcing democracy on the top people and expecting that everyone of the peasents whould be overjoyed that they could vote-the vote only happened because ali al-Sistani demanded it-and that the new govt-Shia majority- whould forget all the past slights and crimes against them by the Sunni when they were in power. Of course it did not happen. Now that Iraq is breaking the strings that the US had on it the president, al-Maliki, is starting to crack down on the Sunni awakening councils and arresting the leaders while disarming the groups. They have also formed an allegiance with Turkey and Iran to insure that the Kurds will not ever carve a country out of those 3 countries. The Kurds still hold a childlike belief that the US will bail them out with Turkey, Iraq and Iran. Won’t happen.
    Gen Patraeus, who has carved out a career by using Big Media will in turn be used if McCain loses. Expect to see Patraeus for prez in 2012, and expect that Big Media will treat him like the second coming.
    the NACN needs to have the US on a war footing at all times. Hot war, cold war, guerilla war, it matters not. But Big Arms require either a war ot the threat of war in order to get bigger and better weapons out of congress.
    Because the bushies wanted and desired that we invade Iraq and attempt to remake them into a pale version of the US, they have instead made them implacable enemies. Muslims do not hate us for our wealth or possessions, they hate us because they think we(the west-generic)are decadent, that we lack morals, that our women act like whores and that we are xristians bent once more on a Crusade-just like the last one-and that our ultimate goal is the destruction of Islam and the forceable induction of all into xristianity.
    Iraq does not want to give the minority rights, they want to make the Sunni suffer like they did, they want the Sunni to be gone. Of course that will not happen. Saudi Arabia will arm the Sunni in Iraq. Iran will give more arms to the Shia factions, and we will continue to arm the govt of Iraq without ever understanding that they will ethnically cleanse the Sunni, the Kurds and the christians just as soon as our grip gives a little. We invaded a country because of the neocon influence on the VP cheney, even the neocons understand that gwb is an uninterested uninvolved person. A front man, just like he was in Texas. As long as he has time every day to spend hours exercising, and as long as he can vacation away from the WH-he has surpassed even Reagan in the shear number of vac. days. If not Texas then he has gone to Camp David. He goes to bed by 9 every nite. He has given most of his powers to his VP so that he can just cruise along doing and thinking nothing.

  13. gazelle1929

    Actually all the MSM I have seen carefully refers to her as the first woman on a Republican national ticket.