- The Washington Times - Friday, September 5, 2008

Hillary’s feminists have something new to root for this morning, a compelling reason to clap for Barack Obama with only one dainty hand. The success of John McCain and Sarah Palin in November would likely set up their dream match for 2012.

John McCain’s rousing acceptance speech Thursday night, keeping the convention temperature at the fever pitch raised the previous night by Sarah Palin’s grand slam, shows clearly that he’s got the kidney to take the fight to Barack Obama and his garrulous sidekick. The reassuring sight of his cool, elegant 96-year-old mother watching the proceedings from a box at Xcel Energy Center arena, cheering Sarah Palin’s roasting of Mr. Obama, demonstrates the rich depth of John McCain’s gene pool. But would he want to stick around for a second term, only to leave the White House as an 80-year-old commander in chief?

Margaret Thatcher once said that if you want someone to talk about a problem, get a man; if you want someone to solve the problem, get a woman. Maybe that’s sexist and offensive to the fragile sensibilities of our delicate age, but like a lot of sexist stereotypes Maggie’s might be merely stating an inconvenient fact.

The Democrats thought they had a candidate with a compelling “narrative,” but Sarah Palin, with the considerable family baggage she brought with her from Alaska, has put Barack Obama in the shade of his own presumption. The rogues of the mainstream media, with their relentless appetite for beating up on a 17-year-old girl, inadvertently set up a show-stopping entrance the Republicans couldn’t buy. The governor exploited it with brash and confident skill. When she brought her family to the podium at the conclusion of the deconstruction of Barack Obama and Joe Biden that was little short of vivisection, Democrats who had expected to roll their eyes in bemused disbelief instead shook their heads in admiration. “That’s just priceless,” Howard Wolfson, who was Hillary’s main man, said of the sight of the governor, cradling her 4-month-old son and surrounded by her family acknowledging raucous applause.

Some of Hillary’s pals who are working hard to jump-start a romance with Barack and Joe, particularly the beautiful Hollywood airheads, understand only too well the Palin appeal. Annette Bening says it’s “bizarre” to expect Hillary’s women to vote Republican. “Most of the people I know [stretching across the fruited plain from Malibu to Bel Air and almost to Beverly Hills] are voting for Obama.” Gloria Steinem, who once tried to explain the business of the birds and bees as something naughty between a fish and a bicycle, was driven close to hysteria by the suggestion that any of Hillary’s ladies would defect to Sarah Palin and her running mate.

“Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and that opposes pretty much everything Clinton’s candidacy stood for - and that Barack Obama’s still does.”

But maybe not. The Democratic nominee, who has been in steady retreat from his crowd-pleasing vows never to abandon conviction and principle, Thursday said nice and even grateful things about the war in Iraq. He conceded that John McCain’s advocacy of the surge was right and his own skepticism was wrong. “I think the surge has succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated,” he told interviewer Bill O’Reilly of Fox News. “I’ve already conceded that it’s succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.”

Not only that, he now finds it “unacceptable for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon. It’s sufficient to say I would not take military action off the table and that I will never hesitate to use our military force to protect the homeland and the United States’ interest.”

This is of course the kind of common sense that voters are entitled to expect from any serious candidate for president. Mr. Obama, with the White House in distant sight if not necessarily in prospect, knows he must retreat from the “fairy tales” of winter campaigning, as Bubba rightly called them.

This upsets the Obamaniacs who think there’s adequate safety under the covers and if all else fails under the bed, but an adequate number of Hillary’s women could decide that if Sen. Obama can defect from who he was, then they too can defect, and set up the choice of feminist dreams in 2012 - between two women who are men enough for the job.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.