In the week following Sen. John McCain's announcement of Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, there were complaints that the media was unfairly questioning the mother's decision to run for the country's second highest office. I never heard those questions, but was bothered by the very thought that in 2008 a woman would have to answer such questions.
Since then, I've become even more bothered by the seeming pass conservatives have given Gov. Palin. The party that decried sitcom character Murphy Brown as an example of eroding family values, is now rallying in support of the candidacy of a mother of four minor children - one, a special needs infant, and another a pregnant teenager. The Bible pounding, men-are-the-head-of-the-household christian right is looking beyond the fact that Palin's husband was the one who stayed home with her infant son when she returned to work only three days after giving birth to her son Trig was born with Down Syndrome. The drive and ambition that conservatives used to vilify Senator Hilary Clinton are now admirable qualities in Sarah Palin. It seems, the party has decided that she is the better of two evils. Senator Obama being the other evil. Just as the McCain campaign seems to not have thoroughly vetted Palin, party members have decided not to hold her to their own family values standards and take their chances.
Could it be that conservatives are looking past their deeply held values because they trust Palin's qualifications and have bought into her vision for the country. I'm not buying that. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll found that 43 percent of men and 57 percent of women think Palin is unqualified to serve in the oval office. Even if you assume that more conservatives than the general public think she is qualified, those numbers are low in face of the swell in the ticket's numbers. Conservatives are supporting Palin, even though they don't think she is up to the job.
That smacks of hypocrisy. Issues that conservatives have held aloft as the party's banner are now being downplayed, solely for the sake of keeping the Oval Office. It is this hypocrisy that causes the rest of us to snicker when legislators who vote against same-sex marriage and partner benefits get caught trolling airport bathrooms for gay lovers.