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Energizer bunny.jpgFirst thought: Gilgoff’s right to draw attention to Richard Land’s enthusiasm for Palin as Veep in his CBS interview of a few weeks ago. So she’s the ticket’s energizer bunny: activated evangelicals plus Alaska oil. See Sarah run.
Second thought: Palin gives religious right leaders–real, supposed, or would-be–all the grounds they need to jump on board McCain’s bus. But for them it’s the old dodge of pushing for all you can get, knowing that at the end of the day you’ll be there for your seat. What rank-and-file evangelicals will think is another question. They flocked to Huckabee even though the putative leaders were very lukewarm. They are not, in a word, easy to command. Even though the religious right has had women in leadership positions going all the way back to the 1970s, traditional gender roles are part of its stock in trade, and having a youngish, inexperienced Mom a heartbeat away…well, we’ll see.
Third thought: McCain’s choice of Palin shows how undead the religious right remains in the American political system. The Republican Party birthed it, and to this day cannot disown it. Abortion politics will be as big as ever this fall; the culture wars will continue apace. The game will only be changed by a substantial Obama victory.
Fourth thought: This choice will weaken McCain’s appeal to Jewish voters. Over the past two decades, nothing has kept Jews in the Democratic camp more than the GOP’s embrace of the religious right in particular and evangelicals in general. One of the appealing things about McCain to Jews has been his uncomfortable relationship with both. Palin is not only a strong values-voting evangelical, she’s got a Buchananite past–and there’s no one in the Republican Party more noxious to Jews than Pat Buchanan.