Does it make any difference? I doubt it. In a logical world, Bristol Palin's pregnancy might make her mother, the candidate, rethink her position that abstinence is the only kind of sex education worth teaching. It obviously didn't work for Bristol. If she'd insisted the guy use a condom, all their lives would be a lot less stressful than they now are. But it's not a logical world and politicians hate to let facts get in the way of a strongly held viewpoint. Mrs. Palin is probably not an exception to that rule.
Does her nomination really change the race much? I doubt that too. Putting Geraldine Ferraro on his ticket didn't do much for Walter Mondale. Ferraro was smart, attractive, and all that, but people really wanted to reelect Ronald Reagan and they did. Mrs. Palin is clearly an attractive, intelligent conservative. That may help John McCain by reassuring conservatives who've been worrying whether he's orthodox enough. But those people were never going to vote for Barack Obama; it was McCain or a day spent quietly at home.
The notion that Palin will bring over women disappointed that Hillary Clinton didn't get the Democratic nomination seems simply bizarre. Clinton and Palin disagree on just about all the issues there are. The notion that women will abandon their position on issues and vote simply on gender makes zero sense.
The vice presidential debate will be interesting. Joe Biden will have to be very careful not to come across as a bully. I remember Ferraro bristling at a questioner during some TV appearance when she ran: "Just because I'm a woman don't think you can..." Well, it went something like that. That's the kind of thing that could drive women to the GOP. But Biden is an old campaigner and presumably will have thought of that.
So I don't think Palin will change the race. But the charm of this process is, of course, that you never know. So, let the game begin!
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