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Since 1925, 30 women have served as state governors in the US. They have not represented any particular local or regional culture but have served in states from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from north to south. True, the earliest three of these governors took over their respective governorships as surrogates for their husbands, and a fourth served for only seven days after the death of the incumbent. But the rest have been elected in the ordinary way. Of the 30, 19 have been Democrats and the remainder Republicans.

Now unlike, say, members of Congress, the governors of states are people with a large amount of executive power. In their respective states, governors are responsible for overseeing taxation, public health, education, road conditions, the state of public utilities and so on. There was a time, not all that long ago, when governors' offices were the primary proving grounds for presidential candidacies.

Thus one might have thought that in the year 2008 the selection of a woman, especially a woman who is a governor, to be a candidate for the vice-presidency would have rated barely more than a yawn - or at most a shrug - from the public. If you combine the ever more taken-for-granted accession of women to all kinds of positions of power in American society with the fact that this year's contest to settle on the Democratic candidate for the presidency was so very narrowly lost - some of her loyalists would to this day say that it had not been lost at all - by Hillary Clinton, what followed when John McCain announced that his running mate was to be Sarah Palin might to an unengaged bystander seem quite bewildering. For the overwhelming majority of America's liberals not only immediately went into heated opposition to Mrs Palin, a large and highly visible number of them went - no other term will do - positively barking mad at the very thought of her. True, militantly liberal women had only recently gone through a very trying time of their own: how did they ever get themselves and the Democratic Party into the position of having to choose for their presidential candidate between one or the other of two "firsts", between a woman and a black man? Both of the two main Democratic candidates had their passionate loyalists, and while in some sense it was a more accurate representation of the history of America's "liberations" for the black man to have been the first to win the nomination, the outcome of the contest left a possibly serious number of those supporting the woman feeling resentful and rebellious. There is speculation that a significant number of them aimed to teach their party a lesson by voting Republican in the upcoming election. (Whether this will come to pass remains to be seen, but as the campaign season goes on it seems ever more doubtful.)

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January 10th, 2009
7:01 PM
Great article - thought provoking and funny at times ("barking" at Palin). FhnuZoag, you're an idiot, the article refers to the debate that took place in October. The fact that you didn't bother to read the article before commenting is annoying.

November 9th, 2008
9:11 PM
Oh the hilarity, the appropiateness, the awesomeness of fate that it should transpire that a crappy article so obviously written in October should be published in, and dated as 'November 2008'.

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