CALLER: You know, [Mitt Romney is] not my favorite candidate... but... I will say this: Yes, he's establishment; yes, he was governor of Massachusetts. But Rush when I compare him to the establishment candidate four years ago, meaning McCain, I feel better about Romney. I think he genuinely has enough conservative values, I think he definitely has an economic background, and I would feel comfortable if he did win; whereas I never would have felt comfortable if McCain won, except that Sarah was there.This struck me — I was listening to the podcast this morning, after knowing the results of the Iowa straw poll — because of the strength of the confidence in Sarah Palin and the comfort embodied in the simple reference "Sarah." I'm touched by this, because I'd always thought that it would be difficult for Americans to get their minds around the idea of a woman as Commander in Chief. Even those who celebrate the advancement of women would, I thought, worry about trusting a woman with the ultimate responsibility for the security of the world. But here is a very conservative man, this caller, who is wary of John McCain, but able to tolerate him because of her. At the same time, Republicans are embracing Michele Bachmann. I'm not hearing any balkiness about accepting a woman President. It has become almost instantly normal.
RUSH: ... Now, you said Romney's not your favorite. Who is?
CALLER: I'd love to see Sarah Palin run, but I really want to look at Perry.
How did that happen, and why did it happen on the Republican side? When Hillary Clinton ran for President in 2008, there was a lot of talk and enthusiasm about the idea of the first female President. It wasn't normal. The non-normalness was a big plus for some and a negative for others. Barack Obama's path forward came in reaction to Hillary in what — I think — history will see as a very strange psychic shift in the minds of Democratic voters. No! Not the woman! Somehow, within the minds of Democrats, the African-American man could stop the woman, and so, he vaulted into the foreground and, despite a shocking lack of experience, won the presidency.
But these Republicans... what is happening in their minds? How was it that they so easily accepted what looks quite a bit like the simple equality of women?