Kathleen Parker

Would anyone ever ask whether a male candidate was qualified for office because his daughter was pregnant?

Some also have questioned whether Palin, whose son Trig has Down syndrome, can be both a mother and a vice president? These questions aren't coming from the right -- so often accused of wanting to keep women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen -- but from the left.

Did someone switch the Kool-Aid?

Palin is everything liberals have always purported to want for women -- freedom to choose, opportunities for both career and family, a shot at the top ranks of American political life. With five children and an impressive resume, Palin should be Miss July in the go-girl calendar.

There's just one hitch: She doesn't believe in abortion except to save a mother's life. That's hardcore, even for pro-life Republicans, most of whom allow for abortion in cases of rape and incest.

Women who won't budge on abortion have hit fast-forward in their heads and, given McCain's age, consider the risk too great that a President Palin would load the Supreme Court with pro-lifers who would overturn Roe v. Wade. Whether that is a realistic concern is debatable, but what's perfectly clear is that feminism today is not about advancing women, but only a certain kind of woman.

While we're exhausting irony, Palin would have been excoriated as a hypocrite had she or her daughter had abortions. That would have been legitimate and, probably, deal-breaking criticism. By choosing life, the Palins acted in accordance with their public positions and were ridiculed for their honesty.

There may yet be reasons to find Palin an unacceptable vice presidential choice, but making pro-life decisions shouldn't be among them. Her candidacy, meanwhile, has cast a bright light on the limitations of our old ideological templates.

Should Palin and McCain prevail come November, feminism can curtsy and treat herself to a hard-earned vacation. The greatest achievement of feminism won't be that a woman reached the vice presidency, but that a woman no longer needed feminists to get there.


Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
 
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