Senior Editor, TIME Magazine
Some polls are suggesting that after gaining an initial bump, McCain's campaign is being hobbled by Sarah Palin's vice-presidential candidacy. The voters who are deserting her fastest, some of whom are even calling on her to withdraw, are mostly women.
Ah, women, the consistently, tragically underestimated constituency. What the Democrats learned during the primaries and the Republicans might now be finding out the hard way, I learned at my very academic, well-regarded all-girls high school: that is never to discount the ability of women to open a robust, committed, well-thought-out vat of hatred for another girl.
Women are weapons-grade haters. Hillary Clinton knows it. Palin knows it too. When women get their hate on, they don't just dislike, or find disfavor with, or sort of not really appreciate. They loathe — deeply, richly, sustainingly. I do not say this to disparage my gender; women also love in more or less the same way.
When men disagree, the steps to resolution are reasonably clear and unsophisticated. Acts of physical violence are visited upon one another's person or property, and the whole thing blows over. Women? Nu-unh. We savor the discord. We draw it out. We share our contempt with our friends, like a useful stock tip, or really good salsa. And then we all go hate together: a mutually encouraging group activity for when the book group gets quiet.
The hatred women have for Sarah Palin, and others had for Hillary before her, is not necessarily about politics. Anybody can run the numbers on how many people Palin's pro-life, pro-gun, socially conservative policies will seduce and how many they will alienate. Rather, the test that the McCain campaign failed to put her through was the Abbotsleigh Ladies College test. (Named after my high school. Go, green and gold!). It's a simple three-point pass-fail exam: Will the other girls like her?
Here's why Palin doesn't make the grade:
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with