Political Conventions: Part II

In some ways it seems difficult to believe that it was only a week ago that the Democratic Convention was taking place. Since then we’ve had a major hurricane seriously threaten New Orleans and the entire Gulf region, a second hurricane forming (one that’s taking aim at our own Carolina coastline) and the start of the Republican Convention.

With the start of the Republican Convention in St. Paul it’s meant the start of another week of late-night television viewing in our house. As with last week we’re continuing with our preference for commentator-less coverage on C-SPAN and I’m happy to report that our ability to understand what we’ve heard and draw our own conclusions from the speaker’s words is still going strong. (If you don’t already to so, I really recommend you try it sometime.)

Politically, this week’s news has been centered on the 11th Governor of the State of Alaska, Sarah Palin. As the first female Vice Presidential nominee in over twenty-five years, and the first such candidate for the Republican Party, Palin has had a great deal of attention paid to both her and her family. Judging (for myself) from the reactions of many of the the Republican women in the convention hall last night during her acceptance speech, she already has a great many fans among the Party Faithful.

Speaking of Republican women, author Catherine E. Rymph’s book Republican Women: Feminism and Conservatism from Suffrage through the Rise of the New Right takes a detailed, historical look at the often conflicting roles and agendas of women in the GOP.

Palin’s rise in Alaskan and American politics did not happen in a bubble. The efforts of past Republican women, especially those who worked within the party through the Reagan years, have helped to shape and transform the GOP. Rymph’s book, as one reviewer stated, “provides a detailed and extended view of Republican Party women that illuminates with great clarity both the dilemma of outsiders attempting to move from the margins to the center of party politics and also the persistence of a crusading moralistic political style that retains great appeal for the contemporary Republican Right.

— Tom