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How The Palin Pick Misreads Hillary Supporters

I had a conversation with my mother after McCain announced his pick yesterday. She's in her early 60s, liberal, professional, fanatically devoted to Hillary, and skeptical of Obama (though she plans to vote for him). She thought Palin was truly preposterous--a sign McCain had lost his marbles. She would have been insulted by the idea that she should give McCain a second look, except she couldn't take Palin seriously enough to get that far in the analysis.

Here's what Team McCain doesn't understand about women my mother's age: They believed Hillary had been weighed down by her gender despite being highly qualified. They thought she deserved to go further on the merits, but that she'd been held back by discrimination and the traditional household division of labor. They worried she was being passed over for a less qualified male. And, having endured similar frustrations throughout their own careers, they empathized with her.

Palin appears to have the exact opposite life experience--a woman being promoted far above her qualifications. Not only do women like my mother have trouble relating to that, they may actually resent her for it, since their trajectory was so much tougher.

--Noam Scheiber