In response to Michael Zink’s “In Palin, proof McCain’s gone soft” (9/11), I must object to both his method and his madness.

In the critique of Sen. McCain and his selection of Gov. Palin as his running mate, Zink leads in with the ridiculous assertion that “there’s nothing complicated about gender politics in America.” He then substantiates his belief that the selection of Gov. Palin is cynical and misogynistic by quoting other Democratic commentators who believe her selection was cynical and misogynistic before finally concluding that McCain has gone soft because he is no longer making bad jokes or publicly arguing with his wife. According to Zink, the McCain campaign has “outthought itself” and has “accidentally advanced the cause of feminism” by playing the age-old game of identity politics.

The only problem with Zink’s argument — beside the fact that his apparent sources are such bastions of objectivity as the Huffington Post — is that the greatest strengths of Gov. Palin’s selection have nothing to do with the fact that she is a woman. As a Western governor, a non-denominational Christian and an ardent social conservative, Palin has reawakened the “Rovian base” of the Republican Party while taking out of play a number of gun-toting, Nascar-watching independents who otherwise very well may have cast their votes for Barack Obama.

After the most protracted presidential primary in recent American history, the Republican Party had the insight and the brilliance to bring in a shining new star in the 11th hour; the payoff has been self-evident. With the election less than two months away, John McCain and Barack Obama are in a veritable dead heat — any additional women voters the McCain campaign picks up are purely icing on the cake.

For someone so quick to drop the “M” bomb, Zink is awfully quick to discount the accomplishments and obvious appeal of a politician simply because she is a woman. And as for her experience — well, I hardly think that is a debate that the first-term senator from Illinois would like to have.

Bill Fishel

Calhoun College ’09