Meredith C. Carroll: Sarah Palin’s heir apparent emerges in Lauren Boebert
If you supported Barack Obama’s presidential aspirations in 2008, then you weren’t happy waking up Aug. 29 of that year to headlines that his Republican opponent, John McCain, had picked a woman to be his running mate. Advocating for women in positions of power is a trick usually reserved for the left, so for a few hours Democrats quaked in their Birkenstocks.
A few hours was all it took, though. No one outside of Alaska had heard of Sarah Palin, but immediately upon hearing from her, it was as plain as seeing Russia from her house that Sarah Palin would not be the nation’s first female vice president. (To be fair, it wasn’t just the first impression that did her in; it was all of them.)
Lauren Boebert is poised to join Palin in also not making any firsts during her premiere campaign with a national audience. On Sunday, the 33-year-old Silt resident announced plans to mount a primary challenge against Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton for Colorado’s 3rd district, a seat that has been held exclusively by men since it was established in 1915. (To be fair, Palin was up for a job that, in 2008, boasted a 219-year male streak.)
“Hardworking, patriotic Americans like you and me don’t want the Green New Deal and socialized medicine,” Boebert, owner of the open-carry-friendly Shooters restaurant in Rifle that offers firearm safety instruction training but no health insurance to employees, said in a news release. “Every time AOC and the rest of the squad pipes up with another crazy idea I will remind them that our belief in God, country and family are what built the United States of America into the greatest nation the world has ever known.”
Considering the wild implausibility of Donald Trump’s first victory and the distinct plausibility of his second, Boebert, whose National Rifle Association tea-towel rhetoric doesn’t demonstrate an especially sophisticated grasp of the Second Amendment (or, frankly, the First), almost seems shrewd enough to win. Her “Hell, no” quip at an Aurora Beto O’Rourke rally this fall in response to his “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR15s” Democratic debate-stage comment from a week earlier earned her an appearance on Fox News.
A few days later, with a gun strapped to her leg, she addressed Aspen City Council during public comments about an ordinance banning firearms from municipal spaces.
“Entities like (Aspen City Council) have been found guilty by the Supreme Court for passing just such laws because they absolutely infringe on our Second Amendment rights,” she said.
How much she understands about actual law and government became more clear this week during interviews about her candidacy. In Tuesday’s Aspen Daily News, she said she heard “from people who work in hospitals” that Colorado nurses turn a blind eye to “post-term” abortions, whereby “the mother has delivered her child, and decides she does not want that child, and they leave the infant to die.”
“Why haven’t we heard of that?” Boebert said. “Why isn’t our representation telling us that this is happening? Maybe they don’t have time to do something about it, but they can speak up and let us know.”
She alluded to Tipton when telling The Colorado Sun she wouldn’t have had to run “if I felt that we were being represented properly,” especially on gun-related matters like Colorado’s red-flag law, which goes into effect next month.
(The Sun then asked her “Why she decided to run for Congress and not the state legislature, where those measures were passed?” to which she replied “She wanted to have the most impact as quickly as possible: ‘This is not a career move for me,’” Boebert told them.)
The list of what Boebert doesn’t know about what she doesn’t know seems to be at the beginning, although if anything useful is being gleaned from Trump’s impeachment process it’s a reminder that voters have a duty to elect people, whether career politicians or lay people, who demonstrate a clear understanding of the difference between how they think stuff works versus how stuff, in fact, works.
2020 could well be a strong one for women if 2019 is any indication: Sports Illustrated just named Megan Rapinoe as its Sportsperson of the Year, making her only the fourth woman to receive the honor by herself since the award originated in 1953. This week Variety magazine declared 2019 “the year of the woman” cinematically (only in the documentary category, but still).
That two women (Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush also has thrown her hat in the race to unseat Tipton) are running for a seat only ever held by men is an excellent omen for Colorado (less so that one of them seems fated to discover via Ancestry.com that she’s got distant cousins in Wasilla, but still). It’s worth keeping an eye on all the women running for office in 2020, although maybe keep both eyes on a few in particular.
More at MeredithCarroll.com and on Twitter @MCCarroll.
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