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“This is something new….”

Last week I wrote about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and how she has changed the model set by the late Clare Boothe Luce, who had set the standard that Republican women were held to for nearly three decades. But no longer. In the piece, I spoke about how Palin’s populist persuasions had morphed the Luce model, remolding the template for GOP women. While Luce represented someone speaking from on high for the sake of her party, Palin offered a new persona — rooted in the day-to-day lives of “average” Americans.

Speaking this morning to conservative scholar Christina Hoff Sommers, author of “Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women” and “The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men,” she maintained that Luce and Palin were a lot more alike than different. But Sommers did acknowledge — with a degree of glee — the new power Palin represents.

“This is something different,” Sommers said, “Even the way she combines her career and children. She’s merged that. If there’s a bill to sign, she takes the babies along. Some women have done this but we just haven’t seen this from a woman leader and it does represent a fundamental social change. Palin can reach women in a way Gloria Steinem could never do.

‘Palin just offers a way,” she continued, “a view of life, family-and faith-based, that is credible and can change the hearts and minds of women. It’s not something that’s recognized during Women’s History Month. I’m not certain about her qualifications. But as a role model for women — she’s superb.”

Palin could use friends like Sommers going forward. She’s truly taken some deep shots in the press as of late — particularly in a scathing, superbly reported New York Times piece about her governorship; and, of course, in TWI’s own meticulous reportage by Laura McGann, from the day Palin was chosen as Sen. John McCain’s running mate.

Now we will learn whether her new model can lead her to the White House and if she and her other pit bulls are ready to stay on the national stage.

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