Feminists like to claim that if women ruled the world, there would be no more wars. [It's depressing talking to feminists (they are also not at all really feminist, they'd be fighting against the misogynistic system that has always been that way if they truly were), they are the most programmed of any group; about Sarah Palin for instance, you get the standard "I'm happy that any woman is getting far in politics."]
Sarah Palin, the woman poised to become the most powerful female politician in the free world, disproves that once and for all.
The gun-toting, Iraq war-supporting Governor of Alaska may decide the next U.S. presidential election. Here is a politician who won't rule out war with Russia.
Here is a mother who waved her soldier son Track off to Iraq on September 11. And here is a campaigner who next week will man the barricades at a public protest against Iran's President Ahmadinejad.
If Palin becomes America's first woman Vice-President, one thing is for sure - there will not be an end to war.
Nor to the war between two cultures she has already unleashed in her own country.
The pro-life, devoutly Christian, happily married mother-of-five has emerged from the political margins to become the most intriguing and divisive woman in today's America.
She has enraged the Left in general and feminists in particular at every turn. What infuriates them most is her rapid rise to the national stage and her ability, like Ronald Reagan before her, to talk to the people in a language they understand with a fundamentalist message many of them want to hear.
It's all so damned reactionary. Heck, the man she admires most in the world is her husband.
There is something almost evangelical about her desire to give voice to the largely unheard folk of America; the ordinary, hard-working, God-fearing majority.
The liberal elite of the East and West coasts despise her, but middle Americans seem to have fallen for Palin as the figurehead of a new kind of politics.
At a recent rally in the swing state of Virginia, she was greeted with crowds chanting 'Sarah, Sarah, Sarah' as though she was a cross between Madonna and the Pope.
Kids bunked off school, mums took the day off work just to hear her speak and 23,000 people queued for hours to see her.
Super team: White House hopeful John McCain and running mate Sarah Palin are fast turning into a dream ticket
If Palin can keep this momentum up, it could take her all the way to the White House.
For what started out as a contest between Barack Obama and John McCain has, instead, become a fight between Obama and Palin - at least for now.
Yes, she's only running for Vice-President.
But it's her face, her story and her rallies that have given the Republicans a sudden surge in the polls to the stage where they are no longer the unpopular underdogs, but leading most of the polls.
And what no one should forget - with only 45 days to go - is that it is American women who look likely to decide the outcome of the 2008 presidential election.
Women are traditionally more likely to vote than men. And recent polls show most women prefer the McCain/Palin ticket by a margin of anything up to 20 per cent.
One explanation is the Hillary factor. Disgruntled by Obama's rejection of Mrs Clinton, many of Hillary's female supporters, especially the swing voters, are switching to Palin.
Hillary had 10 million women vote for her in the Democratic primaries. There's a lot to play for - and Palin is playing them like a maestro.
Indeed, the Obama camp is so spooked by this shift in the female vote that it has started a frantic campaign to win them back.
They've bought wall-to-wall advertising airtime during women's TV programming, with Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton herself spearheading the push.
Their problem is that they - like many liberal commentators - just can't fathom why Palin is so popular.
So how is it that this smalltown gal (some would say redneck woman) has captured the imagination of the American public to the extent that three weeks after being chosen as McCain's running mate, she continues to dominate the national conversation?
Everywhere I went in Washington - to the hairdressers, to an ice-hockey rink, in restaurants and bars - the talk was all about Sarah Palin.
At one stage, CNN even devoted two hours of its live news coverage to pictures of an empty airport runway in Alaska, where Palin was due to arrive 'any time soon'.
It's the same story with the print media. Not since Princess Diana's death can I recall ever walking into a newsagent and seeing just one woman's face staring out from every cover.
Each publication had its own take on what she represents. Here was 'Serious Sarah', carrying the hopes of a nation on her shoulders; here was 'Mom Sarah', carrying her Down's syndrome baby Trig on her arm; here was 'Salacious Sarah', dogged by the scandal of her unmarried daughter's pregnancy and claims that two of her teenagers have taken drugs.
These are the complex contradictions that Palin projects - the power-dressed working mum who is pro-life, pro-family, pro-women and, above all, pro-traditional Americans.
Even her mishaps have become her strengths. The moment she arrived on the national scene, she admitted: 'I'm not perfect, my family's not perfect.' And, boy, was she right.
From the 'scandal' of her pregnant daughter to allegations that she pressured a police chief to sack her former brother-in-law (a state trooper whom the family were at war with), Palin's vulnerabilites have done little to dent her popularity.
The Democrats can throw all the mud they like, but so far, at least, none of it is sticking.
Moreover, while Obama appears to have been on a lifelong search for his identity, Palin has never wondered who she was or where she was from.
Whether you share her values or not, the moral certainties of this evangelical smalltown conservative are core to her appeal.
As she reminded us in the acceptance speech that gave McCain an 11-point poll boost: 'We grow good people in our small towns with honesty, sincerity and dignity.'
And while the East Coast intellectuals may sneer at her homespun ideology and lack of experience, these are the very credentials that are attracting an increasing number of middle Americans.
In Palin they see optimism; in Obama cynicism. In Palin they see pride in her country; in Obama an element of shame.
It is heart versus head, instinct versus intellect; certainty versus hand-wringing; straight-forwardness versus sophistication.
Of course, it could all go terribly wrong at any moment, with any manner of political gaffes or private indiscretions capable of blowing her off course.
Certainly, her lack of experience is worrying, and her views on many key issues untested - not least, over the current economic turmoil.
At a time when wise statesmanship is called for, it is sobering to consider that a woman who is currently governor of a state with a population less than that of Leeds is on course to become the most powerful woman in global politics - only a heartbeat (and not the strongest one at that) away from being leader of the free world.
So how did she get there? In some ways, it's because she is anti-politics. Alaska may be only a small state, but with an approval rating of 76 per cent, Palin is the most popular governor in the U.S. And she's done it by breaking the mould.
She has stood up for ordinary people and taken on the Washington establishment.
Her first acts in office were to place the governor's jet for sale on eBay and sack the cook. Her record in taking on her own party is every bit as forthright and pragmatic, according to those who have watched her closely in Alaska.
Shaken: Obama has been forced to eat his words after a veiled swipe at Palin involving 'lipstick on a pig'
'When most politicians talk of tackling corruption or inefficiency in their own party, it is usually just that - all talk,' says one analyst. 'She's full frontal, she takes no prisoners and has made enemies as a result.'
So when she says, as she did in her acceptance speech, that she will take on 'the good old-boy network', she really means it.
As one senior McCain spokesman explained: 'She is the embodiment of the American dream, the small-town girl who rises to the very top, doesn't sacrifice her family or her values along the way, takes on the big guys and wins.
'The thing about Palin is that every aspect of her story touches someone.'
Even her anti-abortion stance has failed to provoke as much controversy as it might, not least because she knows from bitter experience the tough choices that women face in the real world.
Her belief in the sanctity of life prevented her from aborting her unborn baby when it was diagnosed with Down's syndrome.
But it took three days for her to tell her husband because she wasn't certain 'in my own heart if I was going to be ready to embrace a child with special needs'.
It's that kind of language that's cut-ting across political divides, especially at a time when 10 to 20 per cent of American children are diagnosed as having 'special needs' - the vast majority of them black children in inner cities whose parents might otherwise never have considered voting Republican.
After a rally in swing-state Virginia, one very young mother with a baby draped over her shoulder said of Palin: 'I'm happy to see a woman, I'm happy to see a mother and I'm happy to see someone who shares my values.'
It's that simple.
Or as another mom in the audience put it: 'She justifies what we do every day. She does what we do, she lives like we do. She's just as flawed as we are. There are more American parents with unwed pregnant teenage children than American parents with Harvard graduates. She's real.'
In particular, she appeals to those mothers who face that universal struggle to raise traditional families while holding down a job.
Of all her statements so far, the most powerful and enduring has been the one where she told Republican delegates: 'I was just your average hockey mom in Alaska who signed up for the Parent-Teacher Association because I wanted to make my kids' education better.'
As I discovered sitting in a freezing ice-rink watching children learning to skate - it's ice-hockey by the way, the toughest of American sports - hockey moms are in a league of their own.
Hero: President Ronald Reagan is Palin's hero - God fearing, plain talking and not afraid to use America's military muscle
'I get up at 4am to take Donnie training,' one mum told me proudly.
'Four? In our home that's called a sleep-in,' countered Annie. 'We're up at three, drive two hours there, two hours back, to freeze our butts off.' You can see why Palin appeals to women like these.
Most of the women I spoke to were working mums, marking school papers as they waited rink-side, writing ' todo' lists and looking completely exhausted, but determined.
They know better than most the truth behind Palin's quip: 'What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull? Lipstick!'
It still makes them laugh. Or as one of them puts it: 'Lipstick! Who has time for lipstick?'
The lipstick hockey mom is a metaphor for the way these mothers see themselves.
They're not sophisticated, but they have strong values - none stronger than defending their families.
They're not well educated, but they want their children to be. And they're not glamour-pusses, but they want to look nice for their husbands.
Above all, they hate being patronised, insulted or taken for granted.
Which is where Obama made one very serious mistake. In a snide comment that seemed deliberately geared to prick Palin's popularity bubble, he told one audience: 'You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.'
He has subsequently denied the comment was a reference to his Republican rival - but too late. The damage was already done.
At the very least, it has fuelled the lurking suspicion that Obama doesn't really like women, or at least not women like Palin - white working-class women without fancy degrees or the mannered eloquence that comes from a top university education.
There is a growing sense that Obama and his wife, Michelle, are secretly condescending to ordinary folk, contemptuous of their smalltown ambitions and narrow horizons.
That may seem unfair - after all, both Barack and Michelle come from humble stock themselves, have bettered themselves through hard work and sheer determination, and strive hard for their family.
But there's a certain smugness about them, a superiority that alienates ordinary voters.
In particular, Michelle's comment that seeing her husband elected presidential candidate was the first time she had been proud to be an American has been neither forgiven nor forgotten.
At a time when America is being battered by economic storms at home and enduring unending conflicts abroad, what many voters want is reassurance.
Increasingly uncertain of their place in the world, they are turning their attention inwards - to the economy, education, immigration, to what kind of people they are, what holds them together.
They look at Palin and even if they don't agree with her, they see someone with strong values and uncompromising passion.
And on top of all this, Sarah Palin has good looks. Surprise, surprise, she has the highest approval rating among young American men.
She's sexy, but in a subdued kind of way. The suits are buttoned up, almost demure - then you look down at those long legs and her feet are encased in towering heels.
Unlike most successful female politicians, she's not afraid of her femininity. She doesn't need to posture as a man, flaunting pant suits and a tough personality to demonstrate her strength (take note, Hillary).
In short, she's an ad man's dream for an all-American role model. As a frontier woman who fought corruption and won, she's the embodiment of independent womanhood.
As the hunting and fishing beauty queen who got her man and went on to have five children, she's a potent symbol of the apple-pie American mother-figure.
Her story is both epic and small time, heroic and ordinary, astonishing and familiar.
Obama and Palin both prove, in very different ways, that in modern America anyone can achieve anything.
But in this era of identity politics, all that matters is the number of people your life story speaks to.
For all the hype that has surrounded Barack Obama, the cruel fact may prove to be that more American voters can identify with the dreams of the white girl from the frontiers than the black man from the Washington beltway.
The Daily Show interviewed sub-human Tony Blair [who now works... at the Skull and Bones home Yale University! How unpredictable [/sarcasm]!] which isn't even worth posting because all he has is a lizard tongue (who knows maybe literally?), he could talk all day about a pile of shit (usually does).
This interview with the delightful Charlize Theron was interesting though, about the Seattle protestors being tormented by the stormtroopers working for the globalists [who control Tony Blair by the way], Battle in Seattle.