‘FAUX-FEMINISM’…. It may seem foolish — in large part, because it is — but John McCain believes he can win over women voters by picking a running mate whose opposition to reproductive rights is so extreme, she opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest. Now that’s a good plan to woo supporters of Hillary Clinton.

We talked a little about this yesterday, but there are two great pieces on McCain’s cynical and insulting outreach to women voters that I wanted to mention. The first is from the New York Times’ Gail Collins.

….I do feel kind of ticked off at the assumptions that the Republicans seem to be making about female voters. It’s a tad reminiscent of the Dan Quayle selection, when the first George Bush’s advisers decided they could close the gender gap with a cute running mate.

The idea that women are going to race off to vote for any candidate with the same internal plumbing is both offensive and historically wrong.

And The American Prospect’s Ann Friedman fleshes this out in more detail.

Palin’s addition to the ticket takes Republican faux-feminism to a whole new level. As Adam Serwer pointed out on TAPPED, this is in fact a condescending move by the GOP. It plays to the assumption that disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters did not care about her politics — only her gender. In picking Palin, Republicans are lending credence to the sexist assumption that women voters are too stupid to investigate or care about the issues, and merely want to vote for someone who looks like them. As Serwer noted, it’s akin to choosing Alan Keyes in an attempt to compete with Obama for votes from black Americans. […]

McCain has turned the idea of the first woman in the White House from a true moment of change to an empty pander. Why is this a pander? Because Palin is not a woman who has a record of representing women’s interests. She is beloved by extremely right-wing conservatives for her anti-choice record (fittingly, she’s a member of the faux-feminist anti-choice group Feminists for Life). Palin supports federal anti-gay marriage legislation. She believes schools should teach creationism. Alaska is currently considering spending more on abstinence-only sex education. And when it comes to a slew of other issues of importance to women, such as equal pay, she’s not on the record…. [M[ost of us understand that a woman candidate is not the same thing as a woman’s candidate.

I’d just add how striking it is that McCain had more capable women to choose from, but picked one who wasn’t even a governor when he started his presidential campaign. Senators such as Hutchison, Dole, Snowe, Collins, and Murkowski were skipped over, as were more experienced governors like Lingle and Rell, as were “mavericks” like Todd-Whitman, as were cabinet secretaries like Rice, Spellings, and Chao, as were business leaders like Fiorina and Whitman.

McCain skipped over more capable women for a younger, less experienced woman he barely knows. This is supposed to impress women voters? Seriously?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.