POLITICS: Palin’s Daughter Vs. Palin

I don’t know how others feel, but I don’t consider the fact that Sarah Palin’s daughter, age 17, is about to become a mother and soon enough a very young wife to be a relevant campaign or political issue. I really don’t. It’s just the sort of scandal-sheet “journalism” that has long afflicted the press and that has long riled me, the veering away from the substantive in favor of the superficial. Nor am I that fixated on to what degree the McCain campaign staff and McCain himself may have vetted Palin on this issue. To argue that the McCain staff should have vetted her on this is to possibly argue (or not, but could argue) that they possibly should have not considered her for the GOP ticket based on her daughter’s conceiving a child out of wedlock as a teenager. Would that have been appropriate? I don’t think so, for I don’t consider this situation political baggage. Others may disagree. However, as a parent, the issue resonates with me for multiple reasons and I am hopeful that people will lay off this and show the family some respect–something that, for example, likely would not have been granted by the rabid anti-Clinton political red-meat machines to Chelsea Clinton and her family had the same thing occurred in 1997 when Chelsea was 17.

But that’s only part of the reason why I wish people will follow Senator Obama’s lead (found via turneresq at DailyKos) and grant Palin and her family respect and distance on the issue. While I myself find that this issue will contain particular ironies–Palin’s defenders will likely call for privacy for the family while the political right granted none to the Schiavo family in 2005, while the political right has made teenage and out-of-wedlock pregnancies political issues and used them as fodder to attack the left on everything from abortion to social programs to the alleged sociocultural legacies of the 1960s–it does nothing in my mind to further our political discourse and common understanding of the fundamental working of our government. Nor does it help us to understand and contribute to the big political issues of our time–wars, privation, economic and occupational decline, environmental crises, affordable and effective health care for everyone, effective foreign policy, the lack of available renewable and clean energy for everyone, and so much more. Bristol Palin’s pregnancy is her own and that of the father, and I hope that they raise the child well, give her or him all the love, encouragement, and opportunities they can, and rear her or him to be a good, responsible citizen. I don’t know if the Palin family lectured Bristol daily–either ham-handedly or smoothly–about responsible parenting, abstinence, and the sanctity of marriage and she became pregnant anyway. I don’t know if the family’s interest in these issues is simply superficial and their daughter knew and/or absorbed it. I don’t know if Bristol and her husband-to-be simply weren’t careful. I don’t know, and I’m not interested in finding out. Nor does the what-did-McCain-know-about-it-and-when line of questioning interest me. Honestly, none of it does. I don’t find it politically substantive. That’s all from me on that. I don’t subscribe to scandal-sheet journalism and I won’t start now.

I myself find other aspects of McCain’s allegedly thorough vetting process to yield more pertinent questions and, hopefully in the next couple months, keener insights into McCain and Palin. For example, did the possibility that Palin had a state official who refused to fire her soon-to-be ex-brother-in-law fired come up between them? If so, what was discussed? How does this potential scandal, for which Palin is to be officially deposed in the probe, affect McCain’s trope about “fixing Washington politics?” if it’s true, how can Palin be trusted to be a good federal servant if she wasn’t an ethical one at the state level?

Curiously, Palin is quoted in a Philip Gourevitch piece in The New Yorker that the implications of Obama’s running ahead of McCain in Alaska were good:

“The theme of our campaign was ‘new energy,’ ” she said recently. “It was no more status quo, no more politics as usual, it was all about change. So then to see that Obama—literally, part of his campaign uses those themes, even, new energy, change, all that, I think, O.K., well, we were a little bit ahead on that.” She also noted, “Something’s kind of changing here in Alaska, too, for being such a red state on the Presidential level. Obama’s doing just fine in polls up here, which is kind of wigging people out, because they’re saying, ‘This hasn’t happened for decades that in polls the D’ ”—the Democratic candidate—“ ‘is doing just fine.’ To me, that’s indicative, too. It’s the no-more-status-quo, it’s change.”

So…which is it, Sarah? Is this development in Alaska “change that we need” or, according to the man who chose you as his VP, “not change we can believe in?” Will her inevitable attacks on Obama cast her, as candidates so often try to do to each other, as a “flip-flopper?”

From the same New Yorker piece, Palin expressed concerns that the war on Iraq may adversely affect her son’s deployment, and that it has not been waged with a good plan or for honorable reasons: “I’m a mom, and my son is going to get deployed in September, and we better have a real clear plan for this war. And it better not have to do with oil and dependence on foreign energy.” Since the war in no small part has been about control over Iraqi oil and will effectively yield foreign and especially Western oil companies‘ control over Iraqi oil production through no-bid contracts, what will Palin say about the war on Iraq now? Additionally, given that she recently expressed some qualms about America’s Iraq policy, just what did McCain say in their recent meetings to assuage her alleged concerns? If she had any such concerns, and ends up backing McCain to the hilt when he has criticized Obama’s call for withdrawing US forces from Iraq, to what extent is Palin knowledgeable about Iraq, the conditions on the ground, US military, corporate, and energy policies in the nation, and her own candidate’s positions on Iraq? Again, would she be “flip-flopping” if she were to not discuss such qualms and assume full-throated support of McCain’s statements that keeping US troops in Iraq for “a hundred years…would be fine with” him, even though this would show no real plan but perpetual nation-building and protecting the oil interests of Western corporations–the things that concerned her just recently? How informed, how straightforward, on major issues is Palin? How informed, how straightforward, would she be as VP or, God forbid, president?

Overall, on the major issues of the day, just a few of which have been discussed above, just how informed and therefore qualified for the top jobs in American government is Sarah Palin? Given that Palin appeared to lie during her first speech after being named McCain’s VP choice about supporting Ted Stevens’s “Bridge to Nowhere,” how much integrity does Palin have and will she bring to an office that Dick Cheney–who by the way shot a man in the face among many other, even worse misdeeds and high crimes–has thoroughly sullied? Those are the issues, especially as the GOP flails about to try to compare her limited governmental experience favorably to Obama, that concern me–not her daughter’s pregnancy.

Published in: on September 2, 2008 at 12:20 am  Comments (7)  

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  1. great post–i’m licking my chops as i await the unfolding of this story. the question is when, not whether she will be driven from this ticket-driving a fatal nail in his candidacy.

    i don’t care what her daughter has done, or will do in future. this reckless choice by mc cain only reinforces his reputation erratic and impetuous decisions.

  2. Thanks Mike. I found a Washington Post story on Sunday, “Palin Made an Impression from the Start,” (8/31/08) to be untrue at the time and almost laughable in retrospect, relying almost exclusively on McCain staffers for information and not analyzing the allegedly thorough vetting from the outside and on myriad issues. This weekend has been a train wreck for the GOP ticket, and I agree with your terminology of McCain and this decision as “reckless” and “erratic.” I think there’s no question about it. He seemed desperate to steal the thunder from Obama’s sterling acceptance speech and, while he might have liked Palin, did they REALLY conduct such a thorough vetting as to know about and think OK, among other issues, her apparent membership in the Alaska Independent Party, which is certainly radical in its views on state rights and guns? No way. An article in today’s NY Times, “Disclosures on Palin Raise Questions on Vetting Process,” is well worth reading and argues persuasively that McCain chose Palin fairly last minute and as a third choice behind the pro-choice, and therefore anathema to the Right,
    Lieberman and Tom Ridge. There’s no way the McCain campaign vetted her thoroughly when they may have vetted Lieberman and Ridge ‘for one to two months,” according to the Times.

    Not good at all for the GOP, McCain, and Palin. I can’t help but laugh when I hear the right fall all over themselves trying to trumpet her allegedly superior experiences to Obama’s. It’s hilariously untrue.

  3. i did read that article last night before bed. it’s obvious that after his aides and the party in general refused his wish to have the turncoat lieberman on his ticket he made this choice with little regard for anything other than stealing the spotlight and, sadly, thinking he could take clinton voters. that miscalculation alone should prevent a sentient being from voting for him.

  4. oh and yes, when the shills are asked the tough questions they answer with canned one liners and talking points.

  5. The Rays flashedthe double edged sword tonight. There youth seemed to get rattled by bad calls and fielding errors. Not the case for Moose whom was composed the whole night. There’s much to say about the game but since I don’t think anyone actually watched it. My negative points are that the squad didn’t show any excitment during play. I suppose it’s a reflection of the standings. I would also like to point out that Tropicana field was not nearly to full capacity. How can a first place team have such low attendence? I shall’ dare say Tampa doesn’t deserve such a team. The Bombers are on the verge of missing the playoffs and there isn’t a empty seat in the house.

  6. I have been pro Obama but this seemingly new approach of backlashing McCain isn’t my forte.

  7. We’ll the Yanks seem robotic, I would describe it as a plane on autopilot whether it’s heading into the heavens or spiraling into the Atlantic I couldn’t say. The Rays showed light in many ways, Garza especially through a minor tantrum in the dugout after not getting a strike call. There aggresion both had positive and negative affects on the game. This brings me to the composure of the Yankees, it’s monotone Xavier’s and Alex’s blast seemed neutrally taken by the squad. It was missing I could best describe this as a Melky & Canoe affair. This would be something to put thought into. The organization has become so pre-occupied with professionalism that the natural nature and character of some star players has been secluded. Think about how much seemed to happen during the brief “Giambi Stach” opera. I’m not suggesting letting these guys look like those filthy Bostonians and by no means promoting an irrelevant mascot that has nothing to do with the game. I would rather suggest a minor detail that could distract thousands of fans from taunting a certain clutch less player in pivotal moments. In all reality the Yankees have four LHP in five days. If they want there eagle badges there going to have to have to earn them. There won’t be any participation awards handed out this season. At the very least it has been sweet knowing that “the network” kept its tongue tied about the bombers sore chances until the end. This obviously related to last seasons late push into the post season. “Fool me once Shame on you Fool me twice Shame on me.” The only way this will happen is if the Yankees search, destroy and completely annihilate. The train was slowing down but it came to a halt in Anaheim. I feel by the next round we will see how much sand will be sustained at the top of the hourglass. As for Pavano I will bet he will but the Yankees inline for a win today but it’s the future which in doubt and the near futures name is Scott Kazmir.

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