Monday, September 1, 2008

Lies, Damn Lies, and Andrew Sullivan?

The last couple of days have been interesting in this presidential race. Somehow, over on Daily Kos, and on Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish, the rumor began that Sarah Palin faked her pregnancy to cover for the pregnancy of her daughter. What a load of twaddle, but what very revealing twaddle! There was zero evidence (in the sense that sane and rational people use the word evidence, to whit, something reliable that indicates something of substance) but the stream of bile that issued forth from commenters all across the political blogosphere was disgusting to behold. The bile came, as far as I could tell, from Kossacks and the like who would like to do all within their power to denigrate Sarah Palin as a Vice Presidential candidate, most likely because they recognize on a sub-concious level (in some cases, very sub) how much of a challenge she poses to Obama, and how good a choice by McCain she was.
Then things got really wierd! This morning, Sarah Palin issued a press release to the effect that her daughter was pregnant (some five months), is engaged to be married to the father of the child, and is the recipient of loving support from her family. Oh, and would the press and everybody else respect her privacy too. Andrew Sullivan's response? He asked for a statement from the doctor who delivered Trig for Sarah stating that it was actually Sarah who gave birth to Trig (Trig who was born some four months ago - you go figure out the obgyn aspects of that if you can!). Sorry Andrew, but really...
Some very interesting responses to all this. It seems to me that Anne Althouse is getting increasingly annoyed about the Kossacks and is being driven closer and closer to McCain as a result - her posting is interesting, not least because of the insights in the comments. One commenter cogently recalled Obama's comment on out of wedlock pregnancies:
IN THE COMMENTS: mcg said:
Well, I know this is shameless of me, but my first step is admitting the problem, right? My mind immediately went to Obama's comment that if his daughters "make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."
(Link for the Obama quote.)
Ms. Althouse also takes some to task for their sexist thinking:
MadisonMan said:
I think the way to support a child through a pregnancy is to be there for them, not to embark on a national campaign -- sure, it's "only" 2 months -- that will shine the spotlight on the child. Anyway, that would be my reaction as a parent.
Oh, that looks like a meme. Sarah Palin must stay home with her special needs baby. Sarah Palin must stay home with her about-to-be-married, pregnant daughter. Ladies: Put your career on hold until everything in you're family stops happening. I know, MM is a man and he's saying he'd stay home too, but would he? Would a man forgo his career to be there for a family member who is experiencing an important life transition?

Remember when John Edwards decided to go on with his campaign after his wife got a diagnosis of inoperable cancer? Now, I think Elizabeth Edwards was probably excited about the campaign and wanted to go on with it. In that light, why are you assuming that Bristol Palin isn't excited about her mother's campaign? Unlike Elizabeth Edwards, Bristol is not facing her last days. She's just starting out -- all caught up in life. Presumably, she's intense and positive about her pro-life beliefs, her love for the baby's father, her impending wedding, and the new baby on the way.

I imagine her eager to run around with the campaign, spreading the pro-life message to young people. Why should you think she would prefer to mope around the house, feeling ashamed, absorbing maternal comforting? On the campaign trail, she will be a loved and praised pro-life heroine, and she -- and her mother -- are likely to convert others to the pro-life side, with their glamorous and very positive image. Pro-choicers beware.
There is a most interesting post from Nathan Thornburgh of Time, to the effect that just about everyone in Wasilla (the Palin's hometown) knew about the pregnancy. The article is well worth the read, and is not too long, but here is a good take-away paragraph:
People in Wasilla are Alaskan tough, so not only does a thing like teen pregnancy not seem like anyone's damn business, but it's also not seen as the calamity so many people in the lower 48 might think it is. This is dangerous country — it's not just the roughneck jobs on cable reality shows. It's real life here. I listened to the absolutely heartbreaking story of how the godfather of Track Palin, Sarah's oldest son, died in small plane crash just minutes after having dropped off four kids. Another family invited me into their home and told their incredible story; with one son in Iraq, their other son was working on a conveyor line in Anchorage, got caught in the belt and had his head partially crushed. He lived to stand across the kitchen table from me and his parents, looking fully healed just three months later, grinning at his dumb luck and wondering what comes next in life. "It makes you realize that a thing like a little teenage pregnancy isn't such a big deal," his mom said. "Bristol—and lots of other girl like her out there — are going to be just fine."
Finally, to complete a trifecta of sensible posts on this issue, there is Captain Ed, who now works with Hot Air, once again sharing with us all his own family's experience with pre-marriage pregnancies. Captain Ed is his normal sensible self, so again, worth reading the whole thing (and the comments are again revealing, although not always edifying!). My take away bits?

What does this mean politically? I think AP has done a good job in addressing this, but really I don’t think politics will enter into it. The Palins all chose life and lived their values. That doesn’t strike me as news, as we already saw that with her commitment to her son Trig. The Democrats won’t dare mention this as a campaign issue, and even the blogs will probably leave it alone soon enough. Most people, I’d say, will wish Bristol and the Palins well. None of us quit our jobs to help our son and daughter-in-law cope, and neither will Sarah Palin, because it’s unnecessary.

We would all do better just to admire the Palins for their love and support for Bristol, Bristol’s courage in pursuing motherhood when faced with a difficult but hardly unusual situation, and agree that this has little to do with whether Sarah Palin will make a good Vice President. Families have been dealing with this since … there were families. Neither side should use Bristol to score political points. Keeping them in our prayers would also be the kindest action we can take.

The more I hear about Governor Palin, the more I am struck by how down to earth and "one of us" she is. I look forward to hearing about Vice-President Palin in a couple of months, and will do my bit to help make that happen.

Happy Labor Day!

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