It’s important that progressives be clear in their discussion of the issue of Sarah Palin’s 17 year-old daughter’s pregnancy. The issue is not that her daughter is pregnant. That is something that unfortunately happens to too many American teenagers. But it is a personal issue and should remain so.
The real issue here is the betrayal of Palin’s own religious values that such a pregnancy represents. I can hear evangelicals across America groan as they read this news or hear it on their TVs. While Christians are supposed to be a forgiving lot, they can be surprisingly unforgiving about those among the flock who stray from the straight and narrow. I just can’t see how Palin can carry these voters with her in November.
Even Palin’s claim that the father of her daughter’s child will “make an honest woman of her” doesn’t seem like it will mollify the Christian base:
On Monday morning, Ms. Palin and her husband, Todd, issued a statement saying that their 17-year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol, was five months pregnant and that she intended to marry the father.
If you add to this the other oddities of her background that are coming to light–membership in a political party that advocated Alaskan secession; touting her opposition to the Bridge to Nowhere which she actually supported for a significant portion of her political career; carrying on a political-personal vendetta against a former brother-in-law who divorced her sister–she begins to seem like the sort of damaged goods that will not help McCain’s campaign.
The only question is whether the drumbeat of bad press and tawdry revelations slackens or rises in the days ahead. My guess is that they will not slacken. I don’t know where that leaves McCain. I don’t see how he can dump her this late in the game. But if he doesn’t, then she hangs like an albatross around his neck for the duration of the campaign. I guess he can try to stuff her in a closet or the third floor garret like Mr. Rochester does to his crazy first wife in Jane Eyre. But it still won’t look good.
My guess is that as soon as the convention ends you’re never going to see Sarah Palin and John McCain in the same room again. Instead, McCain will be seen palling with Joe and Mitt and Mike and maybe even Rudy. But certainly not Sarah. And if he somehow wins the presidency, Sarah Palin’s main assignment as vice president will be ironing the doilies in the White House mess.
This “election campaign” looks more and more like a soap opera. Maybe that’s appropriate given the convergence of news and entertainment on the mainstream media.
Interesting that when a Black teenager has a baby out of wedlock, it threatens Western civilization, it indicates bad upbringing, it bespeaks lack of character, but when a White teenager does it, it’s a sign of family values. I saw a White conservative politician who was eager to talk about his 18-year old grand-daughter, born out of wedlock. It’s gotten to be a status symbol.
I obviously disagree with Richard as to the effect the pregnancy will have on the political chances of Palin or McCain. As far as the morality of teenager pregnancy, I make no comment.
gene schulman says
I don’t know if I can agree with Ellen on the above – Richard, you’re probably right about all these disclosures sinking Palin.
I do however, agree with her previous comment about a possible conspiracy theory. I’l go even further and say that this is a prelude to dumping McCain, period. I still think some “emergency” will arise that will “justify” postponing the election altogether, and this regime will remain in place. McCain is a loose cannon along with being a weak candidate. All odds are that Obama should win against him. The powers-that-be are not going give up all they have worked so hard and long for because of a simple election. The whole process has become a side show to the advent of a fascist takeover of the country. Hence Georgia, Gustav and, eventually Iran. I’ve already placed bets on it!
I partly agree with Gene. I think that all this is much noise that signifies nothing, because I expect that beginning of November we will either have a terrorist attack or a “credible” threat of one, in order to ensure a McCain victory.
I do not think that the personality of McCain matters, he is the public face of the organization, whatever organization it is, that decides who will run for president. I think the same is true of Obama.
Interesting article by Max Blumenthal in The Nation on the vetting of Sarah Palin:
“Last week, while the media focused almost obsessively on the DNC’s spectacle in Denver, the country’s most influential conservatives met quietly at a hotel in downtown Minneapolis to get to know Sarah Palin. The assembled were members of the Council for National Policy, an ultra-secretive cabal that networks wealthy right-wing donors together with top conservative operatives to plan long-term movement strategy.”
Truth is scarier than speculation!
I think this Palin “noise” signifies a lot though I personally am getting overdosed. I get the picture. Especially for those undecideds who could not see some things before, perhaps the choice of Palin is something that they can see. For whatever Palin’s values are and however she is actually exciting many conservatives right now, she is not ready to be Vice-President never-mind ready to be President. This is not only a very risky choice for McCain but more importantly it’s risky for the country, should McCain’s gamble pay off and should he win. Putting her on the ticket is a disservice to the country. But it was all about strategy and not about putting the country first.
Also, I have to say that I think McCain himself is damaged from his POW experience. He was hopping mad tonight about the questions.
And I see McCain as being caught in a vice or a cage right now, not his own man, if he ever once was.
“The real issue here is the betrayal of Palin’s own religious values that such a pregnancy represents. I can hear evangelicals across America groan as they read this news or hear it on their TVs. While Christians are supposed to be a forgiving lot”
Let us comment here, shall we?
“The real issue here is the betrayal of Palin’s own religious values that such a pregnancy represents.”
This is a poster child for how abstinence edukashon and preying real real hard kinda does not work. The pee pee went into the briar patch…
Oh and by the by, the man was 26, the girl 17… or younger.
Naw, not for republikans.
“While Christians are supposed to be a forgiving lot”
What gave you THAT idea?
Not American xtians, that’s for sure.
Somehow the “turn the other cheek” sermon is not very much in use these days.
“Neither is love your neighbor”, come to think of it…
Richard Silverstein says
@americangoy: I think the boy is 18 yrs old, not 26. He’s in high school so I hope he’s not 26!
John Dickerson says
Do we know for certain that it was not an immaculate conception? I think they should name the child “Abstinance”!
John Dickerson says
ellen said: This “election campaign” looks more and more like a soap opera.
I’m listening to Ms. Palin’s big speech right now and I’m channeling “I Dream of Jeannie”. Go figure!
Norman Weinstein says
So now we have a red-meat Valkyrie as a VP candidate, or perhaps she’s a reactionary Barbie doll. Hardly matters what we call this “rose”, she’s pretty damned remarkable, hanging her pregnant kid out there for all the world to ogle. And that, together with all those shots of the hot-shot jock who did the kid in should go a very long way nationally to encourage teen pregnancy, even its desirability, given the exciting center-stage focus and acceptability such love-making seems to bring. Way to go, Sarah! And with your utterly idealistic opposition to abortion even where rape or incest precedes impregnation, might we not logically conclude that you are thus a de facto supporter of the procreation rights of rapists and incest perpetrators? Good God, only in America, even where the candidate’s state isn’t a contiguous one! At least this troglodytic creature is good looking and thus just right, along with her charming all-American family, for endless photo ops in support of her fellow candidate, who never met a bomb he didn’t like. It is truly a strange kind of relief to sense that we could have four years of governance which makes that of the previous eight actually look liberal, because suicide does promise a means of escape.
I am valkyrie says
While it is nice to have a (VP) candidate whose values are proven wrong and dysfunctional (and should be mentioned as such again and again), the real problem of this election are different:
1. Comments in The Nation-link did mention the risk of some kind of crisis in early november which will help McCain win (and I cannot jump to an idea how average voters could stop the making of something like that)
2. hired hacks getting access to enough voting machines (Princeton university and a university in the Netherlands have published reports how easy it is to manipulate them) or worse, the central computers where the data are stored (was there not a TV show with Howard Dean where somebody showed this in 2000?)
As the Carter foundation does not watch elections in the US you need lots of election watchers, but there are not too many trained people in Europe either as we are just beginning to see the risk in voting machines!
John Dickerson says
The Elephant in the Room
Bristol Palin’s pregnancy has been met with widespread acceptance — and even enthusiasm — by women attending the Republican convention.
by Dana Goldstein
John Dickerson says
ANOTHER GOOD ONE:
This week in the religious right: Special Convention Edition! The religious right loves Sarah Palin and conservatives prepare to get out the vote in November.
by Sarah Posner | September 3, 2008 |
“Last year, she signed a resolution designating an Alaska Christian Heritage Week.”
Sarah Palin Blog says
We can’t afford 4 more years of the same. Grampie McSame and Caribu Barbie have got to go!
J Porcaro says
A question. How can Sarah Palin manage our government when she can’t manage her own family? Regardless of what anyone says or thinks, teen-age pregnancy is NOT OK. Children shouldn’t be having children…period. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s the parents’ responsibility to look out for the welfare of their minor children.
I’m shocked that Sarah Palin would even consider accepting nomination. Now, by default, teenage pregnancy has the stamp of approval of the Republican party.
I can only hope that people smarten up before November.