Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lay Off Bristol

Even Obama gets it. Yesterday he told reporters that Bristol Palin’s pregnancy has no relevance to the campaign. The NY Times reports that he said, “Our people were not involved in any way in this and they will not be. And if I ever thought there was somebody in my campaign that was involved in something like that, they’d be fired, O.K.?…I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories.”

Good for Obama. If only my friends would listen to their so-called Obama god and stop saying it’s “hilarious” that Palin has a pregnant teenage daughter. They see it as hypocritical of a governor who supports abstinence-only sex education in her state to have her eldest daughter get knocked up. Or they’re like Sally Quinn and think that Governor Palin can’t possibly juggle such family drama and the vice presidency at the same time.

Let me respond by first saying that Michele and Barack Obama are working parents, and yet no one is questioning their commitment to their children. As McCain’s chief strategist told the NY Times yesterday, Palin has “been a very effective governor and again I can’t imagine that question being asked of a man.”  I don’t think it would actually occur to me to ask this question of Hilary or Nancy Pelosi at any stage of their child-rearing years.

Such discussion leads to another comment made by the liberal pundits this weekend – isn’t there some classism going on, considering that Bristol Palin has so much more support compared to a typical poor black teenage mother? Well, yes, she does have a better network of support and wealth. Is this really a ding against the Governor though? Maybe Sarah Palin will now actually have more sympathy for families dealing with this problem. Maybe she’ll understand the range of emotions a young person experiences when faced with such a difficult choice. The pain associated with becoming a mother when you’re not ready isn’t only related to not being financially supported – it’s very much based inside the individual and her family dynamics. I bet Sarah Palin understands this better than so many of us, even if we’ve known families dealing with teenage pregnancies.

Liberals have also argued that Palin’s support of abstinence-only sex education seems to have bitten her in the foot here – did it not work even for her own daughter? they ask. To this I say a couple things – first, to apply a statistic to an individual case is a recognized academic no-no. Who knows what the circumstances surrounding Bristol’s pregnancy are?  They could have been related to carelessness, emotional difficulties, or any number of things. We’re all well aware of these if we watch Lifetime teen pregnancy specials. It wasn’t necessarily her lack of access to or misunderstanding of birth control. For all we know, in a family where the mother is the governor of the state, such issues could have been openly debated and discussed at great length.

Second, whether or not you agree with Palin about abstinence-only education, you have to wonder how many teen pregnancies are the result of pure ignorance about how condoms and birth control pills work, and how many are the result of other factors. Perhaps sex ed needs to present all the relevant facts, but also make teens feel more secure about waiting to have sex. Personally, I think the biggest factor pushing kids into sex is social pressure, not what teens learn in the classroom, so an education that makes abstinence appear normal – while still presenting factual information – might not be such a bad idea. But I digress.

So what does Bristol’s pregnancy say about Sarah’s family values, which evangelicals prize so highly in their candidates? I’d say that the Palins are doing the best they can – Bristol is marrying the father. I don’t see how an evangelical family would want otherwise for their children. They’re playing exactly by the books.

And look, I’m close to people who’ve dealt with this issue, and I know that they’re good parents. There’s a limit to how much you can control your child in this country, since we don’t lock teenagers up or put tracking collars on them (yet…). After a certain point, teenagers have the information they need and must make choices for themselves.

Finally, there have been great presidents with renegade children who have done worse, such as John Adam’s alcoholic son Charles, James Madison’s stepson John Payne Todd who was an “alcoholic, a gambler and a thief," and Ronald Reagan’s “renegade” daughter who posed for Playboy, to name a few. Hey, if this were England, the scandals of the nation’s leaders’ children would be the main income-generators of many well-read tabloids!


12 comments:

Ferny for McCain at Stanford said...

Great post!!!!

We love Sarah Palin.

McCain-Palin '08!!!

suek said...

What I've heard is that Sarah objects to "explicit sexual eduation" in the high schools.
So, what does that mean, exactly. C'mon folks...how many hours does it take to explain the birds and the bees? Now consider sex education...1 hour a day, 5 days a week - how many years? I don't know. Sex education now seems to include specifics on homosexuality as well. It seems to me that objecting to "explicit sexual education" may well mean that she doesn't think that sex ed should be a "how to" instead of a "how not to".

Just exactly _what_ is being taught to high schoolers these days? Anybody know?

Jake said...

Did you really say we can learn these things from Lifetime after school specials? Are you serious? I think Bristol was already putting on her own "after school specials" for her (self-proclaimed)f***ing redneck boyfriend. And why haven't I heard anything about the wedding plans, when did he propose to her?

TheMassMouth said...

OF COURSE Bristol is nobody's business. As you say, BHO gets that too.

But...that Bristol has been forced into the issue-sphere demonstrates the extent to which extremism -- hyper-fueled by net-roots right and left -- has impacted & infected sensible political discourse in this "boob-ocracy" (as H. L. Mencken called it) of ours.

To be continued below...

TheMassMouth said...

...continued as promised:

Today on NPR I heard an interview with Senator Sam Brownback re the Sarah Palin pick. One sentence stuck out. He said that "until Palin, we haven't had any excitement in four years."

Gee thanks, Senator. So, John McCain's nomination wasn't exciting ? The thought of a President who is strong & true, a fighter & a reformer, wasn't exciting ?

"Now," he said, "we're excited.

Who exactly does he mean by "we" ?

You know who he means. The Bible Bingers. The Genesis Police. Folks who think they have a right to an act of Congress to invade your soul.

These are the folks who have never supported John McCain in anything, yet to whom John McCain just delivered a prize that, so far, has overshadowed him & threatens to make him an after thought at his own convention.

And I, a John McCain supporter since 2000, am supposed to be happy about this ? Am supposed to accept the situaion ? No and No.

There is no place for Bryanism -- Scopes Trial, pitchfork racism, and silver-tongued Bible populism -- in a Progressive, Teddy Roosevelt, reformist, overseas strong, multi-cultural, John McCain political party.

There will be payback once this election is over. Believe it.

That, or the Democrats, for all their 40 year history of cravenness in foreign affairs and vaguely anti-American mindset, will run the country for the next 20 years.

And if they do, as bad as it might be re erican power, at least folks won't have to live in a theocracy ruled by Scopes Trial wahoo's.

Vote! said...

It is quite disgusting that if Palin were a man these questions about her daughter and her values and her famliy would not be discussed or batted around in the media nearly as much. It would be a one sentence blurb and everyone would move on. I feel for Govenor Palin and her famliy. I am sure they expected it to be tough but I bet they didn't expect to be attacked so viciously.

TheMassMouth said...

I continue to be angry that John McCain -- MY hero, if I can be permitted to have one -- has allowed those in the Republican party who hate him the most to dictate to him his VP choice and thus put his election at risk. Let us recall that these are people who have openly defied John McCain, who threaten to walk out, who destroyed George Bush's Harriet Miers nomination, who chided Dick Cheney when he defended the right of his lesbian daughter to live her own lifestyle ("freedom means freedom for everyone," he very justifiably said), people who respect no one and nothing in the Republican party, who only use the Republican Party to advance a religious, not political, agenda and to hell with anything or anyone else.

So here we are. Clearly John Mcain WANTED To run with Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge as his running mate. Far, far better choices than a woman who is, to be sure, an unspoiled, authentically average mom (albeit with kook views on many things), and someone who with her Alaska Oil & Gas Commission service, would definitely make a capable energy czar, or advisor on energy issues but in no way a VP.

I mean, she's sort of our Jimmy Carter -- him a small town peanut farmer and one term governor -- and you know how THAT presidency turned out...

Having heard Fred Thompson's terrific speech Tuesday night I wondered, why didn't Big Mac pick him to be his running mate ?

If John McCain wanted a woman, why not Senator Olympia Snowe ? Why not Meg Whitman ? Why not Congresswoman Deborah Pryce of Columbus, Ohio ? All of these have long and successful experience in government or in business.

Why not ? You know very well why not.

So now there is a BIG problem overhanging the convention. And make no mistae. The Democrat attack on Sarah Palin is an attack on John McCain -- his judgment, his vetting process, his willingness to let a politician as untried as BHO sit a heartbea away from the presidency -- and the attack is not an unwarranted one.

Of course every Rpublican politician interviewed by the media is suddenly cock-a-hoop for Sarah Palin -- do you believe they are ? I don't. So now we've become a party of liars, as much so as the Democrats, who are all so publicly whooping it up for a candidate many of them despise.

Or, John McCain has picked someone so insignificant that it's clear she'll be a nobody in his administration, a return to the days when the VP WAS nothing, or almost so. After all, his mother is 96 years old and strong. So why can't he thrive a full 8 years as our president ? So that he can gladly throw the religionists a bone without putting the country at risk, and meanwhile VP Palin can acquire some necessary experience in the office of understudy. And yes, that she will do. And in the meantime will definitely not be another Dick Cheney co-president...

Still, it's a wing and a prayer choice, and so here he are, sitting on edge, hoping that Big Mac can wow us all on Thursday with a message of reform and go charging, like his (and my) hero Teddy Roosevelt, all the way up the San Juan Hill of our times -- an election in which the Republican brand looks very, VERY damaged -- and into the presidency.

I remain hopeful. To recall what Fred Thompson so eloquently said last night about John McCain in the Hanoi Hilton, "He had hope. That is ALL that he had."

Ferny for McCain at Stanford said...

TheMassMouth,

I don't know what to make of you really. You say,

"Let us recall that these are people who have openly defied John McCain, who threaten to walk out, who destroyed George Bush's Harriet Miers nomination

The truth of the matter is,

"The nomination was met with opposition from BOTH sides of the political spectrum"

I am beginning to think that you are a Trojan Horse from the enemy since each day you show up here repeating word by word the smears of the liberals. Oh, and BTW, I am still waiting for an apology for your support to these guys, who are responsible for the only life threats that I have known in my life.

suek said...

>>So that he can gladly throw the religionists a bone without putting the country at risk,>>

What is _with_ you? would you prevent anyone who professes a religion from voting? If not, do you really expect them to ignore the teachings of their religion on how life should be lived? If so, what should they base their decisions on?

What do _you_ base your decisions on?

I agree with Ferny - you're a troll.

TheMassMouth said...

to ferney: read my comment on the next recent blog.

I am now thoriughly convinced. Sarah Palin is FABULOUS. I LOVED her speech. And I apol;ogize to Big Mac for having doubted his instincts. This was a terrific convention, as it turned out. Big Mac confirmed my long standing faith in him.

As for the guys who threatened you, if I supported them it was certainly in ignorance of those threats. There is no place in political discourse for that sort of thing. None. Nada.

As Big Mac said in his own speech when interrupted, "Americas want to stop yelling at each other!"

TheMassMouth said...

I just clicked on your THESE GUYS link.

You can be assured that I detest those guys and all that they stand for. Though I see no reason why Spain cannot become a federation of states, I of course reject terrorism of any kind, root and branch. Besides THOSE GUYS do not want a federation. I'm not sure they know WHAT they want other than to spread terror for its own sake.

TheMassMouth said...

This election is not about me. However, as I've been gratuitously insulted here because I refuse to accept "Christian" as a political program, I shall one last time say this:

1.I am NOT a "social conservative."
2.I am an economic conservative, more or less.
3.I am a foreign policy HAWK.
4.I might be viewed, more or less, as a libertarian, though I in no way ascribe to the rather kooky positions on foreign policy and civil rights that one hears from the Libertarian party.
5. In MA, where I live and am a Republican Ward Committee Chairman in my city, we have often elected economic conservative, socially "liberal" governors. Case in point: Bill Weld, who served two terms and was re-elected here with 70 % of the vote against a great grandson of Teddy Roosevelt. That's who we are, and when we present an attractive candidate in that mold, we do well in this supposed "blue" state.

I have been a solid supporter of John McCain since 2000 and an admirer of his long before.

I was my city's election co-ordinator for Ronald Reagan's re-election in 1984 -- my proudest moment in politics, until the day that John McCain is elected President.

I am also a journalist and a webcast DJ at the Boston Phoenix newsweekly. That's right, I am in the MEDIA. As was my Mom before me. I was born an inkhorn and remain one -- a rare McCainiac surrounded by very left-thinking types.

NOW. ONE LAST THOUGHT. Political discourse on the internet, I have found, is nastier, unfairer, and more in the hands of extremists than any political venue I have ever participated in. Though at the newspaper at which I write I am the ONLY Republican, I have never, ever been addressed in anything like the ravening language that I have seen addressd to me on internet political websites.

As I've said, this election is not about The Mass Mouth. Henceforth here I shall simply report on the campaign, as I see it and hear it, being a journalist and a journalist only and without responding to posts by others that I do not agree with.