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September 01, 2008

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Sarah Palin is a red herring anyways. She is a scent thrown in the opposite direction to get the dogs to chase her while McCain gets away! Keep Mrs. Palin on the sidelines and focus on McCain. He's the one who will supposedly lead the country anyways, not Mrs. Palin.

Likewise, I think that arguing about whether Sarah Palin is a good mother is out of line: we have no idea at all what arrangements she and her husband have made for child care, how their relationship works, and so forth. Assuming that Sarah Palin would have to be her children's primary caregiver is just sexist.

It's also stupid. I think we--and I'm speaking for most humans here--try to use family decisions as predictors for what a politician would do in office, and that's just a bad idea all the way around. We make different sorts of decisions in our relationships than we do when we're in charge of something that has less personal meaning to us, whether we're a presidential candidate or the assistant night manager at a Taco Bell. We're more invested in the outcome when it's personal.

Besides, there's a far greater amount of information about her policy positions that's relevant to whether or not she'd be a good V.P.--and it overwhelmingly points toward no. So why even go after the personal? It makes us look petty.

But there's this I don't understand.

Palin said in her statement that she hopes the media and public respect the couple's privacy. That's fair enough, certainly. But there's a difference between what you can demand of others and what you might expect them to do.

To take the extreme and obvious example, Paris Hilton could ask for her privacy and even demand it, but she shouldn't expect it.

Given this, I don't understand why it's not fair to say: if her daughter's privacy was really that important to her, she shouldn't have accepted the job. There are *plenty* of people in this country qualified to be VP.

Ara, that's the best articulation of what I wanted to say on this matter! The daughter is very pregnant. And the way that our campaigns work, there is nothing but the brightest spotlight on the family in the running. And the bottom line is, knowing your daughter is 5-6 months pregnant, is now the best time to make the run for VP? How would it be possible that this wouldn't become public? It just adds one more item to the unbelievably long list of bad bad judgement and poor vetting.


If the past is any guide, some people will respond to this post by saying that the Republicans would not hesitate to use Democrats' teenage children to score political points. That may be. Three responses: first, so what? Just because they do it doesn't mean that we should. Second, any argument for going there would have to assume that this would, in fact, be a political winner, and thus that not using it would entail some sort of political sacrifice. I am not at all convinced that that is true. Most importantly, though, there are some lines I'm not willing to cross no matter what the other side does.

The only improvement I could make on this statement is to replace "Democrats" and "Republicans" with "my side" and "the opposition". The ethical principles are the same on either side of the mirror and one way I recognize principled conservatives whom I respect while disagreeing with them over policy details, is that they live by the same motto.

The ends do not justify the means. Bad means will inevitably corrupt good ends.

Enough said. Bronze it. Have it chiseled into granite. Put it in the FAQ.

We are defined as much by the choices we make in attempting to advance our preferred policies and candidates as we are but what those preferences are.

I've so far seen this story used to question McCain's judgment and his vetting process, to question Sarah Palin's commitment to (and the viability of) her hardline social conservative positions, and as a news peg to rebut Andrew Sullivan"s wilder fantasizing.

That doesn't strike me as outside the realm of decency or intrusive upon Bristol Palin's very legitimate claims to privacy, so I'm a little perplexed by the "I want no part of this" grandiosity here.

As a political matter, this story serves to starkly underline how little we know about Sarah Palin as a potential president. Which, in turn, makes Barack Obama and Joe Biden a bit more familiar and reassuring in comparison.

I think Bristol is off limits too. But what does strike me about this, is her mother and McCain's camp throwing Bristol onto the national stage to squelch rumors that have been circulating in Alaska for several months. That's shameless. The child deserved privacy, but instead she was outed by her own family.

Not just her daughter, but all your daughters.

Sarah Palin believes that teenagers shouldn't be given the kind of sex ed lessons that mean they find out, ideally before they want to have sex, how to have sex without getting pregnant/getting someone else pregnant. Sarah Palin believes that the only thing schools should tell teenagers about sex is don't have sex till you get married.

That's Governor Palin's public opinion. Her children are offlimits for public discussion: but Palin's (and McCain's) belief that the best way to keep teenagers "safe" is to keep them ignorant is not, I hope.

I would add too in response to the "So what? The Republicans do it" claim: If the sleaze and the invasion of privacy don't stop you, the practicalities should: THIS STORY DOES NOT HELP US.

Let the Republicans implode without our help on this one.

I personally see no problem/connection between accepting the VP position and her daughter being pregnant. Take for example Hillary Clinton. Say, Chelsea were 10 years younger and turn out to be pregnant. Do you really assume that in that case Hillary should have abstained from running (No doubt the GOPistas would try to use it against her but they would anyway). I would not think that. It's not the pregnant daughter running for president but her mother for VP. If candidate Palin would (ab)use her pregnant daughter for the campaign that would be of course a different matter.

By far the most important aspect of the Palin candidacy is the question whether she's prepared to make decisions that could lead to American involvement in war, and could put America's security interests in jeopardy--and the related question whether McCain asked and answered the foregoing questions as he should have.

Looking for evidence pertinent to answering these questions, a seventeen-year-old's pregnancy doesn't loom very large.

Hartmut,

Let me be clear. I am perfectly fine with a parent running for office with a pregnant daughter. My problem is that if you want to keep the pregnancy private and secret (which is what the McCain-Palin campaign is saying), then you can't run for office. You can't have it both ways!

Although I believe in privacy (even for politicians themselves, not just their children), that changes when one of the obvious talking point about this candidate is that "she talks the talk" and "she walks the walk". Now, when you make your "walking the walk" in your private life a reason for your candidacy, it seems like it should be okay to ask whether "walking the walk" has worked out. Because if it hasn't, maybe both the talk and the walk have problems.

Since there is a discussion about pregnancies in the Palin family anyway, the announcement seems to be the logical way and more like a "G0dammitt, yes she is pregnant now, so your conspiracy theory that my DS child is actually my grandchild just got blown out of the amniotic fluid. Now leave my family alone or at least out of the campaign!"
Classic flight forward defense.

And to add to my prior post, that doesn't mean in any way that I would approve of trashing the daughter. In fact, I think it's totally normal for teenage girls to have sex. But once someone's pregnancy is announced, I can acknowledge it as a fact. I'm not judging the daughter at all - just the Mom's "walk" and "talk".

Hartmut: Say, Chelsea were 10 years younger and turn out to be pregnant. Do you really assume that in that case Hillary should have abstained from running (No doubt the GOPistas would try to use it against her but they would anyway). I would not think that.

No, not at all.

But I do think that the Palins ought to have realised that since Governor Palin's public policy positions do not mesh with her private family circumstances (that is, she's a politician who makes a thing out of asserting that the best way to stop teenage girls from getting pregnant is to tell them not to have sex), Governor Palin needed to think hard and carefully about how to break the news of her private family circumstances to the world, not just hope no one would find out till it became moot. I don't say she shouldn't have done it: just that she didn't do it well.

Certainly dealing with the story in the limelight of the MSM would not be optimal. But it should be used to underline how differences in class and family situation make some of the policy prescriptions that Palin herself argues for (and, I suppose, McCain, but I'm not sure if he's arguing for them, or simply pandering to them and would take any position that he thought would help him get into the White House) deeply discriminatory. If one agrees that privacy is some right, then you can't argue for mandatory reporting of abortions, you have a hard time arguing for required parental approval for abortions. Privacy means you give up the right to question decisions, because you can say 'I'm sorry, it's none of your business'. How precisely does one square that with the anti-abortion positions that Palin herself holds? As a matter of electoral politics, stay away, but intellectual honesty should compel us to examine it.

Q: Sen. McCain, recently your Vice Presidential candidate said that she wasn't that familiar with the Surge™ and had only read some vague newspaper accounts of it. How can she be ready to lead if she doesn't know the basic details of one of the centerpieces of your campaign?

Sen. St. BBQ of the Holy POW: Well, as I'm sure you know, Gov. Palin has a lot on her plate these days, what with five children, including the youngest who is only five month's old and has down's syndrome, plus a pregnant teenage daughter, I'm sure you'll understand if she's had other things on her mind lately.

Q: But if so much of her time is taken up with family issues, how can she be an effective advisor and Vice President?

Sen. SBOTHP: How dare you question her commitment to her family and her relationship with her children!!

One other important point to make before anyone tries to use this to make points about sex education: they should try to confirm what was actually taught in Bristol Palin's school. It's always possible that they have a comprehensive sex education program in spite of her parents' political beliefs. If that's the case, using her school sex education to make a point about abstinence only could blow up in your face.

Observer: By far the most important aspect of the Palin candidacy is the question whether she's prepared to make decisions that could lead to American involvement in war, and could put America's security interests in jeopardy

Well, that question has already been asked and answered: no, she isn't.

And I believe the only talking-point the GOP have to claim that she is is that "Alaska borders on Russia".

Completely agree.

Obviously, if the original scandal were true, that would be a legitimate topic for discussion, but the simple fact of a pregnant teenager is not.

Let me put it another way. Both McCain and Palin could have taken action to spare this woman of even the possibility of this being an issue. And neither of them did. Instead, they passed the buck to unscrupulous reporters. Now Palin's daughter is at the mercy of their judgment.

And, Harmut, of course we all agree with the general idea that there's nothing wrong with running for veep if your daughter is pregnant. But not all pregnancies are the same. People and the press have a lurid fascination with teen pregnancies, with anything that tarnishes the image of people in power (or their family members). They just do. There's a big difference between a pregnant (let's say married) twentysomething Chelsea and a pregnant 17-year old unmarried Bristol.

I'm not saying these distinctions are fair or just. I'm just saying that they are there. It's really in parallel to John Edwards' affair. In an ideal world, it shouldn't matter to his presidential aspirations. But we all know as a practical matter, it does. Given that it does, it was profoundly irresponsible and reckless for him to do what he did and nullify the efforts of all those people who worked for and donated to him. It's hardly any kind of defense to say it shouldn't matter.

And Sarah Palin, like John Edwards, has to make decisions in the world as it is, not in the world as it ought to be.

I think that arguing about whether Sarah Palin is a good mother is out of line: we have no idea at all what arrangements she and her husband have made for child care, how their relationship works, and so forth. Assuming that Sarah Palin would have to be her children's primary caregiver is just sexist.

Thanks for this.

Also:
Barack Obama's mother was an unmarried teenager too when she got pregnant, and was only 18 when she gave birth.
This doesn't mean Barack's mother couldn't raise him properly because she was very young, or that his grandmother wasn't a good mother because her daughter got pregnant when she was still a teenager.


By far the most important aspect of the Palin candidacy is the question whether she's prepared to make decisions that could lead to American involvement in war, and could put America's security interests in jeopardy--and the related question whether McCain asked and answered the foregoing questions as he should have.

Well put.

Secondarily, do her social conservative policy views put her far enough outside the political mainstream that a majority of voters should consider her ascension to the Presidency as an unacceptable result?

Nate at 538 put together a comparison of her policy preferences with polling on those issues and came up with a qualified "maybe" on that question. It depends a lot on the nuances of the issues in question (both with regard to her answers and how the issue polls with the voters), whether she is well outside the mainstream, or merely on one side of it while still "coloring inside the lines" so to speak. Judge for yourself.

I expect that there will be some hedging and clarifications in the future as she trims some of her views towards the political middle, especially on global warming and science education.

Yeargh. I just heard someone on NPR saying Palin was "much friendlier toward gay rights" than McCain. This seems to be a new talking point, though I've seen no evidence for it (other than her saying she has gay friends). Supporting amending the state constitution to deny health benefits to same-sex couples is not gay-friendly.

Ara: I'm fine with questioning Sarah Palin's judgment on a lot of things, though in practice I think that questioning very personal decisions like how she deals with her children are likely to involve a whole lot of speculation and very little actual information.

All I'm saying is: her child did not ask for this. For all I know, she might have been thrilled that her mom would run for VP, or she might have been heartsick at the thought that her own private everything was about to be chewed over by the media. Sarah Palin might have considered her views before deciding, or she might not have. I have no idea.

For that reason, I'm leaving her out of it. Sarah Palin's own willingness to act on her convictions when her family is involved is, as I said, a different matter: that's all about Sarah Palin.

It is fair to say that the Palin family is a highwire act? She has five children. One is going to be deploying to Iraq. One is an infant with DS. And one is a pregnant teenager.

And she's running for VP.

She really must be uber-Mom. My God.

Very very classy, Hilzoy.

I do think that it has to be both painful and embarrassing for Palin's daughter to have this pregnancy suddenly be national news. And I realize it's very suburban mommie of me, and perhaps sexist, but I do find it regrettable that Palin, knowing of the pregnancy, was willing to take a position that she must have realized would make a difficult time for her daughter much, much harder.

"Governor Palin's public policy positions do not mesh with her private family circumstances (that is, she's a politician who makes a thing out of asserting that the best way to stop teenage girls from getting pregnant is to tell them not to have sex)"

Ok, I missed where she asserted that it was an infallible way to stop teenage girls from getting pregnant.

Roger Moore: One other important point to make before anyone tries to use this to make points about sex education: they should try to confirm what was actually taught in Bristol Palin's school. It's always possible that they have a comprehensive sex education program in spite of her parents' political beliefs. If that's the case, using her school sex education to make a point about abstinence only could blow up in your face.

Well, not really. If their children went to a public school in Alaska, they got abstinence-only sex education, because Alaska has accepted the federal funding that means that's what public schools are paid to teach - that's according to Bush's political beliefs, which he has imposed upon parents through the US, and which McCain plans to continue.

If the Palins chose to have their children go to a private school which didn't take federal funding and which taught comprehensive sex education, then that says something else about the Palins. (We've had this before in the UK: Labour politicians who are all for state schools... but send their children to private schools. Never goes down well with the voters.)

We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby...

This is fair game. Does she believe in the right to choice or doesn't she? And if not, doesn't that place her far out of the mainstream in this country?

Since my research, concerning Black and Latino fundamentalist (and Evangelicals and Fundamentalists are interchangeable in this context), and their views on the state and social programs, it is obvious that there is a distinctive class difference between them and the white counterparts. The Bush years seemed to have added more Latino fundamentalists in the right-wing column, but not many and Black Fundies still do not trust white right-wingers. Latino and Black fundamentalists just do not view social programs and abortion the same way as White fundamentalists. And it seems to be more racial than class that is the break concerning social programs among most Fundamentalists is seen to break down by racial lines.

Palin, and fundamentalists like her, will never see their family dramas as symptoms of their character; however they will demand that others view these same types of families’ dramas as symptoms of the moral failures of the poor.

She can afford (financially) the dramas of teenage sex, and recover just fine.

Brett: Ok, I missed where she asserted that it was an infallible way to stop teenage girls from getting pregnant.

Actually, most supporters of abstinence-only education do claim that it's the "only 100 percent effective method". Whether Palin has ever echoed those words, I don't know.

If it were up to me, there would be a total ban on even mentioning her for at least a week. That at the moment we talk about pretty nothing else (and Palin is also in the process of being inserted into the Gustav trouble), we are playing the GOP's game.
Let the media dig into the Wassila archives and present their findings in a fortnight or so but now the target should be the GOP convention and the way both parties deal with the hurricane (Obama e.g. seems to react to it in an examplary way).

charles: This is fair game

No, it's not. One would hope that the Palins would be proud of their daughter whatever her decision. It is not fair to Bristol Palin to pick this statement apart.

Hartmut: If it were up to me, there would be a total ban on even mentioning her for at least a week.

Fair enough, actually. I'll take that pledge - till Tuesday 9th September.

Hilzoy: The reason I feel comfortable advancing the argument I have is:

(1) It really is about Palin and not her daughter.
(2) It seems to me that the basic facts of the situation have a kind of indefeasibility. She knew her daughter was pregnant. She knew there was a not insignificant chance that a hungry national press corps could make things difficult for her daughter. And she went along anyway. To take your example, even if her daughter were thrilled, does that really change Palin's calculus? I'm not sure that it does. Presumably, Palin has a better since of the risks here than her daughter does. So: indefeasibility. That's what I'm hanging my hat on.

I guess it could be argued that advancing this argument, as a practical matter, will make it more likely that others induce more mean-spirited arguments, and that, therefore, the most prudent policy towards it is an omerta. That may be true. And I won't defend against that, except to say that it's a criticism against advancing the argument, not against the point itself.

I feel so sorry for Bristol. I'm sure not only is she embarassed, she is also concerned that her actions will affect Mommy's career. I bet that's a comfortable family environment right now.

Poor girl, 17, baby, husband, and national press coverage. I would flee to Russia if I were her.

Let her be "she who must not be named or even mentioned" ;-)

Poor girl, 17, baby, husband, and national press coverage. I would flee to Russia if I were her.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diomede_Islands>Little Diomede Island should be sufficient. ;-)

Feh. If the point of releasing this information was to "knock down rumors by liberal bloggers that Palin faked her own pregnancy to cover up for her child." We only need to know one thing: Bristol is five months pregnant. We don't need to know:

(i) that "Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby, McCain aides said."

(ii) that's she's decided to have the baby.

(iii) that's she's decided to raise the baby.

(iv) that she's decided to marry the father.

(v) the father's name is Levi.

Further, the McCain camp sure as fncking hell doesn't tar Obama with this, such as with this nonsense like: "The despicable rumors that have been spread by liberal blogs, some even with Barack Obama's name in them, is a real anchor around the Democratic ticket, pulling them down in the mud in a way that certainly juxtaposes themselves against their 'campaign of change,"' a senior aide said.

So, we get to sit here and let the McCain campaign make at least three significant political points with this story, throw out a blatant lie that "the media to respect our daughter and Levi's privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates", and also accuse Obama of starting the rumors. Plus, they get an all purpose club to beat off any mistakes Palin makes from now until November.

Hilzoy this is the first left leaning blog I have come across that has (not saying there aren't others-just the ones I routinely read) said "hands off, because it is wrong."

I have see a few that said it was bad for their side, and I think they are right.

Just wanted to say hats off to you on this one. There are certainly issues you can raise about Palin's fitness to be the VP nominee, but her children aren't among them-or at least they shouldn't be.

Bristol's "decision": If abortion is murder, what is there to decide on? Unless you are a mafia don who can get away with murder, people do not murder period.
It is not about the girl, it is about the politician.

The small-town, high-psychodrama implosion of this family is astounding. Hilzoy's call for decency is certainly persuasive on philosophical level, but when so much of their campaign looks like it will be based on the in-touch-with-the-heartlandness of Palin and her family, how exactly does one attack their ruthless and ridiculous campaign without touching on the family's affairs? Sullivan's approach was lurid, and that Kos diarist was over the top, but come on. This family is one half public relations strategy, one-half crazy Christer, and one-half abuse of power. I know that's one-half too many, but the cup overfloweth. THEY don't draw a clear line between the powers of the state and the dramas of their family. So do we have to INVENT one out of a sense of propriety?

I for one have no problem pointing out that Sarah Palin and John McCain want to use the full power of the state, up to and including imprisonment, to force every single female citizen of the United States to make exactly the same 'choice' that Bristol Palin made. They want to post armed guards at the cervix of every single female citizen and yet we have right to discuss the utterly public consequences of their approach to humanity? Sure, we could make that point sans Bristol, but they haven't really given us a choice on this matter. THEY made her the poster-child for their Xtianist dystopia. We don't have to say anything about her personally, but to draw a bright line where none exists makes it impossible to take about it entirely impersonally also.

following up on Ugh's comment, IOKIYAR should be changed to INHIYAR (It's not hypocrisy if you are Republican)

In fact, now that I think about it more, we didn't even have to know that Bristol was pregnant to knock down the rumors. All that had to be done was release Sarah's medical records documenting her pregnancy, as Andrew Sullivan has been saying for the past few days.

Instead, they're holding up Bristol and he soon to be husband as a shield. My freinds, that's family values we can believe in.

Ara: yeah, I do see that it's about Sarah Palin, not her daughter. That said, I think that in cases like this, it's important to try to spin out as many different scenarios as possible for how the decision to run at a time like this might have played out, and what each would say about Palin's ability to govern, and then ask yourself: do I really know enough to run with this?

It could be a selfish thing to do -- though not more selfish than a lot of similar decisions. (Was Bill Clinton selfish to run, given that he knew that if he won, it would mean that his daughter would have to spend her high school dating years constantly accompanied by secret service? I mean that seriously: I think that that would be a Big Big Deal in high school. No privacy at parties. No going out with guys without a team of escorts who will probably tell your Dad everything, and will certainly intimidate the hell out of your dates. Your entire high school years spent not as, well, you, but as "the President's daughter". Ugh.)

It could be that she's both in a deeply prickly and rebellious stage, and has made it clear that she doesn't want her Mom to think of her at all, and will interpret any hesitation on her Mom's part as condescension and patronizing and total disrespect, and will forthwith go into a state of war if she suspects any such thing.

It could be anything at all. We have no idea.

the sp*mbot code for that last comment was 'sexsks'. I find myself wishing John Thullen would write something about this.

Sorry, should have been: They want to post armed guards at the cervix of every single female citizen and yet we have NO right to discuss the utterly public consequences of their approach to humanity?

I've seen no evidence for it

i think this is what people are talking about.

    Gov. Sarah Palin vetoed a bill Thursday that sought to block the state from giving public employee benefits such as health insurance to same-sex couples.

    In the first veto of an administration that isn't yet a month old, Palin said she rejected the bill despite her disagreement with a state Supreme Court order earlier this month that directed the state to offer benefits to same-sex partners of state employees.

    Advice from her new attorney general said the bill passed by the Legislature was unconstitutional, she said.

    "Signing this bill would be in direct violation of my oath of office," Palin said in a prepared statement released by her administration Thursday night.

not so much pro gay rights, as much as anti unconstitutional bills.

Governor Palin needed to think hard and carefully about how to break the news of her private family circumstances to the world, not just hope no one would find out till it became moot. I don't say she shouldn't have done it: just that she didn't do it well.

I think Jes makes an excellent point here. It would have been wiser, I think, and quite possibly easier on Bristol, for Palin to have been forthright about this from the beginning. Possibly she could have said something about real families with real issues to deal with, etc.

Trying to keep it secret was futile, looks stupid, and can't help but make Bristol feel that she has damaged her mother's ambitions.

Loneoak: THEY don't draw a clear line between the powers of the state and the dramas of their family. So do we have to INVENT one out of a sense of propriety?

Yes, we do.

I'm okay with talking about Palin's decision to fly from Texas to Alaska while in labor with a DS baby who would need immediate medical attention as soon as born. Palin's an adult politician who decided to accept the nomination for Vice President knowing this would mean every little decision like that would go public.

I'm okay with talking about Palin's public support for abstinence-only education and removal of legal access to safe abortion. Those are issues I would have been raising anyway, given McCain is also pro abstinence-only education and anti-safe/legal abortion.

I'm also okay with Obsidian Wings having a flat rule that the Palin family are not mentioned. Husband or children.

I'm with hilzoy, leave the kids out of it.

Teenagers are curious about sex, and some have sex. Some of them get pregnant.

This happens whether they come from conservative homes or liberal homes, religious homes or non-religious homes, two-parent or one-parent homes, hetero-parent homes or homo-parent homes, rich homes or poor homes.

Teenagers have a biological bias toward fooling around, and many or most don't have the maturity or life experience to have a clear and realistic understanding of the possible consequences. So, some of them, regardless of the quality of their parenting or education, are careless and get pregnant. It's always been like that, and likely always will be.

Talking about which kinds of sex education are most effective in promoting a good understanding of sexuality, and in lowering teenage pregnancy, is an *excellent* topic for discussion.

That discussion should not use Palin's daughter as a case study.

Really, please leave the kids and families out of it. There are exceptional circumstances where the behavior or background of family members might be relevant, but this is not one of them.

There is no upside, and it's wrong. More accurately, there is no upside because it's wrong.

I don't care if the other side does it or not. That's one of many reasons I'm not now, and never will be, on that side.

Thanks -

I'm sorry, this will be my last comment on this, but I'm thinking that if Palin does become veep, a reality show could be done. Titles might be
Beyond the Palins
Palin in comparison
The Veep life


I'm also okay with Obsidian Wings having a flat rule that the Palin family are not mentioned. Husband or children.

This just seems entirely implausible to me. The line is logically possible, but practically specious. It presumes a bright line between a person and their family that just doesn't exist.

How do you not mention her husband when he is at the center of Troopergate? How do you not mention her daughter who appears to have been treated like crap by her family? How do you not mention her sister, who may have been part of a conspiracy to commit perjury in front of the judge deciding her custody case (the judge threw out nearly all of their complaints against the husband Wooten)? It can be done in good taste, but to say it can't be done at all doesn't make much sense to me.

When a politician uses her (or his) kids as props for their agenda...uber wilderness mom, family values, etc, etc, etc...

but then asks for privacy for the same family when things don't go according the the party platform...

She doesn't get to have it both ways.

She announced the pregnancy. She and her political partner.husband knew their daughter was pregnant before she accepted the VP nod. Were they planning to keep her hidden during the campaign? They couldn't possibly think it wouldn't come out. So they made this decision knowing that their daughter's situation would come to light.

I am sympathetic to the daughter's plight. None of this is her fault. It lies fully in her parent's lap. Are they and apparently Mccain so unsophisticated that running on a party platform that calls for abstinence only (and Palin has pushed this herself) with a pregnant teenager was NOT going to be discussed?

These same parents will trot out their kids for photo ops and talk about the little baby, to bolster their pro-life cred...

Again, they can't have it both ways.

I would honor this request, but I found that Palin, too, attacks people viciously--or at least giggles when others do the attacking for her. I was appalled to hear this clip where Sara Palin laughs when a talk radio announcer calls one of her political rivals "a b**** and a cancer". The woman referred to is a cancer survivor.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=sara+palin+bitch+cancer&hl=en&emb=0#

The Anchorage Daily news reported this on January 25th, 2008 http://www.adn.com/opinion/story/293639.html

I would honor this request, but I found that Palin, too, attacks people viciously--or at least giggles when others do the attacking for her. I was appalled to hear this clip where Sara Palin laughs when a talk radio announcer calls one of her political rivals "a b**** and a cancer". The woman referred to is a cancer survivor.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=sara+palin+bitch+cancer&hl=en&emb=0#

The Anchorage Daily news reported this on January 25th, 2008 http://www.adn.com/opinion/story/293639.html

I would honor this request, but I found that Palin, too, attacks people viciously--or at least giggles when others do the attacking for her. I was appalled to hear this clip where Sara Palin laughs when a talk radio announcer calls one of her political rivals "a b**** and a cancer". The woman referred to is a cancer survivor.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=sara+palin+bitch+cancer&hl=en&emb=0#

The Anchorage Daily news reported this on January 25th, 2008 http://www.adn.com/opinion/story/293639.html

Just when I thought I was going to have to rely on reruns of The Osbournes reality TV program, the Palin Saga splashes into view.

All I had to look forward to the next few months was more of Barak O-Blah-Blah's sanctimonious yuppifying, Biden's and McCains' tongue-tied bloviations and boring eye-glazing speaking cadences.

But now, a possible super-star politician in the making: Bush-in-a-Bra, in an eight episode remake of Northern Exposure with a subsidiary Beltway location.

Yay! A trailer-trash presidential campaign, with all the fixin's.

Thank you Invisible Lord Of The Universe... my prayers have been answered.

What is a mother of 5 (one child only a few months old )doing letting herself be put forward as a potential vice-president of the USA? Surely being pro-life is much more than being anti-abortion. Amongst other things it means being there to nurture and care for one's children oneself and to help them achieve their full potential. It also means being there in a practical way to support a 17 year old unmarried daughter who is pregnant. As an older Christian woman I am not at all impressed by this lady's priorities.

To those of you who think otherwise: that's your right. But ask yourself how you felt when Republicans scored points using Chelsea Clinton, who didn't ask to be dragged into the spotlight either.

Dang it hilzoy! You stole my point!

But, yeah, laying off the girl is not only the moral thing to do, it is, strangely enough, the politically astute thing to do. The Dems would have better luck sacrificing an intern to the generic bloodthirsty gods than going after a teenager who has sex.


I dated a teenage girl once upon a time (while I was a teen, mind you!), and the absolute last thing any girl wants is for people to be snooping about her, ahem, 'business.' I imagine lots of women can relate.

I remember how upset she was when some jerks asked her what we did together. Magnify that by 100x if her parents were to ask. Magnify that by 1000000x if they were to do a bit about here on SNL.

Long story short, don't be a dick to teenage girls.

I question McCain's judgement first, and then Palin's judgement to accept the job.

Palin has her plates full in her family, an infant with Down Syndrome. A teen daughter pregnant, and many more that we still haven't known. If you have so many problems in your family already, how can you handle the problems of the nation?

When you cannot even educate one teenage in your family on teenage pregnancy, how can you educate the teenages in the nation on the same issue?

What kind of role model you can display to our next generation? A working person who put her/his career first, then family second or last?

Privacy: Governor or VP candidate is public figure, when you accept the job, you also accept the fact that your background will also be in the public.

Voters, please think:

1. McCain is 72, if he dies, who is going to be the president of USA?

2. It is 3 AM and terrorist attack and Palin is changing a diaper or breast feeding or her daughter is in labor ... What national security is that?

If Palin can be the VP, I think anyone including you and me can be the VP.

Palin family situation is not my business, if she will not be my VP.

cb: when you accept the job, you accept that your background will be public. For this reason, I am quite happy making Sarah Palin's choices an issue. But her daughter, for all we know, accepted no job, and made no choice.

Also: "When you cannot even educate one teenage in your family on teenage pregnancy..."

Honestly: were you ever a teenager? Did you do everything your parents taught you, or even everything you knew you should do? I was a pretty sedate teenager myself, but even so, the answer was "of course not." And for that very reason, the idea that anyone would blame my parents for each and every one of my own lapses in judgment -- or even just the major ones -- would have struck me as both absurd and insulting.

Assuming that Sarah Palin would have to be her children's primary caregiver is just sexist.

I haven't looked into this in awhile, but, in California, at least, I'm not sure the Courts agree with you, hilzoy.

and I'm quite sure old-fashioned feminist do not.

at one stage, the argument went that the courts ought to prefer to place the children of broken homes first with the mother.

I can't help being fascinated by this, and I'll admit to making a few Juno/Juneau jokes about it. More seriously, there are substantive aspects: Sarah Palin is praising her daughter's decision in a choice she'd deny to others, and despite what Hilzoy says, and even though I realize anecdote is not the singular form of data, this is about as clear-cut an example against abstinence-only education as they come: intact family, good financial and educational circumstances, strong Christian family values - all defeated by simple human biology. All that said, I'm a pseudonymous blog commenter, which means I don't have a lot of credibility at stake. I really don't see much potential gain if more serious people were to go on about the Palins' private lives - a category in which I'd place respectable pseudonymous blog headliners, let alone actual politicians. The important stories were and remain Palin's squalid public record of abusing power and getting caught lying about it, and especially McCain's having sewn up the nomination 6 months ago but deciding on a veep late and on a whim and despite knowing almost nothing about her. The American people are supposed to be using these few weeks to learn about who the veep nominee is, what she's done, and what she believes. That John McCain is learning these things for the first time along with us is completely irresponsible.

Well said, Hilzoy, but the sad truth is that even if not one liberal-leaning blog ever mentioned Palin again, the McCain campaign would pump out press releases daily accusing the Obama campaign of sexism and exploiting the troubles of Sarah Palin's family.

I do hope that Democrats stay away from this for both moral and pragmatic reasons, but I think I'm allowed to hypothesize on the electoral consequences. In that vein, I think the Republicans feel that unless that can make a martyr of Palin and her daughter ASAP, she's just become a massive anchor to the McCain campaign.

And they have good reason to be very defensive about this, for the truth is that it is very bad news for them. This election will be won or lost in the suburbs of a few swing states, and there is no way teenage pregnancy plays well with suburban mom and dads in MI, OH, CO, FL.

Not to mention more than a few of the Republican rank and file who will be secretly turned off by this.

Finally, there is no way this story is over. Slimy journalists will be all over this. How old is the boyfriend? Is his family being paid off to marry her? I for one feel bad for a young girl given no choice not to have this child, or even to have it and put it up for adoption, because that would damage her mother's political career. I also feel bad for the young lad who almost certainly will be forced down the aisle with a gun to his head.

Certainly I think Palin just turned off a great many middle class women who would have allowed their own daughters to make a different choice.

For those of you who are interested in the election rather than gossip, this should be the end of this discussion:

Obama: Palin’s family off-limits

"Let me be as clear as possible," said Obama, "I think people’s families are off-limits and people's children are especially off-limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin’s performance as governor, or her potential performance as a vice president."

and:

"We don’t go after people’s families," Obama said. "We don’t get them involved in the politics. It’s not appropriate and it’s not relevant. Our people were not involved in any way in this and they will not be. And if I ever thought that there was somebody in my campaign that was involved in something like that, they’d be fired."

Of course, that’s what surrogates are for….

Two days ago I said in a comment here that Palin's unfitness to be VP or president had nothing to to with being a woman and nothing to do with being a mother.

It's more relevant than ever.

No main poster at this site and no Democratic campaign has ever touched the baby story -- this one or the rumor. This news changes nothing politically.

McCain's choice of Sarah Palin, and particularly his having chosen her with almost no vetting and no real relationship with her, demonstrates his poor judgment, short-term thinking, and tendency to shoot from the hip.

The most consistent thread in Palin's executive experience is her effort to abuse the power of her office to punish opponents.

She fired the police chief and librarian when she became mayor because they supported her opponent in the election, and was nearly recalled because of it.

As governor, she tried to have her brother-in-law fired from the state police and forced out the popular and competent official who refused to do so. She replaced him with a man who had to leave after two weeks, because she ignored evidence of his unfitness in the rush to replace Monegan.

She has portrayed herself as a pork-busting enemy of earmarks, but her history with the 'bridge to nowhere' and earmarks for Alaska is anything but that.

All of this could or should have been known to McCain, but he either didn't make enough effort to find out or didn't think it mattered. Well, it does matter. It matters that we stop electing people who abuse the power of their offices. It matters that we stop electing people who can't be bothered with details and make impulsive decisions.

Forgive me, but I feel hypocrisy needs to be pointed out with the GOP. You can't claim moral values and preach abstinence only programs when your own daughter (who you chose NOT to stay home and raise) is pregnant. I'm tired of playing nice and not pointing out the obvious. You know as well as I do that if this were an Obama daughter, we'd never hear the end of it. Never.

but I think this is beautifully put:

I plan to honor that request. It's easy, in the midst of a political campaign, to forget that the people involved are, after all, people. Some of them -- Sarah Palin, for instance -- place themselves under a media spotlight of their own free will. Others -- her daughter, for instance -- wind up there through no fault of their own.

But for some reason, with this issue, I'm reminded of Senator Craig's voting record against advancing civil rights for gays.

His homosexual activities become an issue because he took legislative actions to restrict the Freedom of openly homosexual citizens.

Something is not right there.

By the same token, Palin would deny knowledge to a post-pubescent female about the connection between reproduction and sexual impulses and then punish the innocent to lifetime of motherhood for an unwanted child.

Thus, if Palin had facilitated an abortion for her daughter, her doing so would very much be on the table.

Likewise, the fact that she condemns her daughter in this medieval manner tells us great deal about what a sanctimonious person she is.

that's helpful.

Nice post, Hilzoy- props for standing w/ conviction.

Ugh @ 3:23PM raises the most telling point in all this IMO. I think this demonstrates that McCain has used this situation for his own political purposes, to reinforce his bona fides to social conservatives that 'even the unwed teenage daughter of my veep has chosen to keep her child'. *And Palin has stood by and let him do so*. Would it have been at all a more judicious decision to remain silent about the daughter, and settle the Trig maternity question another way?

Let's look at the official version of events.

Palin was eight months pregnant when her water broke while she was in Texas. She proceeded to give a 30-minute speech and then take a 10-hour flight back to Alaska, driving for an hour to the hospital where she gave birth.

At the same time, her daughter is missing several months of high school with mono.

Rumors circulate in Alaska that the baby is not actually Governor Palin's, but her daughter's instead. When Palin is selected as the Republican VP candidate, the rumors circulate nationally.

Palin then goes on to reveal that her daughter couldn't have given birth 4 months ago, because the daughter was actually getting pregnant at that time (while missing school for having mono). Also, we should all respect her daughter's privacy.

I agree that we should respect her daughter's privacy. I also feel compelled to state my opinion that this official story is much crazier than any "conspiracy theory" being floated out there by "crazy" people, and that the key thing Palin wants here is to not have people investigate further. But so be it.

ask yourself how you felt when Republicans scored points using Chelsea Clinton, who didn't ask to be dragged into the spotlight either.

Payback can be such a mother******.

some people will respond to this post by saying that the Republicans would not hesitate to use Democrats' teenage children to score political points. That may be. Three responses: first, so what?

Here's why it matters. There are Democratic politicians who are going to look at the smear jobs that Republicans do on the families of other candidates, and some of them are going to choose not to run for high office because they don't want to put their families through that. That's why the right wing does it. By following your advice we would guarantee that they can continue to use those tactics knowing that candidates on their side need never face the same response.

The easiest way to end the use of the tactic is to let the other side know that if they use it, the response will be brutal and effective, and done they same way they do it, by third party groups with no relation to the candidate so that he can remain clean and decry the tactic. They want to attack a candidate's child? Two can play at this game. The only way to stop the use of the tactic by the right is to get better at it than them and let them sue for peace.

No main poster at this site and no Democratic campaign has ever touched the baby story -- this one or the rumor. This news changes nothing politically.

It certainly does, there are many people out there that care about this stuff, it wouldn't be in the news if they didn't.

It shouldn't change anything politically, but thems the breaks. There is NO WAY the McCain campaign knew about this beforehand. The entire point of the Palin pick was to shore up McCain, who is very dodgy on family values etc. (from a conservative POV), with the movement crowd.

In the final analysis, the Republican party has long politicised reproductive issues and family matters, so it is really that surprising that one of their first female figureheads has fallen victim to her own party's unrealistic and sexist standards for female behaviour?

Off topic but while we are all talking about Bristol this is going on in St. Paul -

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/

Forgive me, but I feel hypocrisy needs to be pointed out with the GOP. You can't claim moral values and preach abstinence only programs when your own daughter (who you chose NOT to stay home and raise) is pregnant. I'm tired of playing nice and not pointing out the obvious. You know as well as I do that if this were an Obama daughter, we'd never hear the end of it. Never.

Look, I share your frustration. And while Hilzoy addressed it very well I'd like to quote ALeftTurn:

The ends do not justify the means. Bad means will inevitably corrupt good ends.

Enough said. Bronze it. Have it chiseled into granite. Put it in the FAQ.

We are defined as much by the choices we make in attempting to advance our preferred policies and candidates as we are but what those preferences are.

I hope that you grasp the wisdom and moral urgency in this but today I'll just ask you to consider whether these means (picking on Palin's daughter) are likely to achieve the ends that you'd like them to (electing Barack Obama). They are not, they will only help McCain; I think that's pretty clear so I wish you'd find another outlet for your frustration, hell Cindy's drug problem would be better territory than this.

no way teenage pregnancy plays well with suburban mom and dads in MI, OH, CO, FL

I'm not sure that's true, provided the teenage pregnancy occurs in a nice, white family.

ask yourself how you felt when Republicans scored points using Chelsea Clinton, who didn't ask to be dragged into the spotlight either.

I don't actually remember the R's "scoring points using Chelsea Clinton" in any analagous way to what's going on here. I do remember El Rushbo, and St. John Himself, making horrible cracks about her appearance during the notoriously difficult teenage years. (And the way she was looking on stage last week, I'd say she had the last laugh on both of them.)

i think a 17 year old is being forced into a shotgun marriage because of a procrustian ideology. and i think palin is running for the highest national office on a platform of forcing that same choice on girls everywhere. i'm sorry--i feel terrible for young bristol--but i don't think it's wrong to point out the obvious ramifications of palin's policies.

"Given this, I don't understand why it's not fair to say: if her daughter's privacy was really that important to her, she shouldn't have accepted the job."

I haven't read further in comments to see responses to this, yet, but I'll say right off the bat that my answer is because nobody should be forced to make career choices based on what other people say about someone who isn't them.

More specifically, nobody should be forced to make decisions, or forecluded from political choices, based on what their relatives do, including their children.

I think that's just wrong.

And that's without even getting into how sexist it is to put that presumption on a woman because of what her children do.

People aren't other people, people aren't their relatives, people aren't their siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, children, parents, or grandparents.

It's wrong to act as if, or treat people as if, they are responsible for that which they are not.

Period, end of story.

And it's particularly wrong to attack women for what they're allegedly responsible for as mothers, because that's specifically dependent on a bunch of sexist assumptions as regards what women must be held responsible for but men must not.

Lastly, "even" politicians are entitled to private lives. I thought Democrats believed in privacy rights, and human dignity, and the dignity of the individual, and protecting all those things.

Family business is nobody else's business.

It's just indecent to act otherwise.

Thank you hilzoy.

I don't think some people understand the conservative base. Bristol is very likely to enjoy a two month baby shower. If you don't support abortion, you usually support teenagers who get pregnant and not cast them out in the cold.

Growing up, I knew countless people who had married young and had babies before they were 20. All of them are still married to the best of my knowledge and their children turned out fine. Women have been having babies at 17 and 18 for all of human history.

The rumor that Palin had faked her pregnancy, using details of her labor to substantiate it, was probably the creepiest, most disgusting political rumor I have ever read. When I told my daughters about it, they agreed that it makes the rumors about Obama silly chitchat. The idea that a woman would have to prove she was the mother of her child, providing labor and childbirth records, as part of vetting for political office horrifies me.

I have always wondered which is worse--marrying the guy you love earlier than you might have wanted or being forced into an abortion because the guy you love has made it clear his support extends only to giving you a ride to the abortion clinic, if he is a gentleman.

If this were Obama's daughter, he has made quite clear he wouldn't want her to be "punished with a baby." How much choice would she have?

But, yeah, laying off the girl is not only the moral thing to do, it is, strangely enough, the politically astute thing to do.

My cynical side sees this as pure political theater. Nothing Obama says or does can keep the press, especially the tabloids, from following this to the hilt. It's great to talk about laying off Palin's family precisely because he knows that it isn't going to happen. By taking a swift and certain stand against it, he can take advantage of any dirt the National Enquirer can dig up while (hopefully) avoiding being lumped with the Enquirer in people's minds.

As a complete aside, I think that people are missing the issue when they quote about Bristol deciding to keep her child. Even if abortion is off the table, there's still a choice about raising the child herself or giving it up for adoption. When Sarah Palin is asked about this point, I'm sure that's what she'll say-- and she'll take advantage of the question to point out adoption as a moral alternative that makes abortion unnecessary.

At the end of the day, this is beautiful for the Dems. The daughter stuff will blow over, and the conspiracy theories are creepy for sure, but the one thing the general public will take away from this is that Palin is very conservative on social issues. This well make her at best useless in the swing state suburbs, and possibly cost McCain votes there. The enthusiasm of the movement conservatives doesn't matter at all if the Dems win one of OH, VA, CO, or a couple of the smaller ones up for grabs - that is all Obama's campaign cares about.

Moreover, as long as the news is gabbing about Palin, the McCain campaign is losing precious time. A VP that distracts from the campaign is a bad VP.

I think it all goes to prove the tired adage that the VP pick is the first important decision a presidential candidate makes. McCain picked his with very little research and analysis: ergo he'd be the terrible prez we all know he would be.

Republicans used the death of thousands of Americans on 9-11 to justify stupid wars and their grab for power...the drama within the Palin family pales in comparison.

"If you don't support abortion, you usually support teenagers who get pregnant and not cast them out in the cold. "

You know a different group of fundamentalist Christians than the ones I grew up with, who in fact did disown their daughters who became pregnant "out of wedlock" and "disgraced the family name."

Thanks for this Hilzoy. And thank you Jes.

Got to pass on the rest of the comments.

The rumor that Palin had faked her pregnancy, using details of her labor to substantiate it, was probably the creepiest, most disgusting political rumor I have ever read.

You should get out more.


Family business is nobody else's business.
It's just indecent to act otherwise.


The idea that a woman would have to prove she was the mother of her child, providing labor and childbirth records, as part of vetting for political office horrifies me.

I understand the human fascination with gossip, but I agree wholeheartedly with Gary and Redstocking Granma and of course hilzoy who started this thread pointing in the right direction and seemingly in vain.

This whole episode is just revolting. It makes my skin crawl reading some of this speculation and gossip regarding the private lives of the Palin’s. I don’t care if they may or may not have chosen to expose themselves to this scrutiny. Stop it, please; you only lower yourself by wallowing in this story.

In Obama’s speech on Thursday, he took a swipe at the GOP for making “a big election about small things”. Stop emulating them. It is disgusting, it is counterproductive, and it is unnecessary, and it runs counter to what Obama himself has asked (in the quoted article I posted above) everyone to do.

There is more than enough to talk about from a policy standpoint. If you want to attack John McCain’s judgment for picking Gov. Palin, there is plenty to discuss in terms of the seeming impulsiveness of his decision, the extraordinarily small circle of people involved, their failure to fully vet her from a strictly policy-political standpoint (without bringing the family into it), and so on.

When Obama says “we are better than this” (referring to the Bush administration and the last 7 years), I believe him. Let’s start showing how we can be better, rather than just talking about it, starting with right here, right now.

Jes said it best: "Her children are offlimits for public discussion: but Palin's (and McCain's) belief that the best way to keep teenagers 'safe' is to keep them ignorant is not, I hope."

Not supporting sex ed in 2008 is another example of bad judgement from the McCain camp -- whether Palin's daughter were preggers or not.

---

Codpiece: "Forgive me, but I feel hypocrisy needs to be pointed out with the GOP. You can't claim moral values and preach abstinence only programs when your own daughter (who you chose NOT to stay home and raise) is pregnant. I'm tired of playing nice and not pointing out the obvious. You know as well as I do that if this were an Obama daughter, we'd never hear the end of it. Never."

I had thought the same thing if Obama's oldest were 17, not 10, and if she were pregnant: The End. No more Obama. But I think he would have had the good sense not to run in such a crucible if that were the case.

---

Great point by Ara: "And Sarah Palin, like John Edwards, has to make decisions in the world as it is, not in the world as it ought to be."

---

I was wondering if Bristol, Palin, Levi and the baby will live in the vice president's quarters on the taxpayer's dime. Or will Levi have to fend for his own family like so many in our kids-having-kids society?

---

I wish Chelsea had been more in the spotlight -- she was the only controversy-free thing about the Clintons, and still is.

Redstocking: If this were Obama's daughter, he has made quite clear he wouldn't want her to be "punished with a baby." How much choice would she have?

Wow. So, it's OK to attack the children of Democratic politicians? Didn't think the hypocrisy would come out so soon.

Oops, that was me.

Italico delendi!

Gary: "Family business is nobody else's business.

"It's just indecent to act otherwise."

It's great being a member of the High Road Party, especially when the Republicans have been using "family business" -- well, family values -- as their primary platform for a generation.

Those who live in glass houses . . .

Sure, Bristol should be left alone. But we're already talking about it. Even if just to say "Bristol should be left alone", you can bet that will be more than enough for right-wingers to say we give it a loathsome amount of attention.

I'm more concerned about McCain. He could not have known about this. Palin's appeal is to the right-wing evangelical base, but they are precisely the ones that will be most offended by this.

Some 25% of Americans have indicated they won't wote for a woman for president. I bet at least some of those are fundamentalist bogeymen from the pro-choice horror cabinet: People who really think a woman's place is in the home, that women have no business being in charge of anything important, neglecting their family etc. As a woman with a career, Palin was already not high on these people's list. With this "scandal", it probably dropped even lower.

Moreover, as long as the news is gabbing about Palin, the McCain campaign is losing precious time. A VP that distracts from the campaign is a bad VP.

I'm not so sure about that byrningman. The McCain campaign is going to use Palin as cover, they'll try to get media sympathy for her. All the while, we lose the chance to define McCain (and its harder to define Palin if the media is in love with her and her story).

The Dem convention was great because, amoung other things, we focused on defining McCain as a 3rd term Bush. Any chance we lose to keep up that message is a good thing for McCain.

So I don't necessarily disagree that her ultra-conservatism will turn off a lot of moderates in the suburbs, and that may well be a great benefit. I'm just a little worried that we lose valuable time to hang McCain by Bush's record.

Palin's negatives may well make up for lost time, though, but I don't feel comfortable speculating on that until we see some polls in the next couple of weeks. Until then, though, we define the opposition as best we can, despite not receiving as much coverage as we'd like.

(On reading this, I say 'we' a lot. By that I mean Dems, if it wasn't clear.)

I'm okay with talking about Palin's decision to fly from Texas to Alaska while in labor with a DS baby who would need immediate medical attention as soon as born. Palin's an adult politician who decided to accept the nomination for Vice President knowing this would mean every little decision like that would go public.

Say what? Wasn't she carrying a DS FETUS? And weren't you the person who felt that it was always a womans choice and the fetus/baby didn't count till it left the womb?

She wasn't in labour (with a fifth child on a flight that long it would have been born on board if she had been in labour). And if they had an ultrasound in the 20th week (I thought that was standard in the US too, if you had health insurance?) they'd known if there were any problems that had to be dealth with immediately. Even hart defects and bowel seperations don't have to be operated upon within hours.

The mortality of DS children is higher, but that is not around birth, but in the first days after AFAIK.

I had my kids at 36, 38 and 40 so I knew there was a higher chance at a DS kid. I didn't test for it, because I would not have aborted for that reason. Friends of mine did, these things are personal choices. In the Netherlands the rate of Downs is increasing, mainly due to the increasing age of mothers. But the percentage of >36 who want tests decreases and the people who test positive choose to not abort in about 30% of the cases. Having an environment where there is enough support appearantly has more impact than people assumed.

Introducing yourself and your family is normal for US political candidates. Less so in my country, we hardly see spouses and kids - but the spouses of our politicians usually have/keep jobs of their own. I guess that is the advantage of having Royals to perform a number of the representative tasks. hey, we even have politicians who give birth or become fathers whilst being the leader of their political party.

Going after the kids is despicable. No person with a sense of honor would do so. I'm glad Hilzoy wrote a post about it, I'm unpleasantly suprised that it is not clear for everybody why one should leave them alone.

FWIW, I too, like liberal j, have been wondering what John Thullen would say about this and all matters Palin related since McCain made his pick.

Talk about a pick that has changed the nature of the debate.

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Whatnot


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