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September 01, 2008

Comments

Drew is so right: "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)."

You can add that a shortened convention plays right into their favor -- they did not have a George Bush figure to bash around like the Dems.

Instead, I heard John King just report on CNN that they've already raised 1.8 million in hurricane relief.

They look like heroes.

I'm with d (or was it jes?) here: Redstocking Grandma's first two comments were fine, though my take might differ and the second one came on a bit strong. The willful misreading in the third one, used to misrepresent Obama's pro-choice position as being a must-abort position, was completely unacceptable.

Redstocking Grandma -- "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."

Agreed. The irony here which should probably be pointed out is that Palin's pro-choice fellow travelers would have no such qualms if the woman in question had lost the baby at any point in her pregnancy.

Not all privacy is equal, I guess.


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.

And do you admire them for doing that? Has it helped them to win your vote? Or does the hypocrisy of it make you less sympathetic to their arguments? Why should the Dems follow them down this road? Especially now of all times when the issues appear to favor us with the majority of the electorate.

Each election is only about 1 or 2 major themes, so far as the swing voters are concerned (remember "it's the economy, stupid" from 1992). What do you want this election to be about:

Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
The economy
Energy policy
Health care
Teen pregnancy and family values

If you can only have 2 out of that list, which 2 do you want dominating conversation for the next 2 months? Not just with respect to if Obama can win, but in terms of what sort of focus the next administration has.

Hilzoy: "But her daughter, for all we know, accepted no job, and made no choice."

Sorry, this is not ONLY Sarah Palin's choice. Why on earth her whole family stood on the stage, in the public if it is only Sarah's choice? This is all "family" about. Her action and decision affect her family, it comes in a bag. She should have discussed all the issues and consequences they would have within her family, she should consider her daughter's feeling before she rushes to accept the offer. She should consider more of her DS baby before she accept the job.

"...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."

We have been making too many excuses for our wrong-doings, and we let our mistakes repeat, we refuse to learn wiser. We cover-up our wounds with bandages, and even pretty and prettier bandages. (No wonder fancy bandages is a good business :-)) This is like how Sarah Palin handles her teen pregnant daughter. Yeah, the outside bandages are pretty (potential 2nd family of US), but the inside wound is getting rotten and infected.

By all means, it's all about Sarah Palin, not her daughter(I don't mean her daughter was right, she will get her own consequence anyway!). It's all about Sarah's choice and decision. She is making her family go through all these!

Marbel: 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).

You'd think so, wouldn't you?

But Sarah Palin says she was in labour when she boarded the plane, and after all, she should know.

Say what? Wasn't she carrying a DS FETUS?

Yes. I misspoke.

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?

Yeah, I think a woman retains the right to make medical decisions whether she's pregnant or in labour. I also think that when a woman realises she is going into labour, it's a really damned stupid decision for her to decide to board a plane for an 8-hour flight in order to have the baby in Mat-Su Regional Medical Center instead of the nearest hospital with a decent pediatrics department in Texas.

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******.

I wasn't aware that "s/he did it first!" was an argument grown-ups used.

I do recall "two wrongs don't make a right" as a statement both correct for children, and adults, though.

I also think of Joseph Welch.

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).

I dunno, the Dems get to keep to the same message, which has the benefit of also putting them above the tabloidish fray. Besides, this is the Reps convention week, so they should be hogging the news anayway. If the convention is sharing the spotlight with rampart discussion about the VP's personal life, that VP is a liability.

Plus, Palin has a major credibility gap. As long as the discussion is about her personal life and not her opinions on energy/the economic/whatever she's not making any ground in making up the ready-on-day-one gap.

Lastly, the Obama campaign's motto is 'no drama Obama' - hence the Biden pick. I can't help but seeing the net result of McCain's VP pick that the Obama-Biden ticket is seen as the safer choice.

Next week I doubt we'll care about Palin's daughter (I personally don't in any case), but it's a lousy VP pick if you spend convention week defending the choice.

And, really lastly, it's a certain corollary from the focus on Palin's family life etc. that the general public will absorb her stance on social issues. I can't see the average person's impression on Palin in a month's time being about her energy policy rather than her social policies, and those social policies are net vote losers in the states that matter in November.

A sad aspect about all this, is that it looks to me like Palin is well on her way to become a very polarising figure - as is H. Clinton. This makes me wonder whether high-profile women in American politics inevitably become polarising. (But I'm not sure if they genuinely are more polarising than some of their male colleagues). I'm just throwing that out there as an open-ended musing.

Gary Farber:

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

I see where you are coming from. Certainly nobody should be *forced* to make decisions based on what their relatives do. I agree with that principle. But nobody is compelling Palin, and I was suggesting no such thing. My argument is only that if she thinks the dangers to her daughter are sufficiently grave, then she ought to do it out of regard for her daughter, not that someone ought to have compelled her to do it.

My point was just this: McCain exposed the daughter to risk by choosing Palin even after he found out about this. Palin exposed the daughter to risk by accepting it despite her daughter's situation. If there happens to be a media circus around this, then their actions are partly accountable for it.

As sure as the sun rises, you just know the media's going to go nuts over an abstinence-only VP candidate who has a pregnant teenage daughter.

Left Turn:

Just to be clear, I was calling my party, the Democratic Party, the High Road Party -- I don't think I have it in me to be a member of a party that preaches family values yet doesn't always practice them (and -- oh, never mind, when we don't; give us our privacy).

Or a party that is against gay rights but gives us a war-hungry vice president whose daughter is gay.

What rich irony.

I wasn't aware that "s/he did it first!" was an argument grown-ups used.

Responding to an attack with another attack, innocent bystanders be damned, is, in fact, something grown-ups do, and if you are going to be involved in politics, war, bar fights, or love affairs, you probably need to learn to deal with it.

byrningman- Her hogging of convention week would normally hurt pretty badly, but considering Gustav, I don't know that she'll be a big distraction this week. And, as you said, the deal with the kids will probably blow over by next week.

I think the problem is that, by then, McCain/Palin will have established their narrative on her and I don't trust the media to shake things up very much. That leaves us with a tougher time defining Palin which is probably the key to getting the moderates to reject her.

I hate to say it, but OCSteve may be right about Palin being a good pick, as long as their campaign beats us to the punch (which timing and events seem to make more likely).

BTFB- I've had a crappy day, but your comment cheered me up tremendously. I like being 'so right.' ^.^

Of course she brought her daughter into the spotlight, which is just selfish, if not a bit lunatic. Bristol has become the most famous unwed teenage girl in the world. Thanks, Mom. We should all have parents who put family first in such a fashion.

THE fundamental question this circus episode raises is one of judgment, both from Gov. Palin and from Sen. McCain.

Clearly, once McCain offered, and Palin accepted, the VP nomination, Bristol Palin was sentenced be the subject of supermarket tabloid covers, a la Jamie Lynn Spears.

One would think that the first question Bristol's pregnancy would raise would be "What effect will national media attention have on her?", followed closely by "What effect would this have on Gov. Palin's ability to focus on the responsibilities of the VP's office?"


P

I don't get the analogy between Palin's daughter and Chelsea Clinton. What did Chelsea ever do that put into question the public expressed opinions of either of her parents in the spotlight?

It's true that Palin's daughter should not be attacked in any way shape or form. But, I don't see anyone ridiculing the young lady. I see people wondering if Palin is being duplicitous again just as she has been in her lies regarding the "bridge to nowhere", pressuring officials to fire her ex-brother-in-law and her exploitation of Hillary's name.

Gary,

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

I mostly agree with you, but I also think it's natural for people to have strong reactions to Palin's decision to run for VP under these circumstances.

As a father with teenage daughters, I had an immediate visceral reaction when I heard the news about Bristol's pregnancy. I wondered: How could Sarah Palin do that to her daughter? Now, this may not be rational, and it may not even be fair, but I think it's an understandable reaction. The parental instinct to protect one's children is very strong. One shouldn't always obey that instinct -- in fact, love for our children sometimes requires that we fight it. Nevertheless, I find it hard to fathom how anyone could expose their pregnant teenage daughter to the media wolves like that. I'm not saying that it's objectively wrong to do so. I'm saying that it's hard to square with my own sense about how a loving parent behaves. I wouldn't even mention this except that the McCain campaign is so clearly holding up Palin as a standard-bearer for family values. Her behavior in this instance certainly doesn't reflect my family values.

In the end, though, I think that this is a huge distraction from far more substantive issues. I'm much more concerned about her complete lack of national security credentials, or about the way she handles power (Troopergate), or about her positions on the environment, choice, and creationism. These are the things we should focus on.

Okay quick question. When the family press release announces that this was Bristol's decision, are we allowed to point out that if her mother has her way, teenagers like Bristol will not *have* a decision to make, even if the pregnancy was the result of rape?

Because right now? It sure looks like it's all right to use little Trig as a campaign prop to promote your pro-life values, but it's absolutely off-limits to mention that your extremist views on abortion, birth control, and abstinence-only education might not have worked out that well in your own household.

Yes, it's a horribly difficult circumstance. And only one person is responsible for dragging Bristol Palin into the larger spotlight. Her mother.

No good will come of picking through the details of Palin's daughter's situation.

She's a teenage girl. She and her boyfriend had sex. She got pregnant. They're going to get married.

There's nothing more to say about it. It's their business. We have no -- absolutely no -- insight into the dynamics of how they arrived at that decision, and we have no -- absolutely no -- right to have any such insight.

That's what "pro choice" means. People get to make their own choices. They may make choices we would not make. C'est la vie.

Palin and her family owe the rest of us exactly zero explanation of how the situation came about, exactly zero details of the nature of the relationship between Bristol and the father of the child, and exactly zero anything else. They've provided a perfectly adequate amount of information about the situation.

It doesn't make Palin a hypocrite if her daughter got pregnant, any more than it makes an atheist a hypocrite if their kid becomes a priest. Or any more than it makes an ethical person a hypocrite if their kid robs a bank. Teenage girls get pregnant all the time, and it is their and their family's prerogative to decide how to handle it.

You can't hold people responsible for every thing their kids do. You ought not publicly crucify kids for the public positions their parents take. It's wrong.

Please give it up. There are more than enough issues of real, significant, public substance to engage McCain and Palin with. The lurid speculation about whether Palin's kid is really hers, and the tongue-wagging about Bristol's pregnancy, are, and ought well be, beside the point.

They are not our business.

I disagree with conservatives about a lot of things but I don't really hold much animosity toward them. I do hold enormous animosity toward the Republican party of the last 40 years.

The reason is that they have demonstrated, over and over and over again, that they are an unscrupulous, amoral, repugnant crew of whores for power.

Let's not take that path. OK?

Leave the families out of it. It's indecent.

Thanks -

Jeebus the hypocrisy of this sh!t coming from a Rove disciple is ridiculous:

Senior McCain adviser Steve Schmidt said the campaign decided to issue a statement about Bristol Palin's pregnancy to help quell those Internet-based rumors, which he called "disturbing, nasty smears."

"We had hoped this could be an issue that was private, that the family could deal with this issue privately," Schmidt told a large group of reporters who surrounded him at the convention here shortly after the statement went out.

"It used to be that a lot of those smears and the crap on the Internet stayed out of the newsrooms of serious journalists. That's not the case anymore," Schmidt said. "It goes right from the Internet, right to the newsroom and right to us, and we're compelled to respond to it."

Because telling everyone the daughter was pregant was the only to dispel the rumors eh? (and, the private family issue aside, I ain't feeling much sympathy for the McCain campaign having to respond to nasty internet rumors. Wah.)

Agreed.

Darn it, I'm still getting an error message from Typepad unless I break this comment up. WTF?

Instead, I heard John King just report on CNN that they've already raised 1.8 million in hurricane relief.

They look like heroes.

At 1:56 PM I received an email saying:
Gary --

Today, the thoughts and prayers of all Americans are with those in the path of Hurricane Gustav -- and many of you are asking what you can do to help.

To be continued.

Pt. II:

We do not yet know what the impact of Hurricane Gustav will be, and we hope with all our hearts that the damage will not be as great as it was three years ago.

But we know there will be damage, and there is something you can do right now.

Your financial support will strengthen organizations like the American Red Cross that are evacuating Gulf Coast residents and planning to help communities get back on their feet.

Make a donation to support the American Red Cross today.

At times like this, it is our compassion and resilience that define who we are as a nation.

Please give whatever you can afford, even $10, to make sure the American Red Cross has the resources to help those in the path of this storm:

https://donate.barackobama.com/redcross

Thank you for your generosity, and I hope you will join Michelle and me in praying for the safety of those in the path of the storm and the first responders who are doing all they can to ensure the safety of their communities.

Barack

I never took down the "Donate to the Red Cross" link in my blog header since Katrina, myself; didn't seem any reason to.

Morality aside it is stupid to for Deomcrats make an issue of the daughter. Any issue at all. It is smarrt but profoundly cynical for the Republicans to make an issue of her, which they are.

How did this story get out in the first place? According to mahablog the rumor of her baby appeared in modified form all over RIGHTY blogs--they were pretending to be in all outraged about left blogs spreading rumors but they were busy getting the word out themselves.

It's classic Rove: cover up the real crime by getting your opponent to attack on the basis of something that can be refuted.

In this case the first step was to start a rumor about the daughter's pregnacy, the next step to accuse the left in general and Obama in particular of spreading the rumor, then have a nice media event depicting your candidate as the injured victim of malicious rumors.

Thus immunizing her from future accusation which are true.

So I don't think that the daughter or the other kids should be used as a jumping off point for any discussion, any discussion at all.

Agreed with Ugh.

These dudes have a lot of nerve! With the endless "secret muslim," "whitey tape," "birth certificate" crap they've been peddling for the last six months.

I'm going to disagree with most of you here. America politicians get on stage with their families and use their families as evidence for their values and characters. That makes their families campaign operatives and campaign operatives are fair game.

Kerry has his wife and his kids give a speech about his record and why people should vote for him based on the qualities they knew of him personally. That makes counter evidence legit. Governor Palin has played up the mother angle. And she most certainly has played up the family values angle.

(Oh and BTW I am voting for McCain/Palin, so I'm not saying this just because I'm a liberal).

Here's the point you've missed (and others may have pointed it out, as well). Palin and her right wing ilk beat the drum about personal responsibility and that it's a character fault of parents when their children screw up. So, the issue becomes one of how Sarah's character should be defined in her own (and the conservative Christian right's)terms.

Time and again we have witnessed the right wing hypocrites launch attacks and pass laws penalizing individuals who are gay, have drug/alchohol issues, or have unplanned/unwanted pregnancies (especially when unmarried). But when one of their own indulges in such a transgression, suddenly the issue becomes one of compassion and forgiveness, and fawning over the "courage" it takes to publicly acknowledge the situation.

The gloves must come off in this battle. Sarah Palin put Bristol in the spotlight, and it is Sarah Palin who needs to be held accountable. I only hope the poor girl isn't being forced into an unwanted marriage in order to help her mother save face.

Sarah Palin is the legal guardian of her 17-year-old. Knowing full well her family's situation, she then decided to thrust her family under the lime-light of the national attention. If she wants to protect her children, there are lots of things she could do, one of them being turning down the VP-slot. Or she could choose to keep ALL of her children out of the lime-light. The fact remains that she IS trying to score political points with her son going to Iraq and her new-born with Down syndrome. However, the one daughter that could prove to be more of a political liability all of a sudden DESERVES respect and is entitled to her PRIVACY? Give me a break!

Harley:

it's absolutely off-limits to mention that your extremist views on abortion, birth control, and abstinence-only education might not have worked out that well in your own household.

This is a bit silly. No policy is going to work the way you want it 100% of the time. Palin's daughter is just one data point among millions. If she had made it to this point without getting pregnant, would you have conceded that Palin's views on abortion, sex ed, etc., were therefore justified?

It's ironic that Palin's daughter became pregnant, but there's really no larger meaning to it re social policy. And using this to bash Palin will no doubt be just as helpful and effective as Kerry's bringing up Mary Cheney in the 2004 debates.

So to update the new proverb:

People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones at the people throwing stones at them from their glass houses?

Sarah Palin put Bristol in the spotlight, and it is Sarah Palin who needs to be held accountable. I only hope the poor girl isn't being forced into an unwanted marriage in order to help her mother save face.

Epic fail.

In the conservative Christian culture, this is what girls who get pregnant DO. Trying to make it Sarah Palin's decision is a non-starter.

Ain't no mileage here. I'm astounded that anyone with brains think there is any.

"If this were Obama's daughter, he has made quite clear he wouldn't want her to be 'punished with a baby'."

No, he didn't. Here is exactly what he said, in off-the-cuff, rather than prepared, remarks:

"When it comes specifically to HIV/AIDS, the most important prevention is education, which should include -- which should include abstinence education and teaching the children -- teaching children, you know, that sex is not something casual. But it should also include -- it should also include other, you know, information about contraception because, look, I've got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby. I don't want them punished with an STD at the age of 16. You know, so it doesn't make sense to not give them information."
Video.

"If they make a mistake." You didn't include this. This is a major distortion of someone's words. If you couldn't be bothered to check yourself, it was irresponsible to not do so before making your claim. Please don't engage in that sort of irresponsible distortion. Thanks.

Let's not forget that in South Carolina in 2000, during the first Bush Presidential campaign, someone (allegedly Carl Rove) planted the rumor that John McCain had a black child. Republicans set the precedent for bringing family into campaigns.

We should leave Palin's family alone. We should not question Palin's beliefs as they relate to the Presidency and policy.
First, is she qualified. She has no experience that suggests that she is even remotely qualified. The comparison to Obama is absurd. Harvard Law, top 5%. Editor of Harvard Law review, community organizer, state govt ( in a much, much larger state with more complex issues), and US Senate. Most importantly, he has been a national figure for over 4 years an has spent 18 mo. on the campaign trail debating, crafting policy, and organizing to take and and beat the Clinton machine. He is qualified, which doesn't mean he will be good, just that he has the tools for the job.
Palin and the Evangelicals do not understand that the founding fathers were far from evangelicals and they were fallible. Many were deists, Jefferson was hated by the church and returned their disdain. they did not believe in a govt. sanctioned religion and make no mistake, that is what the evangelicals want. They don't want freedom to practice, they want all to practice their flavor or Christianity and they want it to push public policy, education, and to be part of our everyday lives.
What does this lady bring to the ticket or add to McCains ability to run. Nothing, she has a uterus and some will vote for that. She is one of the evangelicals and they don't care about competence, just that she is one of them. These folks still mostly support Bush despite his disastrous 8 years.
She believes in evolution and can't see why it isn't science, she is against stem cell research, and she lacks any understanding of international relations or even a basic understanding of other cultures. That didn't work so well last time.

Even leaving the daughter completely out of it, I think the entire episode of Palin getting on the airplane while "in labor" speaks volumes about her regard for others. Kinda like Romney's putting the dog on top of the car for vacation. As we all know, there's two explanations for Palin's quick trip home: (1) She wanted to deliver her child in Alaska, and (2) she wanted to cover up her daughter's giving birth. For me, #2, while far more juicy, would speak far better of her character than #1 does.

Just think of how she disregarded - if not just the interest of her unborn son - the interests of the other passengers and the airline itself. And for what, just so she could deliver the baby in Alaska? This may not be so self-centered and self-indulgent as the lawyer who flew home with infectious TB, but it's pretty close. I have to hope that when people hear about this it makes them wonder just what sort of person she is.

It is not unusual to expect that our candidates be above reproach in their personal as well as professional lives (Despite McCain's extra-marital affair, do you think John Edwards would be a viable candidate at this point had he received the nomination?).

If a candidate for any office has committed their life to excelling in a particular field we expect them to do it well.

Mitt Romney (despite being a father of five) has committed his persona to being a business executive, and he was ultimately very successful at that.

Joe Liberman committed his career to being a total douchebag, and his rewards are being reaped.

Sarah Palin, by having five children, starting her political career in the PTA, and running on a "family values" platform, chose parenting to be a major part of her persona, and if we can't evaluate her on her parenting skills, then can we not evaluate Romeny on his executive skills?

The only thing this story has brought to light is that, ultimately, Sarah Palin (and her family) is very average. And average is unacceptable when it comes to the Vice Presidency, much less a possible presidency.

Jeffrey Ellis: Time and again we have witnessed the right wing hypocrites launch attacks and pass laws penalizing individuals who are gay, have drug/alchohol issues, or have unplanned/unwanted pregnancies (especially when unmarried). But when one of their own indulges in such a transgression, suddenly the issue becomes one of compassion and forgiveness, and fawning over the "courage" it takes to publicly acknowledge the situation.

Yes. That's because they're utter and complete scumbags.

Here's the point you've missed (and others may have pointed it out, as well).

Not missed. Just not scumbags.

Palin and McCain's rationale for what qualifies her to be vice president is among other things her motherhood. We do not hear her name without mentioning she has 5 children and one with downs. She also is against sex education in school and abortion.

Why can't we consider her judgement as a mother then when we consider her for the vp. I do feel sorry for her daughter who is going to have to go through this pregnancy in the spotlight but instead of blaming the media what about her parents? I cannot imagine subjecting my daughter to that. Also, even if Bristol herself is pro-life was adoption ever an option and even if it were it would be impossible to do that while in the spotlight. She clearly did not have many options, again based on the decision of her parents.

Again, this is relevant because it demonstrates someone's judgement. I find it more than ironic that the family values party has a candidate who does not put her family first.

I also do not think it is sexist to ask these questions, if she were a man I would hold him as accountable as a father. For too long fathers have not been asked to sacrifice anything for the good of the family and they should!

no more high roads, kelly.

we should get mean and nasty and mean and nasty again.

besides, it isn't clear that there isn't any virtue in pursuing this story.

the Christian Right has been telling American females that under most any circumstances they should carry a fetus to term.

okay, let's see how it goes.

Why do liberals always assume that the only "choice" is abortion? Whatever happened to the wonderful choice of adoption?

I'm all for equal rights for men and women and actually believe in stay at home dads, but don't you see a family screaming out for attention and a mom that is too busy to see it?

Good for you, Hilzoy. Sarah Palin is fair game. Her kids are off limits.

Just One question; You're wrong. Liberals do not assume that abortion is the only choice. Few liberals I know actually think abortion is a "good thing". What we do think, however, is that the state has no right to force a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to full term.

Just one question: Why do liberals always
assume that the only "choice" is abortion? Whatever happened to the wonderful choice of adoption?

Adoption is not the alternative choice to abortion. When a person discovers she is pregnant, her two choices are to abort the pregnancy or to continue the pregnancy to term and give birth.

Losing your child permanently (or at least until after the child's 18th birthday) is not a "wonderful choice", either. You would have to be fairly inhuman to think it was.

Please list the birthdays of Sarah Palin's 5 children

Adoption is a wonderful choice and is the option for abortion. For you to think otherwise is inhuman. You should talk to people who were adopted, like my husband, whose unwed young mother gave him up for adoption to a good family because she could not support him. He is thankful everyday that she did not kill him in her womb.
Now, while it is a wonderful choice, no one is saying that it is an EASY choice. But I have several girlfriends who have opted for adoption, and have been grateful they did, in spite of the emotional difficulties involved.

I think your comments are admirable.

However, a mother made a decision to thrust her daughter into the national limelight for her own ambition. If Palin is the rising star that the GOP claims, she could have waited to step on the national stage a few years from now, for the sake of her daughter's privacy.

This story is absolutely fair game because it shows the recklessness of the McCain campaign in making this decision. I feel sorry that this young teenager is part of the collateral damage.

I am a strong Obama supporter and I find Governor Palin's views on issues such as abortion and abstinence only sex education repulsive and destructive to human freedom and knowledge. But let's just all leave her daughter alone. She doesn't deserve to be turned into some token in our political gamesmanship. There is enough wrong with Sarah Palin's politics; why should we draw Bristol into this?

Adoption is a wonderful choice and is the option for abortion. For you to think otherwise is inhuman.

No, it's different.

But nice job of dehumanizing your opposition. Way to continue the debate. Oh, wait, your opponents are not human. Thus, debate is a waste of time....

This story is absolutely fair game because it shows the recklessness of the McCain campaign in making this decision. I feel sorry that this young teenager is part of the collateral damage.

I DESPISE "collateral damage."

Killing the italics:

Did it work?

But I have several girlfriends who have opted for adoption, and have been grateful they did, in spite of the emotional difficulties involved.

????!!!!

Is this a generational thing? I was a teenager more than 30 years ago, but when I was a teenager:

2. No one in my immediate circle of friends and acquaintances got pregnant because we all used birth control. We knew what it was, where to get it, and we by God used it.

2. The occasional - very occasional - girl who did get pregnant got an abortion (this was pre-Roe, so she went to NY, where abortions were already legal) or dropped out of school.

I didn't even encounter a milieu where "several girlfriends" all got pregnant out of wedlock until the early 90s, when I lived near a high school that specialized in troubled teens (including teenage moms).

Has society changed that much since I was a teenager? Do sexually-active teens not routinely use birth control? Is it considered uncool or something?

Now, while it is a wonderful choice, no one is saying that it is an EASY choice.

Your original comment could easily have been construed that way - it suffered from brevity.

Speaking as an adoptee, and knowing many others, it strikes me that it's every bit a lottery as to what kind of people your adoptive parents turn out to be as your birth parents.

Ive always enjoyed a good conspiracy theory- the one Im hearing now is that Bristol is not preggers at all. That this is just a smokescreen to get rid of the persistent rumors that Bristol was Trig's mother (ie she can't be Trig's mom if she's at 5 months- note that this is exactly how long she'd have to be pregnant to rule this out).
And the evidence in favor of the original conspiracy, while circumstantial, is not weak or easily dismissed (eg an AP pic of Sarah in tight clothing at 7 months but not showing, her bizarre trip from Texas to Anchorage and then a 45 minute drive *away* from the best neonatal unit in the state to have the baby delivered by her family doc).
If this theory is true, Bristol will have a 'miscarriage' soon and everything will go away.

Now, Im not saying that this is true. And I basically agree with hil that this- while fascinating in a car-wreck sort of war- ought not be grounds for political manuvering anyway. That is, no one should be bothering Bristol with any questions, trying to locate the father, etc.

Several others have already pointed this out:

The Republicans never scored points with Chelsea.

Besides, points are trying to be scored with Sarah Palin, not her daughter, since it's her mother who has been using her family as a political tool. Live by the sword...

One other thought on the original conspiracy theory (ie that Bristol was Trig's mother)- IMO it wouldn't reflect very badly on Sarah P. Lying to protect a child from a (arguably) bad choice and taking the child as her own would be an understandable thing to do. My primary fascination comes from the conspiracy theory itself, not because I think the act would've been so wrong.

I admire your stance on this Hilzoy, but good luck keeping it from becoming a political football. I've no doubt some of the more unprincipled and classless left-wing partisans are already getting their barbed pitchforks ready on this one.

McCain has foreclosed any chance of my voting for him by picking Palin as his veep candidate, since I can't stomach the thought of putting a lightweight Christian right identity politics candidate one very plausible heartbeat from the Presidency. But as you say, the Palins are human beings and deserve to be treated with some dignity.

I definitely come down on the side of leaving Bristol out of it. Morality aside, it doesn't do any good. She's 17, and at this point, she's making her own decisions. (Though with her mother in the spotlight, I wonder exactly how much pressure is being exerted on her about this.)

I'm far more concerned about decisions Sarah Palin herself has made - and between the firings, the corruption scandals, her admitted lack of knowledge, and her own personal decisions, there are more than enough reasons already to worry about the kind of judgment she would use at a national level. All of that before even looking at her political positions.

I'd say that there's more than enough to talk about without bringing up personal decisions or actions taken by other people. The fact that they live in her household doesn't imply that she has direct control over them.

Well said.

JHA

Hilzoy,
I resurface briefly to suggest that if you don't put up another thread on a topic, any topic, the stance you take in the post is undercut. I mean, if we took your words to heart, there would be no comments in this post. (or everyone could start talking about something else, but I think that would be rather disrespectful of you, so no one has done that)

Hilzoy and russell,

I almost always agree with you two, who, as a pair, show more perspective than most anyone I can recall.

And, indeed, attacking Palin's daughter would not just be stupid, it would be mean. However, mentioning the pregnancy subject as to how it may or many not relate to policy Palin would craft seems perfectly acceptable, perhaps necessary.

If the party of family values constantly holds their lives up as so much more virtuous than the rest of us -- the same part of values that has questioned Barack Obama's religion and on and on -- I think it's only natural to examine what kind of lives they do lead.

Not much different from the rest of us, it turns out.

Turns out their kids have sex at age 17, too.

Shocking.

Others have said it better than I could.

Warren Terra: "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."

middlegirl: "However, a mother made a decision to thrust her daughter into the national limelight for her own ambition. If Palin is the rising star that the GOP claims, she could have waited to step on the national stage a few years from now, for the sake of her daughter's privacy."

That was actually my reaction to seeing Palin speak for the first time Friday, how it was obvious she was a rising star and how the GOP seemed foolhardy for rushing her onto the national stage.

We'll see.

lj raises an interesting point, as usual:

"Hilzoy,
I resurface briefly to suggest that if you don't put up another thread on a topic, any topic, the stance you take in the post is undercut. I mean, if we took your words to heart, there would be no comments in this post. (or everyone could start talking about something else, but I think that would be rather disrespectful of you, so no one has done that)."

Just a suggestion: Where does the presidential campaign go from here?

In light of Gustav, the GOP seems in no hurry to get back to their convention business and it seems as if Obama and Biden have to follow their lead -- or risk seeming insensitive.

Might we see a kinder, gentler resumption?

Nah.

I don't have time to read all the comments here, but I read several at the beginning.

Trying to link Bristol's pregnancy to Sarah's govt. policy views is stupid.

You have no idea what Sarah taught at home.

And, questioning McCain's judgment in taking Sarah? How does that follow? A daughter's unplanned pregnancy disqualifies the mother?

You are very progressive here. /sarc

She's 17, and at this point, she's making her own decisions. (Though with her mother in the spotlight, I wonder exactly how much pressure is being exerted on her about this.)

I've been wondering that too. Without family support how feasible would it have been to get an abortion? If she had decided to abort would the family have supported it? Financed it? What would her choices have been if they had not?

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

I agree with Hilzoy's post - it is nobody's business what this girl does. But the statement above sticks in my craw because it's just wrong. Saying that ends do not justify means is meaningless. It depends on *which* ends and *which* means. And I don't know that less-than-good-means necessarily always corrupt good ends. It depends. That false contruction is literally disarming, particularly in the face of an amoral political opponent, for whom virtually any means are justified. This idea that one's means must always be not only utterly pure, but without even the possibility of construal as other-than, lest the ends necessarily be corrupted, is unserious. War (eg WW2) is an obvious example of horrible means which must sometimes be used for a good, or relatively good, end. If the ends never justify the means, then there is no reason to have an Ethics at all.

Why was Palin chosen by McCain? Because of her conservative social beliefs? Not exactly. Rather because she, and the people who are thrilled and placated by her, want to legislate their social/religious beliefs onto everyone else. That is the point of a *politics* about *social beliefs*. What Palin and her daughter do are their business. What Palin does in the political arena is our business. It makes no difference if this young woman had sex education in school or not: her mother's political position is that there should be no sex education, no STD education, and that all pregnancies, other than those which threaten the life - not just the health - of the mother, must, by law, be brought to term. That is medieval, as far as I'm concerned, but it's her right to believe that for herself. I don't see any moral problem, however, with discussing these political beliefs, since a discussion is continually thrust upon us, by social conservatives generally, and now by Palin's family situation. This is the politics they have chosen, and the rest of the country - the rest of the world, to an embarrassing extent - are prevented from avoiding it whether we want to or not. It's the right wing version of 'the personal is political'.

I don't want to see a picture of the daughter, I don't care what her name is, and I'm really not interested in knowing anything about her, nor do I think it's my right to know anything about her - she is not the issue. But this is a political context. As Ann Friedman points out:

John McCain and Sarah Palin don’t believe women have a right to choose. It’s absolutely absurd for the [McCain] campaign to emphasize the fact that Bristol “made this decision,” and then push for policies that take away that choice.

Yglesias goes on to say that:

By his own lights, McCain should be totally indifferent to whether Bristol chose this course of action or was pressured into it by her mother. McCain’s view is that he should make the choice for her and for every other pregnant woman in the country.

Exactly right. The Obama campaign is being both morally and politically correct to just stay away from this. But I don't see why the rest of us have to do. Do we want this kind of social conservatism enforced on the whole country? That is not an impertinent or tasteless question. The fact that I have to ask it is, in fact, the problem.

put up another thread on a topic, any topic

Yes, please.

This thread is conspicuously below the standards of the at least semi-respectful and thoughful commentary that I've come to associate with ObWings. [hilzoy: note that one comment has been posted using a new handle which is in and of itself a blatant violation of the posting rules. A cleanup on aisle 5 may be in order].

Is this sort of thing a result of Wa Monthly cross posting, or is it just the topic de jour running downhill into the gutter?

Honestly, I'm starting to wonder if we are witnessing an orchestrated attempt to spew vile comments on left-leaning blogs for the purposes of discrediting them and tarring the Obama campaign by association.

Just one question: You should talk to people who were adopted, like my husband, whose unwed young mother gave him up for adoption to a good family because she could not support him.

And you should talk to women who lost their children to adoption, like a friend of mine who lost four of her daughters. For a woman to lose her child - to know she may never see the child she gave birth to again: I never met a woman to whom that had happened who didn't remember and regret her loss for the rest of her life - even if her child got back in touch with her after the child's 18th birthday, she had still lost all the years of her child growing up.

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

Bristol may not be fair game... but this statement by Sarah Palin, running on a platform to deny other 17-year-olds the freedom to make a decision any other way, certainly is.

Several others have already pointed this out:

The Republicans never scored points with Chelsea.

I don't know where you spent the 90's, but here on Earth this wasn't true. It is true that they never really sexualized Chelsea, which I guess is a good thing, but with Bill around I guess they didn't need to look further to inspire their prurient comments. From their disgusting comments on her appearance as a twelve-year-old (imagine! an adolescent with braces! transiently awkward!) to their obsessing about essay assignments at her high school, the Republicans absolutely went after Chelsea. The R's would have likely done more of it except that the Clintons, with the media's help, managed an incredible job of giving their daughter as shielded a childhood as they possibly could under the circumstances. It's about the only unambiguously unselfish and unadulteratedly praiseworthy thing I recall about the otherwise quite self-serving and morally grey Clinton administration; frankly I quite honor it.

Despite Barack's classy call for people to let this go, Bristol Palin's pregnancy will continue to be an issue, not only because people love a drama, but also because the right-wing evangelicals are touting the pregnancy as an example of the Palins' genuine pro-life family values. There's a lot of hypocrisy to that approach (no one praises inner-city teenage mothers' values) and people will feel compelled to point that out. So as long as the rationale for Sarah Palin's VP nomination is, among other things, that she's a true pro-lifer based on her family's biography, Bristol's pregnancy will remain at the front of everyone's mind. Indeed, at this point, with all of McCain's emphasis on Sarah being a PTA hockey mom moose hunting beauty queen, aka talented outsider who will breathe some fresh air into our politics by dint of who she *is*, her personal attributes will necessarily be among the first things the media, and voters, will notice.

Suggestion for new topic: Why was there so little coverage on liberal or even left-wing blogs of the police treatment of demonstrators in Denver?

How different is the Twin Cities clampdown, which adds the feature of "preventive" raids on houses, offices, vehicles, and bikes before a single foot has been set to pavement? (Amy Goodman and two Democracy Now producers were just arrested a few hours ago, by the way.)

How many of you even knew about this moving Iraq Vets Against the War demo in Denver, covered quite well by the Denver Post? How about the mass arrest of 100 people on "Michelle night", pinned into a block and pepper sprayed?

CaseyL - I do think there's a generational trend toward becoming pregnant as a teenager and carrying the baby (and continuing to care for the baby). For whatever reason, there's less of a stigma attached to having children out of wedlock, and lots of teenage girls become baby crazy. Just an observation.... I am in your generation - those days when people practiced birth control.

Warren Terra, of course certain Republicans went after Chelsea (mostly Limbaugh and others of his species), but the question is, did they do their side any good by it? My guess is no. I can't imagine there being anyone who was otherwise on the fence who would've been more inclined to vote Republican because of those attacks.

While too much energy may be at the moment drained away from more important discussions, I nonetheless think that 95% of this thread is otherwise perfectly okay: There's a difference between salivating and speculating over a teenager's private life and having a (dare I say it) meta-discussion about the moral and strategic repercussions of doing so.

The upshot of this whole thing for me is: My regard for Andrew Sullivan got knocked down a notch. (I'm sure he'll be heartbroken.) And, yes, I know he wrote cautiously about the subject, but his harping on it gave it more credibility than it deserved.

I'll confess that I was enjoying it in a not-very-admirable, juicy tabloid way...until I went to Daily Kos and read the piece that seems to have started all of it. The tone and logic of it reminded me of the sort of thing I despise "the other side" for. It was Drudge-y, presenting a fairly intriguing circumstantial case in the smarmiest, most dishonest fashion. (I actually think the circumstantial case is pretty strong, despite the number of dubious data points sullying it.)

I'll also mention that Sullivan's backing off from it wasn't very well done. One photo of SP looking pregnant -- just about the easiest thing in the world to fake -- and he dropped it. I suspect he just wanted to wash his hands of it.

But -- because I'm not a regular visitor to Daily Kos -- I assumed that article was "official"...in the sense of a post here by hilzoy or publius, rather than "unofficial"... in the sense that my posts are. And it gained a certain amount of credibility on that account. If I understand correctly, "diarists" are just posters; and some person who hadn't posted in three years suddenly writes this slimeball piece, which looks like it's coming from the site itself.

I'm thinking that Markos should either police his site a little better (assuming that it's policed at all) or things should be labelled a little more clearly.

I agree with Hilzoy. For those of us, like myself, who are nevertheless frustrated by what the GOP would do if the situation were reveresed, we should remember that we believe we are better than that, and we can still have the pleasure of sitting back and watching a GOP presidential campaign implode for once.

"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?"

So translated what your saying is "what kind of mother are you running for VP while your daughter is having a baby" Ridiculous.

The Palins could have come public with their daughters pregnacy when they deemed appropriate but unfortunately some of the sickos on the left took care of that with the actions on KOS this weekend. And it was speculation laced with venom including not only Palin's faking her pregnancy but insinuations of incest between her son and daughter.

No one should have to deal with this. Period. end of sentence. You want to argue issues fine. But our writer is correct. Take the high road boys and girls and leave the kids alone.

If the ends never justify the means, then there is no reason to have an Ethics at all.

jonnybutter,

I was curious whether somebody out there was going to catch that one.

Believe it or not, this is something that I've actually put some thought into. So here's my answer:

The original statement "The ends don't justify the means" is the abbreviated, fits-on-bumper-sticker version of a longer ethical position which normally takes too long to explain and fails to get the point across. So sue me for using rhetorical hyperbole. Since you asked, here's the longer version, as I see it.

Of course the ends justify the means. What else would? The idea of chosing some course of action without regard to an intended result is irrational. Where things get tricky is when we start moving towards the end of the scale where more destructive and morally repugnant means are justified by greater and greater ends.

The problem is that human beings are not very good at judging either the means or the ends, so as to perform some sort of cost-benefit calculation to keep them in due proportion to each other. Cognitive bias will almost always lead us to underestimate the costliness of our chosen means, while overestimating the importance of the ends being sought.

This introduces a systematic bias into our cognitive processes for rationalizing our actions, and (this is the important part) the psychological pressures which create this bias are magnified as we progress towards the extremes. We are much better at rationalizing horrific actions than we are minor transgressions, because more powerful mechanisms of denial and cognitive bias kick in.

This is how you get people who can feel guilty about cutting somebody off in rush hour commute traffic, but not about helping to start a war which kills hundreds of thousands of people.

The conclusion I draw from this is that we have to assign error bars to our own estimates when we weigh means and ends and attempt to relate them to each other in an ethical manner, and the size of these errors need to increase as we approach more extreme conditions.

If you conceive the justification of means based on ends as a graph on 2 axes, then the curve which justifies a given means based on a particular end being sought should rise in a parabolic (roughtly speaking, I'm not being mathematically precise here) fashion. At some point the curve should go assymptotic as we approach means which we do not conceive as ever being justifiable under any circumstances.

This is a long way of saying that extraordinary means must be justified with extra-extra-ordinary ends, and increasingly so as we go down the dark path.

All this is completely leaving aside the issue of how realistic we are about the ends in question actually being achievable as a result of the means we propose to use in pursuit of them, which is subject to the exact same cognitive bias problem.

That is how I square the notion of ethical limits on our conduct with the WW2 problem.


@Warren:

"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:"

Well, if you actually do realize that, could you point us at a large-scale study that shows us what the actual difference in teen pregnancy rates is between abstinence-only educated and comprehensively educated teens? And even better, the STD incidence rates for each?

I have absolutely no idea what the results of such a study will show -- intuitively, I'd guess "no difference outside the margin of error" -- but I say that the correct educational stance is whatever is proven most effective by a statistically significant study, not a single example. Can you say the same?

"No one in my immediate circle of friends and acquaintances got pregnant because we all used birth control. We knew what it was, where to get it, and we by God used it."

Do you honestly believe that kids today don't know where and how to procure birth control, or more amusingly, that they don't know what is is? What a laugh.

There is a lot here. I tried going through it to see if this had been mentioned, but I may have missed it.

A valid question, in my mind, this pregnancy raises is about how Palin governs with respect to other mothers. Bristol is lucky to have a financially secure family who can help her financially and emotionally. before and after the child is born.

From the LA Times via K Drum:
French faulted Palin for not helping the Legislature pass a bill to raise the benefits threshhold for children and pregnant women from 175% of the poverty level to 200%. (Most states set them at 200% to 250%.) "She said she wanted to help us raise it," French said, "but couldn't be bothered to do anything in the closing days of the Legislature, when she could have helped it through."

Bristol probably won't have to worry about this, but other mothers in her situation would. This is a valid issue that should be brought up with Gov. Palin. What would happen to someone identical to Bristol except lacking a family to assist her. Is that mother someone the state should abadon during (abortion) and after (benefits) her pregnancy.

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2008/08/palins_governing_style.html

The best study I could quickly find is http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/PDFs/impactabstinence.pdf>here (PDF). Skimming the graphs in the executive summary, it appears that there is no difference in sexual behavior or knowledge between abstinence-only and comprehensively-educated teenagers - principally because neither group actually follows the precepts of abstinence-only education, and both engage in sexual activity and use birth control to similar degrees.

But note one thing here: the teens still have knowledge of and access to birth control despite their abstinence-only education. The same people who don't want them to be taught about birth control are part of a wider movement that would deny them these resources.

P.S. I recall from news stories that some STDs were found to have increased among the abstinence-only-educated, but I couldn't find any such studies quickly, so I have no idea whether that was significant.

I almost never read D Koz and almost never read Sullivan either, so I didn't realize what Hilzoy was reacting to.

This particular 17 year old girl should absolutely not be at issue. Yes, leave her alone. But, for god's sake, she does exsist, and we all [are forced to] know about her whether we want to or not. And, I repeat, Palin is the GOP VP nominee because of her personal social conservatism, and her political desire to foist it onto everyone. This is not a game. Leave this young woman alone? Yes. But also leave other young women alone. Leave everyone alone! If you are ambitious and run for high office on the basis of your personal religious beliefs, and you want everyone to nevertheless leave *your* family alone, then that's fine so long as you leave my family alone, too, and the families of others. How Palin conducts her family life ought to be her business alone. It's she who has made it everyone's business - by going to lunch on her religious right views, not by accepting McCain's nomination - and I don't feel sorry for her at all.

Imagine that Palin was a conservative, but didn't base her politics on abortion, birth control, religion, etc. If that were the case, only the slimiest of slugs would care that her 17 year old unmarried daughter was pregnant. But Palin pretends to be a moral/political exemplar - she *chose* that. She wants the official policy of this country to be: just say no; forced childbirth; ignorance. This is comeupance, AFAIC.

Nell- All I can say about the police state tactics is that they scare me. That's really the only way to put it. When people are doing something entirely constitutional (not to mention legal), something that is part of the essence of a free society, something that I've personally done in the past...

The 'Good Guys' aren't supposed to do stuff like this. Then again, the 'Good Guys' aren't supposed to torture people or invade countries for no reason. Or do a lot of other things that have happened in the past 8yrs.

Did this get posted at that Washington Monthly site, too? I hope so.

The Republicans never scored points with Chelsea.

Of course they did. Every Democratic politician considering a run for the White House is going to have to ask himself, "Do I want to put my family through that? Is there some other way I can serve my country without putting them through that"?

And Republican politicians don't have to make that choice because certain people have decided that Democrats should play nicey nice, and that the best way to respond to a frontal assault is to lay prostate on the ground, begging for comity.

It is sickening. There is but one way to deal with bullies.

Learn to fight, and then you won't have to.

unfortunately some of the sickos on the left took care of that with the actions on KOS this weekend.

The rumor about the youngest not being hers was already out in Alaska. Sure, the guy at Kos did something sleazy. But do you have any evidence that 'the left' started the rumor in AK? Promoted it? Even realized it existed before Palin got the nod?

Sarah Palin is praising her daughter's decision in a choice she'd deny to others

I've seen a lot of stuff similar to this. For some reason, you folks are equating "keep the baby" with "not have an abortion." There's another option: "give the baby up for adoption."

Let me get this straight, according to the allegations set forth in a lot of the posts here, Palin's public policy positions don't square with the behavior of her nearly adult child. Presuming that is true:

Whoa! Alert the media, folks! New Flash! Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Teen-agers do things that their parents don't want them to do!

But, not so fast, there Skippy. Lets look at the facts of some of the allegations here, Palin is anti-abortion, but is reported to be pro-contraception.

http://dwb.adn.com/news/politics/elections/governor06/story/8049298p-7942233c.html

So, even though Palin is pro-contraception, her daughter's boyfriend was too damned lazy to go to Wal-Mart, or a gas station bathroom, and buy a rubber. Or was too stupid to improvise with a Twinkie wrapper or a hunk of caribou intestine and a rubber band.

All that being said, she Palin's daughter is going to have the baby.

So, it appears that Palin's public policy positions regarding 1) contraception and 2) abortion are entirely consistent with her family situation. What was the problem again?

Bye now.

Mrs. Palin & family,
I am praying for you. You CAN get through this. I pray that God will carry you with a peace that surpasses all understanding. Please don't be discouraged. Hold your heads high. We stand firmly supporting you and your family through REAL life situations. Jeremiah 29:11 'For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'
sincerely,
Aimee, Nick & Gracyn Young

What's with the sanctimonious nonsense? This is hilarious. This corrupt, power-mad, lying, evil, insane person who thinks she's going to be president someday has just slipped on a banana peel and fallen on her ass and we're not supposed to laugh? Look, I don't know the private Sarah Palin or her family and I don't care one way or another about them any more than I care about any other bunch of total strangers. But I fucking hate the public Sarah Palin and anything bad that happens to the public person is fine by me.

Are you all real? This lady is sooo unqualified to be Vice President! I'm seriously thinking myself of running for President in 4 years if this is all the requirements you need!!!

She's been mayor of a small town and a governor for ONE year? She's traveled outside the U.S. ONCE and she's met John McCain once before he asked her to run with him?

OMG!!!

Now this stuff with her daughter! Yes, anyone's teenage daughter can get pregnant...that's not what I have an issue with....what I have an issue with is her mom that is abandoning her when she needs her the most! And, what about her special needs infant? She'll be campaigning for 12 or more hours per day and exactly how much time will she spend with her baby?

I cannot believe ANYONE would even consider voting for this ticket!

Sarah Palin apparently said her daughter chose to keep the child. Chose? Apparently her daughter has options that Ms Palin would deny other women. Otherwise, she was coerced to continue the pregnancy or Ms Palin believes there are two sets of laws: those for her and her family and those for others. She also seems to request privacy for her family that she would deny other families. Now, I'm not advocating we put the daughter under a microscope, but we certainly can ask tough questions of her disengenuous mother.

Palin is an inspiration to myself and my own daughters. Watching all the cowardly sniping going on, I am beginning to be convinced that my former companions on the political path are not worth following any longer. It is not just KOS. Look at yourselves. You have lost your own sense of human decency.

A shame for Obama to lose for the slithering likes of yourselves, but it may happen. Sad creatures.

Sarah Palin's fitness as a mother isn't fair game??? I beg to differ. It's only a matter of time before the world finds out the identity of "Levi" and the rumors are that he and Bristol had been dating since she was 14 and that he is several years her senior. It's understandable that the campaign doesn't want to reveal his identity, but why have they also refused to disclose his age? If they were both close in age, then most people would understand that Bristol's pregnancy is just one of those things that happens. But what if the rumors are true and Sarah Palin allowed her daughter to date an older boy when the girl was only 14? Doesn't that tell us something about what kind of President she might be? This incident coupled with Palin's reckless decision to board an airplane while going into labor speak volumes about the kind of judgment she is apt to use as President Palin.

re: means and ends The problem is that human beings are not very good at judging either the means or the ends, so as to perform some sort of cost-benefit calculation to keep them in due proportion to each other. Cognitive bias will almost always lead us to underestimate the costliness of our chosen means, while overestimating the importance of the ends being sought.

Of course a cost/benifit analysis is crucial. But there is nothing really 'automatic' about it. You obviously have thought about this, but I don't see how your bumper sticker version and your longer version really relate to each other. You said that bad means must corrupt the ends they seek. That may be true, but we don't always have a choice but to have somewhat corrupted ends. Sometimes - usually - we have to choose between bad and worse ends. I do think there are some things which are always wrong - like torture and the death penalty - but things like that tend to be not very good means for anything anyway - torture and capital punishment are not effective means to any end. But my point is that there's no getting around making a judgement. There's no formula. We must try to factor in congnitive bias, etc.

I don't like seeing the privacy of this poor teenager violated, but I also think it's ethical to make her situation the point of departure for a feminist - humanist, really - argument against Palin and what she represents, politically. It's a greater-enough good, AFAIC, that socially backward legislation which would affect millions of people be thwarted, vs the 10-minutes-of-fame loss of privacy to this young woman. This calculation is contingent on the usefulness of the means - if, like torture, the aforementioned argument is useless, or the publicity is only for its own sake, or just to embarass these people personally, then there's no question. Leave them alone. But this story is what they want for YOUR children and your neighbor's children.

Republicans never scored points with Chelsea? What about Limbaugh? What about McCain himself?

SOME of you democrats should really be ashamed of yourselves. You act like sharks. Whenever you sniff out some blood your in for the kill. What about your own humanity? Are you too caught up in stirring up trouble to actually have a solid campaign. You guys are trying to win a campaign based on pointing your finger at the republican party. What in the world can you really do?

So, even though Palin is pro-contraception, her daughter's boyfriend was too damned lazy to go to Wal-Mart, or a gas station bathroom, and buy a rubber.

That's so inane that all I can say is it takes two to make a baby. If the boyfriend doesn't have a condom, either she says no or she buys some herself. She's not just a passive object that has to accept whatever decision the boyfriend makes.

Just One Question:

The virtues of adoption, and they are obvious and many, do not negate the impermissiblity of using the police power of the state to force women to carry pregnancies to term against their will. That's what the abortion debate is about; it's not about trying to convince people that abortion is a simple procedure without repercussions.

We also should acknowledge that all infants do not have an equal chance of being adopted.

Watching all the cowardly sniping going on, I am beginning to be convinced that my former companions on the political path are not worth following any longer.

Examples?

OT- Serious question. Is ObWi a site that you can earn McCain Points from? Can any blog earn you points?

I gotta' say, the whole concept of earning points for putting out talking points and not having to defend them is pretty lame. It very easily lends itself to a hit-and-run that just stirs people up and doesn't convince anyone that McCain's position is correct. Being called a shark and fed some talking points probably makes me less likely to vote for a candidate.

Sarah Palin gave birth to a baby with Down's Syndrome at the age of 44.

Is anyone else appalled at this?

The risk of giving birth to a baby with Down's Syndrome is extremely high in women over 40 (and even higher when the father is also over 40).
http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/news/20030701/dad-age-down-syndrome

Sarah Palin "opposes the use of birth control pills and condoms even among married couples".

I am disgusted by this irresponsible behaviour. To give birth at age 44 to a baby with Down's because you refuse to use birth control inexcusable. Ignoring the dangers that you expose yourself and your baby to by refusing to use birth control after 40 is negligent and careless. To believe that a woman like this has the opportunity to become Vice President of the United States of America in 2008 makes me ill.

Does anyone else share this opinion?

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