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Hilzoy's Call for Decency:

Over at Obsidian Wings, Hilzoy has a post decrying the blogosphere's rumor-mongering about the Palin family children that is worth quoting at length. After noting the Palins' statement about their daughter's pregnancy, and then writes:

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. Imagine yourself in her position: there you are, seventeen years old, pregnant, unmarried. Maybe you understand what happened and why; and maybe your parents and friends do as well. But zillions of bloggers and reporters and pundits are about to make the most personal details of your life into a political issue, and they don't understand it at all. And yet, despite that, they are about to use you and your unborn child to score points on one another, without any regard whatsoever for you and your actual situation.

I want no part of this. None at all. 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.

As far as I'm concerned, it's fair game to consider Sarah Palin's statements about her daughter's decision, and to compare them to her own views about abortion. That's a story about whether or not Sarah Palin sticks to her beliefs when they affect her own family, not about her daughter. But it is not fair game to use her daughter, or any of her kids, as pawns in a political argument. To my mind, this extends to using her daughter as evidence that abstinence-only education doesn't work: presumably, no one thinks that it works 100% of the time, and that's the only claim to which this one counterexample could possibly be relevant. (That's why God created large-scale studies.) 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.

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.

Even in the midst of a political fight, common decency should be maintained. That campaigns (e.g. the Bush campaign in the 2000 S.C. primary) or bloggers often fail to show such restraint makes it that much more important that the rest of us do.

taney71:
There is no decency at the Daily Kos. These people love it and want Palin and her family to suffer because of their conservative views. It's sick.
9.1.2008 9:47pm
Michael B (mail):
It's difficult to fully appreciate the sexism - and worse - on evidence from the pseudo-liberal camp.

Beldar has several informative posts on Palin, notable examples here and here and here (to pick three ethics and oil/energy related posts), but he's posted others of note as well.
9.1.2008 9:48pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
I agree with hilzoy. A family's privacy should be sacrosanct, even for VP candidates.

But let's also remember that most Republicans are taking the position that the government should invade your family's privacy, and making the decision for you about whether that daughter should keep the baby.

Hard to square, isn't it?
9.1.2008 9:50pm
Mooshinator:
To taney71: It's really unfair to characterize *all* of the people at Daily Kos as having no decency. A lot of them are showing no decency, but there are many, many comments from folks over there criticizing their own members and trying to keep this civil.
9.1.2008 9:51pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
Let's also remember that McCain once joked:

[quote]"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno."[/quote]

Any of you want to speculate about what would happen if Obama made a joke like this right now?
9.1.2008 9:52pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
To my mind, this extends to using her daughter as evidence that abstinence-only education doesn't work: presumably, no one thinks that it works 100% of the time

Is that suppose to be a joke, because the argument normally goes birth control is only effective 95% of the time, the only 100% effective solution is abstinence. Which is dumb, but it's what abstinence only people say.

I think it is fair to look at Palin's family values and how Palin raised her own kids, what type of mother she is, and how she handles family issues as relevant to looking at what type of person Palin is, especially when there isn't much else to go one. No one should focus on her child of course, but on looking at her I think it is fair game.

Did she and her husband put politics and work before properly raising her kids? I don't think anyone thinks a knocked up 17 year old is a good thing.

Also I think people would don't agree with me would agree with Obama.have heard some of the news on this and so let me be as clear as possible. I have said before and I will repeat again, 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 governor Palin's performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. And so I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18. And how family deals with issues and teenage children that shouldn't be the topic of our politics and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that is off limits.

Which means he won't ask the questions I think should be asked.
9.1.2008 9:52pm
smitty1e:
Two directions to go: up or down.
There seems to be an unspoken assertion that natural laws of entropy apply to political discourse, and it all has to go further and further down.
McCain's sincere congratulatory ad on Thursday, and Obama's declaration that Bristol should be off-limits, or even the John Edwards cover-up, are all signs that the dialogue need not land in the gutter.
9.1.2008 9:56pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
Additionally, there are plenty of other, more valid grounds on which to criticize Palin.

How about the fact that she was the director for Ted Stevens' 527 group, called "Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service"? This after claiming she had taken on Ted Stevens...

Source
9.1.2008 9:57pm
JosephSlater (mail):
I agree with Hilzoy. But when your side's spin on an issue comes down to acting indignant because of what some people in the more radical parts of the blogosphere are saying -- well, you've lost that news cycle for sure.
9.1.2008 9:58pm
NYU JD:
llamasex--

Obviously, abstinence works 99.99999999% of the time, with exceptions for the occasional divine birth of the Messiah. No one thinks abstinence education works 100% of the time. Duh.
9.1.2008 9:58pm
taney71:
Mooshinator:

I'll stick with my views. If you go on that site you are culpable because you should know that a much of the stuff written on there is just pure hate.
9.1.2008 10:00pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
And oh, how about this: Palin actually supported the "Bridge to Nowhere" until it became obvious it was not going to happen.

She was for it before she was against it.

Another blatant lie.
9.1.2008 10:01pm
Patrick216:
How did Republicans use Chelsea Clinton to "score points?" Yes, a few people made fun of her looks, but there was no organized campaign on the part of Bush 41 and/or his staffers to use her as a weapon against her parents. Matter of fact, she lived her life at Stanford and so forth without any interference by the Republicans or the press.

It's the Democrats who use personal circumstances and innocent family members as political weapons -- whether it was that disgusting display of John Edwards going after Dick Cheney in the 2004 VP debate with stuff about Mary Cheney or all these vicious, nasty personal attacks on Sarah Palin and her family.
9.1.2008 10:01pm
FlimFlamSam:
So what we know about Sarah Palin is that she has five children, one of whom had premarital sex. Stop the presses!!!!!!!!!!!

And with regard to abstinence-based education, how do we know the young couple didn't use a condom that broke? How do we know Bristol Palin wasn't on birth control and it was ineffective?
9.1.2008 10:04pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
By the way, how do you think all this reflects on McCain's judgment?

Not only did McCain choose someone who is absolutely unqualified to become Commander-in-Chief (despite his own pronouncements that it was the most important qualification for the job), he also did so without actually vetting her.

Amazing...
9.1.2008 10:04pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
I guess I'm old fashioned. I think kids are good.

And the fact that Gov. Palin has had real jobs outside of politics (don't start in with me about Obama's law professor gig - sorry Volokh Conspiracy contributors!) - and is part of a large, dynamic family, is great I think.

Politicians like Biden and Obama - who are essentially career politicians - simply have less of an understanding of the practical, private effects of their public decisions.
9.1.2008 10:05pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"How did Republicans use Chelsea Clinton to "score points?"


Well didn't McCain make the following joke:


"Why is Chelsea so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno!"


at a Republican fund-raising event?
9.1.2008 10:06pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"I guess I'm old fashioned. I think kids are good."



It's a particularly old-fashioned kind of "old-fashioned" to think it's good for a 17-yr-old girl to have children.
9.1.2008 10:08pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
NYU JD,

There are other rare times, such as sperm in the swimming pool and freak dancing :)

From alot of the Christian Right (and therefore some of the political Right) there has been an assault on condoms (much of it filled with mistruths and lies) because they support abstinence education. They do this so they can push their abstinence policy. Bristol Palin an example of the fruit of their labor.

It's gonna be kinda freaky that her kid and her uncle are going to be baby playmates. We need the white equivalent to Bill Cosby to come out and say this isn't right, you white mothers and fathers need to make sure your child isn't getting knocked up before she is 18. This isn't cool, this isn't ok.
9.1.2008 10:08pm
Nifonged:
"he also did so without actually vetting her. "

Having a kid that is pregnant at 17 is disqualifying?

If that's the case, should we look into the medical records of all children of candidates who may have aborted a child at the same age (or sired a child who was aborted)?

Dude, epic fail.
9.1.2008 10:08pm
Michael B (mail):
Mahan Atma,

From your own link, emphasis added:

"Asked why she supported the bridge, Palin's communications director Bill McAlister said, 'It was never at the top of her priority list, and in fact the project isn't necessarily dead ... there's still the potential for improved ferry service or even a bridge of a less costly design.'

"She changed her mind, he said, when 'she saw that Alaska was being perceived as taking from the country and not giving, and that impression bothered her and she wants to change it. … I think that Sarah Palin is someone who has the courage to reevaluate situations as they developed.'"
9.1.2008 10:08pm
Female Voter:
What the leftwing bloggers have done with regard to both Trig and Bristol Palin is unconscionable, so matter how hard they try to defend it.

It's politics of destruction turned on children and young adults as a way to harm their parent. But what it really harms is the public discourse and ultimately their own credibility.

I am a woman who fought hard for equal pay and employment opportunity in the 70s, who defended women's health clinics in the 80s against right wing attackers and who donated time, money and effort to bringing health care to the barrios of a west coast inner city.

But I'll be damned if I'll associate with this sort of slime. I've been wavering for months on whether to vote this year and for whom. Andrew Sullivan's descent into the cesspool of smear finally made up my mind for me. I've just donated to McCain/Palin and will vote that way in November -- and I doubt I will ever again vote Democrat unless and until the party sincerely cleanses itself of this sort of destructive and despicable crap.
9.1.2008 10:08pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"She changed her mind, he said, when 'she saw that Alaska was being perceived as taking from the country and not giving, and that impression bothered her and she wants to change it."


She also "changed her mind" only after it was clear the project wasn't going to pass Congress.
9.1.2008 10:11pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"It's politics of destruction turned on children and young adults as a way to harm their parent."


Have you heard about the joke John McCain made? It goes something like this:

"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno!"


So, are you now going to denounce John McCain?
9.1.2008 10:13pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"I've been wavering for months on whether to vote this year and for whom. Andrew Sullivan's descent into the cesspool of smear finally made up my mind for me. I've just donated to McCain/Palin and will vote that way in November -- and I doubt I will ever again vote Democrat unless and until the party sincerely cleanses itself of this sort of destructive and despicable crap."


You are either being incredibly disingenuous about "wavering", or you have never actually delved into the numerous Republican slime pits on the right, such as Little Green Footballs, or Free Republic.

Seriously, you're going to equate the Democratic Party with the most radical bloggers out there?

Why don't you hold the Republicans to the same standard?
9.1.2008 10:15pm
EH (mail):
What Would Karl Rove Do?
9.1.2008 10:19pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
er - Mahan Atma - i seriously doubt mccain ever said that (the "joke" you reference above).

have a link? no? i'm so surprised.

maybe you read that "joke" in a comment by an obama partisan during your hours over at daily kos.

glad to help.
9.1.2008 10:19pm
CJ2:
Mr. Adler - agreed on all counts. Thank you for your post. It'd be nice if we posting comments could be the first, but apparently not.
9.1.2008 10:20pm
Nifonged:
Charles Johnson is radical? Aren't radicals "crackpots?" Crackpots are usually wrong, didn't Johnson catch the whole Rathergate thing (among other "correct" catches)?
9.1.2008 10:21pm
Mac (mail):
Oh, for Pete's sakes Atma, how many times are you going to repeat that joke? I notice you don't source it. I never heard it before. Not saying he didn't say it, but this is a first for me. .

Be that as it may, you are turning into a one trick pony. Please, come up with something else.

PS McCain-Feingold led to the 527's. I do believe George Soros, among many others, has sunk a ton of money into 527's for the Democrats over several election cycles. It's only bad if Republicans use a 527 or what?
9.1.2008 10:23pm
Gabriel Malor (mail):
Mahan Atma -- someone in this very post attributes that joke to Dick Cheney. Thoughts?
9.1.2008 10:23pm
whit:
Just for the record... the mccain campaign has said they vetted her and they KNEW about the 17 yr old pregnant girl. which just makes me respect mccain more, not less. it shouldn't be an issue. wow. their 17 yr old daughter is sexually active. that's supposed to be a scandal? i respect the fact that their pro-life stance is a consistent "walk the walk" thing. and I am pro-choice
9.1.2008 10:24pm
Baseballhead (mail):
What? Rumors are unfair to Palin? How sad. After months of "OMG OBAMA SECRET MUSLIM!!11! emails, I think it's hilarious that only now do the conservatives cry out for decency from the Intertubes.
9.1.2008 10:24pm
Houston Lawyer:
I'm still waiting on all the examples of Republicans using Chelsea as an example of something to use against her parents. Having her parents was punishment enough.
9.1.2008 10:24pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"er - Mahan Atma - i seriously doubt mccain ever said that (the "joke" you reference above).

have a link? no? i'm so surprised."


Here's your link.

"The joke did appear in McCain's hometown paper, the Arizona Republic, and the Associated Press did report the joke in full, so everyone in the press had access to McCain's words. But by censoring themselves, the Post, the Times and others helped McCain deflect flak and preserved his status as a Republican presidential contender."
9.1.2008 10:24pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
mahan atma:

this may come as a shock to you, but kids are universally good.

and i have no doubt that, once Bristol and Levi have the baby and get married, the environment in their household will be a much more joyous and uplifting place than the environs around the workstation where you currently sit.

you might want to spend some time up in Wasilla. it might clear all the voices from your head.
9.1.2008 10:25pm
Michael B (mail):
"She also "changed her mind" only after it was clear the project wasn't going to pass Congress."

Whether that's mere cynicism or something more requires substantiation. Further, regardless of the motives (you appear to know what was in her heart and mind with some notable specificity), she did change her mind. Bare minimum, that's a contrast with Senator Stevens himself.
9.1.2008 10:25pm
loki13 (mail):
All day, while Gustav roared, I occasionally peeked over at CNN. (it's not news... it cra...um CNN.COM). Anyway, all day there were new things about Palin. Even I couldn't believe it.

AND THIS IS JUST THREE DAYS! And most of the national press has been busy with Gustav and the holiday.

Just ... wow. I'm here to watch the fireworks.

(BTW- personal opinion, none of this matters other than reflecting poorly on McCain for not vetting, and causing his campaign to distract itself with more silliness when it should be coalescing. People vote for the top of the ticket, not the bottom.)
9.1.2008 10:25pm
Nathan_M (mail):

er - Mahan Atma - i seriously doubt mccain ever said that (the "joke" you reference above).

have a link? no? i'm so surprised.

I hope a decade old joke isn't a huge issue for you this election, but McCain did say that.
9.1.2008 10:28pm
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
I--as probably the vast majority of Dems/liberals--would like to see all family kept out of politics. But it did not bother me when M. Obama's comments were analyzed, as she had made them in a public speech. She had intentionally thrust herself into the public debate. [The distortions and viciousness of the anti-Michelle comments did bother me, but that's a different issue.]

What I hope IS looked at carefully is the McCain picked Palin to begin with. All the political "experts" [on both sides of the isle] said over and over, for the past 2 months, that the selection of the VP is the first real presidential act a candidate does, and it is especially informative in that it gives insight into how the candidate will-if president--make future decisions.

Palin may make a great VP candidate. She make may a terrific actual VP, if McCain wins. Who knows? But for McCain to make his decision after meeting in person one time (plus a few phone calls) deeply surprises me. Maybe it should not bother me, but my first reaction was: McCain is a man who strongly trusts his instincts, and is willing to make snap decisions, even when these decisions should be made soberly, over time, and with (overly) careful deliberation.

It may be that I am silly to be bothered by this. But after Bush's idiotic stance that he looked into the heart of Putin, saw good, etc. etc.; I am looking for my next president to handle serious matters, um, seriously. [Perhaps this hope for logical reasoning comes from my intellectual (ie, elitist) background?]. We know that for this current president, facts do not matter very much. This was a flaw I did not think I'd see in McCain, and to the extent that his last-minute decision on Palin reflects this thought-process, it bothers me a great deal.

But I digress. On my behalf, add one more vote to: Stay away from Palin's children, except to the extent that Palin herself brings them up.
9.1.2008 10:28pm
Borealis (mail):
This has got to be near the lowest low. There have been political attacks accusing men lying about fathering children, but has there ever been an accusation that a woman lied about the child she fathered? Can someone even imagine a more gutter political argument?

Now that Sarah Palin has publicized that her daughter is actually pregnant now, where is Andrew Sullivan and Kos retracting their bizarre conspiracy theory?
9.1.2008 10:30pm
loki13 (mail):
whit-

McCain says he knew (of course, even if he didn't). But his campaign staff had *no idea*. Neither did Palin's chief of staff. This completely blindsided them.

Just ... wow. Three days, folks. The big gamble could still pay off, but so far this is the epic fail of VP picks in terms of message distraction.

Okay. More fireworks, please! Where's The Ace? He needs to drum up McCain's white female vote to 65% by November or leave the VC! That's the race I care about! *grin*
9.1.2008 10:30pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
loki13:

mccain did vet. he determined - correctly - that a grandchild is a good thing - not a liability.

by the way, in norse mythology isn't "loki" the "contriver of all fraud"? what are you trying to tell us?
9.1.2008 10:30pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"this may come as a shock to you, but kids are universally good."


Unfortunately, their parents are not.

Tell me, would you say it would be just as good for, say, a 12-yr-old girl having a baby? How about a 10-yr-old?

How about a 12-yr-old heroin junkie, or a crack addict?

Is there no condition under which it's a bad idea to get pregnant, in your view?
9.1.2008 10:31pm
Another Female Voter:
When critics said Sarah Palin shouldn't run for VP and raise a 5-month old at the same time, I defended her. Of course a woman can be a mother and have a career at the same time.

However. I would never in a million years place my pregnant teenage daughter in the spotlight. She knew it would happen. The story is not only on the "liberal blogosphere" but also the mainstream media outlets. The liberal blogs may have broken the story earlier than the Palins had hoped for, but eventually the pregnancy would have shown and the press would have reported. I think it shows exceedingly questionable judgment to expose your family to the national spotlight under these conditions. And I would say the same exact thing if it were Todd Palin running for office.

It has been widely reported that before Bill Clinton ran for office, he and Hillary sat Chelsea down and practiced saying mean things about her dad, so that she would be prepared for the media onslaught they knew they were putting her into. I wonder if Palin did the same for her pregnant daughter.

I'm not defending rumor-mongering on blogs, but eventually the press will report the obvious, and a pregnant teenager is obvious. It would be odd indeed for the press NOT to report on the birth of a grandchild of a candidate. If Palin thought the press would just back off and forget about it, then she really isn't ready for a national campaign. If, more likely, she knew the press would at the very least report on it, then she's shown questionable judgment in accepting the nomination under these circumstances.
9.1.2008 10:32pm
Skorri:
Metro1, the Janet Reno joke, along with other charmers like the gorilla rape "joke", are well documented. Just try a spin with google and you'll have your pick of references.

As has been mentioned several times above, there is nothing in the crazy fringes of either side of the political divide that doesn't have an equivalent on the other. Trying to claim what a blogger does as proof that Democrats are all family-hating hypocrites is laughable.

Bristol Palin deserves her privacy more now than perhaps any other children of the candidates do, but giving her that privacy doesn't somehow mean we must refrain from dialogue on reproductive rights and sex education. Prof. Adler, there *are* plenty of studies out there showing how damaging and worthless abstinence education is, but they are ignored -- the Palins' story can put a face on that reality.

To me, the most important part of this whole issue has been McCain's response. He is clearly using the language of choice when he refers to Bristol's decision to keep her baby, and to do what is right for herself and her family. Using such language can only backfire on McCain's anti-choice political positions.
9.1.2008 10:32pm
Arkady:

Hotline: 6/15/98:

Arizona Republic's Murphy reports, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
"formally apologized" to Pres. Clinton on 6/12 "for a crass joke he made earlier in the week at the expense of" Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and AG Janet Reno. McCain spokesperson Nancy Ives "said a letter of apology had been hand-delivered to the" WH. Ives "would not repeat the joke that landed McCain in hot water": "I don't feel comfortable telling you. He feels awful, and he regrets that he said it ... I just can't repeat it." Political "sources told the Republic the joke went something like this: Do you know why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father." WH Press Sec. Mike McCurry said 6/12 that Clinton considered McCain's apology letter to be heartfelt: "The president certainly understands how you get caught saying things you ordinarily wouldn't have said." McCurry "said Clinton may have even called McCain to assure him there were no hard feelings" (6/13).


Link
9.1.2008 10:32pm
Nifonged:
"where is Andrew Sullivan and Kos retracting their bizarre conspiracy theory?"

Sullivan is still wanting proof that Trig is Sarah's kid...I'm not kidding, go to his website (assuming it hasn't changed in the last few hours).

The whole subject is repugnant, but if nothing else comes from it exposes Sullivan as being the real "crackpot." The guy should have no credibility going forward, as if he's had much recently.
9.1.2008 10:34pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
Glad I'm not the only one pointing out that the McCain joke was genuine.

So... where's the outrage?
9.1.2008 10:36pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
mahan atma: off the top of my head, the only time i might have thought it a "bad idea to get pregnant," as you say, is if i could've gone back in time and spoken to your mom. alas, that technology is still years away.

and, shucks - you're probably ok. you just need a little time in wasilla like loki.
9.1.2008 10:37pm
Nifonged:
"Glad I'm not the only one pointing out that the McCain joke was genuine."

yeah, someone pointing out to go google it is really proof. I don't care either way, but a salon.com article and a random person telling everyone to google it is hardly proof, at least in my circles. Your standards may vary.
9.1.2008 10:38pm
Borealis (mail):
Edit of my last comment. Obviously she did not "father" the child. The parallel is still there, however. Can anyone think of a lower political attack than accusing a woman of faking her birthing a child, especially when she was in the public spotlight of being a Governor?
9.1.2008 10:38pm
erp:
Here's your link.

David Corn is the source? Give me a break.

Chelsea lived a charmed life as far as the media was concerned and every mention of her was blown out of proportion and twisted if not completely fabricated especially the alleged Limbaugh insult.

Bush's twins were followed by the media who tried to make them look like drunks while it was Chelsea who was frequently seen and photographed falling down drunk.

Disgusting and disgusting.
9.1.2008 10:38pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"yeah, someone pointing out to go google it is really proof. I don't care either way, but a salon.com article and a random person telling everyone to google it is hardly proof, at least in my circles. Your standards may vary."


It was widely reported. I can provide you with many more links from many more sources, if you like.

But tell me, if I do, will you voice your outrage and denounce John McCain?
9.1.2008 10:41pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
mahan atma:

your outrage at Biden's serial plagiarism?

your outrage at Obama's close working relationship with a domestic terrorist - and losing $110 million down a rat hole at the annenberg challenge in chicago?

bueller? bueller?

you know - the above actions on the part Biden and Obama show moral turpitude and poor judgment. Palin's daughter starting a family and getting married is a good thing. so - yes - lets talk about scandals more.

it's kind of like calling Palin inexperienced: it awkwardly highlights the fact that Obama has less experience than she does.

goose, meet gander.
9.1.2008 10:43pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Mahan Atma,

Are you justifying the attacks on Palin's daughter because McCain made a joke about Clinton's daughter?
9.1.2008 10:44pm
Nifonged:
"But tell me, if I do, will you voice your outrage and denounce John McCain?"

Apparently you have difficulty reading my statement that I don't care either way. That would seemingly preclude my reaction, I'm just calling out the logical disconnect.

If it makes you feel better, I have no desire for you to post wingnut links.
9.1.2008 10:44pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Are you justifying the attacks on Palin's daughter because McCain made a joke about Clinton's daughter?"


Um, no?
9.1.2008 10:47pm
Arkady:
I certainly agree with Hilzoy that the kids should be off-limits. However, I do have to question Sarah Palin's judgement--did she really think that the story her daughter's pregnancy would'nt come out? Especially given her quite vocal advocacy of abstinence-only education during her 2006 campaign? Is she that politically naive?
9.1.2008 10:48pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
Here's the Telegraph:


His most offensive attempt at humour was a two-liner told to a Republican audience in 1998: 'Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father.' In just 12 words he managed to insult the looks of a then 17-year-old, the first female US attorney general, the First Lady and lesbians everywhere. A full apology was issued to President Clinton. Wes Gullett, who served on the senator's campaigns for seven years and remains a close friend, conceded, 'He has a smart alec streak about him and sometimes he gets into trouble. But he knows that the most powerful words in the English language are 'I am sorry, I will never do it again'.'
9.1.2008 10:48pm
elizabeth:
Palin's daughter is "starting a family" and that's "a good thing"? Last time I checked having a kid at 17 was pretty much just throwing your life away. You don't get to take a baby back to the store when you realize it's screwing up all your plans for the future and you really didn't want to spend the rest of your life with its foolish teenage father.

I don't see why this is "off limits." The fact that Governor Palin has raised a daughter who thinks teenage motherhood and a shotgun wedding are a great idea that will help her grow up nice and fast tells me a lot about what kind of person she is, and it's nothing good.
9.1.2008 10:49pm
Borealis (mail):
Wow. I looked at Andrew Sullivan's website. He has long been very opinionated about privacy, sexual freedom, and something merging Radical Islamists and Christians. But now he is calling for a VP candidate to publish her gynecological records because of a conspiracy theory? Did anyone even ask if Al Gore's or John Kerry's kids had abortions? Why are we diving into such low politics.
9.1.2008 10:50pm
NYU JD:
Another Female Voter--

So, having a pregnant teenage daughter is disqualifying for VP because the rest of the world will act like jerks? Are we defending the heckler's veto today?

llamasex--

2 things:

1. Abstinence education doesn't always work, and the best parents sometimes have disobedient children. Taken by itself, Bristol's pregnancy says absolutely nothing about Sarah Palin's parenting, or about whether, in general, abstinence-only or "explicit" sex-ed works best. The plural of anecdote is not data.

2. Lots of people are about the same age as their uncles or aunts. If Bristol had waited to get married at 18, and had a kid at 19, there wouldn't have been any issue worth discussing; and Trig and Bristol's kid would still be childhood playmates. Nothing creepy about it--it happens in all sorts of families with a large age gap between siblings.
9.1.2008 10:51pm
Nifonged:
"The fact that Governor Palin has raised a daughter who thinks teenage motherhood and a shotgun wedding are a great idea that will help her grow up nice and fast tells me a lot about what kind of person she is, and it's nothing good."

Is an abortion better? If so, then all children of nationnal politicians' kids' medical records are fair game.
9.1.2008 10:52pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
metro1,

You cannot engage in debate without resorting to personal attacks, so I'm not going to waste my time responding to you.
9.1.2008 10:53pm
loki13 (mail):
Palin-

She's a game changer. I predict an increase of 15-20% in the funny of late nite TV. The mooseburgers alone was good for a 5% bump . . .

Oh, bump. Um, that's a poor choice of words.

Once you add in the idiot/irrepressibly talkative Biden, and we should have the VPs of Comedy tour. I can see it now:

She's thinks Vetting is a kind of car she used to drive and has five skeletons tumbling out of the closet each day.

He only opens his mouth to change feet.

Come see the VPs of Comedy!
9.1.2008 10:54pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
Another source, The Arizona Republic, via NewsDay:


Arizona Republic's Murphy reports, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "formally apologized" to Pres. Clinton on 6/12 "for a crass joke he made earlier in the week at the expense of" Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and AG Janet Reno. McCain spokesperson Nancy Ives "said a letter of apology had been hand-delivered to the" WH. Ives "would not repeat the joke that landed McCain in hot water": "I don't feel comfortable telling you. He feels awful, and he regrets that he said it ... I just can't repeat it." Political "sources told the Republic the joke went something like this: Do you know why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father." WH Press Sec. Mike McCurry said 6/12 that Clinton considered McCain's apology letter to be heartfelt: "The president certainly understands how you get caught saying things you ordinarily wouldn't have said." McCurry "said Clinton may have even called McCain to assure him there were no hard feelings" (6/13).

9.1.2008 10:57pm
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
Borealis:

Can anyone think of a lower political attack than accusing a woman of faking her birthing a child, especially when she was in the public spotlight of being a Governor?


Sure. No problem. My political opponent...
1. Is a child molester.
2. Is a child rapist.
3. Killed Vince Foster.
4. Would prefer terrorists to win, rather than [fill in whatever elimination of civil rights is at issue].

Wow, that was easy. Any other questions?
9.1.2008 10:57pm
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
It's been a while since I've read Sullivan, and seeing the level of crack-pottery he's descended to over this is amazing. I mean, he's still demanding proof that a five-month pregnant girl didn't deliver a baby four and a half months ago. WTF?

And the Kosacks still think this will hurt Palin instead of forcing Obama to throw the entire site under the bus?

Someone in a forum I read put it best -- this election has officially jumped the shark.
9.1.2008 10:59pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
elizabeth:

having a baby at 17 is "throwing your life away"?

that will come as a surprise to millions of single moms and their kids.

i can only say that you obviously have no kids - since you view them as such a negative.

you may be the perfect snapshot of the narcissistic urban liberal: a child might affect your 100% focus on yourself, your career, and your ipod. a kid might well lessen your pocket change at starbucks. so - a kid is "throwing away your life!"
9.1.2008 11:00pm
Nifonged:
Hate to bring up loki's past, but jeez, look at his work on the issue that inspired my moniker.

"why the outrage? I only have a passing familiarity with the facts of this case because I didn't really care. It was interesting only in a 'man bites dog' sort of way. When you get incidents like the Tulia fiasco (never see any outrage about that on Volokh), there is little popular press. The officer responsible recieved probation, and the various officials who knowingly benefitted received promotions and bonuses. In this case, we have prosecutorial misconduct aimed at young, white, collegiate men."

yeah, at some point, get a new sock, being 100% wrong on one situation sort of damages your credibility.
9.1.2008 11:03pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Can anyone think of a lower political attack than accusing a woman of faking her birthing a child, especially when she was in the public spotlight of being a Governor? "


How about spreading rumors that your white opponent fathered a black child out of wedlock?

Oh wait, that was Bush!

OH WAIT, McCain just hired the political operative behind that smear, this time to work for Sarah Palin!

McCain Hires GOP Operative Who Helped Smear Him in South Carolina in 2000


LINK



Former officials of Sen. John McCain's 2000 campaign expressed shock and disbelief Monday to learn than the GOP presidential nominee had hired South Carolina political consultant Tucker Eskew.


How MAVERICKY!!
9.1.2008 11:05pm
loki13 (mail):
BTW, I'm going to put a brief moment of non-humor to make a point.

For those of you in litigation, you know what I mean when I say "fronting". For the rest of you, if you have bad facts, it is good to "front" them, IOW, bring them up yourself at the beginning so you can tell the narrative and disarm those bad facts.

That so much, so quickly, is coming out, and not from the McCain campaign, is bad. This should have been fronted after the announcement, before her first speech. Then, their campaign shapes the narrative. Now, they're playing defense. I swear; between the DUI, the Ted Stevens 527, the Pregnancy, the Bridge Flip Flop; the only one that (arguably) shouldn't have been fronted was th bridge flip flop. That will be perceived as disputed (even if it isn't). The rest makes the campaign scramble. At this point, the McCain campaign is even sending out contradictory messages on the vetting (both that they did, to show that they are competent, and that they didn't or it was minimal, to CYA).

Again- three days, while the media is concentrating on Gustav. Early results are not promising for this gamble; we'll see how her speech goes; she could still turn this narrative around.
9.1.2008 11:08pm
loki13 (mail):
Nifonged,

I stand behind that. The context was about 500 posts, each drawing hundreds of comments, on that one case. The point being that there are worse abuses on a regular basis that don't receive that attention- not that the particular case wasn't bad. Are you now fighting the good fight to remove all the corrupt prosecutors everywhere?

What?

No?

Well, at least you got a good nom de blog.
9.1.2008 11:12pm
Sarah (mail) (www):
Having a baby doesn't screw up your life -- unless you're determined to see things that way. My grandmother still won't speak to my mother, because my mother's existence (when grandma was 19 and married) meant she "had" to drop out of school and never, ever become an architect as she'd been hoping to do -- this being entirely a product of her imagination (her own mother, sister, and aunts all had paying, professional careers and children of their own.) Even my great-great-great-grandmother, who had a child (forced on her by a distant relative) at the age of fourteen and was hidden with her child in the attic when the census-takers came around, managed to have what she judged to be a pretty awesome life in the end -- and her daughter, my mother's great-grandmother, was a delightful, well-adjusted lady; neither her lack of a birth certificate or contact with her biological father kept her from living the life she wanted to, nor raising her daughters to be delightful well-adjusted people on their own; my grandma was a bitter fluke amongst her descendants.

Children aren't a punishment or a curse or a life-ender -- things change, life happens, you have to deal, etc., but they're not the end of the world unless you insist upon it (or have other significant disadvantages.) Which is not to say that 16-year-olds in modern America ought to be seeking to have children of their own -- any more than they should be running for President, dealing drugs, or any of a hundred other things that can either wait or are just plain bad for you -- but rather that the fact of an underage, unmarried pregnancy is not an unmitigated tragedy. Please show me a kid who managed to go from 12 to 30 with all their dreams intact, incidentally: one of the distinct advantages of modern life in a free country is that kids and adults have a considerable space in which to make suboptimal choices without being sent into the poor house or locked in an asylum or banished from a community with a brand of shame on their arms or the cultural imperative to literally throw themselves on a sword (or to murder their family members for bringing dishonor upon the larger group.)

And BTW I don't think this is that hard. Sometimes I think we all go out of our way to make stuff difficult for ourselves and each other; I'm glad that at first glance, the Palin family seems to get it.
9.1.2008 11:14pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
Adler:

"Even in the midst of a political fight, common decency should be maintained. That campaigns (e.g. the Bush campaign in the 2000 S.C. primary) or bloggers often fail to show such restraint makes it that much more important that the rest of us do."


So what do you make of the fact that McCain just hired Tucker Eskew?
9.1.2008 11:14pm
Serendipity:
None of this would be an issue at all if "values," hadn't become politicized. It seems fairly difficult to say you're running on "traditional," "pro-family values," platform when you leave your retarded 4 month old son and pregnant unwed seventeen year old daughter at home to run for public office. Just saying...
9.1.2008 11:19pm
Ben Gibson (mail):
I have heard a number of comments about how Republicans want to "invade the privacy of women" and force them to have babies they do not want. This misses the entire point.

I wrestled with this question a lot, and frankly it comes down to this, either we "invade the privacy of women" or allow them to commit murder. The right to privacy cannot be used as an excuse for murder. Especially of the most innocent, most defenseless of us all.

This is the major flaw in such arguments. Abortion is killing something. It ain't a Buick, it ain't any kind of animal. Allowed to grow, it eventually becomes a human being. And humans have rights that must be defended, that is why we have governments in the first place.

I know I am just a guy, a father of two, and soon to be a grandpa, and maybe my opinion does not matter. But that is still what I think.

When I put on my conspiracy hat, I have a feeling that McCain had seen that the liberals would jump on Bristol's pregnancy the way they have, and end up alienating a large section of the electorate. Obama did the right thing in declaring it out of bounds, and you got to him kudos for that. But I also think that was one briar patch that Obama was too smart to hop into to.
9.1.2008 11:19pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
mahan atma:

i'm not sure you should be posting comments on a blog if you can't handle a little verbal give-and-take.

and besides, when i make substantive points you never respond to them. For example:

* * *
your outrage at Biden's serial plagiarism?

your outrage at Obama's close working relationship with a domestic terrorist - and losing $110 million down a rat hole at the annenberg challenge in chicago?
* * *

response?

if you prefer keeping the exchange substantive - and after responding to the above - you might reconsider your thinking on what you said even earlier above:

* * *
But let's also remember that most Republicans are taking the position that the government should invade your family's privacy, and making the decision for you about whether that daughter should keep the baby.
* * *

this is, after all, a legal blog. staking your legal position on Justice Douglas' "emanations" from "penumbras" might draw some different views. you believe the Constitution has emanations from penumbras? and if legal authority related to abortions is not in the Constitution - as it most assuredly is not - it is a matter for the States. the federal government has no authority to pass laws (or issue judicial opinions) one way or the other. i would say the same if someone proposed a federal law to make abortions illegal. that subject area is simply outside of the federal government's enumerated powers.

you might try this as a test: if you believe in "emanations" from "penumbras" in the Constitution, what are your thoughts on the explicit language of the 2nd Amendment?

there, you said you preferred substance.
9.1.2008 11:20pm
loki13 (mail):
metro1,


I'd like to hear your opinions on the 11th Am. and Alden v. Maine. You know- the penumbras and emenations from the 10th Am.
9.1.2008 11:27pm
Another Female Voter:

So, having a pregnant teenage daughter is disqualifying for VP because the rest of the world will act like jerks? Are we defending the heckler's veto today?



NYU JD,

(1) I didn't say it disqualifies her. It doesn't. But in my mind as a voter, it calls her judgment into question and makes me less likely to vote for her on that basis.

(2) I don't consider press reporting on this pregnancy to be "acting like jerks." Some bloggers' comments may be jerk-like, but reporting the simple fact of the pregnancy and upcoming wedding is news. The press reported when Al Gore's daughter, Karenna, was pregnant and gave birth to his first grandchild. The press reported Jenna Bush's wedding. The press has reported on Chelsea Clinton's boyfriends and job offers. When Sarah Palin lined her kids up for the press conferences, she exposed them to the national spotlight of her own free choice. She knew her kids names would wind up in the news because she put them there. She told us about giving birth to her son with Down's syndrome, she told us about how her oldest son is shipping out to Iraq. She told us how she chose her children's unusual names.

I just don't think it's especially tawdry for Americans to be interested in the families of the candidates or for the press to respond to that interest. The candidates themselves recognize this by having their spouses or children introduce them, by showing introductory films depicting how they met their spouse and what their children are like. I agree that there are bounds of decency in reporting and the press should refrain from judging or criticizing Bristol Palin or providing unnecessary details. But reporting the simple fact of the pregnancy is appropriate and was bound to happen, being as Bristol would be nine months pregnant or the mother of a newborn when her mother is sworn in as vice president of the United States. It would be awfully hard to keep that out of the photo op, and Sarah Palin knew that when she accepted the nomination.
9.1.2008 11:27pm
Fedya (www):
Loki13 wrote:
personal opinion, none of this matters other than reflecting poorly on McCain for not vetting, and causing his campaign to distract itself with more silliness when it should be coalescing.

What it really reflects on is the hypocrisy of our worses in the media who jinn up stories like this, and still claim with a straight face that they're the enlightened, tolerant ones.
9.1.2008 11:31pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
metro1:

"i'm not sure you should be posting comments on a blog if you can't handle a little verbal give-and-take."


Let's be clear about what your "little verbal give-and-take" consisted of:

"mahan atma: off the top of my head, the only time i might have thought it a "bad idea to get pregnant," as you say, is if i could've gone back in time and spoken to your mom."


Yes, I'm sure the fault is mine for not wanting to waste my time to engage you further...
9.1.2008 11:31pm
markm (mail):
This makes me wonder whether McCain or his staff engaged in some Machiavellian thinking: they didn't "front" this to increase the temptation for Democrats to try to wrap an attack around the information, thereby discrediting themselves with middle America. Teen pregnancies aren't a good thing, but people know it happens even in the best families, and kudos to the Palins for making the best of it.
9.1.2008 11:33pm
Randy R. (mail):
If it turns out that one of Palin's children is gay, I suppose all of you would consider that off limits, right?

Me, I'd find it amusing.
9.1.2008 11:35pm
Nifonged:
"I stand behind that. The context was about 500 posts, each drawing hundreds of comments, on that one case. The point being that there are worse abuses on a regular basis that don't receive that attention- not that the particular case wasn't bad. Are you now fighting the good fight to remove all the corrupt prosecutors everywhere? "

I can't LOL hard enough, the context was that any person with an IQ above 45 knew this was a non-starter within a week of the accusations. I can't take anyone seriously that actually believed those false allegations at fair value, do people live in their own constructed reality?

Your excuse? That you didn't follow it? Well why did you comment? The fight I'm fighting is for truth and common sense, just because you showed as much (or more..or less...) of such than folks that should have known better isn't an excuse.
9.1.2008 11:38pm
Mac (mail):
elizabeth wrote:


I don't see why this is "off limits." The fact that Governor Palin has raised a daughter who thinks teenage motherhood and a shotgun wedding are a great idea that will help her grow up nice and fast tells me a lot about what kind of person she is, and it's nothing good.


I hardly think Sarah Palin thinks it's a great idea. She is accepting responsibility for her actions and acting in accordance with her beliefs. I have no way of knowing, but I think you either have no children, no girls, or young children. Those of us who have survived our daughter's teenage years, would not pass such judgement as you are willing to do.

Also, may we get rid of the myth that this is all due to abstinence only education? My daughter's friend, age 25 and a nursing student, forgot to take her pill one day. Despite sex education and her nursing studies, it had not penetrated her consciousness that you are much more fertile if you skip a pill. She has a beautiful baby boy and will be married next summer when she graduates. Is she wrong, too?

I really think if Palin were a guy, this would not be an issue at all. But, I imagine she can be a good VP even if her daughter did screw up. The day we are judged by our kid's mistakes will make idiots of us all. Now, that would lead to abstinence.
9.1.2008 11:38pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
loki:

Alden v. Maine concerns sovereign immunity. it has nothing to do with abortions.

you're confusing the 11th Amendment (Alden v. Maine) with the 9th Amendment (Griswold v. Connecticut).

The 9th Amendment provides that:

* * *
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
* * *

The 9th Amendment simply recognizes that the American Bill of Rights is intended to re-state pre-existing freedoms from English common law. The 9th Amendment is based on the founders' recognition that it would be impossible to list in the Bill of Rights all freedoms under English common law.

But, i think we can both agree, the right to have an abortion was never a freedom under English common law.

That's why Justice Douglas has to resort to "emanations" from "penumbras."

Try that next time you have to pay your mortgage. Tell the bank that "emanations" from "penumbras" in your mortgage say you skip this month's payment. see how far that gets you.
9.1.2008 11:39pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
I will come out and say it, kids should not be having babies. I will even goes as far to say generally anyone in their teens should not have kids. A 17 year old having a kid is not a good thing. Sure things might turn out ok for some, but that doesn't make it a good decision.

People saying this is good are setting the wrong example for teenagers who are out there listening.
9.1.2008 11:47pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
mahan atma:

you still haven't responded to any of my substantive questions to you. apparently non-substantive jabs are the only things to which you do respond.

[i deleted the non-substantive jab that was here. hope springs eternal - you may well respond to one of my substantive questions to you.]
9.1.2008 11:47pm
PC:
I really think if Palin were a guy, this would not be an issue at all.


Sure it would, it's juicy gossip. Americans love juicy gossip. If Obama had a 17 year old that got pregnant there would a non-stop series of talking points asking, "How can Obama lead the nation if he can't lead his own family?" But since it's a Republican we get to hear calls for civility.
9.1.2008 11:47pm
Mike S.:
Anyone who can't see the difference between a dumb joke in poor taste and spreading rumors that a woman faked having her youngest child shouldn't be trusted with a keyboard, much less the vote.

And Andrew Sullivan isn't just "some blogger" he is a major columnist for a mainstream publication. Obama said the right thing. I hope mr. sullivan's current and any potential future employers do likewise.
9.1.2008 11:49pm
Nifonged:
"I will even goes as far to say generally anyone in their teens should not have kids. A 17 year old having a kid is not a good thing. Sure things might turn out ok for some, but that doesn't make it a good decision. "

How is this attitude going to play in urban areas where teen pregnancy is more common than other areas, yet the constituency tends to vote DEM? Should all teens be forced to abort?

I can't believe the intolerance of some people here, is it pro-choice or pro-abortion? Why does it seem like the latter is the proper stance?
9.1.2008 11:51pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
Ilamasex:

certainly it is wiser to plan well when it comes to starting a family. it is wiser to plan well in all important life decisions. but having a child is not a negative thing. if boyfriends and girlfriends didn't have "accidents" sometimes, the world population would probably be halved. and we'd all be much poorer for the people who weren't here.

many of the people you meet in life were happy "accidents" like this. you tend not to know about it, however, as neither of their grandparents were in the midst of a presidential campaign at the time.
9.1.2008 11:53pm
josh bornstein (mail) (www):

* * *
your outrage at Biden's serial plagiarism?

your outrage at Obama's close working relationship with a domestic terrorist - and losing $110 million down a rat hole at the annenberg challenge in chicago?
---------------------------

I will not speak for others, but I can give my own responses:

1. Biden's plagiarism? Don't care at all.
2. Obama's relationships, Annenberg et al? I care almost not at all [1, on a scale of 1-10]
3. McCain cheating on his wife, breaking a couple of the 10 Commandments, and violating his code of military conduct? Don't care at all.

When I look at the past conduct, I care only so far as it informs me as to likelihood of future conduct. And then I ask myself: Will any future conduct intrinsically hurt performance? I have seen no evidence that Biden will engage in the widespread cover-ups I have hated in the current administration, so his past dishonesty does not impact my vote. I do think it is more likely that he will engage in future acts of plagerism than, say, Obama, McCain, or Palin. But even if that is true, I am not concerned that such future misdeeds will impact how the country will be run.

I am not belief in the view that Obama is a closet terrorist sympathizer. So, I am not concerned about his past relationship that you have alluded to. But I do recognize that others of good faith may come to the opposite conclusion.

If McCain did cheat on his previous wife, then--at most--it makes him more likely (again compared to Obama, Biden, and Palin) that he'll cheat again on his current wife. But since I don't give a damn if he *did* cheat again in the future, and since I think an unfaithful husband can still be a great president, it has no impact--ZERO--on my decision whether or not to vote for him.
9.1.2008 11:53pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Anyone who can't see the difference between a dumb joke in poor taste and spreading rumors that a woman faked having her youngest child shouldn't be trusted with a keyboard, much less the vote."


I'd say one big difference is that the rumors came from a handful of bloggers, while the extremely bad joke came from John McCain himself.

Again, imagine if Obama said something like that. It would be the end of the election.
9.1.2008 11:53pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
Nifonged,

Are you talking about me? I wasn't talking about abortion I was more talking about getting knocked up. How you moved that into forced abortions (assuming you are talking about me) I really don't get.
9.1.2008 11:55pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
indeed, this whole topic is probably best placed in the file labeled "the hypocrisy of the Left."

isn't one of the strongest planks in the Democratic platform every 4 years the proposition that a woman has "the right to choose"?

certainly choosing to have the baby is one of the acceptable choices.
9.1.2008 11:57pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"And Andrew Sullivan isn't just "some blogger" he is a major columnist for a mainstream publication."


I can't stand Andrew Sullivan either. Never have, particularly after he called anti-war critics "traitors. And I don't intend to defend him on this count.

However, he isn't running for President.
9.1.2008 11:57pm
FlimFlamSam:
Nifonged,

You hit the nail on the head with that last post. It's often not pro-choice, it is pro-abortion. It's about killing undesirable children before they cost us money and pollute the gene pool. Most (not all) pro-choicers are really social Darwinists who secretly cheer Freakanomics.

Any person who says they are pro-choice cannot logically attack poor Bristol Palin for hers.
9.1.2008 11:58pm
Nifonged:
Who else am I talking about (good grief I actually posted your words)? You mentioned a decision, what decision was it? I really doubt that Bristol decided to get pregnant. What decision are you talking about? What don't you get?
9.1.2008 11:58pm
Donald (mail) (www):
The coverage of Palin's kids, including Bristol, isn't happening in a vacuum. Because Palin's professional resume is so thin, the GOP hyped her "narrative." (I'm extraordinarily tired of that word.) Chief details in her "narrative" were two of her children: one headed to Iraq, and the other with Down syndrome. She described herself, in her acceptance speech, as a "hockey mom." In other words, her status as a mother was placed front and center by her own campaign--by her own words, in fact--to tout her qualifications for office.

So here's the question: does a politician--any politician, not just Palin--get to use their family for political gain, but also get to play the "that's private, stay away" game when particular details aren't quite so flattering?
9.1.2008 11:59pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
Oh, and when Republicans spread rumors about their opponent fathering a black baby out of wedlock?

Just peachy.
9.1.2008 11:59pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
josh bornstein:

you're missing the conclusion at the bottom of your comment above. i gather your conclusion would be:

* * *
therefore i don't care a bit about this latest Palin "scandal" either.
* * *
9.2.2008 12:02am
OrinKerr:
Mahan Atma,

Have you considered starting your own blog? 23 blog comments within 2 hours -- none closely related to the topic of the post, as far as I can tell -- is pretty remarkable.
9.2.2008 12:03am
PC:
Oh, and when Republicans spread rumors about their opponent fathering a black baby out of wedlock?


Apparently McCain doesn't care about that anymore because he hired the guy that started that smear.
9.2.2008 12:05am
llamasex (mail) (www):
metro1,

Those accidents are not better for society, on the whole people who aren't prepared to raise children are the ones having the kids who cause the problems for society. This isn't an absolute, planned ready parents have fuck ups as well, it is just a lot less likely to happen. I would double or triple the odds if the couple is in their teens when they have a "happy" accident.

If you are in High School you should not be knocked up, or have a girlfriend who is knocked up. Did the conspiracy ever talk about the exaggerated high school girls pregnancy pact? I would be interested in comparing the comments on that to the comments on this.
9.2.2008 12:05am
FlimFlamSam:
Prof. Kerr,

Please don't encourage him.
9.2.2008 12:05am
metro1 (mail) (www):
Donald:

Don't start that stuff again. Palin has more executive experience than Obama or Biden. we beat the "lacks experience" non-starter to death under prior posts. don't go down that road again. honestly, when an Obama supporter brings up "experience" it does not end well - for the Obama supporter.
9.2.2008 12:05am
Duncan Frissell (mail):
meeting in person one time

They met in person twice -- at the National Governers Conf and at the McCains home (the one that is next to, but not in, Sedona). See the WaPo article.
9.2.2008 12:05am
Borealis (mail):
It is interesting that "choice" does not mean having a Downs syndrome baby, or having a baby at age 17. It looks like "choice" only means having an abortion. I understand how the politics work out like that, but I don't think 80% of the public views it that way.
9.2.2008 12:06am
llamasex (mail) (www):
Nifonged,

The decision was the one to have sex without proper protection. Not to choose to have a baby.

How do I know what type of sex Bristol had? Because she got knocked up.
9.2.2008 12:07am
Nifonged:
off-topic, but UCLA just pulled ahead of UT-Knoxville.

I wonder if EV and Reynolds have a bet on the game.
9.2.2008 12:08am
FlimFlamSam:
llamasex,

Not all out-of-wedlock situations are created equal. I'd wager that a child conceived out of wedlock whose parents are middle class or higher and who then marry is not one of your "kids who cause the problems for society."

That's just another way of saying that Bristol and Levi are not going to be applying for welfare benefits.
9.2.2008 12:09am
FlimFlamSam:
llamasex,

How do you know that the condom didn't break? Or that Bristol's birth control didn't work? Were you there?

Plenty of "protected" sex results in pregnancy.
9.2.2008 12:10am
Michael B (mail):
More cheery news, Leftists physically attack several buses in St. Paul, Minnesota, one apparently carrying a load of Cub Scouts. Excerpt, emphasis added:

"A little later, a busload of Cub Scouts were en route to the convention, where they were to present the colors to open the convention. A group of protesters--liberals, Obama supporters, or whatever--blocked the road, surrounded the bus, and attacked it, rocking the bus back and forth, denting and scratching the sides, and generally terrifying the children trapped inside. The left-wing protesters attacked a number of buses in the same way, but there is something especially despicable about attacking a group of Cub Scouts."

Classy.
9.2.2008 12:11am
metro1 (mail) (www):
llamasex:

you're missing the larger point. the story to which you're referring has no bearing on Gov. Palin's governing philosophy or competence. it's juicy gossip - sure - but it has no bearing on the substantive issues upon which a vote should be based.

that's why i brought up Biden's plagiarism and Obama's association with Bill Ayers. while you may or may not agree that these are relevant facts upon which to base your vote - they are certainly much more relevant than Gov. Palin's daughter.
9.2.2008 12:11am
Nifonged:
Quote 1 (the latter):

"The decision was the one to have sex without proper protection. Not to choose to have a baby."

Quote 2 (the former):

"I will come out and say it, kids should not be having babies. I will even goes as far to say generally anyone in their teens should not have kids. A 17 year old having a kid is not a good thing. Sure things might turn out ok for some, but that doesn't make it a good decision."

I see nothing about contraception, maybe my English isn't adequate, but I don't think so. What am I missing?

Dude, stop, you're in Mahan-whatever territory.
9.2.2008 12:12am
llamasex (mail) (www):
Flimflam,

No plenty of protected" sex doesn't not result in pregnancy. Very very rare cases do happen (I am sure everyone will claim this happened to their brother's cousin). This is the anti-birth control/ant-condom language I was talking about earlier.

I am sure no one wants to ask Bristol those questions so I am 99.5 percent sure it was because they didn't have protected sex (the rate that protection works) I am pretty confident in my call.
9.2.2008 12:14am
Mahan Atma (mail):
OrinKerr,

Doesn't seem to me that my comments are any more or less closely related to the topic than many of the other comments here, but hey, it's your blog, so fair enough. I'll leave.

Not like this is the only place on the Internets to discuss these topics.

Later.
9.2.2008 12:15am
llamasex (mail) (www):
Nifonged,

I don't see anything about abortion either, I didn't think I needed to clarify because honestly abortion didn't even enter my mind. Looking back I should have, but I was talking about using birth control and condoms at the same time for teens who want to fuck, not abortion. Sorry for the confusion.
9.2.2008 12:16am
Mac (mail):

I'd say one big difference is that the rumors came from a handful of bloggers, while the extremely bad joke came from John McCain himself.


Mahon, please!

Most of us grown-ups understand that people who speak before the public frequently all say something stupid and even tasteless sometimes. Have you forgiven Jessie Jackson for his "Hymie" comment? I could go on and on. Jackson apologized and so did McCain. Apologies were accepted by Clinton. Done deal, if you are an adult. You have to go back 10 years? Clearly it is not intrinsic to the man.

Ditto to the poster above who brought up her son's DUI. That was in 1986 when he was 22. That makes Palen unfit to be VP? My daughter got a DUI at 19. Best thing that ever happened to her. Probably saved her life. Quite a wake-up call. She, as Todd Palen, has never gotten another one. I am proud of her. She is often the designated driver or the one taking the keys away from the drunk. I am very proud of her.

My goodness, you liberals are certainly judgmental. Wow.
9.2.2008 12:16am
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Trying to claim what a blogger does as proof that Democrats are all family-hating hypocrites is laughable.

The recent study established that Left Blog Comments were much more obscene than Right Blog Comments. Pretty obvious.

Since Democrats are much more likely to commit murder, suicide, use illegal drugs, or produce out-of-wedlock children (as Sarahs grandchild will not be) it's kind of obvious that they have problems forming normal relationships. [Look at the demographics of Democrats and compare them to the murdering, suiciding, druggie, illegit demographic if you doubt me.]

Sad but true.
9.2.2008 12:18am
FlimFlamSam:
llamasex,

A quick google of the studies shows the condom failure rate at 1.3% or higher. 1 out of 80 is not a "very very rare case."

And I don't know why you're accusing me of being anti-birth control or anti-condom. I'm just curious how you KNOW that Bristol Palin had unprotected sex, when unprotected sex can still result in pregnancy.

But you answered my question just fine. You don't know, you're just talking out of your rear end.
9.2.2008 12:20am
AKD:
elizabeth:

Palin's daughter is "starting a family" and that's "a good thing"? Last time I checked having a kid at 17 was pretty much just throwing your life away. You don't get to take a baby back to the store when you realize it's screwing up all your plans for the future and you really didn't want to spend the rest of your life with its foolish teenage father.

I don't see why this is "off limits." The fact that Governor Palin has raised a daughter who thinks teenage motherhood and a shotgun wedding are a great idea that will help her grow up nice and fast tells me a lot about what kind of person she is, and it's nothing good.


Since you don't see why this is off-limits, I don't see any reason not to ask:

Do you think Obama's mother should have aborted him?
9.2.2008 12:21am
Eli Rabett (www):
Rush Limbaugh was the first (?) with the Reno joke. That makes McCain a plagerist......

Other then that, it is only within the past 80 or so years that people in industrialized countries have put off children until later than 17.
9.2.2008 12:22am
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
Metro1:

Sorry about the omission (I had posted in another thread.).
I don't give a rat's ass about the issue. The only way it interests me is that (as I had posted elsewhere) it shows McCain's willingness to select a VP without doing a whole lot of investigating. You can see this as careless on his part, or you can see it as commendable (he picked someone he instinctively liked after one in-person meeting, so it did not matter to him if she later might be found to have political skeletons). But on the point of a teen pregnancy: As a person who strongly supports a woman's right to choose, I think it's wonderful when one instead chooses to keep the fetus and to bring the baby to terms. Good for her! I wish her an easy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
9.2.2008 12:22am
FlimFlamSam:
josh bornstein,

How do you know whether McCain knew about the Bristol Palin pregnancy beforehand? The only people who know one way or another, the McCain insiders, say that he did know about it and selected Palin anyway.
9.2.2008 12:25am
Another Female Voter:

indeed, this whole topic is probably best placed in the file labeled "the hypocrisy of the Left."


metro1,

The hypocrisy of the LEFT? You can't be serious.

I feel for Bristol Palin. Even though I don't know much about the Palin family, I bet Bristol's a pretty good kid, and I bet Todd and Sarah are pretty good parents. Stuff happens.

But that's exactly why Leftists can't help but point out the vast hypocrisy on the RIGHT that is so evident in this story. Many on the right, including those that Palin was picked to appeal to, have felt free to judge the rest of us for years. They don't believe in abortion, they don't believe in birth control, they don't believe in premarital sex, and they don't think anyone else has the right to believe in those things either. They tell us that they are the party of family values and we are the party of evil ideas like condoms in schools, evolution and the right to choose.

So yeah, I can't help but note the hypocrisy. I was raised by left-leaning, Democratic, crazy liberal parents--my Dad is proud of his Obama sign that is signed by a Kennedy--and I didn't have sex until I was 23. So maybe liberals do have family values, and teaching your child safe sex doesn't mean they're going to go out and have it while they're in high school. And maybe preaching abstinence-only education doesn't mean your children are listening.

Also? The McCain folks keep telling us how Bristol "made the decision" to keep her baby and her parents are supporting her in that. I don't know why they are emphasizing this being as neither McCain nor Palin thinks any other woman has the right to make that decision. Just say "she's pregnant so of course she's having it" if that is what you really believe, and spare us your hypocrisy.
9.2.2008 12:31am
Anderson (mail):
has there ever been an accusation that a woman lied about the child she fathered?

Um ... no, there probably hasn't been.

Though after we straighten out the diction, I recall someone's mentioned the "warming-pan baby" in this context.

Anyway, I echo Hilzoy &Obama in saying that Palin's daughter's life should not be a topic in this campaign.
9.2.2008 12:32am
MarkField (mail):

Have you considered starting your own blog? 23 blog comments within 2 hours -- none closely related to the topic of the post, as far as I can tell -- is pretty remarkable.


metro 1 had 13 in the same time (and two since), all of them at least equally off topic and some of them personally insulting.

As long as we're counting these things.
9.2.2008 12:35am
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
FlimFlamSam.
A fair point. [out here in Viet Nam, I get almost no news, so I'll defer to you on this.] But my ultimate point, that McCain seems to have selected her without a whole lot of due diligence, still stands. (And I'll repeat: The fact that he did this may possibly speak well about McCain.]
9.2.2008 12:36am
whit:

Last time I checked having a kid at 17 was pretty much just throwing your life away. You don't get to take a baby back to the store when you realize it's screwing up all your plans for the future and you really didn't want to spend the rest of your life with its foolish teenage father.


that is pretty much liberal narcissm defined. having a kid at 17 is "just throwing your life away."


I don't see why this is "off limits." The fact that Governor Palin has raised a daughter who thinks teenage motherhood and a shotgun wedding are a great idea


nowhere has it been determined that either governor palin or her daughter think this is a great thing. it is clear that the daughter (last i checked in alaska, at 17 yoa she can get an abortion w/o parent's permission) and the mother both think it is better to bring the baby to term than abort it. people who are SUPPOSEDLY pro-choice would respect that decision. I am pretty confident many would call her "courageous" for deciding to abort it. Note: i am pro-choice fwiw, but totally respect her decision.

I've also read several comments about her mother FORCING her to keep the child, which is nowhere in evidence.

we also don't know whether she used birth control (ineffectively or not), etc.

we know that she is pregnant. So, we can safely conclude she had sexual intercourse at least once, that it was a consensual encounter, and that she plans to marry the father.

why this is supposed to be a negative reflection on palin, i still have no idea
9.2.2008 12:44am
Randy R. (mail):
Duncan: "Since Democrats are much more likely to commit murder, suicide, use illegal drugs, or produce out-of-wedlock children (as Sarahs grandchild will not be) it's kind of obvious that they have problems forming normal relationships."

They are also much more likely to drink lattes and worship Satan. I say, it's time to make it illegal to be a Democrat.

But hey, I bring it up only because I love Democrats as a Christian, and I think it's very classy to make ad hominen attacks against people I don't like. Good job, Duncan.
9.2.2008 12:47am
Anderson (mail):
that McCain seems to have selected her without a whole lot of due diligence, still stands. (And I'll repeat: The fact that he did this may possibly speak well about McCain

Because that's one thing I don't want in a president: making important decisions only after careful consideration.

All that time Bush spent deliberating was such a drag on his administration's taking any action ... we can't have 4 more years of *that*.
9.2.2008 12:48am
Anderson (mail):
Since Democrats are much more likely to commit murder, suicide, use illegal drugs, or produce out-of-wedlock children

Damn. Only one down, *three* to go.

Obviously, I can't waste any more time commenting tonight -- got stuff to do, folks!
9.2.2008 12:50am
FlimFlamSam:
josh bornstein,

I don't think we really disagree then. But I will say that McCain insiders appear to have believed that if lefties tried to score political points on Bristol Palin, the backlash would be detrimental to Obama. That certainly seems to be the case thus far.

And honestly, turning off the dispassionate analysis, I feel genuinely defensive of the Palin girl. It offends me on an emotional level that people are taking shots at her. She seems like a nice kid who did something that a fair number of nice kids do, and her problem is now international tabloid news.

What got me was Googling her name earlier and finding her listed in a newspaper as having made the honor roll at an Anchorage high school. Bristol Palin and her fiance Levi are real people who deserve their privacy. I also respect the hell out of them for keeping the baby and getting engaged. I've been a political hack for a long time and can't remember the last time a story got me on this kind of emotional level. Leave Bristol Palin alone!
9.2.2008 12:50am
PC:
It seems that when Palin was mayor she had no problem hiring a lobbyist to bring home the federal pork. Even with all that pork she still managed to leave her town $20 million in the hole.

Seriously, did McCain's people vet Gov. Palin at all?
9.2.2008 12:51am
Randy R. (mail):
Whit: "that is pretty much liberal narcissm defined. having a kid at 17 is "just throwing your life away."


Really? So that's the meme today? Not long ago, and for a very long time, it was conservatives who decried the fact that children were having children, and that having a child while being a teen saddled you with certain responsibilites that would take precedence over getting a good education, permanently handicapping the young mother. Heck, Pay Moynihan said it in the 60s (and liberals didn't like it then), but everyone pretty much came around to it by the 80s. By the 90s, it was entrenched. But now, I suppose, we should be *happy* that 17 year olds are getting pregnant.

Yesterday -- no experience is a bad thing. Today -- no experience is a good thing!

Sheesh -- it's getting harder and harder to keep up with the flip flops.
9.2.2008 12:52am
Proud to be a liberal :
I am pro-choice and an Obama supporter, but I believe that Sarah Palin should be commended on living her pro-life beliefs. Choice means choice. It is great that Sarah welcomed her son despite the prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome; I hope that her son's situation will make her a strong advocate for people with disabilities.

Choice also means choice for her daughter as well. It is great that her daughter felt comfortable discussing the pregnancy with her parents, and that her parents have the means and the willingness to support her in this situation. Sad to day, there are teen-age girls whose parents kick them out of the house when they become pregnant, or even beat them.

Also, the fact that Sarah Palin can be a new mother of a child with Down syndriome and reach for the VP job is great. Similarly, the fact that her family is willing to withstand the publicity that would likely arise when the vp candidate's daughter is pregnant should also encourage women not to worry about shame in making a decision on whether to carry a pregnancy to term.

The specifics regarding the pregnancy, including the conception, are entirely private matters that should not be the subject of gossip.

There are important public policy questions that can be discussed without reference to the specific facts regarding Sarah Palin's daughter, such as whether teen-agers should be educated about contraception as well as abstinence.

Abortions can be reduced in two ways: using contraception to prevent unplanned pregnancies, and helping women to choose to continue unplanned or difficult pregnancies.
9.2.2008 12:53am
metro1 (mail) (www):
MarkField and elizabeth:

The fundamental points I have tried to make in my comments are:

(1) to agree with the original post to say that focusing on personal family matters is unseemly for candidates for highest office (or any office), (2) to say its unseemly for anyone to use such family matters as a basis to seriously argue for or against a candidate, and (3) to point out that, when comparing "scandals," in my view Biden's and Obama's are relevant to their fitness for office whereas Palin's really is not.

I think all of that is on-topic and fair. A little snark thrown in from time to time is probably not the best idea, I agree. We should approach these debates with good humor. Heck, I could probably use some time in Wasilla myself!
9.2.2008 12:58am
AKD:
Still watching the top threads at Daily Kos and Democratic Underground. Quite the spectical.
9.2.2008 12:58am
Randy R. (mail):
"So here's the question: does a politician—any politician, not just Palin—get to use their family for political gain, but also get to play the "that's private, stay away" game when particular details aren't quite so flattering?

Excellent point, Donald. If they family is off limits, then the family is off limits. If you want the family to be background for your accomplishments, then you have to take the good with the bad.

She has no problems making hay with the fact that one of her children has Down's Syndrome. If the press found out that isn't true, they would certainly be legitimate news, wouldn't it?
9.2.2008 12:59am
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
Anderson,
Um, you *did* get the ironic undercurrents in my post, right? I figure that if the Right is successful in getting American voters to view being educated as a negative thing, the next logical step is to demonize the ability to perform critical reasoning. Which all goes back to my original point about the danger of having a president who does not like facts. (Colbert's "truthiness" observation was scarily on-point in re the current administration.)
9.2.2008 1:00am
whit:

But that's exactly why Leftists can't help but point out the vast hypocrisy on the RIGHT that is so evident in this story. Many on the right, including those that Palin was picked to appeal to, have felt free to judge the rest of us for years. They don't believe in abortion, they don't believe in birth control, they don't believe in premarital sex, and they don't think anyone else has the right to believe in those things either. They tell us that they are the party of family values and we are the party of evil ideas like condoms in schools, evolution and the right to choose.



you are flat out wrong on some counts, and just nonsensical on others.

let's start

Palin doesn't believe in abortion. so that means she is a hypocrite because her daughter got pregnant? yes, that makes sense (rolls eyes). you might argue she was a hypocrite if she decided to have an abortion.

as for the premarital sex. as far as i can tell, it's bristol that had premarital sex, not governor palin. that makes her HUMAN.

this hypocrisy meme is ridiculous. in the eyes of the leftist if one believes an act is morally wrong, one must be PERFECT and never commit that act. that's an unreasonable standard. people make mistakes.

but again, it's RIDICULOUS in this case, because it was not governor palin's actions - it was her DAUGHTER's actions (having premarital sex). fwiw, i have NO idea if bristol even thinks premarital sex IS wrong. do you? of course not.

in the case of (for example) a repub that is caught having an affair , what does that prove? that repubs are people too, and do things they shouldn't . wow. SHOCKER!

and fwiw, palin DOES believe in birth control, and has stated so. she does not believe it's the job of the state to dispense birth control to juveniles or teach them about birth control. there's a difference.

as for the "judge the rest of us part" you must be kidding. so, it's only those on the right that judge people who do things they think are morally wrong? ha ha ha

incredible
9.2.2008 1:03am
PC:
So, out of curiosity... If it turns out the scurrilous rumors about Gov. Palin and her daughter were floated by Alaskan Republicans is there still going to be all of this pearl clutching about the evil liberals?
9.2.2008 1:05am
Guest12345:
But now, I suppose, we should be *happy* that 17 year olds are getting pregnant.


We probably should. The child will have less of a chance of being screwed up. Assuming of course that the fathers aren't geezers.
9.2.2008 1:06am
Randy R. (mail):
whit: "this hypocrisy meme is ridiculous. in the eyes of the leftist if one believes an act is morally wrong, one must be PERFECT and never commit that act. that's an unreasonable standard. people make mistakes. "

I think you may have missed the point. (Or maybe I have....) I don't think most liberals really care whether Bristol had premarital sex -- most people in fact do so.

What we DO care about is self righteous, self appointed, arbiters of public morality, such as the type we often find on the religious right. People like Pat Robertson, Ted Haggard, Phyliss Shafley, Dr. Laura, Rush Limbaugh and so on. These people are the ones who are first to condemn anyone who deviates from their prescribed code of behavior and declare it 'immoral.' then they have the nerve to say that immoral people have no place in our society, God will judge and condemn and so on. Palin has said that she is an evangelical and subscribes to many of the same beliefs as the usual wingnuts.

So -- where does that leave Bristol? If Palin truly believes these things, then she must condemn her daughter for having sex outside of marriage. But she doesn't -- the daughter gets a free pass. Well, then, why don't all sons and daughters get a free pass then? THERE is the hypocracy.

It's like when Schaflly goes around condeming gays and says we are trying to destroy civilization and so on, but she has a gay son herself. Now, I'm glad that she has a gay son, and more power to him. But if Schafly truly believes what she says, then she must hate her son. But she clearly does not.

In other words, if you are going to insist that everyone else lead a certain life, you better lead that same life yourself, or you will have us 'lefties' coming after you for your hypocracy.
9.2.2008 1:14am
DangerMouse:
Nifonged: isn't one of the strongest planks in the Democratic platform every 4 years the proposition that a woman has "the right to choose"?

certainly choosing to have the baby is one of the acceptable choices.


whit: I am pretty confident many would call her "courageous" for deciding to abort it.

Democrats worship at the altar of abortion. It is one of their many gods. Democrats love abortion. They cheer when teenagers abort instead of choosing to keep the child. They would rather have a million abortions then a woman keep a child. Democrats think abortion = sex = freedom = power. They don't think abortion = murder = death. So anyone who's against abortion, to them, is against sex, freedom, and doesn't deserve power. To them, children should be like the latest designer purse - an accessory.

As for the subject of this thread: it's terrible how the left-wing has dragged the Palin family through the mud. That wild conspiracy theories are being blogged about by the big left bloggers is an indication of how far along this demented insanity has penetrated the liberal psyche. Now I'm supposed to believe that because John McCain said a mean joke that he later apologized for at one time, that makes up for the 24-7 media frenzy this girl's pregnancy has generated (you can practically hear the media chanting their desire for an abortion)?

If there are enough decent people remaining in America, they'll vote for McCain out of spite for this despicable behavior.
9.2.2008 1:14am
Randy R. (mail):
PC: "If it turns out the scurrilous rumors about Gov. Palin and her daughter were floated by Alaskan Republicans is there still going to be all of this pearl clutching about the evil liberals?"

I believe Duncan Frissel would state that your hypo is not possible, because Rebpulicans would are always upright and honest.

so to answer your question, of course the Republicans would never do such a thing, and so the demonization of the liberals may always continue.
9.2.2008 1:16am
Randy R. (mail):
Dangermouse: "it's terrible how the left-wing has dragged the Palin family through the mud."

But of course, its not so terrible how the right-wing has dragged the Palin family through the mud. As alluded to earlier, the left wing blogs picked up the story only after the Alaskan GOP started the rumor mill.

A simple google search will find that right wingers have been dragging her through the mud for the past day or so as well. but I guess it's okay when they do it, right?
9.2.2008 1:22am
David M. Nieporent (www):
How about spreading rumors that your white opponent fathered a black child out of wedlock?

Oh wait, that was Bush!

OH WAIT, McCain just hired the political operative behind that smear, this time to work for Sarah Palin!
The problem, of course, is that this is a total lie. There is no evidence that any such "rumors" ever existed, let alone that they were spread by Rove or Bush or anyone else related to the campaign. The article you cite is about a guy who spread the "smear" that McCain was associated with Charles Keating. Nothing about black babies.
9.2.2008 1:22am
DangerMouse:
Randy: If Palin truly believes these things, then she must condemn her daughter for having sex outside of marriage. But she doesn't -- the daughter gets a free pass. Well, then, why don't all sons and daughters get a free pass then? THERE is the hypocracy.

It's like when Schaflly goes around condeming gays and says we are trying to destroy civilization and so on, but she has a gay son herself. Now, I'm glad that she has a gay son, and more power to him. But if Schafly truly believes what she says, then she must hate her son. But she clearly does not.


Randy, you have a really, really, really warped view of Christianity. All religions have codes of conduct. Those religions have various punishments. Cut off your hand for stealing, in Islam. Stone people for adultery in Judiaism. Etc. What is the Christian punishment for those things? Forgiveness. Go and sin no more. Love the sinner, hate the sin.

This idea that you "must condemn your daughter" or that someone "must hate their son" as a tenet of Christianity is so warped that I have to wonder if you realize how ridiculous you look when you say it. Really, it is almost comical. You have no idea how demented it sounds to a Christian to say that they "must hate." You'd have more luck with that sort of theological punishment among the pagan religions, who were pretty barbaric towards those who failed to live up to the theological practices of the day.

Please, go buy yourself a copy of the freakin' New Testament and read it for once in your life. These strawmen arguments about Christianity are embarrassing, even to your political opponents like me.
9.2.2008 1:23am
Randy R. (mail):
Dangermouse: "Democrats worship at the altar of abortion. It is one of their many gods. Democrats love abortion."

You and Duncan Frissell should meet up for a beer. Maybe you can start your own website. Then you can enforce the sort of decency that you think America should have. Such as this gem: " They cheer when teenagers abort instead of choosing to keep the child. They would rather have a million abortions then a woman keep a child."

But I guess I'm indecent for pointing out your indecency, right?
9.2.2008 1:25am
DangerMouse:
A simple google search will find that right wingers have been dragging her through the mud for the past day or so as well. but I guess it's okay when they do it, right?

Right wingers post at Daily Kos? Right wingers have suggested that Palin faked Trig's birth and that her daughter really had him 4 1/2 months ago? That's coming from the Alaska GOP? I don't think so.
9.2.2008 1:25am
DangerMouse:
But I guess I'm indecent for pointing out your indecency, right?

What's your complaint? Democrats love abortion. That's a fact as plain as the noonday sun.
9.2.2008 1:26am
Randy R. (mail):
Dangermouse: :"Please, go buy yourself a copy of the freakin' New Testament and read it for once in your life. These strawmen arguments about Christianity are embarrassing, even to your political opponents like me."

But I have. I agree that real Christians don't believe in hate. But I never said that people on the far right are real Christians, like Robertson, Falwell, and those people. You think that when Pat Robertson says that God sent a hurrican to punish the people of Florida, as he did a few years back, was based on the love of the New Testament?

" Love the sinner, hate the sin." Actually, that's not a tenet of Christianity. Certainly Jesus never said it. It's a belief among some Christians, but not by any means all of them.

"This idea that you "must condemn your daughter" or that someone "must hate their son" as a tenet of Christianity is so warped that I have to wonder if you realize how ridiculous you look when you say it. Really, it is almost comical."
Hey, I totally agree with you. But some warped preachers of Christianity preach it nonetheless. It is those whom I think are warped, and apparently you do too. Good -- that's means we are both on the same side of this issue.
9.2.2008 1:30am
Ol One EYe (mail):
Man, this is a pretty intellctually honest, collegial blog. You'd think more of the commentors would follow suit.
9.2.2008 1:31am
Brian K (mail):
Having sex, protected or not, kind of goes against the whole abstinence only thing, no? Hopefully this will be a wake up call that abstinence only education just doesn't work as advertised, however i'm not holding my breath.
9.2.2008 1:32am
Randy R. (mail):
Stoptheaclu is a rightwing website, and they have talked all about Bristol's pregnancy.
dequalsss is a righwing website, and they have talked all about Bristol's pregnancy.
The NY Daily News, a supporter of Republicans, has stated that the pregnancy was an 'open secret' back home.
Christianitytoday, a conservative website, has an entire artible about the pregnancy.

Do I need to go futher? The point is that there is a 'call for decency' and not to talk about Palin's daughter at all. It seems that the right wingers have abused this at least as much as the left wingers.
9.2.2008 1:39am
Brian K (mail):
you are flat out wrong on some counts, and just nonsensical on others.

my head is about to explode from all of the pot and kettle jokes running around inside of it.
9.2.2008 1:40am
whit:

So -- where does that leave Bristol? If Palin truly believes these things, then she must condemn her daughter for having sex outside of marriage. But she doesn't -- the daughter gets a free pass. Well, then, why don't all sons and daughters get a free pass then? THERE is the hypocracy.


fwiw, just to clarify-- i'm calling your meme ridiculous. PERSONALLY, I do not think premarital sex is mroally wrong, nor do i think abortion is morally wrong.

if you REALLY believe this, then I suggest you have NO understanding of how evangelicals think, nor have you really listened to them.

yes, evangelicals as a rule generally believe premarital sex is wrong. and generally, as a rule, they forgive those who have done so. they also (like most dems ) believe adultery is wrong.

she doesn't need to CONDEMN her daughter. considering that palin (the mother) believes premarital sex is wrong, then I am sure she was dissapointed that bristol had engaged in premarital sex. as a christian, i am also confident she believes that people (especially one's daughter) deserve forgiveness. how is it a FREE PASS to act in a way that palin believes is responsible - to NOT take the "easy way" out, but instead bring the baby to term. this is similar to how palin "WALKED THE WALK" and gave birth to her baby DESPITE knowing the child had down's syndrome. ceteris paribus, a child with down's syndrome is going to be much more of a "handful" than a child who is normally developed.

the more I learn about Sarah Palin, the more i admire her. to paraphrase teddy roosevelt, you learn about people's character when they are faced with adversity.

again, your hypocrisy meme is ridiculous. I also suggest you read what dr. dobson has said in response to this.

or listen to the song three wooden crosses by randy travis. you clearly don't GET IT.
9.2.2008 1:41am
DangerMouse:
Hey, I totally agree with you. But some warped preachers of Christianity preach it nonetheless.

I don't think you "totally" agree with me. Just because a person doesn't hate doesn't mean that they should accept sinful behavior.

You said earlier that "what we DO care about is self righteous, self appointed, arbiters of public morality..." I don't think you're really against "public morality," you just don't like the one that condemns homosexual behavior. You're still in favor of a public morality against murder, I'd assume (unless maybe it involves an unborn child).

Nevertheless, I reiterate that I think this will backfire on the Democrats and the left, if their moron allies in the media keep pushing this.
9.2.2008 1:41am
Somedude127 (mail):
Here here Ol One Eye! I predict the "You're/They're a Nazi" comments will begin before dawn. I know I destroy the phenomenon by talking about it, but I feel it coming.
9.2.2008 1:42am
DangerMouse:
Do I need to go futher? The point is that there is a 'call for decency' and not to talk about Palin's daughter at all. It seems that the right wingers have abused this at least as much as the left wingers.

Huh? Talking about Palin's pregnant daughter is not the same as floating insane conspiracy theories that Palin faked her pregnancy with Trig, or that she and her daughter were impregnated by the same person, etc., etc. I don't think you really know how far in the sewer the left went with some of their rumors. Of course conservative blogs are going to discuss how Palin's pregnant daughter will impact things. But last I checked, they're not floating loony conspiracy theories.
9.2.2008 1:45am
Brian K (mail):
I know some people have said it above but it bears repeating:

if Palin wants to use her kids for political advantage, esp. the one in iraq and the one with down's, then she shouldn't be surprised when people attack her as a result of her kids. i would rather not have the children (of any candidate) involved in this debate but once they are brought in by the candidate themselves the kids are fair game. you can't have your political cake and eat it too.

from the examples excerpted from the article, it doesn't seem like hilzoy is calling for "decency" in as much as he wants palin's kids to only be used for the benefit of mccain's/palin's campaign. they are either in or out...you don't get to pick and choose which facts are in and which are out.
9.2.2008 1:48am
whit:
I'm not aware of ANY politician who has not USED his kids in the sense that they INTRODUCE the kids to the public. That's what palin has done.

And again, how does the fact that palin's 17 yr old daughter is pregnant reflect negatively on palin? iow, even if it was ok to "use against her" how DOES it WORK against her?

wow. the woman doesn't believe in premarital sex and her 17 yr old daughter had premarital sex? really? omg wow!
9.2.2008 1:51am
Anon321:
I realize that this isn't adding much to the discussion, but can I just say that it's incredibly dispiriting to see that the vast majority of the responses to a post decrying cheap political point scoring have been ... cheap political point scoring?

If you agree that this sort of thing shouldn't be a part of our political discourse, it would be really really cool, in my humble opinion, if you could just say so without tacking on "and this just proves why The Other Side are hypocrites, degenerates, etc." Please?
9.2.2008 2:09am
theobromophile (www):
Bristol Palin is about five months pregnant. Come Election Day, she will be about seven months pregnant. Many women do not show at that time, or show only slightly. It is not unreasonable to have planned, initially, to not announce Bristol's pregnancy until after either the election or her marriage to her boyfriend, or both. Post-election (regardless of who wins and who loses), it would be a non-issue, or at least a much smaller issue. While I'm obviously just speculating as to how the Palin family planned on announcing this to the nation at large, I think it's reasonable that they were hoping it would happen after the election.

This entire debacle began when people without any class began to circulate ridiculously unsubstantiated rumours that are literally straight out a Desperate Housewives episode. (Never mind that the incidence of Down's Syndrome is roughly twenty times greater for the child of a 42-year-old woman than for that of a 16-year-old girl.) Once the rumours of Bristol Palin's pregnancy came out, the Palins were pushed into revealing Bristol's pregnancy, which, apparently, was well-known around Wasilla (although the community did not care, shame her, or think anything of the personal business of others).

Barack Obama's response was wonderful. Congratulations to the Palins on the expected new addition to their family, however unplanned and chronologically unpreferable. Perhaps Sarah Palin really believes in the Feminists for Life motto: every woman experiencing unplanned pregnancy deserves unplanned joy. If only Americans, instead of trashing the Palin family, could help make that a reality for Bristol.
9.2.2008 2:11am
AKD:

Huh? Talking about Palin's pregnant daughter is not the same as floating insane conspiracy theories that Palin faked her pregnancy with Trig, or that she and her daughter were impregnated by the same person, etc., etc. I don't think you really know how far in the sewer the left went with some of their rumors.


And faced with the fake pregnancy being debunked, how do they respond: that even if the pregnancy was real, then that means Palin made a CHOICE to get on an airplane while 8 months pregnant and potentially going into labor, a CHOICE that endangered her unborn child, and for this she should be CONDEMNED.

I shit you not.
9.2.2008 2:19am
Catherine:
Proud to Be a Liberal: yours was a very classy post. That's all I would ask of anyone who believes in a woman's right to choose: stand behind it whether you approve of what they chose or not.

Anon321: This is actually the most civilized discussion I've seen on this topic. How scary is that?
9.2.2008 2:20am
Doc Rampage (mail) (www):
Another Female Voter:
Many on the right, including those that Palin was picked to appeal to, have felt free to judge the rest of us for years. They don't believe in abortion, they don't believe in birth control, they don't believe in premarital sex, and they don't think anyone else has the right to believe in those things either. They tell us that they are the party of family values and we are the party of evil ideas like condoms in schools, evolution and the right to choose.
1. "have felt free to judge the rest of us for years": You think the Right is judgmental? Don't you think that the Left is being judgmental when they accuse us of wanting to enslave women, starve the poor, destroy the world climate or trade blood for oil? When they say we are racists for wanting to eliminate racial preferences and control our borders? Sounds pretty judgmental to those of us on the Right. But maybe you guys on the Left don't really mean to sound so hysterically moralistic all the time.

2. "They don't believe in abortion, they don't believe in birth control, they don't believe in premarital sex": You need to distinguish between being judgmental and having a moral opinion (BTW, the birth-control thing is just a tiny minority). Having and expressing a moral opinion is not the same as being judgmental.

3. "and they don't think anyone else has the right to believe in those things either": Now that's just silly. I suspect that your real problem is not the judgmentalism of the Right, but the judgmentalism of your own self projected on us. Since you have judged us evil, you have to invent evil fantasies about us to justify your prejudice.

4. "They tell us that they are the party of family values and we are the party of evil ideas like condoms in schools, evolution and the right to choose.": Why do you Democrats whine so much about the "family values" label? We let you say "right to choose" rather than "right for mothers to kill their unborn babies in the womb in order to avoid the expense and inconvenience of raising a child". It seems not asking so much that you let us use the abbreviation "family values" rather than having to say, "opposition to easy divorce, sex outside of marriage, entertainment media encouraging teenage sexual experimentation, government attempts to subvert the parent's moral and religious education of their own children, and similar things".

And if some on the Right think that condoms in schools, evolution, and abortion are evil, then so what? Plenty on the left think it's evil to have ROTC in schools, to have scientific research about differences in intelligence between men and women, and/or to execute murderers. The difference between Left and Right isn't that some on the Right have moral opinions about schools, science, or life-and-death policies and the Left doesn't. And it isn't that the Right is more judgmental or less reasonable. It's that you agree with the Left and disagree with the Right, so you see everything the Left does in the best possible light and everything the Right does in the worst.

A little objectivity would go a long way towards reducing the political hostility in the world.
9.2.2008 2:30am
TruthInAdvertising:
Does this mean that Britney Spears's Mom is finally off the hook? She sure took a pounding in the press and conservative circles when it came out that her younger daughter was pregnant.

Britney Spears' sister is pregnant at sixteen
9.2.2008 2:35am
good strategy (mail):

it doesn't seem like hilzoy is calling for "decency" in as much as he wants palin's kids to only be used for the benefit of mccain's/palin's campaign.


She (Hilary Bok) has been a consistent supporter of Obama for many months. As one of the sharpest, most reasonable people in any camp of the blogosphere, she has the credibility to shut down the stupid.

As for Andrew Sullivan, he was being a dink for asking a bunch of questions that any self-respecting investigative reporter or vetter would ask. Reasonable questions? Yes, actually, you want journalists looking into the very improbable even though they are very improbable, and the circumstances of Trig's birth were unusual enough to raise questions. But you don't need reporters' yellow pads published to fuel a feeding frenzy, and it is pretty obvious that Sullivan started to think that the burden of proof was on Palin and not the conspiracy theorists. That he is now considered part of the liberal blogosphere is pretty darn amusing in and of itself.
9.2.2008 2:38am
Mac (mail):


Randy R. wrote:

She has no problems making hay with the fact that one of her children has Down's Syndrome.


I can't believe you said that. You want her to hide him in the attic? Making hay? Insensitive is far too kind to describe your words.


Why is everyone assuming that if a teen or a young woman has sex education she will never have unprotected sex?

I find this quite remarkable. Do none of you associate with the younger crowd? I can't even count how many girls I know who have gotten pregnant. How you have a baby is really not too complicated. Kind of Sex 101. Most folks in the world have figured it out even without benefit of the US Public School system.

Condoms do break and the pill can fail, esp. if one forgets to take it one day. (See my post above) However, most of the girls I know to whom it has happened, despite SEX EDUCATION OUT THE WASU just didn't think it would happen to them. Some things never change and the optimism and stupidity of youth are some of them.

Have you happened to read the recent studies on STD's? Kids know all about STD's but think that their partner can't possibly have one so they have unprotected sex. I only wish I was making this up. I am not.

It appears our education system is failing our kids in sex ed as bad as in academics. Please, let us put to rest the myth that sex ed will prevent unwanted pregnancies. Some, yes. But it is no more a panacea than abstinence only.
9.2.2008 2:54am
Mac (mail):
Doc Rampage,

A little objectivity would go a long way towards reducing the political hostility in the world.


Excellent post and a very true sentiment. I haven't called anyone a baby killer all day, yet I have here been accused of all sorts of evil just because I am opposed to abortion. And, I thought this was a free country.


Proud to Be a Liberal: yours was a very classy post. That's all I would ask of anyone who believes in a woman's right to choose: stand behind it whether you approve of what they chose or not.


I agree with Catherine. I don't agree with Proud, but it was a reasoned post. So was that of Doc Rampage. Would like to see more like these.
9.2.2008 3:00am
Dan M.:
I also find it amusing to automatically assume that anyone who gets pregnant wasn't using protection.

Look at some freaking statistics. Even if 99.5% were true, I wouldn't call 1 in 200 incredibly rare, considering that there are millions and millions of teenagers in this country that are having sex.

I'm pretty certain most of the statistics that are above 99% (not astoundingly high) assume "perfect" condom usage and "perfect" pill usage combined.

According to FDA, "typical use" of the pill has a 5% pregnancy rate for one year of use. For "perfect" use it's .5%. So basically 1 in 20 women who take the pill will get pregnant while 1 in 200 who never miss one and take it at the same time every day will still get pregnant (and remember that that's just over the course of a year). Even sterilization has a .5% pregnancy rate for women. A condom with "typical use" has a 14% pregnancy rate, and the lowest rate is 3%.

In fact, according to the FDA, the withdrawal method isn't remarkably worse than condom usage. 19% typical and 4% for perfect usage (though it is unclear how much actual intercourse you can have for the FDA to consider your withdrawal to be "perfect").
9.2.2008 3:03am
TruthInAdvertising:
One thing that McCain supporters should answer is if everyone on his side thinks it's a wonderful thing that the Governor is going to be a grandmother, why did they go to such pains to hide this fact? It's clear that there was a concerted effort to hide her daughter's pregnant condition at the official announcement. Likewise, no mention from the candidate herself that she was soon to be a grandmother. If her daughter was 18 or older, do any of us think that this charade would have been put on? From all appearances, the "Straight Talk Express" was missing-in-action on Friday.
9.2.2008 3:07am
EH (mail):
llamasex:
No plenty of protected" sex doesn't not result in pregnancy.


I hate to break into the "look what I can say" contest going on here, but you're in the penalty box for that sentence. I'm throwing a flag. No more posting until morning for you.
9.2.2008 3:15am
Doc Rampage (mail) (www):
Randy R.:
What we DO care about is self righteous, self appointed, arbiters of public morality, such as the type we often find on the religious right. People like Pat Robertson, Ted Haggard, Phyliss Shafley, Dr. Laura, Rush Limbaugh and so on. These people are the ones who are first to condemn anyone who deviates from their prescribed code of behavior and declare it 'immoral.' then they have the nerve to say that immoral people have no place in our society, God will judge and condemn and so on.
Randy, this is a caricature taken, I suspect, from the fiery preachers in old westerns. The religious right is not about condemning people and never has been. The religious right consists almost entirely of people who believe that everyone engages in immoral behavior. If they really believed that people who commit immoral acts have no place in society then there could be no society at all. And if they believed that God condemns all such people, then God would condemn everyone who ever lived. And how can they be self-righteous when they don't believe that anyone is righteous? Surely they believe that they are someone.

You've been told this many times and you continue to say these things, but I don't believe that you are really so dense. I believe that you are deliberately spreading falsehoods about the religious right is as a political ploy --character assassination writ large.

Has it every occurred to you that if you can't win the debate honestly, maybe it's because you are wrong?
9.2.2008 3:31am
metro1 (mail) (www):
Via Byron York at The Corner:

* * *

Marlys Popma ... the well-known Iowa evangelical leader who is now the head of evangelical outreach for the McCain campaign ... had a child out of wedlock nearly 30 years ago — it's something she's talked about publicly in the past — and it changed her life. "It was my crisis pregnancy that brought me into the movement," Popma told me. "My reaction is that this shows that the governor's family is just like so many families. That's how my first child came into the world, and I'm just thrilled that [Bristol Palin] is choosing to give this child life."

I asked Popma what she thought the larger reaction among evangelicals will be. "Their reaction is going to be exactly as mine," she told me. "There hasn't been one evangelical family that hasn't gone through some sort of situation. Many of us are in this movement because of something that has happened in our lives."

* * *

The purpose of the original post here was to essentially say family issues should be out-of-bounds during a political campaign. I agree with that.

But Byron York's post, quoted above, makes another point that I think is just as important. Having a child is wonderful news. Sometimes it's inconvenient - but it's good news.

This will be Sarah and Todd Palin's first grandchild. To look at this as a negative would take a very cynical outlook. Think about having your first grandchild: the news might come at an inconvenient time - but it's really good news!
9.2.2008 3:36am
theobromophile (www):
Truth in Advertising: I hypothesised earlier that the McCain campaign may have been waiting to announce until after the election, or Bristol's marriage, or both, when it would effectively be a non-issue.

llamasex: others may have addressed this above, but I would like to join the chorus.
Those accidents are not better for society, on the whole people who aren't prepared to raise children are the ones having the kids who cause the problems for society.

I was semi-planned, in that my (very young) parents were married and already had a kid, so why not have another, when they had me. My older sibling was certainly not planned, and my parents got married when my mum got pregnant as a teenager.

My sibling and I are not screw-ups or degenerates. I'm the proud little sister of a person who is far, far more than an "accident" - who is a happy, functional, successful adult (and dog owner to boot). A lot of it has to do with good parenting. Unorthodox entrance into this world aside, we were raised with the much-maligned values that are also at the core of the Palin family's beliefs. Those values, and the support of parents and grandparents, will do more to ensure the happiness and productivity of children than having a few more crow's feet on one's face.

PS - dissing my family, intentionally or not, specifically or generally, is NOT cool.
9.2.2008 3:47am
Dave N (mail):
I have to commend Barack Obama. His position, as reported by CNN is right on—I just wish his supporters had the same sense of decency:
MONROE, Michigan (CNN) — Sen. Barack Obama said firmly that families are off-limits in the campaign for president, reacting to news that GOP running mate Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter is pregnant.

"Let me be as clear as possible," Obama said. "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."

Obama said reporters should "back off these kinds of stories" and noted that he was born to an 18-year-old mother.

"How a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn't be the topic of our politics, and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that's off-limits."

Bristol Palin, a senior in high school, is about five months pregnant, according to an aide to Sen. John McCain who asked not to be named.

The aide said the Palins and the McCain campaign decided to reveal the information now because of rampant Internet rumors that Sarah Palin's 4-month-old baby, who has Down syndrome, was actually Bristol's.
I find this entire spectacle obscene. I am outraged at people who think that somehow it is cool (including some posters here) to make political points at the expense of a 17 year-old.

And yes, there is one heck of a difference to say, "I am proud of my kids and yes my baby has Down Syndrome" and for some to take this as a reason to declare open season on Governor Palin's minor children.

I don't give an honest tinker's damn, Mahan Atma, about some joke, which I agree is in poor taste, that John McCain made 10 years ago. It in no way excuses the despicable attempt to smear Sarah Palin's oldest daughter and turn her into a national laughingstock. That you cannot fathom the difference speaks volumes about you, sir, and none of it is good.

I don't give a rat's ass who started this particular smear. I know who has spread it. I know who has chortled over it. I find it loathsome and despicable. As far as I am concerned, Andrew Sullivan has a special place in Hell reserved for him for spreading it—and so should every other blogger who has passed it along with approval.

Kids don't sign up for their parent's political ambitions and the basic, decent rule, is that minor children are off limits. Period. Adult children, to the extent they are not involved in political activity, are off limits, too. If they graduate from school. Good to report. If they get married. Happy news. If they join the military or go to college or whatever, a short story is appropriate. Even if a politician's kid gets arrested, the arrest itself is newsworthy and so, perhaps, is the case's resolution. The rest of it is none of our damn business.

So here's a list of people, who, IMHO are off limits:

Obama's two children;
McCain's seven children;
Palin's five children;
Biden's son Hunter and his daughter Ashley. His son Beau is Delaware's Attorney General. As a result, he is a public figure in his own right.

I don't care, not even a little bit, if any or all of the adult children smoke dope, have sex outside of marriage, are gay, cheat on tests or their taxes, get divorced, get arrested, or do anything else negative or embarrassing or whatever. I honestly don't. Neither should you.

As for the minor children—McCain's youngest, Obama's two, and four of Palin's five: For God's sake, leave them alone. They are kids. Let them be kids. Their parents have every right to show them off and be proud of them and brag about them—just like every other parent does.

These children are not talking points or negative political props. They are not to be used as examples of the parent's hypocricy or perceived moral failings. Anyone who uses any of these children in this way and hurt them in the process is in the same class as Andrew Sullivan and his acolytes: not worth the gunk I scrape off the bottom of my shoes.
9.2.2008 3:48am
Anonymous #000:
loki13 @ 9.1.2008 10:08pm:
That so much, so quickly, is coming out, and not from the McCain campaign, is bad.

And yet what happened was his opponents are falling over themselves to paint Palin as a hypocrite without success. (what markm said @ 9.1.2008 10:33pm).

metro1 @ 9.1.2008 10:57pm:
indeed, this whole topic is probably best placed in the file labeled "the hypocrisy of the Left."

isn't one of the strongest planks in the Democratic platform every 4 years the proposition that a woman has "the right to choose"?

certainly choosing to have the baby is one of the acceptable choices.
The Left can't respond to any of this coherently because they have taken a position that there is no real truth and that only they, themselves know what is right: namely, that life is a power game with sinister forces working to destroy them. Therefore, their goal is to play the game twice as sinister.

Because they choose to reject all manner of traditionalism as part of a power structure set against them -- and because they believe themselves to be in mortal peril, permanent victimology leading to the narcissism embodied by "we are the ones we've been waiting for" -- they can only see their opponents as something foreign, ignorant, and malevolent. After all, if they really cared for humanity their opponents would support a welfare state.

The New Yorker cover is an example of the Left's conception of the Right's feelings toward them (as if feelings were of primary importance). So is the concern trolling, where comments suggest that Palin should go back to being Betty Rubble, like all good hicks.

It's not exactly hypocrisy -- after all, nihlists don't believe that any of this matters anyway. But it is about disruption and malice aforethought. So is are the "demonstrations" at the RNC. And certainly voting for a black president for being black is a disruption of the highest order for our society. But to acknowledge the fact of this would give their opponents a coherent argument to attack with their tortuous, relentless logic.
9.2.2008 3:58am
Mahan Atma (mail):
"I don't give an honest tinker's damn, Mahan Atma, about some joke, which I agree is in poor taste, that John McCain made 10 years ago. It in no way excuses the despicable attempt to smear Sarah Palin's oldest daughter and turn her into a national laughingstock. That you cannot fathom the difference speaks volumes about you, sir, and none of it is good."


I made no such claim of excuse, sir. The fact that you have to resort to straw men and personal attacks speaks volumes about you, sir, and none of it is good!
9.2.2008 3:59am
Dave N (mail):
Mahan Atma,

You post repeatedly as if John McCain's joke was the moral equivilent of the smears against Sarah Palin's daughter. You have not retreated. You certainly have not condemned the smear in any fashion. I won't hold my breath that you will now.
9.2.2008 4:07am
metro1 (mail) (www):
This may be mildly off-topic - but wow:

Sarah Palin is about to become a grandma - but she's still a bad ass
9.2.2008 4:12am
Mahan Atma (mail):
"You post repeatedly as if John McCain's joke was the moral equivilent of the smears against Sarah Palin's daughter. You have not retreated."


It's called "demonstrating a blatant double-standard."

You know, like how you say that you "don't give an honest tinker's damn" about McCain's disgusting remark about the Clinton's kids in the same post that you condemn everyone else for going after the Palin kids.

"You certainly have not condemned the smear in any fashion. I won't hold my breath that you will now."


Apparently you failed to read the very first thing I posted in the thread:

"I agree with hilzoy. A family's privacy should be sacrosanct, even for VP candidates. "
9.2.2008 4:14am
Anonymous #000:
You know, like how you say that you "don't give an honest tinker's damn" about McCain's disgusting remark about the Clinton's kids in the same post that you condemn everyone else for going after the Palin kids.

Yeah, it's not like McCain's joke was physically impossible and the Leftists going after Palin say things like "rumor is truth," right?

Right?
9.2.2008 4:17am
Cornellian (mail):
Oh, and when Republicans spread rumors about their opponent fathering a black baby out of wedlock?

Apparently McCain doesn't care about that anymore because he hired the guy that started that smear.


Of course, Obama is pretty much immune to the "fathered a black baby" line of attack.
9.2.2008 4:20am
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Yeah, it's not like McCain's joke was physically impossible..."


A lot of people thought Chelsea was not a very attractive kid. (Perhaps they think differently now.)

How do you think a young adolescent girl would feel about being the butt of highly public jokes calling her ugly? And using those jokes about her at political fund-raising events?

Hard to imagine how you all find it all so harmless when it's your guy, and the opponent's kid.
9.2.2008 4:23am
Dan M.:
One problem that I have with the sex education that is peddled by those who support "comprehensive" sex education is that they decide to make up lies to support the outcomes they desire and to serve the interests of political correctness.

I was an AIDS peer educator in high school, and our training was ridiculous. We were trained to stress over and over again that "AIDS does not discriminate" which, in a literal sense, is obvious, but the point that it was making is absolutely not true (check out the statistics about transmission via vaginal intercourse vs. anal intercourse). We were also trained to tell kids that condom use is 99.7% effective if you put it on correctly, when the ineffectiveness rate of .3% is off by factor of 10. And also no discussion about the possibility of the damn thing slipping off.

I certainly don't trust the public health industry to tell the truth when it comes to public policy. With claims that hundreds of thousands of people are dying because of second-hand smoke, with trips to gun shows being considered "medical research," and with constant overstating of AIDS statistics and contraceptive effectiveness, I don't really see how you can trust them. Don't doctors have a vested interest in opposing abstinence only programs so that they can make more money off of teenagers who get prescriptions for the pill or who take the shot, or who simply come in to consult about their options?
9.2.2008 4:31am
Catherine:

Hard to imagine how you all find it all so harmless when it's your guy, and the opponent's kid.


If as you say he apologized and the apology was accepted, and he hasn't gone on to insult other children, apparently he learned his lesson.


Doc Rampage

You think the Right is judgmental? Don't you think that the Left is being judgmental when they accuse us of wanting to enslave women, starve the poor, destroy the world climate or trade blood for oil? When they say we are racists for wanting to eliminate racial preferences and control our borders? Sounds pretty judgmental to those of us on the Right. But maybe you guys on the Left don't really mean to sound so hysterically moralistic all the time.


Very well said. And I will add, I'm awfully tired of being told that not voting for Obama makes me a racist somehow.

But as for the original topic: should children be off-limits? Yes. Am I going to demand that Democrats stop talking about Bristol? No. Personally speaking, I'd be just fine with them reading the Daily Kos out loud on the air for several hours a day every day, from now until November 2.
9.2.2008 5:17am
Anonymous #000:
Hard to imagine how you all find it all so harmless when it's your guy, and the opponent's kid.
Yeah, it's not like it's the difference between calling a kid ugly and implying a candidate's morals are impeached because ignored their prenatal care or failed to abort a Downs birth or allowed her child to become pregnant at 17 or lied and said the kid was hers to hide an earlier daughter pregnancy, right?

Right?
9.2.2008 5:34am
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Yeah, it's not like it's the difference between calling a kid ugly and implying a candidate's morals are impeached because ignored their prenatal care or failed to abort a Downs birth or allowed her child to become pregnant at 17 or lied and said the kid was hers to hide an earlier daughter pregnancy, right?"


But... for the fourth time, I'm not defending any of those things! And neither is Obama!!

It was McCain who said Chelsea was so ugly because Janet Reno was her father, and now a number of people here say they don't care!

Right?
9.2.2008 5:40am
Anonymous #000:
Yep. Didn't then, don't know.

Evidently the worst they can say about Palin is that her clan is too hot and fertile, without resorting to their usual fabrications.
9.2.2008 5:52am
Wayne (mail):
Dailykos is not a single entity. It is many, probably thousands of people, some of whom are as bat-shit crazy as any Freeper who believes Vince Foster was murdered or that Obama is a muslim. Lots of posters there, including Kos himself, have been trying to tamp down the nonsense about Palin's latest baby. Her husband's 22 year old arrest is also not relevant. I expect most Obama supporters, including "lefty bloggers", agree with him that families should be off-limits.

However, there is plenty of other information coming out that makes it appear McCain didn't vet Palin very well. Her opposition to the Bridge to Nowhere only arose when Congress increased Alaska's share of the costs from $140 million to over $300 million. She was for it before she was against it. Palin was also an ally of Ted Stevens, who is having his own problems. Her trooper problems were widely reported in Alaska before she was selected by McCain. She was also a member, for at least a couple of years, of the Alaska Independence Party, a bunch of secessionists! And I love the argument by her supporters that because she was mayor of a wide spot in the road, she has more relevant experience than Obama.

Right now, there are reporters and bloggers combing Palin's history for new information. And that is not insignificant. It was a blog named "HorsesAss" that broke the scoop that Bush's FEMA director "Brownie" was previously a lawyer for the Arabian Horse Association.

McCain has bet his candidacy on Palin. If more info comes out that is damaging, that McCain didn't know about because his people didn't do a thorough vetting, he is toast.
9.2.2008 6:32am
Angus:
I have no desire to see anyone attack Palin's kids. And as far as I have seen, no one has. What they have done is use the pregnancy and rumors of it to raise questions about Palin's judgment, which I think is fair game.

1. Why wasn't her daughter's pregnancy in the biographical and family information given to reporters and the public at Palin's introduction as VP-candidate? Was Palin trying to hoodwink the voters and run out the clock until November? What does that say about her honesty?

2. If her daughter's privacy, and her family's, is the most important thing to her, why run for VP of the United States? She had to know there was a very high chance her daughter's pregnancy would become known. So why put yourself and your family right into the national spotlight? To me, this speaks poorly of Palin's judgment.

See, those are not attacks on Palin's daughter. They are, however, significant -- and, I think, fair -- questions about Palin.
9.2.2008 7:05am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
"She had to know there was a very high chance her daughter's pregnancy would become known. So why put yourself and your family right into the national spotlight? To me, this speaks poorly of Palin's judgment."

Exactly.

Sarah Palin accepted McCain's invitation to run, even though she knew Bristol was pregnant and would become the subject of intense media scrutiny. Sooner or later, one way or another. In my opinion, that's not what a responsible parent would do. A responsible parent would decide that their personal ambition can wait. (This is McCain's last chance to run for high office, but presumably it's not Palin's last chance.)

Likewise, a responsible parent doesn't get on an airplane while leaking amniotic fluid. And a responsible parent doesn't go back to work three days after giving birth. Especially when that child has special needs. And now she is obviously not going to have much time for that child.

Likewise, a responsible parent who already has four kids and is in her forties doesn't get pregnant again. The risks are obvious. Especially when there are signs (like Bristol's pregnancy) that the kids she already has aren't getting enough of her time.

Balancing work and family is a big challlenge, for anyone, and for both moms and dads. I don't like the choices Palin has made, regarding that balance. Palin puts her personal ambition ahead of her family, which tells me that she will put her ambition ahead of her country. Her choices tell me that she has poor judgment, and that McCain has poor judgment in picking her.
9.2.2008 8:18am
Family guy:
I strongly disagree with jukeboxgrad's insistence that those who are 40 or have 4 kids have an outright duty not to have kids. Are all the Kennedys and other big families doing something wrong? So reproductive freedom is only the freedom to avoid kids or abort them, not to have them?

Also, I don't see how the teenager's pregnancy can be cited as a "sign" to the Palins that they should not have had another child, because the teen wasn't pregnant until about the time the Palins' baby was born.
9.2.2008 8:43am
Obama wouldn't be here:
I second metro1's comment:


if boyfriends and girlfriends didn't have "accidents" sometimes, the world population would probably be halved. and we'd all be much poorer for the people who weren't here.


Like Obama. He was classy in noting that his mother had him at 18. He did not note, but could have, that his parents married when she was a few months pregnant. Also, she apparently became pregnant right around her 18th birthday, so she may have still been 17.

Does that make it ideal to get pregnant that young and/or unmarried? No, but it's not the end of the world.

Also, judgments about how young is "too young" are strongly affected by class and other cultural factors. Most people agree that 14 or 15 is far too young, but 18 is just fine with many Americans. By contrast, birth at 22, while a senior in college, is a horror to those who assume one must first finish grad school and start a career and then maybe consider a first child at 30.
9.2.2008 8:54am
jvarisco (mail) (www):
This is not about her daughter, it's about her own ability to be a parent and set an example for the rest of the country. How is this any different from any other screw-up parent (e.g. Britney Spears's mom)? It's not. And that makes her unqualified to be on the ticket. Great example it would set for all the high school kids out there having a teenage mom in the white house.
9.2.2008 9:07am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
family:

I strongly disagree with jukeboxgrad's insistence that those who are 40 or have 4 kids have an outright duty not to have kids.


I strongly object to your failure to read me carefully, and your willingness to distort and overstate what I said.

First of all, I didn't say you have "an outright duty not to have kids" if you're 40 or have 4 kids. This is a situation where both of those factors were present, when Todd and Sarah decided to get pregnant.

Also, it's not a question of having "an outright duty not to have kids." It's a question of making sure that you're available to provide proper care to the kid you're planning to have. This includes taking into account the heightened risk that you're going to produce a special-needs infant. Todd and Sarah decided to get pregnant, even though they were undoubtedly aware of this heightened risk. And even though they knew that Mom was not going to be available to give the special, extra care that such an infant would require.

And then after producing this special-needs infant, mom freely decided to pursue a new job that would make her even less available than she already was.

All this is enough to show that her judgment is poor. And this is before we even begin to start talking about Bristol.

Are all the Kennedys and other big families doing something wrong?


Yes, if they're not in a position to provide their kids with proper care. This may or may not be true, in any particular branch of the Kennedy family, so you need to be specific. And "proper care" includes a substantial amount of direct parental attention. Money helps a lot, but in the end it can only go so far as a substitute for real parenting.

So reproductive freedom is only the freedom to avoid kids or abort them, not to have them?


With freedom comes responsibility. If you want the "freedom … to have them," you need to take responsibility for giving them proper care. These parents are not giving their kids what I consider to be proper care.

I don't see how the teenager's pregnancy can be cited as a "sign" to the Palins that they should not have had another child, because the teen wasn't pregnant until about the time the Palins' baby was born.


Here's what I see: a teenage girl having sex and getting pregnant. Here's something else I see: an absentee mom (and I have a hunch that Dad isn't home much, either). I tend to think there is probably a connection. I also tend to think that Bristol's pregnancy is probably not the very first clue that Bristol needs more parenting. It's just the first clue to make it to the front page.
9.2.2008 9:18am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Does that make it ideal to get pregnant that young and/or unmarried? No, but it's not the end of the world.


What a joke. As a commenter elsewhere said:

I am sure that if this was happening on the Democratic side, the bible thumpers would be foaming at the mouth, and raining hellfire and damnation. But, because it is happening on the Republican side, the Democrats will be expected to show tolerance and understanding.


Another one:

The Republican view of America:

African-American teenage pregnancies in urban areas = the destruction of "family values" by liberal principles.
white, Republican teens get pregnant = a glorious day for traditional values.


Another one:

imagine what the Republicans would be saying if Obama had a teenage daughter who was pregnant ?! The resentment and shock people feel about something like this comes directly from the conservative right's "family values" lectures and enduring wish to judge and control the personal lives and decisions of others.


From here.
9.2.2008 9:18am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Great example it would set for all the high school kids out there having a teenage mom in the white house.


Good point. Bill Clinton is often blamed for allegedly teaching kids that it's OK to have oral sex, because it's not really sex. Now the GOP wants to teach kids that it's OK to have babies in high school.
9.2.2008 9:18am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Conservatives who like to lecture everyone else about "family values" need to try harder to set a better example. Because they're not doing too well:

In red states in 2001, there were 572,000 divorces … Blue states recorded 340,000 … In the same year, 11 red states had higher rates of divorce than any blue state … In each of the red states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Mexico, 46.3 percent of all births were to unwed mothers … In blue states, on average, that percentage was 31.7 … Delaware has the highest rate of births to teenage mothers among all blue states, yet 17 red states have a higher rate … Of those red states, 15 have at least twice the rate as that of Massachusetts … There were more than 100 teen pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19 in 5 red states in 2002 … None of the blue states had rates that high … The rate of teen births declined in 46 states from 1988 to 2000 … It climbed in 3 red states and saw no change in another … The per capita rate of violent crime in red states is 421 per 100,000 … In blue states, it's 372 per 100,000 … The per capita rate of murder and non-negligent manslaughter in Louisiana is 13 per 100,000 … In Maine, it's 1.2 per 100,000 … As of 2000, 37 states had statewide policies or procedures to address domestic violence … All 13 that didn't were red states … The 5 states with the highest rates of alcohol dependence or abuse are red states … The 5 states with the highest rates of alcohol dependence or abuse among 12- to 17-year-olds are also red states … The per capita rate of methamphetamine-lab seizures in California is 2 per 100,000 … In Arkansas, it's 20 per 100,000 … The number of meth-lab seizures in red states increased by 38 percent from 1999 to 2003 … In the same time frame, it decreased by 38 percent in blue states … Residents of the all-red Mountain States are the most likely to have had 3 or more sexual partners in the previous year … Residents of all-blue New England are the least likely to have had more than 1 partner in that span … Residents of the mid-Atlantic region of New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey were the most likely to be sexually abstinent … Residents of the all-red West South Central region (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana) were the least likely … Five red states reported more than 400 cases of chlamydia per 100,000 residents in 2002 … No blue state had a rate that high … The per capita rate of gonorrhea in red states was 140 per 100,000 … In blue states, it was 99 per 100,000.
9.2.2008 9:24am
Brian Mac:
Does anyone know Mahan Atma's position on this?
9.2.2008 9:34am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
nieporent:

The problem, of course, is that this [rumors that your white opponent fathered a black child out of wedlock] is a total lie. There is no evidence that any such "rumors" ever existed


If you're correct, then McCain is a total liar, since he said this ("Worth the Fighting For," p. 385):

In e-mails, faxes, flyers, postcards, telephone calls and talk radio, groups and individuals circulated all kinds of wild rumors about me, from the old Manchurian Candidate allegation to charges of having sired children with prostitutes


And his long-time associate and campaign manager Rick Davis must also be a total liar, since he said this:

The anatomy of a smear campaign …

Having run Senator John McCain's campaign for president, I can recount a textbook example of a smear made against McCain in South Carolina during the 2000 presidential primary. …

In South Carolina, Bush Republicans were facing an opponent who was popular for his straight talk and Vietnam war record. … It didn't take much research to turn up a seemingly innocuous fact about the McCains: John and his wife, Cindy, have an adopted daughter named Bridget. … Bridget has dark skin.

Anonymous opponents used "push polling" to suggest that McCain's Bangladeshi born daughter was his own, illegitimate black child. … Effective and anonymous: the perfect smear campaign.…

We chose to address the attacks by trying to get the media to focus on the dishonesty of the allegations and to find out who was making them. … We never did find out who perpetrated these smears, but they worked: We lost South Carolina by a wide margin.
9.2.2008 9:37am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
And you already know this. So why are you pretending you don't?
9.2.2008 9:40am
Big Bill (mail):
elizabeth wrote:

I don't see why this is "off limits." The fact that Governor Palin has raised a daughter who thinks teenage motherhood and a shotgun wedding are a great idea that will help her grow up nice and fast tells me a lot about what kind of person she is, and it's nothing good.


Elizabeth, it is dangerous to extrapolate from your own experience. The Governor said her daughter and boyfriend were getting married. She did not say they held a gun to his head and offered him the choice of death or marriage (i.e. the "shotgun" in shotgun marriage).

I can understand how your personal experience might be different and lead you to assume that a gun was involved, however. I'll grant you, it might take a gun to a man's head to get him to marry you, your friends or your daughters. It might take a gun to your brothers', or sons' heads to get them to marry as well.

But that is not the case for everyone, I can assure you. For many Americans, marriage and family are not such life-destroying experiences that anything short of death would be preferable. (Although it does help explain why white folks are going extinct in the West, though. Why on earth would anyone want to mate with someone who felt that way?)
9.2.2008 10:23am
Per Son:
One thought. I noticed that some people say that Palin's daughter marrying Levi is a good thing? Good thing for who, and how do you know? Do you know if they are in love? Do you know if it is for the best?

Come on now. The result of people marrying not out of love, but just because of a kid often leads to miserable circumstances.

I hope Bristol makes the best decisions for herself and her soon-to-be child.

Another comment is that people seem to be treating the Palin's as the halmarks of being pro-life in action - "walking the walk." The assumption seems to be that if you are pro-choice you will run to have an abortion if your kid is going to be sick or disabled. Just so you all know - pro-choice "walking the walk" is making a choice and being happy for others when they choose. So, I am going to walk the walk: "I am very happy that Ms. Palin and Bristol Palin made and are making their choices rather than being forced to choose one choice over the other."
9.2.2008 10:27am
Per Son:
But that is not the case for everyone, I can assure you. For many Americans, marriage and family are not such life-destroying experiences that anything short of death would be preferable. (Although it does help explain why white folks are going extinct in the West, though. Why on earth would anyone want to mate with someone who felt that way?)

Huh?
9.2.2008 10:29am
Angus:

(Although it does help explain why white folks are going extinct in the West, though. Why on earth would anyone want to mate with someone who felt that way?)
I will second the "Huh?" on this and raise you a far right-wing "death of the West on account of uncivilized brown peoples" meme.
9.2.2008 10:58am
Fury:
llamasex writes in several posts referring to Bristol Palin:

"Because she got knocked up."

I don't car what your political persuasion or station in life. Using the term "knocked up" is sexist, degrading and makes you sound unusually foolish.
9.2.2008 11:12am
Hoosier:
llamasex writes in several posts referring to Bristol Palin:

"Because she got knocked up."

I don't car what your political persuasion or station in life. Using the term "knocked up" is sexist, degrading and makes you sound unusually foolish.


But then so does using the moniker "llamasex."
9.2.2008 11:27am
Hoosier:
This is not about her daughter, it's about her own ability to be a parent and set an example for the rest of the country. How is this any different from any other screw-up parent (e.g. Britney Spears's mom)? It's not. And that makes her unqualified to be on the ticket. Great example it would set for all the high school kids out there having a teenage mom in the white house.


Right!

Or even worse, a guy in the Oval Office whose mom got pregnant before she was married! I eman, teenage girls will be running around trying to get pregnant, so they can have a child who grows up to be president!

Imagine the impact of that on our nation!
9.2.2008 11:31am
loki13 (mail):

This is not about her daughter, it's about her own ability to be a parent . . .

Or even worse, a guy in the Oval Office whose mom got pregnant before she was married!



Hoosier,

So you're saying that Obama had poor parenting skills in allowing his mother to have him at such a young age? I am so confused now . . .

(again, pure comedy gold . . . none of these comments matter; tune in tonight to find the initial mainstream narratives . . . this is why you front the bad information so you can control and shape it, and not have the freepers and Kosheads get all crazy-like . . . oh, never mind, they're going to be crazy anyway)
9.2.2008 11:46am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
hoosier:

Or even worse, a guy in the Oval Office whose mom got pregnant before she was married!


There's a bit of a difference with regard to proximity and visibility. A pregnancy happening now is going to get a lot more attention than a pregnancy that happened almost fifty years ago. And a teenage birth taking place in or near the White House, or on the trail to the vicinity of the White House, is going to get a whole shitload of attention.

Another big difference: Obama and his mom are not associated with the 'family values' party, the party that likes to moralize to everyone else, and likes to tell us that abstinence education works, and is enough.

It's not the pregnancy: it's the hypocrisy.
9.2.2008 11:47am
MarkField (mail):

I think all of that is on-topic and fair. A little snark thrown in from time to time is probably not the best idea, I agree. We should approach these debates with good humor. Heck, I could probably use some time in Wasilla myself!


metro1, I didn't have any problem with your posts (though I disagree with all of them). My objection was to the double standard involved in "policing" the thread. Of course, since then the thread's so out of control that it's not worth the effort anyway.
9.2.2008 11:50am
Fury:
jukeboxgrad writes:

Likewise, a responsible parent who already has four kids and is in her forties doesn't get pregnant again. The risks are obvious. Especially when there are signs (like Bristol's pregnancy) that the kids she already has aren't getting enough of her time.

Your comments are disappointedly topical. Concerning becoming pregnant at/around age 40,you or I do not know if the most recent child of the Palin family was planned or unplanned - unless this was announced by the Palin family.

Concerning the leaking of amniotic fluid where you write:

"Likewise, a responsible parent doesn't get on an airplane while leaking amniotic fluid."

I found this article which provides more information:

"Early Thursday -- she thinks it was around 4 a.m. Texas time -- she consulted with her doctor, family physician Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, who is based in the Valley and has delivered lots of babies, including Piper, Palin's 7-year-old.

Palin said she felt fine but had leaked amniotic fluid and also felt some contractions that seemed different from the false labor she had been having for months.

Palin kept in close contact with Baldwin-Johnson. The contractions slowed to one or two an hour, "which is not active labor," the doctor said.

"Things were already settling down when she talked to me," Baldwin-Johnson said. Palin did not ask for a medical OK to fly, the doctor said.

"I don't think it was unreasonable for her to continue to travel back," Baldwin-Johnson said.

So the Palins flew on Alaska Airlines from Dallas to Anchorage, stopping in Seattle and checking with the doctor along the way."

So, she checked with her doctor more than once while on the trip. Seeing that her OB/GYN is the person most knowledgeable about the pregnancy of Sarah Plain, I believe they acted reasonably.
9.2.2008 12:28pm
Fury:
DaveN writes:

And yes, there is one heck of a difference to say, "I am proud of my kids and yes my baby has Down Syndrome" and for some to take this as a reason to declare open season on Governor Palin's minor children.

One of the best points of the thread. It's fairly disgusting what has gone on here and in the media. And yes, I think it is wrong for people to do regardless of the political affiliation of the candidate - period.
9.2.2008 12:32pm
theobromophile (www):
It's not the pregnancy: it's the hypocrisy.

Give me a break. If Sarah Palin condemned her child on national TV, you would be asking about the distinct lack of "family values" in not supporting your child. Do you really expect that children will do everything their parents tell them to do, all the time, and the only possible reason for an unwed pregnancy is hypocrisy? Welcome to reality. We are all flawed humans, but that doesn't mean we don't try and it sure doesn't mean we don't try to teach our kids.

It's interesting that you feel morally superiour for... not even trying to be moral.
9.2.2008 12:36pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

you or I do not know if the most recent child of the Palin family was planned or unplanned


Maybe you don't realize it, but pregnancy is avoidable. Really! Here's one highly reliable way to avoid pregnancy: abstain. Todd and Sarah undoubtedly realize that pregnancy is avoidable. But they got pregnant anyway. I already explained why I think this is a problem.

So speculating that the pregnancy was "unplanned" does not relieve them of the responsibility for getting pregnant. And responsibility for the choices they made later, like accepting McCain's invitation. A parent (not just a mom) with a special-needs infant and a pregnant teenager should not be jumping at the chance to take on a job that is even more consuming than the job they already have.

So, she checked with her doctor more than once while on the trip. Seeing that her OB/GYN is the person most knowledgeable about the pregnancy of Sarah Plain, I believe they acted reasonably.


You're obviously entitled to your opinion, but you shouldn't distort what the article said. You're implying that her doctor told her it was OK to fly. Not so: "Palin did not ask for a medical OK to fly."

Later on, her doctor said this: "I don't think it was unreasonable for her to continue to travel back." But that was after-the-fact. And I don't consider her doctor to be the most objective source. Another doctor said this: "when a pregnant woman's water breaks, she should go right to the hospital because of the risk of infection. That's true even if the amniotic fluid simply leaks out."

What I see is a pattern of irresponsible parenting.

It's fairly disgusting what has gone on here and in the media


Palin is the parent. It's her job to protect her children from media scrutiny. She has failed to do so, by making a series of decisions that put her career ahead of her children.
9.2.2008 12:51pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
theo:

Do you really expect that children will do everything their parents tell them to do, all the time, and the only possible reason for an unwed pregnancy is hypocrisy?


I already explained why it's hypocrisy. Try addressing what's been said.
9.2.2008 12:51pm
Clastrenster:
The only thing that matters here is that Sarah Palin supports her daughters decision and loves her unconditionally (that is, would love her had she decided differently). Of course, she couldn't have supported her daughter's decision if the government had determined it for her. Sounds like a nice family. But it's time to remove this from public scrutiny and face a re-shuffling so there's time for substantive issues to be discussed, and families to be attended to.
9.2.2008 12:52pm
rationalist:
It's interesting that you feel morally superiour for... not even trying to be moral.
Bingo, brother. The only way to fight back those religious heathens against liberalism is to shout them down with their own hypocrisy. You see, irrational people have irrational ideals, e.g. of your mythical "Christ." If you do not live up to that ideal, then you are a bad person under your own belief system. No belief system is correct, so only your own matters. Of course, yours is wrong if you can't live up to it, and in addition you're a bad person for not doing so. QED.
9.2.2008 1:11pm
SATA_Interface:
If anything, it just shows that while abstinence may work 99.999% of the time (I'm looking at *you* Jesus), the abstinence education works a little less as a matter of policy.

When trying to escape the burning house of teenage hormones, the responsible parent/firefighter doesn't tell the kid to stop playing with matches, he hands them an escape route and some flame-retardant clothing... :-)

I don't think it hurts Palin that much, except for the fact that she supports bad policy with a bad track record. You could say the same for many others in this campaign.

I do think that using a family values platform to attack a family on either side is pretty irritating. While we usually see that bad behavior from the preacher-salesmen, I've seen enough of it from the Kosheads to understand it's a party-agnostic disease.
9.2.2008 1:21pm
Fury:
jukeboxgrad writes:

"You're obviously entitled to your opinion, but you shouldn't distort what the article said. You're implying that her doctor told her it was OK to fly. Not so: "Palin did not ask for a medical OK to fly."

Fortunately, I did not distort what the article said, nor imply anything - I was very explicit. First, it was not required for Sarah Palin to get an written authorization from the doctor. The decision to fly was her decision - if you want to attach some degree of negligence to her decision - OK. The people I have talked with at work think it's much ado about nothing, but that's their opinion.

Later on, her doctor said this: "I don't think it was unreasonable for her to continue to travel back." But that was after-the-fact. And I don't consider her doctor to be the most objective source. Another doctor said this: "when a pregnant woman's water breaks, she should go right to the hospital because of the risk of infection. That's true even if the amniotic fluid simply leaks out."

Again, we will not agree. I consider her doctor to be an objective source and the doctor with the most knowledge of the medical condition of Sarah Palin. I guess I apply more weight to that patient-doctor relationship than you.
9.2.2008 1:51pm
SATA_Interface:
9.2.2008 2:14pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

it was not required for Sarah Palin to get an written authorization from the doctor


There you go with another distortion, and a straw man. It's not that Palin flew in the absence of a "written authorization from the doctor." Palin flew in the absence of any medical authorization, written or otherwise: "Palin did not ask for a medical OK to fly."

In fact, it seems that she ignored the instructions of her doctor:

her doctor in Alaska advised her to put her feet up to rest


That's what she should have done, but she decided that work was more important.

I consider her doctor to be an objective source and the doctor with the most knowledge of the medical condition of Sarah Palin.


Then tell us why it's OK with you that she didn't do what her doctor told her to do.
9.2.2008 3:30pm
Charlie Martel (mail):
To all, but particularly "female voter" who says she is voting for McCain because of her disgust with the treatment of Gov. Palin's family:

I think it is important to note that Sen. Obama said that families are off limits, urged his supporters to observe this rule, and said that anyone on his staff who did not would be fired. He added that his mom was 18 when he was born, which suggests personal empathy for Gov. Palin and her daughter.

Sen. Obama is respecting the Palin family's privacy and dignity here, which is a good thing.
9.2.2008 4:51pm
Mac (mail):
You appall me. You could set back all of the gains of women by 100 years. It's been some time since I have heard such blatant, unabashed support for keeping the little woman at home. As a former Democrat and Liberal, you embarrass the hell out of me.

Just when I think women are really getting somewhere, the likes of you arise and demonstrate that chauvinism is alive and well, just waiting for an excuse to rear it's ugly head. This goes for others of you as well who think Palin should just stay at home and be a nice mommy. I can't believe, in this day and age, I am even reading this kind of c**p.
9.2.2008 5:03pm
Mac (mail):
Excuse me. Previous post was addressed to jukeboxgrad. However, if the shoe fits...
9.2.2008 5:05pm
elim:
the left is fantasizing that evangelicals or the base will be put out by a family having a 17 year old get pregnant, as though that has never happened in the annals of history. if you are an actual parent, you realize that your kids will screw up no matter how good (or bad) a job you do. they will get drunk, experiment with maryjane, have sex, none of which are good things for teens but are done because they are young (and, let's not forget, sometimes stupid and reckless). from the christian perspective, it is an accepted fact that we will all screw up ie. sin in our lives-does jbg actually think that this sin will cause folks to regard her as some lesser person because her daughter didn't attain perfection? I imagine JBG as some nerd getting his talking points from Kos, certainly not a parent. if he were the latter, he would know better.
9.2.2008 5:12pm
LIly (mail):


Palin is the parent. It's her job to protect her children from media scrutiny. She has failed to do so, by making a series of decisions that put her career ahead of her children.


Up to this point, the media had not gone after the child of a politician in this manner. The coverage has been relentless and intrusive. The Kids generally used to be 'off limits'.

By your logic, no loving parent of an imperfect child could ever run for public office. At least not any more.

BYW, Given that the media now think kids are fair game, I can't wait to watch Obama's girls grow up. Should be fun seeing their faces on all the tabloids every time they trip up! /sarcasm.
9.2.2008 5:29pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
mac:

You could set back all of the gains of women by 100 years.


Nonsense. I would make exactly the same statements about any person, regardless of gender or political affiliation. I don't respect people who put career before their kids. Period. And by the way, that's exactly what McCain did when he ran off with Cindy even though he had kids at home. Aside from her other charms, she was his ticket to his new career.

If you want to have a big-shot career, and also have kids, then marry someone who's willing to stay home and take care of them. Or limit how many you have, so you don't exceed your ability to care for them. Or time your career in such a way that you're working less when your kids are at the ages where they need you most.

Balancing work and kids is tough for everyone. Some people do it well, and some people do it poorly. Some people put their kids first, and some don't.

Palin has invited me to evaluate her behavior as a parent. I don't like what I see. Someone who puts their own advancement ahead of their kids is also going to put their own advancement ahead of their country.
9.2.2008 6:25pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elim:

if you are an actual parent, you realize that your kids will screw up no matter how good (or bad) a job you do


OK, I think I get it. When black kids get pregnant, it means that liberals have destroyed our culture. When white Republican kids get pregnant, it's only because "your kids will screw up no matter how good (or bad) a job you do." Thanks for clearing that up.
9.2.2008 6:25pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
lily:

By your logic, no loving parent of an imperfect child could ever run for public office.


I guess you really haven't paid any attention to what I've actually said. The problem is not that Palin is a "loving parent of an imperfect child." Every child is imperfect, and I assume very parent is loving.

The problem is that the GOP has invited us to look at Palin's behavior as a parent. When I look at that, I see choices that look irresponsible.

Given that the media now think kids are fair game, I can't wait to watch Obama's girls grow up.


Obama's party does not have a long history of painting itself as the party of 'family values.' I realize you would like to overlook this crucial distinction.
9.2.2008 6:25pm
elim:
as I suspected, JBG isn't a parent and his sage advice is pulled straight from his posterior. interesting stuff, coming from someone with absolutely no knowledge of parenting. I think I will now opine on neurosurgery, given that I know as much about the topic as JBG does about parenting. are you actually Andrew Sullivan under an alias?
9.2.2008 6:31pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Elim, when reading JBG, the only quote that comes to mind is, "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness... Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty, I would do so. I like to think I'm a gentle man, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me... You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"
9.2.2008 6:34pm
elim:
let's not be hasty-JBG may actually be a world class obstetrician or internationally recognized child rearing expert (I must confess, however, I do visualize someone who approximates the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons, although larger, of lower intelligence and lesser hygiene/fashion sense).
9.2.2008 6:51pm
Randy R. (mail):
Doc Rampage: " I believe that you are deliberately spreading falsehoods about the religious right is as a political ploy --character assassination writ large."

Hardly. ONe need only quote the religious right directly. Let's take a look-see, shall we?

"For 25 years Sarah Palin attended a Pentecostal church. Here are some of the things the church preached:
Pastor Kalnins has also preached that critics of President Bush will be banished to hell; questioned whether people who voted for Sen. John Kerry in 2004 would be accepted to heaven; charged that the 9/11 terrorist attacks and war in Iraq were part of a war "contending for your faith;"

From Louis Rushmore of bible-infonet: "Almighty God sternly condemns homosexuality and lesbianism. Because of these sins Sodom and Gomorrah suffered destructive temporal fire and their inhabitants will also suffer God's "vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 7)."

From Pat Robertson: ""It is interesting, that termites don't build things, and the great builders of our nation almost to a man have been Christians, because Christians have the desire to build something. He is motivated by love of man and God, so he builds. The people who have come into (our) institutions (today) are primarily termites. They are into destroying institutions that have been built by Christians, whether it is universities, governments, our own traditions, that we have.... The termites are in charge now, and that is not the way it ought to be, and the time has arrived for a godly fumigation."--Pat Robertson, New York Magazine, August 18, 1986

More Pat: ""You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions but I don't have to be nice to them."--Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, January 14, 1991 And this: "(talking about Planned Parenthood) "It is teaching kids to fornicate, teaching people to have adultery, every kind of bestiality, homosexuality, lesbianism-everything that the Bible condemns."--Pat Robertson, "The 700 Club," 4/9/91"

From Jerry Falwell: "AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."

more Jerry: "If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being." and more: "We will see a breakdown of the family and family values if we decide to approve same-sex marriage, and if we decide to establish homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle with all the benefits that go with equating it with the heterosexual lifestyle."

And of course my favorite is a twofer: Both Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson blamed the 9/11 attacks on lesbians, gays, and liberals.
9.2.2008 7:10pm
CDR D (mail):
I haven't read each and every one of these posts thoroughly, so if the question has been posed before and I missed it, I apologize.

What is the age of consent WRT sexual activity in the State of Alaska?
9.2.2008 7:12pm
Randy R. (mail):
It's funny -- I went over the Dobson's site, Focus on the Family, and article after article condemns premarital sex. Of course, it leads to all sorts of problems, because premarital sex is 'unnatural' and not good, and certainly not part of God's plan for you.

But now, eh, it's not such a big deal. Everyone does it. (yawn) It helps them grow up faster.

I'm glad that finally the religious right has gotten realistic about premarital sex.
9.2.2008 7:14pm
Fury:
jukeboxgrad writes:

"Palin flew in the absence of any medical authorization, written or otherwise: "Palin did not ask for a medical OK to fly."

Uh, that may be what you think is necessary, but she was in communication with her doctor several times.


"her doctor in Alaska advised her to put her feet up to rest"

and

"Then tell us why it's OK with you that she didn't do what her doctor told her to do...."

Please present the quotes you select out of news sources accurately. The article says the doctor advised her, not told her. There's a significant difference.

My belief is that there was a discussion between doctor and patient about Palin's medical condition over the course of several calls between Palin and her doctor. At no point do we know of was there an order from the doctor to stop what she was doing and go into the hospital.

I guess I trust the results of the patient-doctor relationship between Palin and doctor. Again, we will not agree on this issue. If you think her conduct in this matter is a cause for concern, you think that. I do not, and would not think that no matter her political affiliation.
9.2.2008 7:22pm
MarkField (mail):

What is the age of consent WRT sexual activity in the State of Alaska?


16. See here.
9.2.2008 8:32pm
Dave N (mail):
Mahan Atma:
Apparently you failed to read the very first thing I posted in the thread:

"I agree with hilzoy. A family's privacy should be sacrosanct, even for VP candidates. "
You are right and I owe you an apology. I missed your first post. I apologize profusely for both failing to see your position as expressed in that post and then unfairly calling you out.

Your position was different than what I ascribed and I attacked you in a personal manner that was unbecoming of both this blog and your overall point.
9.2.2008 9:18pm
Toby:
Mac (et al)

It is not worth engaging JBG. She normally spends her time obessessively following romantic stories on nightime serials and aparantly has a serious crush on Dr House. She is temporarily playing at political activism with all the outrage and snark of anyone who knows life mostly through TV melodrama. As such, She is not worth the respect due a troll, merely a filter to shut her out.
9.2.2008 10:16pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elim:

interesting stuff, coming from someone with absolutely no knowledge of parenting


Interesting comment, coming from someone with absolutely no knowledge about whether or not I'm a parent.
9.2.2008 10:40pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

The article says the doctor advised her, not told her. There's a significant difference.


Really? Next up, you'll be telling us about the meaning of 'is.'

If her doctor "advised" her of something, that means the doctor gave her advice. Palin ignored her doctor's advice. Someone who ignores their doctor's advice about how to care for their unborn child is not my idea of a responsible parent. Especially when I see various other signs that she's not a responsible parent.
9.2.2008 10:40pm
Mac (mail):
Toby,

Thanks. It is obviously a lost cause. I have now wallowed in the 19th Century long enough. I'm done other than to tell JBG that it is very obvious she is not a parent, certainly not of a teenager. Only non-parents can be that judgmental about parents. So easy when you've never tried it.
9.2.2008 11:09pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
mac:

So easy when you've never tried it.


It's telling to note that you feel comfortable making statements about my personal life when the entirety of what you know about my personal life is this: nothing.

Only non-parents can be that judgmental about parents.


One of many things that you're much too simpleminded to understand is that my main focus is not the behavior of the kids (in the form of Bristol's pregnancy, for example). My main focus is the behavior of the parents. Yes, I realize that all sorts of problems (like teen pregnancy) can and will happen even in a household where the kids are getting a lot of high-quality parental attention. And when a problem like that happens in such a household, I would be very reluctant to make a judgment about the parents. Trouble is, it's clear enough that this is not such a household. On the contrary.

This is a household where the mom decided to go back to work three days after giving birth. That would be a giant red flag to me, even if Trig was not a special-needs infant. This is a household where the mom decided to get on a long airplane flight, even though she was leaking amniotic fluid, and even though her doctor had "advised her to put her feet up to rest."

This is a household where the parents decided to have a fifth child, even though the mom's age indicated a heightened risk for abnormality, and even though the number of parents who seem to be home taking care of the kids is zero.

This is a household where the mom decided to take on an extremely demanding career change, a change she could have delayed until when her kids were bigger, even though she has an infant who is less than six months old, and even though it seems that dad is not interested in staying home with the kids.

These are all things I know before I hear anything at all about Bristol. So when I hear about Bristol, I am not even slightly surprised, because her trouble is a natural outcome of the parental behavior that I see.

It's wrong to blame the parents for trouble when the parents are obviously putting the kids first, and the kids end up in trouble despite that. And yes, that happens every day. But this is not a household where the kids come first. This is a household where mom's career comes first.

And it would be easier for me to overlook all this if Palin's parenting choices were not being presented as part of her supposed appeal. But they are. It would also be easier to overlook all this if Palin was not representing the party that has spent years moralizing about how their 'family values' were allegedly better than everyone else's. But she is.
9.2.2008 11:52pm
Randy R. (mail):
From the LA Times blog:
Levi Johnston, the boyfriend of the pregnant 17-year-old Bristol Palin, plans to join the family at the Republican Party's nomination here of mom and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for vice president....

So much for family privacy: Imagine the attention this couple will confront in the media-filled Xcel Energy Center where the hurricane-truncated convention is playing out....

The Palin family already has captured the attention of this hall, after Sarah Palin and husband Todd announced Monday that their daughter planned to have the baby and marry the father. They also asked the media to respect the young couple's privacy.

Good luck with that this week, as the small-town hockey player makes his national TV debut.
The McCain campaign just spent the entire day yelling at everyone to leave these kids alone. Now they're going to put them on stage before millions of Americans.
9.3.2008 12:01am
ejo:
so, putting children on stage makes them fair game-has that been a standard followed in the past? with any Dem child? as to JBG, obviously you aren't a parent. if you were, you wouldn't make the statements you do. About the same for RR, although he isn't putting himself out as an expert on any issue in the way you do.
9.3.2008 12:30pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ejo:

putting children on stage makes them fair game-has that been a standard followed in the past? with any Dem child?


It's not her children that are "fair game." I'm not criticizing her children. I'm criticizing her. In particular, I'm criticizing her judgment as a parent. And this is indeed fair game, since she has invited us to evaluate her judgment as a parent.

Tell us about the Democrat who presented a special-needs infant to press photographers when the kid was three days old. Which quickly led to the obvious adoring headlines directed at her anti-abortion base. I'll be waiting patiently while you look for an example of a Democrat who used a child as a political prop in such a transparently despicable manner.

In this act and in others like it, Palin has asked us to admire her for her parental choices. But when I actually look at her parental choices, what I see is an irresponsible parent:

what kind of role model is a woman whose fifth child was recently born with a serious issue, Down Syndrome, and then goes back to the job of Governor within days of the birth?


Someone who is willing to put their personal ambition ahead of their kids is obviously someone who is also going to put their personal ambition ahead of their country. And this has nothing at all to do with gender. It's about judgment and character.

If Todd was home with the kids, my analysis would be different (although in my opinion there's no substitute for a mom, within the first few months). But he's not. And child-care surrogates are not a replacement for real parents. If you're not going to be around to take care of your kids, then don't have them.
9.4.2008 10:18am