Palin Family Ban is Lifted

On Sunday, before the news about Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter was announced, I initiated a ban on TalkLeft prohibiting mention of her personal or family matters. I was one of the only, if not the only, liberal blog instituting this policy.

I was determined that my criticism of her, which has been limited to her lack of experience and preparedness to take over the Presidency if the need arises, her record and her lack of record while in Government service, the pending allegations of misuse of power while in office, and her position on issues, not be misconstrued by others as an attack on her gender or her personal life. By never mentioning her personal and family issues, I thought that it would be clear that gossip, rumor and innuendo of a personal nature were not related to my criticism.

Readers on both sides were upset with my decision. Some wanted to praise her, others want to point out her hypocrisy given her adverse positions on teaching sex-ed and making birth control available, even in her state which has one of the highest rates of sexually-transmitted diseases in the country. I have spent hours deleting comments and banning commenters who violated my ban over the past few days. That's fine. Almost all of the comments were objectionable under any standard, and I refuse to have a site that bears my name be associated with them.

Now, I feel tooled. [More...]

Gov. Palin, who asked for privacy concerning the matter of her teenage daughter's pregnancy, is flying Levi Johnston, the father-to-be (now her daughter's fiance) to Minneapolis to be on stage with the family during her speech tonight.

If Palin wanted privacy, why showcase the couple to the world? As the parent of a son who is now a young man, I find it reprehensible that she would parade him on national television, just to show he really will be a member of the family. Levi's mother, Sherri Johnston, doesn't sound thrilled either:

Sherry Johnston said she was worried about her son dealing with all the attention. She said it was difficult enough for teenagers to deal with any pregnancy, having the entire nation watching made it worse.

Levi Johnston, a high school hockey player for Wasilla High School, is not listed on the team roster for 2008-2009, and his mother wouldn't say if he graduated. She said simply he's no longer a student and any further information would have to come from him. The intense media scrutiny has stunned this suburban community about 40 miles north of Anchorage, with reporters camping out near the Johnston home.

"This is out of my league," Sherry Johnston said. "I'm just a country gal and I want to keep it that way."

So Sarah Palin, in her bid to show America, that her daughter, who got pregnant as an unmarried teen is really no different than any other young married couple who get pregnant, is putting the best interests of her child and her fiance second to her need to show family love and harmony at a political event watched by millions around the world.

In my world, that comes close to a shaming punishment for the kids, one which I would argue to a judge in a criminal case is inappropriate for juveniles and can have long-lasting detrimental psychological effects.

Teenage brains don't work like adult brains. They aren't fully formed. Teenagers have raging hormones. What's needed is honest, open and frequent one-on-one conversations with your child, and therapy if your child and you are in that teenage stage where they don't believe (usually because of how they perceive you live your life) that you are being straight with them. They can tell when what you say comes from the heart out of concern for them and when your words are guided by an hidden motive, such as, What will the neighbors, my friends and my colleagues think and how might this affect my career?

I'm not going to assume Levi is being pushed into this marriage. I'm going to assume he loves Bristol and she loves him and they really did plan on getting married before all this happened.

But how, when Sarah Palin puts them both on a stage at an event celebratimg one of her personal accomplishments -- as opposed to one honoring the child's accomplishments -- can she possibly expect that people won't discuss it? She's thrown it in our face and thrown the children into the lion's den of the media. She's using them to enhance her image in the eyes of voters.

There's no longer any reason to be silent. Palin gave up these kids' privacy, possibly to benefit her vice presidential bid. Whatever the reason, now that she's parading them on tv, she's forfeited the right to ask for privacy. They are now fair game to discuss.

Had Levi been my son, and if he hadn't yet turned 18, I would have sent him out of the country to avoid the "perp walk" on stage. Or, gone to family court to get a restraining order against any contact with the Palin family until their festivities were over and they were back in Alaska. I might have no control over the decision Palin makes with respect to her daughter, but I'd be damned I would let her decide my child should have to face that media storm wearing the Scarlet Letter "A" on his back. Since Levi appears to be 18, his mother Sherry, likely has no such option. And for all we know, Levi was glad to go along with it. Pretty exciting, your girlfriend's mother may be VP of the country. But he doesn't know at 18 how this public portrayal will affect him in the future.

Whatever modicum of restraint I felt Palin was entitled to is now gone. Since she has made the deciison to put her unwed daughter and fiance on stage in front of the world, she's forfeited any right to privacy I or anyone else previously granted her.

So, from this time forward, Palin's family issues are no longer off limit. I predict tomorrow night's convention ratings will be the highest ever. Millions will tune in to gawk at the young couple. They will be the talk of the water coolers around the country Thursday.

Levi, on his my space page, calls himself "Redneck." Here's an acoustic version of Jackson Brown's "Redneck Friend."

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    brought her daughter out and left Levi in Alaska (5.00 / 7) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:33:57 AM EST
    There's no reason for Levi to be there unless she is trying to show they really are going to get married.

    She should have exercised parental authority (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:48:48 AM EST
    and said this isn't the right time.

    He's 18 (5.00 / 15) (#38)
    by Grace on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:06:47 AM EST
    He's an adult.  He can join the military and do any number of things without parental consent.  

    From the AP story, it appears no pressure has been placed on him by Sarah Palin.  

    Perhaps Bristol wanted him to share one of the biggest moments in her life thus far?  After all, it isn't everyday your mother gets to run for Vice President.  

    It's not everyday your future mother-in-law gets to run for VP either.  

    I see nothing wrong with this.  Hope he has a great time in Minnesota.    


    Well, this seems to be one of (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:22:11 AM EST
    my newly 19 year old's favorite songs.  I've had to listen to this pathetic yuck yuck for about two years now in her presence..........not real mature.  If I were his age right now I'd probably jump up on that stage next to Palin if she'd have me and especially if she wanted me.



    Or maybe Bristol didn't want to face it alone. (5.00 / 2) (#149)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:26:16 AM EST
    Since all we are doing is speculating. I think it would be easier for her to have her boyfriend there, someone to share the scrutiny with her. She's a 17 year old girl. Self-consciousness comes with the job.

    Well, she has to show that (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:15:14 AM EST
    They're Republicans and someone's pregnant so where's the shotgun.........hurry, someone get the preacher out of bed.  A geniune sort of long lasting happiness be damned, we must all possibly pay for a lifetime for mismatched personalities when the raging hormones win over the calculated shucking of our teenage britches on fire.  I'm so glad my britches only feel slightly warm these days off and on verses going inferno on me.  Poor kids all the way around, all three of them now.  I do know people who have made functioning marriages out of this situation but not enough for me to feel anything close to comforted.

    Jeralyn, maybe it helps her daughter Bristol (5.00 / 1) (#170)
    by andrys on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:29:15 AM EST
    Can you imagine being seen by the whole world as an unwed teen, whose pregnancy has just been announced? and being alone as if it was maybe just one of those things?  If they do have a real relationship (I've no idea) then she'd probably want him by her side since it's so stressful to be paraded as a candidates' daughter as it is, not to even add on that the world suddenly knows she's pregnant and not married...

    This way she comes off as a 'winner' (the way people tend to be about these things rather than someone left on her own and maybe he'll marry her).  AFTER the convention they will do whatever they want anyway.

    I don't think we can automatically put the entire onus on Sarah for their being together.  Might be so, but we don't know.


    I didn't (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:35:10 AM EST
    It's the parent's job to make the final decision. It's not the kid's birthday party. It's the mother's acceptance speech. If Palin wanted to maintain privacy, she should have told her daughter this wasn't the right occasion to introduce him to the nation.

    they aren't married yet (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:49:46 AM EST
    he's not family yet. He's the teenager that got her daughter pregnant. She's trying to portray them to America as a family. She's jumping the gun.

    Good point! (5.00 / 8) (#46)
    by SueBonnetSue on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:14:22 AM EST
    In order for Cheney's daughter and her partner to be afforded some privacy, I suppose they should never have appeared in public?  

    Are you kidding? (5.00 / 14) (#10)
    by SueBonnetSue on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:47:56 AM EST
    These young people are going to be the talk of the town?  They aren't already?  The left blogs haven't been talking about it constantly for two days?  

    Do you think there is anyone left in America who is scandalized by the fact that a couple of teenagers had sex?  And then appear in public?!  It is YOU who is labeling them with the big scarlet A.  The rest of the world doesn't think this is a big deal.  The same thing happened to them, or their sister, or the girl down the street.  They aren't labeling anyone with anything.  They're anxious to see the young couple and support them.  

    Puhleeze, you doth protest too much.  

    I went out of my way to respect their privacy (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:55:16 AM EST
    believing that's what she wanted. I was honoring her wishes. Now, she's made a mockery of that.

    let's respect her privacy (5.00 / 0) (#180)
    by sancho on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:40:52 AM EST
    b/c it makes political sense for us to do so--b/c that's what will help dems get elected--not b/c she asks us to.

    Huh? (4.53 / 13) (#29)
    by SueBonnetSue on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:00:39 AM EST
    Being in public means that they can't have any privacy?  I recall that Chelsea appeared a lot in public and still had privacy.  She was off limits to the press.  

    What's the difference?  Seriously?  

    Is it now ok to hound these kids because they will show up for their mother's speech?  No one hounded Chelsea just because she showed up for her father's speeches.  

    Governor Palin has said that her daughter is pregnant and engaged.  What more do you want to say about her?  What is no longer 'off limits' because Bristol and her finance will appear together in public?  


    OK to hound her? (5.00 / 2) (#141)
    by robrecht on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:12:43 AM EST
    You're twisting Jeralyn's words.  She did NOT say it is now ok to hound these kids.

    But I agree there's not much more to say.  Except perhaps that the campaign should not be trying to score right to life points with their decision to have the baby.  Palin should say there's nothing more to say.  

    I also agree that we should not be talking about this.  There's too much else at stake with this election to get involved in soap opera psychodrama.


    Other blogs, but not TalkLeft (5.00 / 0) (#26)
    by KVFinn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:59:12 AM EST
    They may be the talk of other blogs, but not TalkLeft.  

    But how to keep avoiding any mention of Bristol and Levi and their child when they're up on stage for the biggest speech of the convention.  It's just impossible.  So the TalkLeft comment policy had to change.

    Note: Personal attacks on Bristol or Levy are NOT allowed.  Discussion is.


    It was announced to the world! (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by SueBonnetSue on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:01:43 AM EST
    Governor Palin issued a statement about it yesterday.  It's not a secret.  So what exactly is there to discuss?  

    Like maybe Palin is a phoney? (5.00 / 0) (#45)
    by gentlyweepingguitar on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:13:54 AM EST
    Like she has a lot of dysfunctional issues back home that she's lying about? And what else is she lying about?

    What did she lie about? (5.00 / 6) (#48)
    by SueBonnetSue on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:15:19 AM EST
    She said her daughter is 5 months pregnant.  Is that not correct?  

    What else are ANY of them lying about? (5.00 / 6) (#190)
    by andrys on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:53:25 AM EST
    Why only Palin?

    Normally we stay away from stuff like this.

    I saw postings on The Big Orange that it doesn't matter if rumors are false.  What's important is planting a seed, and then have the newspapers and magazines explore and that's enough and also wonderful because winning is what it's about.
    They gloated over international coverage on the larger rumor that started this but was squashed by the forum's host finally because there was contradicting evidence.

      They began thinking up other scandals possible and to start looking into these that they have imagined could happen.

      That's what we've come to -- this thought got lots of approval.

       Winning is crucial but not at the cost of our souls or, at least our consciences (what remains!)


    What's left to discuss is policy. (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by KVFinn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:19:54 AM EST
    When campaign representatives are on TV making the argument that you should vote for Palin because of how she's dealt with the pregnancy, how do you respond to that without talking about the pregnancy?

    I'm a liberal and a progressive (5.00 / 12) (#60)
    by Grace on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:25:52 AM EST
    and I don't think other people's business is my business.  As long as they don't hurt me, why should I hurt them?  

    That's how I would respond.  That's why I'm a liberal.  


    whose business? (none / 0) (#226)
    by noholib on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:54:22 AM EST
    A good liberal sentiment, but the religious right states as a cardinal principle that my business and your business is the business of political and religious authorities.  That's the problem.  And by business, they mean my body and also my mind.  In my view, politicians have no right or authority whatsoever to tell me what to do with regard to reproduction or my soul.

    And right-wing hypocrisy on these matters is simply astounding.  Many right-wingers can twist any problematic behavior to fit with their so-called "family values" when it's done by one of their own, but if it's done by Democrats or liberals, they claim vociferously that those perverts have put western civilization at risk.  

    Fundamentally, I want to emphasize that our relation to people who run for public office should not be the same as our relation to people we know in our private lives, our family, friends and neighbors.  Politicians know they're in a fishbowl or YouTube every moment.  Their every move invites and  receives public scrutiny.  Many people get confused by the false intimacy afforded by TV in their homes.  They think they have a personal connection with the politicians being beamed into their homes.  So the question in 2000 became for many: which of the two Presidential candidates would I rather have a beer with, Bush or Gore?  When we pick our friends or buddies, that's a legitimate question.  When we choose the President of the United States and a potential world leader, it is NOT the best question.  IMO, it's a ridiculous question.

    Implications for the present moment: people shouldn't be asking how they would respond to Governor Palin and her family as if they were her personal friends.  Feel compassion for her or her daughter as a person, fine, but that's irrelevant.  The question is POLITICAL. What does it mean to the citizens, to the body politic, to put into office this particular Republican ticket-- with their POLICIES?  Do you agree with their views on the economy, on energy and the environment (great piece today by Friedman on NYTimes Op-ed),on science, international relations and national security, civil liberties, social issues, church and state issues ... etc., etc.?    

    Let's keep our eyes on the prize and not be distracted.


    I think a lot of hard right (5.00 / 1) (#196)
    by byteb on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:00:47 AM EST
    Republicans/evangelicals are, indeed, scandalized when a couple of teenagers have sex. That's why they want the only sex education to be abstinence and that's why some host elaborate Purity Parties where young girls pledge to be virgins until they marry.

    Have we finally hit bottom? (5.00 / 21) (#42)
    by myiq2xu on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:11:37 AM EST
    Or will the sleaze and hypocrisy continue?

    Is there any inappropriate topic of discussion left in politics?

    Is there a deeply private area of someone's life that remains unexplored?

    When I found out that George Bush made torture and the use of secret prisons the official policy of the United States, I was ashamed and embarrassed to be an American.

    Now I'm ashamed and embarrassed to be a Democrat.

    This comment is not directed at Jeralyn or her co-bloggers.

    I hear ya (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by gentlyweepingguitar on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:20:03 AM EST
    But appropriate topics of conversation are education of our young, decent health care for everyone, sex-education, but if these Republicans win, it's going to be 4 more years of shoving these  important issues under the carpet.

    Just by saying "No child left behind," Republicans believe no child was, is, or will be left behind. For them, saying it is good enough for a photo op and good enough for the country.  The take the needed money and spend it on things like unnecessary wars.

    Republicans must not win.


    during the 2004 election - (5.00 / 15) (#194)
    by Josey on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:56:54 AM EST
    Democrats were angry that the Cheneys were "hiding" Mary's lesbian partner.
    Now they're angry that the Palins are including their soon to be son-in-law.

    I think you may be (5.00 / 1) (#204)
    by Iphie on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:08:42 AM EST
    missing the point of the age of the children. Mary Cheney and her partner we're well into their 30's at the point of public scrutiny of their life.

    This is wrong (5.00 / 31) (#51)
    by SomewhatChunky on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:16:42 AM EST
    All candidates have the family onstage to do the "wave" at these conventions.  All.  Supposedly they are going to marry.  In my family, we call that engaged.  Fiancees get in the family photos. Special friends do not.

    I thought Jeralyn made the correct ethical call a few days ago.  It was an ethical decision, not a political one.    I don't believe you change your ethics because of the actions of others, even if her name is Palin.   This is a political call.  

    Finally, all this attention is bad politics.  Everyone I know is talking about this.  Everyone.  The trashing of Palin has created a frenzy.  The bases are breaking as one would predict.   People can say what they will, but among my little circle of undecideds (mostly non-political types or HRC supporters) it's about 50/50.   I live in Nevada and HRC won big in my town's caucus.  We're not Alaska, but we have bears, snowmobiles and an outdoor small town lifestyle.  As  a person Palin appeals to people here, now even more so since many feel she has been attacked.

    The ratings will be huge.   I think she will give a strong speech.  If she does, lookout.  It was a mistake to make Palin into potential star.  It's too late now - tomorrow's performance will be huge in how this thing goes.

    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Ardeth on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:57:27 AM EST
    If Palin gives a great speech, the current obsession with her is going to get even crazier.  More attacks will lead to more backlash and even more disunity among the democrats.  

    Let's hope she gives a mediocre performance so we can all relax and dial it down.


    I'm betting that the ratings (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by TomStewart on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:08:25 AM EST
    won't be all that huge for Palin, at least not Obama numbers. They might eclipse McCain's number for his speech, but even republicans aren't expecting much from this convention, or McCain's appearance, and their biggest stars are avoiding showing.

    McCain's excited the Hard right Christian base with this pick, but it's a base that's shrinking with each election. The biggest base he's excited is the media, but not in a way that's going to help him much.


    And another thing (5.00 / 9) (#53)
    by mabelle55 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:17:45 AM EST
    I suggest a little trip to Shakesville to see what Melissa McEwan has to say about being judgmental. We have no frigging idea what the circumstances are of Bristol Palin's pregnancy and have no right to be the Moral Arbiter's of what she, her daughter, the boyfriend, and the family are doing or why! Period!

    the only thing that's being judged (3.42 / 7) (#57)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:22:03 AM EST
    is her plea for their privacy and then her turnaround and decision to fly the kid in from Alaska and put him on stage. She's put them in the public eye, she'll have to live with the media consequences.

    Have you given any thought to (5.00 / 15) (#90)
    by FemB4dem on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:09:23 AM EST
    the possibility that Levi wants to be there to support the young woman he loves?  Good for him.  In this year where we've now watched John Edwards cost Hillary the election while cheating on his ill wife, it's nice to see a very young man behave more responsibly.

    Honestly, I no longer recognize my party and many of the feminists I used to admire.


    On the other hand (5.00 / 2) (#103)
    by themomcat on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:34:30 AM EST
    has it occurred to you that this young man may not have a clue and is a bit "blinded by the light"? We know nothing about how either of these young people really feel about each other or the situation they find themselves or if they are being manipulated by the so-called adults in their lives. It is speculation either way you look at it. Anglachel's Journal has a great post about choices:

    Anglachel also has (5.00 / 6) (#108)
    by FemB4dem on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:44:25 AM EST
    a great new post on the trash being thrown at the Palin family by, of all people, democrats.  I'd suggest you give it a read.

    Yes, I have (4.66 / 3) (#117)
    by themomcat on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:59:40 AM EST
    and she states very eloquently my views.

    Yes (5.00 / 6) (#177)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:37:40 AM EST

    We know nothing about how either of these young people really feel about each other or the situation they find themselves or if they are being manipulated by the so-called adults in their lives.

    And its none of our business.


    Huh? (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by robrecht on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:59:35 AM EST
    John Edwards cost Hillary the election???

    Only last month (3.66 / 3) (#154)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:35:29 AM EST
    This month it will be someone else.

    "the only thing that's being judged" (5.00 / 19) (#118)
    by zaladonis on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:00:33 AM EST
    Palin wasn't given the respect of privacy by  keeping Bristol and Levi totally out of the public eye the past few days, some Democrats and the media have gone bananas attacking them, so saying she's now invited "media consequences" is a little ridiculous.

    Either it's acceptable to attack Sarah and Bristol and Levi over this pregnancy --or Palin going back to work after delivering a Down Syndrome baby-- or it isn't.  Saying she brought this on is shirking personal responsibility for one's own behavior.

    When did Democrats become so disrespectful of people's personal lives, their personal decisions and personal problems?  And if Palin were a man there is no way the media attacks would be this vicious.  In fact there'd probably be an element of empathy for the man whose "little girl" got pregnant out of wedlock.  

    Where's my Democratic Party?  I want to be a member of a Party that does the right thing.


    Do Obama's pleas ... (5.00 / 18) (#142)
    by Inky on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:15:56 AM EST
    to respect the privacy of his daughters carry no weight simply because they appear on stage with him, or even worse, on magazine covers? Of course not. Ditto McCain's kids. Ditto Biden's kids. I'm sorry but I simply don't follow Jeralyn's logic here whatsoever.

    You just don't see it (5.00 / 3) (#195)
    by cpa1 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:00:13 AM EST
    Palin opened the door wide enough to drive a truck through it.  She is giving her imprimatur to no sex education and then when your daughter becomes pregnant, either by choice or rape, she should have the baby and most probably ruin her life and god knows the baby's life too.  This is what she stands for and this is why the foaming at the mouth Republicans love her so much.  Not only does Sarah Palin support the decision (and we have no idea what pressure was put on Bristol) but she parades it around in an in your face way to liberals.

    Bristol is only one girl. If Palin ever becomes president her decisions could affect millions of girls.  It's not the intercourse, it is the philosophy that is so poisonous.

    I can't stand Barack Obama but now more than ever I will vote for him and if necessary work to get him elected against the right wing lunatics of the Republican Party.  Bristol's privacy has been invaded by her mother just by accepting her place on this GOP ticket and now what Bristol is and has decided is being paraded before us as the right thing to do.  These Republicans are not only arrogant, self centered but as we can see from George W. Bush, their hypocrisy is dangerous.  If they make Bristol their flagship for Pro Life then Bristol will be attacked.  For Palin to think otherwise is stupid and not fitting a Vice President.


    Does this also go for Obama? (4.60 / 5) (#140)
    by JAB on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:11:38 AM EST
    While I would not think to bring two cute little girls into a discussion, Obama did have them appear in a TV interview, and then quickly changed his mind that his kids are off limits?  Would you argue that it's fair to talk about them  - not specifically, but the fact that their mother said they pay $10,000 for dance lessons, the place where they were baptized and sat in pews and listened to sermons?

    Obama also said his wife was off limits, yet she knowingly goes out and campaigns for him and speaks publicly.  Is she off limits too?

    I think we just need to understand where the boundaries are...


    by Jeralyn's (4.91 / 24) (#183)
    by ccpup on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:44:31 AM EST
    new-fangled reasoning, any family member who appears on a stage with Obama is fodder for Open Season from the media as well.

    They don't even need to make a speech.  Nope.  Simply walk on-stage, wave and smile and you've now got a target on your back.

    If that's now the general criteria, then the Democrats have sunk lower than the Republicans.


    I don't really think that's what Jeralyn is saying (5.00 / 3) (#222)
    by Iphie on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:39:01 AM EST
    There is a difference between having your immediate family on stage with you and with having the fiancee of one of your children appear onstage with you -- a decision made seemingly to quell any criticism. I will leave it to others to hash out the public/private areas of the pregnancy or even the marriage, but parading around the high school-aged boy who impregnated your daughter does seem to cross a line. (I also thought that the Obama's willingness to have their daughters interviewed was inappropriate).

    I don't know that I completely agree with Jeralyn's reasoning, but I do think you are twisting her argument -- she is not suggesting that the mere presence of family members onstage with a candidate means open season -- and I think you know that. You are over-simplifying her argument and in doing so, changing it.


    You know that's not it, (4.66 / 6) (#209)
    by cpa1 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:12:12 AM EST
    Palin is making a circus out of it by bringing the boy down from Alaska to be on stage saying, this is the way to do it and if I become president this is the way you will all do it.  

    Don't underestimate Republican evil.  Look how a jerk like George W. Bush was able to kill stem cell research.

    If Bristol was on stage alone as her daughter, fine, then there is no parade and no show.  For all we know, their will be no marriage within the next two months and maybe never but that wouldn't play as well so let's make believe the kids will be married.  Regardless, Bristol will have the money and the support system to go to school and have others watch the baby, maybe even the Secret Service, if McCain gets elected.  Most teenagers don't get Secret Service protection and full time babysitters.  

    Palin had to know this would not be kept private  once it was discovered that her daughter was pregnant.  It was inevitable that a media storm would be created only because of her own family infiltrating Pro Life policies and policy of not teaching kids about safe sex and what happens during those moments when their hormones are stronger than their logic.  


    is Biden's family off limits? (4.33 / 6) (#184)
    by Josey on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:44:36 AM EST
    Red State -

    Kane's attempt to paint Palin as a hypocrite is shameful. He devotes only two sentences to Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who actually voted to fund the Bridge to Nowhere that Palin eventually nixed. In his first three years, Obama requested nearly $1 billion in earmarks -- that's more than 34 times the number of earmarks Palin secured for Wasilla. Obama also sought $3.4 million in earmarks for clients of Biden's lobbyist son. Basically, Obama showed no restraint up until this year. Biden never has. He requested $119 million in earmarks last year alone, according to Citizens Against Government Waste.


    Trash-talk politics (5.00 / 17) (#61)
    by marian evans on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:26:45 AM EST
    You know I have absolutely no intention of discussing these young kids, their presence or absence at any event, their engagement/marriage/baby or whatever.

    It isn't my business as an individual, and it isn't my focus as a progressive to put these 2 kids at the centre of any debate whatsoever.

    Problems with the McCain/Palin ticket do not need in any way to be framed around their families (particularly the young kids) - and the mean and vicious sh*tstorm of the last few days merely reinforces my awareness of the disturbing shallowness of what passes for political discourse in the US.

    For goodness sakes, is this what America (that great daughter of the Enlightenment) - and even worse, the Dems -  have come to? Is your political agenda to be set by the Enquirer now? Trash-talk politics...why not get rid of the debates, and get in Jerry Springer.


    Is this what Republicans were saying when (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by gentlyweepingguitar on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:34:36 AM EST
    Bill Clinton was going through the impeachment process? Bill Clinton's marital woes were nobody's business but the Clinton family's, but Republicans made them everyone's business. Republicans changed the landscape of politics. Blame the Republicans for this disturbing shallowness.

    As a Democrat and a Liberal (5.00 / 14) (#75)
    by Grace on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:46:41 AM EST
    I never said anything about Clinton's BJ even though the Republicans were rabid back then.  

    I refuse to trash talk this too.  I'm actually embarrassed to say I am a Democrat now that that the party has been infiltrated by the ex-Bush Republicans turn Democrat.  

    Pretend psychoanalzying the kids is being done for "political reasons" and not for anything else.  Yeah.  No one knows for a fact if Sarah asked him to come or if Bristol asked him to come.  Or maybe even Todd asked him to come.  We'll just blame it on Sarah because she's the one running for office.  

    The purpose here is too shallow.  If anyone wanted to talk about sex education, healthcare, public school funding or anything else, there are a zillion other ways to start the discussion!      


    I've been talking about it for (3.00 / 2) (#80)
    by gentlyweepingguitar on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:55:52 AM EST
    my entire lifetime as a Democrat. Problem is, every time a Republican gets into office, problems like sex education, healthcare, public school funding get ignored. Now they're offering up a new Republican who is going to continue to ignore them, if elected.

    "new" politics (5.00 / 14) (#77)
    by marian evans on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:50:26 AM EST
    So the Dems are the new bullies on the block now?

    And that is supposed to make me better how?

    One of the reasons I am a liberal is that I do NOT believe that anything is justified in the pursuit of power - I DO believe that there are values and principles that are worth standing up for, that a more just world should be more than a Utopian dream, and that plain human decency should shape and motivate our actions.

    Call me old-fashioned, but I think these things matter.


    Yeah, I do, too. (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by gentlyweepingguitar on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:58:14 AM EST
    I don't think there are any bullies, here. Just folks who are sick and tired of Republican hypocrisy.

    This is what I feared.... (4.77 / 9) (#145)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:19:23 AM EST
    ...The new bullies. The new prudes. What's next?

    Chelsea was always off limits. (5.00 / 8) (#128)
    by Lysis on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:28:48 AM EST
    And that was largely respected.  It should be here as well.  The idea that her daughter's fiancee will now be on the stage with the rest of the family, as is standard practice for these things, is a skimpy fig leaf to hide behind here.  

    and that's why some of us (5.00 / 4) (#144)
    by kimsaw on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:17:27 AM EST
    registered Republicans became independents. I'm speaking from experience. Not all Republicans bought into the hypocrisy or the invasion of privacy that the Clintons withstood. As an independent what I've witnessed from both parties is far less then acceptable.

    I hope that Palin stands tall. I would hope any woman in her position does. As a woman I may not agree with her on the issues that matter to me, but I admire her grit and her willingness to put herself forward on behalf of our nation. She's had less than a week to prove her mettle. Obama and Biden have given the same sales pitch for two years and I still have not bought in. Its the most expense sales job to date with limited return on their investment.

    Independents like me may be the ones choosing to stay home.


    Reasonable decision, Jeralyn (5.00 / 4) (#65)
    by Ardeth on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:33:28 AM EST
    When I read about the plan to bring the boyfriend/fiance in for the speech, I wondered if the subject was going to come up here.

    I hope, though, that the posts don't turn vicious.  I found this site several months ago when most depressed about the attacks on Hillary in the MSM and the other democratic blogs.  What a wonderful discovery -- here people treated each other respectfully, and the discussion, while lively, was never nasty or mean-spirited.

    I personally agree with Obama that Palin's personal family troubles should be off limits.  In fact, the firm, uncompromising statement that he made on the subject made me feel for the first time that I could finally set aside my objections to the Obama/Biden pairing and vote the top of the ticket after all.

    Obama has taken the high road on this matter, and I hope we do the same.

    If the engaged couple are simply present during Palin's speech, I don't see that it's particularly worthy of comment.  OTOH, if the McCain/Palin folks use the young couple as political pawns for promoting their fundamentalist values agenda, then I agree they're fair game.

    His mother appears to thinnk this is a (5.00 / 9) (#66)
    by Grace on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:34:21 AM EST
    good thing.

    Levi Johnston's mother said her 18-year-old son left Alaska on Tuesday morning to join the Palin family at the convention where Sen. John McCain will officially receive the Republican nomination for president. The boy's mother, Sherry Johnston, said there had been no pressure put on her son to marry 17-year-old Bristol Palin and the two teens had made plans to wed before it was known she was pregnant.

    "This is just a bonus," Johnston said.

    Why would she have called it a "bonus" if she didn't?  

    Totally.... (5.00 / 9) (#79)
    by Oje on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:55:51 AM EST
    lost on this one. I am not following the logic - at all - for how Governor Palin or Sherry Johnston (who did not send her boy out of the country) asked for it. Jeralyn seems to be calling out the parenting of these Alaskan mothers.

    If our ethics are wholly rooted in the actions and depravity of our opponents, what defines our progressive difference with conservatives? Honestly, the logic structure here is perilously close to the right-wing's defense of torture (in which society's legal and moral ban can be arbitrarily suspended when the perceived enemy crosses some line between "civilization and barbarism"). In recent days, the willingness of blogging progressives to suspend a discourse of social justice to secure political points in this election is astounding to me.

    Just for fun, I will post this:

    I've always called it right-wing authoritarianism rather than simply authoritarianism in acknowledgment that left-wing authoritarianism also exists. An authoritarian follower submits excessively to some authorities, aggresses in their name, and insists on everyone following their rules. If these authorities are the established authorities
    in society, that's right-wing authoritarianism. If one submits to authorities who want to overthrow the establishment, that's left-wing authoritarianism, as I define things.
    Altemeyer, The Authoritarians, p35n1.

    Of course, as it turns out, overthrowing the establishment is just a lot of posturing, because all authoritarians heart the performativity of power, establishment or otherwise, as Corrente politely reminded me today.

    You nailed it. (5.00 / 8) (#130)
    by Lysis on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:30:56 AM EST
    You can't claim the moral high ground if you're going to throw water balloons while you're up there.  This idea that we have to become the enemy to defeat them is far too Bush-y for my tastes.

    Palin's Family Issues (5.00 / 6) (#81)
    by themomcat on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:57:20 AM EST
    will eventually run its course here and, hopefully, in the media. It is a momentous event for the Palin family and I can understand that the young lady would want her fiancé and the father of her child by her side. I feel for the young man's mother but it appears that he is 18 and can make his own choices. Having raised a daughter pretty much on my own, I can only say that I am glad I did not have to face this issue. I cannot judge someone else's decision but I can respect it and wish them well.
     If it were not for Gov. Palin's decision to accept the VP nod this would not even be a talking point and, truthfully, as far as I am concerned, this has nothing to do with my opposition to the McCain/Palin agenda.
     There is a lot of outrage about how HRC was treated  and now there is that same outrage with regard to Gov. Palin. Melisa McEwan has a Palin Sexism Watch as she did for HRC. Palin's stand on issues are the subject not sex, physical attributes or how she dresses. As a woman, an American and as a (for now) Democrat, I am furious at the sexist, misogynist comments from all sides.
     I also respect Jeralyn's right to limit what is discussed on her site. I understood clearly that her intention was not to focus on personal family issues, even if they were being openly discussed in the media and blogs. I give her a great deal of credit for trying to keep this site focused on the real issues facing this country and the difficult challenges we face. I also respect her choice to change that policy and she need not defend it to anyone.
    Thanks, Jeralyn, I can only imagine what a difficult weekend this has been for you. And I thank you for giving me a great forum to express my views and get a balanced perspective.

    Soap opera (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by desertwind on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:01:55 AM EST
    We can assume the earliest decision was her own: accepting McCain's offer.

    But now this soap opera is driven by the McCain campaign. They can blame the Dems all they want for the story being out there, but Palin is on a tight leash and the campaign is making all the decisions (check out her new hairdo!) as well as writing all her statements.

    The statement "she" made re Bristol's pregnancy was an exercise in cynicism. The campaign doesn't give a hoot for Palin and her family and she appears to not understand this.

    She's either crushingly ambitious or naive in the extreme.

    This is interesting stuff.


    I'm still stunned... (5.00 / 16) (#95)
    by jeffhas on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:25:28 AM EST
    That even as progressives, we find no fault judging people in their personal matters.  Note... I said PERSONAL matters, not private matters.  If a gay person comes out to the world, does that mean they are open to persecution in public?  Why not just burn 'em at the stake and get it over with.

    If my daughter was pregnant and was a the center of a sh*tstorm (or even not), she'd want her support system (boyfriend and family) by her side... and I'd only be too happy to show her some love to help her through, and do whatever she wanted to make sure she was happy as could be during this time or any other.... and if she chose to abort the baby rather than keep it, I'd be only too happy to support her decision - no judgmentalism... not. my. life.

    I'm astonished... and I mean in a BIG WAY... at all the judgmentalism going on by progressives.  It's a slippery slope indeed.

    Who cares if their on stage at the RNC or the MTV Awards... I care not one wit about the personal life of her kids, the choices they make, the life they choose to lead... because I wouldn't want anyone hindering or judging me on the choices I make (or want to make).

    If Palin exploits them, then she should be criticized for exploiting them. That doesn't mean personal attacks about her parenting that amount to judging that her daughter has loose morals or that her soon-to-be-son-in-law is evil.  Likewise, if all she does is accept him into her family - which she may have done a long time ago for her daughter and grandchild's sake - than I say bravo (and will cheer her on) for living the imperfect life we all live  - front and center at the RNC... couldn't happen to a better party, maybe we'll all be better off because of it.

    Two cents worth (5.00 / 12) (#98)
    by Bob K on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:28:31 AM EST
    I hope this didn't end up being a double post.

    A first time commenter, unaffiliated voter, and chronic ticket-splitter. Been lurking here for a couple months. This media and blog obsession with the sex lives of this family has been a sight to behold.

    I find it unremarkable that he would attend since his name is already being bandied about by the ravenous media. I see no reason to deny him being present on such an historic occasion. It would just be throwing red meat to the blog and media wolves to begin speculating on why he isn't there.

    The situation was already an open secret in the town, and inevitable to come out. I think the only reason he wasn't there last Friday is they simply didn't want to detract from Palin's first showcase to the country by having to give a detailed explanation about daughter's situation at the same time. They likely would have put the information out by now anyway.

    You are really seeing this whole Palin thing ... (5.00 / 6) (#99)
    by Caro on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:31:37 AM EST
    ... from the wrong perspective, Jeralyn.  You need to look at it from the right's perspective, not the left's.  I predict that Palin will be a great asset to the Republican ticket.

    I don't agree with her on issues, but she was an inspired choice.  Which you would know if you still read my newsletter, but you've shown that you prefer to blind yourself and see only one side of this election.  Democrats have done that for so long that they just can't bring themselves to understand it's why they keep losing.

    Carolyn Kay

    The influence on other kids is important (5.00 / 5) (#126)
    by Kevin Hayden on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:18:27 AM EST
    I've been listening to what other older teens have been saying. Most are very disapproving because they think kids that young are unwise to have sex without contraceptives. And that starting a family that young is disruptive to whatever life plans the kids might have.

    They're viewing it from a more practical perspective, free from the political circus lens.

    And Sarah Palin's decision sends the signal that this is normal, acceptable and even worth celebrating. I don't mean to suggest that the proper course is to promote it as ethically immoral. Perhaps she intends it as a welcoming gesture to Levi, but mainstreaming them sends a very distinct message to other teens:

    It's okay to practice unsafe sex.

    It's okay to have an unplanned pregnancy when both lack the income and information to support and raise the child.

    Everyone will be supportive if you do that.

    For someone who claims to support pro-abstinence education, these messages hypocritically do the opposite. Which sets an entirely different standard. It says: you should avoid sex, but we'll apply a different standard for our family.

    Is it any wonder that many kids become dismissive of adult advice when authority figures demonstrate hypocrisy like this?

    I certainly can recall feeling at 16 and 17 that every adult was not leveling with me. Parents, teachers, the police, the politicians were demonstrably lying to me about things like sex and drugs and race and war, when I was 17. So I no longer trusted their advice on anything.

    And that had consequences on my life. Nasty ones. It took a few years to regain a pragmatic equilibrium. But the path to equilibrium is not equal. For some kids, the consequences can be so devastating that their entire lives become a series of negative consequences.

    It's one thing to set an  example of a loving family. Political leaders do serve as role models, I tried to teach my kids that politicians and athletes have no great insight into human behavior and should NOT be emulated or trusted on such matters: they're experts out of their field.

    Yet I'm well aware that many adults are into celebrity and authority worship. Which leaves their kids vulnerable to a ton of poor messaging from self-centered role models who model the latest designs in hypocrisy.

    You're right, Jeralyn. These matters require discussion. Saying that doesn't mean commenters can engage in misogyny or resort to hate speech of any kind. It simply means that if political leaders parade their kids for their own gain, even when the kids have demonstrated poor judgment, then critique of that decision is fair game. It doesn't grant license to slander the kids as spawns of Satan or other name-calling. But saying they erred or made a stupid choice is certainly fair, practical and worthy of debate, now that Palin's mainstreaming unwise messages that could prove harmful to others.

    Personally, I feel that door is opened anytime any politician presents themselves as moral arbiters, as Sarah Palin does. But like you, my first instinct upon hearing the news of the pregnancy was to say "I wish them health and happiness" and leave them out of the public spotlight, granting them the privacy minor children deserve.

    Thank God our convention is over. (5.00 / 9) (#132)
    by Lysis on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:43:55 AM EST
    With the way the left has degraded every principle I thought it stood for (feminism, constitutional right to privacy, separation of church and state) and against (sexism, government spying, voting fraud) being turned on its head, I'm plain dizzy.

    Thank God our convention is over, because at this rate, I could picture "progressives" wearing Scarlet A's a la the purple heart band-aides the Republicans wore to mock Kerry.  

    Since we're entering the realm of the ridiculous (5.00 / 5) (#135)
    by Redshoes on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:53:05 AM EST
    a reminder: it's not what the Republicans do it's what we as Democrats do.  

    This is a loser issue for Dems -- focus on the issue, never mention the Governor's name.  

    Everyone one I know from the most ardent Dem to the loyalist Red thinks that invoking the kids into the argument is just dumb and mean.

    Glad the ban is lifted as I'm not fond of bans but would love to see a Palin-free zone :-)

    Well (5.00 / 7) (#137)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:00:29 AM EST
    the more time Dems spend talking about this the less time we have to convince people that our issues are right.

    Yes, Any Personal Behaviors (5.00 / 2) (#138)
    by bob h on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:08:16 AM EST
    that bear on the issue of hypocrisy, that most Republican of vices, should be fair game.

    If you were going to drop the ban (5.00 / 10) (#143)
    by Pol C on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:16:09 AM EST
    I'd have just let it die a quiet death. You're inviting the garbage now.

    As far as Palin's actions go, she's acknowledging this fellow is part of her extended family. That's it. I find it no more sinister than any other politician who has his or her son- or daughter-in-law up on the stage.

    This is about destroying the threat Palin (5.00 / 10) (#152)
    by mexboy on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:34:27 AM EST
    is to Democrats and using any means necessary.

    Frankly, I could care less what her kids do or did. No parent int he world can stop thier kids from having sex if they want to, or do anything for that matter.

    I find the castigating for her daughter's pregnancy and her decision to bring Levi to the convention utterly absurd for progressives.

    This "discussions" only soil the Democratic brand, and I guarantee you, it will only increase the votes for Republicans.

    I do not like her positions and yet find myself wanting to defend her. I don't know, maybe the fact that I'm a Liberal and that I believe  human beings do their best with the complications this imperfect life throws at us.

    I guess those standing in judgement of her have always made perfect and Divinely inspired righteous decisions.

    But hey, it's all for votes, right?

    How long will it be before we can talk again about (5.00 / 3) (#155)
    by JSN on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:39:12 AM EST
    issues? The sooner this dies down the better.

    The issues of sex-ex... (none / 0) (#169)
    by wellfleetsurf on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:28:39 AM EST
    Is about the only thing to consider pertaining to this particular dust-up.  How the party who preaches abstinence and decries sex-ed is able to turn lemons into lemonade (on a national level) is a study in profound humility.  Never in my life could I have imagined such bizarre behavior.  It shows white-knuckle desperation -- and just how divided our country is along political lines.  It's like I'm living in a parallel universe -- I haven't felt this funny since that mushroom shake in Indonesia ten years ago.

    Excuse me, I meant "Sex-ed" (none / 0) (#172)
    by wellfleetsurf on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:31:03 AM EST
    Just because I CAN talk about them doesn't mean (5.00 / 4) (#156)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:41:09 AM EST
    I HAVE to....

    Did you realize not one speech last night mentione the word Afghanistan?

    Anyone say anything about the economy or the housing crisis?

    Rick Davis was right..they're not going to discuss any issues at all, just culture war.

    I hope Obama puts out an ad on Friday "Did you hear one thing this week about how John McCain will help YOU make it through this?  He just doesn't get it."

    Bork? (5.00 / 3) (#158)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:58:50 AM EST
    Are you at all familiar with Dick Nixon or Joe McCarthy to name two obvious names?

    Go read Nixonland and Before the Storm, if you think this started with Bork. For that matter go read about Sally Hemmings. Why did Burr and Hamilton meet at dawn?  While you are at it, go ask Ma, where is Pa, gone to the White House.... ha ha ha.

    In any event, I don't think JM is issuing a clarion call to trash Bristol or Levi. If you think she is, try it and see how long you last.

    I don't see a lot in this topic, except massive doses of moral holier than thou hypocrisy from some on both sides of the issue.

    The biggest travesty is the idea of some folks that Bristol's behavior makes any criticism of Palin on any topic off limits. Bristol is not  a shied or a get out of jail free card.  Palin is a politician. Getting criticized comes with the territory.

    Really? (5.00 / 2) (#160)
    by suki on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:05:05 AM EST
    What folks? I don't see anyone here arguing that.

    Thank the media (5.00 / 2) (#178)
    by BarnBabe on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:37:52 AM EST
    Yesterday on CNN they had the picture of Bristol holding Sarah's new baby the entire day. There wasn't anything else happening? She looks like a sweet child herself. No, he does not need to be up there and would not have been otherwise before this week. I don't know if it is as much about exploiting as it is cat out of the bag. You know teenagers. My neighbor. He wants the girlfriend to be part of everything whether you want her there or not. Might be a case of the daughter wanting to show the world that she really has a future husband. Let's face it. You can hear the media now about the people on stage. I haven't been watching. I hear it is boring.  

    Well (5.00 / 6) (#179)
    by Same As It Ever Was on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:38:55 AM EST
    It's impossible not to discuss them now, as you point out.

    However, Bristol's pregnancy is not and should not be asserted as a basis for arguing the governor is unqualified.  It has no bearing on Palin's ability to peform the duties of the Presidency and I can't for the life of me understand why the focus is on that instead of all the quite distressing reasons why she is a dangerous choice.

    Strange comments (5.00 / 5) (#186)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:47:17 AM EST
    This is very obviously a political decision by Palin.  This is a political event, it's her speech and the GOP's speech, it's not like people get to just invite themselves on stage.

    I'm not sure I agree with Jeralyn that it's harmful for the kids - there's value in sending them the message that no one is ashamed of them, in sending the boy the message that he really is considered part of the family.  Heck, maybe the message is "don't think you're getting out of this family, buster."  I don't know and don't really care.

    But there's just no doubt that the pregnancy issue is being sold as a positive by the GOP, not as a "private matter."  

    I also find it unsurprising that Jeralyn, having been through an intensely parental experience as a single mom, has strong opinions about parenting.

    It's your blog (5.00 / 6) (#187)
    by standingup on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:48:03 AM EST
    I am feeling tooled by the entire political process. I don't have confidence in either party's nominee, less confidence in the press to act as a check and very disillusioned with the blogs.

    Ban on Family? How about BAN ON BOOKS: (5.00 / 1) (#189)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:49:55 AM EST
    Time Mag:

    Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.

    Still not comfortable about this (5.00 / 3) (#191)
    by wasabi on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:55:12 AM EST
    Because a parent makes a bad decision (puts kids in limelight) or doesn't override a minor's choice (both kids want to be there) still doesn't make it appealing to bring up questions of a personal nature regarding family dynamics surrounding the birth of a child.
    Like Jeralyn said, teenage brains are NOT fully formed at that point (I've got lots of personal experience here) and as far as I am concerned the only appropriate response to the news is congradulations and good luck, because they are really going to need it.

    I'm late to the show here but here's my one (5.00 / 11) (#193)
    by Angel on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:56:15 AM EST
    comment on this:  In Obama's speech he said "Fathers have got to start taking responsibility for their children."  This is not an exact quote, but that's the jist of it.  The father of Bristol Palin's baby is doing just that yet he is being criticized for allowing himself to be "exploited."  I am glad that he will be on stage with the family.  

    The real issue here is that the McCain campaign (5.00 / 3) (#199)
    by Rover1 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:01:48 AM EST
    is romanticizing teen pregnancy. Teen pregnancy is very often a tragedy for the young parents and for the innocent baby. Teen pregnancy keeps young people from pursuing further education, it destroys young dreams, it keeps young women down, it increases domestic violence...it is sad. Perhaps Bristol Palin's future will not be so bleak. Perhaps her hockey player teen husband will show remarkable maturity when that baby needs a protector and provider, perhaps Governor Palin will miraculously find time to support these kids...I hope so. But most pregnant teens have an uphill battle. This may not be apparent to them when they see Levi and Bristol smiling on stage at the convention. We need to make sure all the kids in our lives understand the reality and risks of teen pregnancy even as our so called leaders act so irresponsibly.
    Last night George Bush talked about the dangerous times we face. I agree. We are faced with the prospect of eelcting people who want to set us back decades if not centuries. Every thing we have fought for, for our daughters in particular, is now on the line.
    I woke up this morning and I said today is the day I volunteer for the Obama campaign. First I'm sending my weekly coffee money to Planned Parenthood.
    Time for action.  

    What's good for the goose (5.00 / 8) (#202)
    by Saul on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:05:40 AM EST
    is good for the gander.  I do not agree with the lifting of the ban plus you cannot cherry pick who you want to attack or when it is convenient for you. I think the Palin choice has made democrats panic and when you are in this panic mode you do not make the best judgments.

    Remember,  Jeralyn, just do not get mad or object in any way if people here start attacking the Obama children, or the Biden children.  By you lifting the ban this opens the flood gates.  You cannot have it both ways.

    You are an Obama supporter, I am still on the fence just like you were with the Biden choice and Obama has instructed everyone that ALL the children and to be family are off limits.  You wish to go against his request that is fine but you do it at your own peril and at the peril of any future creditability of this blog.

    It's about choice.... (5.00 / 1) (#205)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:09:22 AM EST
    A woman who happens to be selected for the VP nomination has made the decision to politicize her daughters "choice" and launch her into the media spotlight.  The irony is that her daughter has a "choice" in dealing with her pregnancy but no "choice" in weathering the media frenzy.  Blame the media for NOT talking about the issues of Palin's qualifications and for covering the pregnancy.  But let's not forget, choice is an issue and for those who are anti-choice this is an excellent political tool for them.  Supportive, loving parents there for their daughter in this time of need, launching her and her b/f into the spotlight for the whole world to gossip about their private lives.  If it were me being asked to run for VP knowing full well what the media and fringe lunatics would do, I simply would have made another "choice" and in America in 2008 women still have the right to choose, and their daughters sometimes have to live with their parents "choice"....

    Big Announcement?? (5.00 / 3) (#211)
    by Sweet Sue on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:15:58 AM EST
    Maybe Governor Palin is flying the young man into St. Paul to announce that the young couple have gotten married.
    Game Set Match. Shut up.
    I'd love that and I'm a Democrat.

    Palin has never been a member of the Alaskan (5.00 / 3) (#210)
    by Tim V on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:15:58 AM EST
    Independence Party.

    from hfdeanblogspot:
    The Obama Campaign is now admitting to being behind the inaccurate Sarah Palin smears.

    The AP reported:

    John McCain's campaign said Tuesday that rival Barack Obama's campaign was spreading "smears" about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's past political affiliations...

    The McCain campaign released voter registration documents Tuesday dating to 1990 in which Palin lists herself as a Republican. Campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said Palin has been a registered Republican since 1982, and has never been a member of the Alaskan Independence Party.

    I don't think so (5.00 / 1) (#212)
    by CoralGables on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:16:06 AM EST
    My memory may be fading, and not trying to start a debate here of what constitutes "having sex", but am still pretty comfortable in saying you are wrong. That specific question was never asked.

    Conflicted (5.00 / 0) (#213)
    by CoralGables on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:20:59 AM EST
    It's difficult to know how to handle a topic such as this that has been released to the media by the McCain campaign, thereby putting it in the public eye.  I'm of the belief that it shouldn't be a topic and should have no bearing on the election. The McCain campaign, by putting out two press releases, is saying it is a topic.

    mymy (5.00 / 7) (#214)
    by mymy on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:22:34 AM EST
     These are real people. What is being talked about is not Palins policies.Most people have known someone in similar cicumstances and how painful it can be.How cold our hearts have turned that we are now only making their pain worse

    I don't want to talk about Palin's family ... (5.00 / 14) (#217)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:26:50 AM EST
    but since the ban is lifted, I will say this:

    The Palin story fits into the zeitgeist of the times:

    It's Juneau meets Juno.

    It will draw a lot of interest to the ticket.

    I firmly believe that if this election is about Sarah Palin, John McCain will win.

    If this election is about the economy, jobs and health care Obama will win.

    But the toothpaste is already out of the tube.  The MSM and Dem blogs by their over the top reactions are allowing the R's to turn Palin into a folk hero.  


    On the cover of OK! magazine there is (5.00 / 6) (#219)
    by tigercourse on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:27:59 AM EST
    a article titled Life With My Girls, about Barack Obama. It's nice to see someone exploit their family like that.

    The (5.00 / 4) (#224)
    by sas on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:47:15 AM EST
    A list blogger boyz are at it again, reminding us of why they ticked us off in regard to Hillary....

    they will say and do anything to discredit Palin....

    so afraid of the wimmin' folk in control...

    Jeralyn, you were right to set the restrictions you had in place.  You should go back to that, trying to keep the discussion about the issues.  

    I think you should have kept the ban... (5.00 / 2) (#225)
    by QueenTiye on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:54:21 AM EST
    No matter how lousy parents are doing by their kids at any given point in time - the kids are still victims.


    Once the story is out there.... (5.00 / 6) (#227)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:02:16 AM EST
    ...Palin is in a fairly no-win situation, in that she either comes off as milking the story or acting like she's ashamed of it.

    I really wish commenters (not just here, but all over the place) on both sides of the aisle would stop trying to use the pregnancy as proof of a political point, and just accept it as part of Palin's family background.

    Bitter Logic (5.00 / 6) (#229)
    by Roz on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:05:45 AM EST
    If Sarah Palin is guilty of something, why do you feel that makes these kids "fair game?"

    I find your post and your position disturbing. It is not honorable.

    You say Sarah Palin has forfeited her right to privacy. But what about the teenagers? How can one individual forfeit someone else's rights?

    You have no idea what's going on inside that family. You have no knowledge of what's going on with the youngsters' relationship, the young man's relationship with the Palin's. Nothing. You know nothing. You are completely projecting and speculating and then moralizing based on your biased conclusions.

    I personally am not all up in arms about the privacy issue. It's the hypocrisy and bitterness (here and on other so-called "progressive" blogs) that catches my attention. What a spectacle.

    It may be hard to herd cats... (5.00 / 1) (#230)
    by EL seattle on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:07:07 AM EST
    ... but you have to try.  I think that Jeralyn is about the only person out there who actively tried to address (through the rolling ban) the groundless accusations that some panicked childish websites were celebrating.

    Sadly, when you emerge from something like this without egg on your face, it isn't too much consolation to look around and see so many of the other players on your team covered with egg and worthy of humiliation.  

    Schadenfreude is best enjoyed when watching rivals get their comeuppance.  Not allies.

    They are fair game? (5.00 / 3) (#231)
    by Yotin on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:08:08 AM EST
    The media turned the young teens into some hormone raging monsters. This is an opportunity for the public to see they're normal teens, who are taking responsibility for their actions.

    By having them on the stage with them, it shows there;s no infighting or blaming within the family. Everyone has accepted everyone as responsible members of family should.

    No one and no family is perfect. They represent the American family. The Palins are here. And the way the Palins are handling their challenge is  a model for all to see.

    God bless them and all families faced with challenges of their own.

    But I bet the democrats and liberal media would behave holier than thou, a prominent attitude among righteous conservatives.

    Too bad you've joined the (5.00 / 5) (#232)
    by lizpolaris on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:11:24 AM EST
    chattering classes on this issue.

    Sarah Palin has to respond to the mud and misogyny thrown her way.  I may disagree with her on some political issues but wish her the best in fending off the BS, slime, innuendo, and muck coming her way and hitting her family.  Already the media narrative is set in stone (not vetted - ridiculous assertion IMO, brother-in-law-gate which sounds a lot like travel-gate for the Clintons - a lot of hot air about nothing).

    I sincerely hope she hangs in there and McCain backs her up.  It will be interesting to see if the Republicans stick up for her, or tie her down in order to better throw her under the bus - like the DNC and other Democrats did to Hillary Clinton.

    they're all fair game? (5.00 / 8) (#233)
    by Yotin on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:15:44 AM EST
    every child paraded on stage by candidates are now fair game. Michelle Obama paraded her children and put up a skit between daughter and father. Don't tell me that wasn't politicking. Are they now fair game?

    Jeralyn, you are misreading this (5.00 / 11) (#234)
    by goldberry on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:23:27 AM EST
    Seriously.  Palin and McCain understand their base much better than you do.  To evangelicals and other conservatives, this is exactly what they want to see.  They aren't celebrating the premarital sex.  They are welcoming the young couple into the world of adult responsibility.  I know how these people think because I've been raised by them.  They want to give them their blessing and rally around them.  
    Think about how you would feel if you were 17 and pregnant and half the country is turning themselves inside out to condemn you and your family.  According to the Republican base, Palin is handling this very well.  She and her family are loving and supporting.  Here is the chance for the rest of the Republicans to also be loving and supporting.  Unlike the Democrats, they are not heaping blame and condemnation on Bristol.  They are forgiving.  Or at least, that is the emotional response that is being provoked here either sincerely by the Palins themselves or cynically by the operatives.  
    The sooner you start to see it from the Republican POV, the sooner you can stop shooting yourself in the foot about it.  Nothing you write about what should or should not be private will make any difference to them.  The cat got out of the bag sooner than it should have and now you see the community coming to her side.  
    BTW, as I understand it, Palin is pro-contraception, but we all know that 17 year olds are the most fertile people on the planet.  Accidents happen.  They're young but it could be a lot worse for them if they didn't have the love and support of their families.  And isn't that what we've always wanted?  That in our most difficult days our friends and family would stand by us?  Come on, you know it is.  

    mymy (5.00 / 3) (#236)
    by mymy on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:32:43 AM EST
    I'm certainly no John McCain fan ,but at the moment I'm seeing Red.[pun intended].I am angry beyond words at the treatment of this family,and if possible would walk up an slap most of the talking heads on TV.

    Shunning (5.00 / 13) (#237)
    by waldenpond on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:35:25 AM EST
    What happened to Democrats?  I am embarrassed.

    Now really?  Would anyone bat an eye if the family brought the boyfriend and there were no pregnancy?  NO!

    Well let me join the New Democratic Party:

    How dare they allow these young people to share in a historic event!   These parents are acting as if these children are human beings.  I have never been so appalled!  This is socially unacceptable.  People of low morals must be shunned.  How could these parents contaminate the morals of the youth of the nation?  How COULD they.

    This whole campaign -- even before Palin -- was (5.00 / 6) (#239)
    by esmense on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:49:36 AM EST
    achieving new lows in groundless speculation, gossipy evasion of serious issues, and silly, pointless "gotcha" coverage by the media -- abetted too often by blogs that once offered needed criticism of such things.

    Did Palin make herself "fair game" for personal attack because she has been inconsistent in asking for privacy for her family yet exploiting her family as part of the campaign? Yes. Just like every other politician -- including Obama -- who has ever put their kids at the podium and/or on magazine covers.

    But that's not the reason for ignoring this issue. The reason it should be ignored is because it is a diversion from the serious business of the nation that this campaign must be about. A media, political parties and political establishment content to play, or intent on playing, these games at this time in our country's history are either in denial -- or encouraging the voters to continue in denial as they once again get fleeced.

    Jeralyn, I admire you and this blog, but I have to say your comparison of Palin with Eagleton -- who had a history of hospitalization and electro-shock treatments for mental illness -- with Palin is beyond the pale, and does seem like a sexist standard. Fairly or not, a history of mental illness is a serious, disqualifying concern in the eyes of the average voter. There is nothing like that in Palin's background -- just some mundane domestic stuff that shouldn't even be part of the conversation. the fact that she holds right wing political views and is relatively new on the political scene are more than fair reasons to vote against her -- but they certainly aren't fair reasons for the media to try to hound her off the ticket.

    I, personally, am distrustful of the fact that the media which was recently so anxious to see one very experienced woman thrown out of the race, is now insisting that another women should be thrown out because of too little experience.

    I think a reasonable person could concluded that the real problem the media has with these candidates, the only thing these two candidates had in common, is gender.

    Ayayayay! Palin's speech is going to nail the Dems (5.00 / 5) (#241)
    by goldberry on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:50:34 AM EST
    If you can't see what's coming, I feel sorry for you.  Hillary would have never let the Dems get into a situation that they couldn't get out of.  In fact, at this point, she is probably the only person with any moral authority to say something that would save the Dems from themselves. I don't know whether I want her to speak up or remain silent and let the bastards hand themselves.  
    Basically, Palin is going to "walk to the walk" tonight.  

    Be careful what you sow..... (5.00 / 4) (#242)
    by gabbyone on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:51:19 AM EST
        A group of bloggers decide to take a made up
    story with no facts to discredit Sarah Palin.
    They accuse her of pretending her daughter's baby is really hers.  They put the candidate in
    a position where she has to reveal family information before she may have wanted to.
    Now she is being accused of using her daughter for political gain.  Saran Palin never glamorized this pregnancy.  She talked about how proud she was of her daughter's decision to have the baby but how it was pushing her to soon into adulthood.  She talked about how she would have the love and support of her family.
      Over 3 million unwed teens became pregnant last year. It happens in many families and the nastiness and unfairness of these attacks will resonant with many voters and their extended families.  If these attacks continue on the Palin family, I see a backlash that will propel this ticket of McCain-Palin to the finish line.


    Choice (5.00 / 2) (#244)
    by waldenpond on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 10:04:13 AM EST
    As a Democrat, my questions are... does AK have systems in place to make sure young people can be successful if they make a CHOICE to have a child.  Can they continue their education if they make a CHOICE to have a child?  Is there daycare if they make a CHOICE to have a child?  Is there medical care for the young person if they make the CHOICE to have the child.  Is there continuing medical care for the child if the young person makes that CHOICE.  That I want answers to those questions is what makes me a Democrat.

    Jeralyn is right, the first time, and now as well. (5.00 / 2) (#245)
    by Christy1947 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 10:15:06 AM EST
    Shocking to some of you as it may be to hear me post it.

    The problem here is that the Repubs, not just Palin, have affirmatively chosen to post all this stuff, over and over again, as part of their packaging of their ticket on a national basis. That newborn is repeatedly mentioned as a child affected by Downs, not just a newborn. Bristol is mentioned as someone who is going to marry, not has married. The pregnancy was first learned about when a campaign press release was issued. And both are loudly praised in the talking points for being examples of Palin's pro-life stance, as a campaign issue.

     I personally think that I will be the man in the moon before Bristol gets her own free choice as to what to do about the pregnancy, but that is a family matter. It has the look of a parent ruthlessly subordinating the daughter to the mother's principles and then exploiting both the daughter and the principles to do it. And bringing the unwed father to the Convention is just gross.  

    The current round of packaging is suggesting that these incidents, especially the pregnancy, makes Palin a lot more like working class families who should empathize  with her, than the disciplined, controlled, properly behaving, overly well groomed, and therefore stiff and out of touch Obamas. There is a whiff about it of legitimating unguarded teenage sexuality, rather than discouraging it. Still another item where the party preaches against it and pushes for abstinence and not distributing or teaching about contraceptives, but it is wonderfully and lovingly ok and embraced when a candidate's or Repub official's family does it anyway.  As a campaign issue. THAT misuse of what in a regular family would be a matter not to be discussed outside the family is a legitimate subject of comment because the Repubs have made it so.

    eh (5.00 / 2) (#253)
    by connecticut yankee on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 10:31:47 AM EST
    Nobody outed Palin's daughter, they put out a press release, probably looking for sympathy and "everywoman" buzz. People naturally had some questions as this hasn't happened before, let alone the irony of the abstinence angle.

    If Hillary felt compelled to respond to every internet rumor, she literally would have to blog 24/7 and still wouldnt have cleared the 1998 backlog.

    What they are doing is using the preganancy, that they announced, as bluster to cover for her many other problems. They are demanding that americans accept their word that she is capable and leave it at that.  The others didnt get that free pass.

    It's a strange sort of bullying.

    I suggest reading Anglachel's post today (5.00 / 7) (#254)
    by esmense on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 10:31:54 AM EST
    about how both gender and class are affecting coverage of Palin. I will only quote the ending paragraph:

    "Women preceived to be of a lower socio-economic classes, regardless of their color, regardless of their actual status, are treated like trash - cheap, dirty, used, disposable objects undeserving of civil rights and privacy, let alone common decency."

    This is just awful stuff.... (5.00 / 7) (#255)
    by ks on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 10:37:20 AM EST
    It is amazing that people are claiming that Palin publicized her daughter's pregnancy but somehow never mention that SHE DID SO TO REFUTE THE VILE RUMORS BEING SPREAD ABOUT HER FAMILY PRIMARILY BY THE DAILYKOS WACKOS.  Also, the future FATHER IS NOT JUST A BOYFRIEND. He is her fiancee.

    Seems naive (5.00 / 1) (#256)
    by KeysDan on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 10:38:17 AM EST
    to believe that anything being done, at this point, is not a calculated decision by the McCain campaign.  The media emergency requires that what some are seeing as lemons be turned into lemonade (i.e.,hypocrisy on sex education and abstinence only right-wing positions--into--pro-life or too often 'life ends at birth' Republican policies). Rally the base.The decision to bring Levi Johnston to the Republican convention is unlikely to involve the parents much, but rather, is a political decision made by the 'campaign'.  The guiding Rovian scenario to political challenges is to make a strength into a weakness and a weakness into a strength.  So, we will see an attempt at Romeo and Juliet romanticism: the handsome, hockey boy and the governor's pretty daughter up on the stage smiling and waving. Aren't they darling, who can be against young love. All expenses paid by the campaign, of course, including appropriate makeovers for all. If the situation or the young people are exploited in the process, well, that is just part of the game, as they and the polls say. Watch for the teen lovers on the cover of People and Teen Magazine. Let's go for Governor Palin, forget her policies and positions.

    no (5.00 / 2) (#257)
    by connecticut yankee on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 10:41:02 AM EST
    Sorry, that makes no sense.

    Responding to vile rumors on the internet is not a standard practice.  If Bush did it he would never get any work done.  If Hillary did it she would need to hire an army to help her.

    They are using this to cover for her other problems. They set the storyline and are ignoring the honest criticisms and only discussing this issue.  Its what they want to talk about.

    Palin and the McCain campaign did not (5.00 / 1) (#258)
    by JoeA on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 10:42:07 AM EST
    release details of the pregnancy due to Dailykos (despite that being the cover), instead apparently it was to pre-empt a National Enquirer story as they contacted them for comment.

    It was going to happen sooner or later as it was an open secret in her hometown, and it seems irresponsible of the McCain camp not to have just released the information at the very outset (assuming they knew).

    where and when sarah palin is fair game (5.00 / 1) (#259)
    by Oceandweller on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 10:44:07 AM EST
    it is wrong to discuss bristol palin pregnancy as such
    it is right to discuss sarak palin educationnal pattern
    this would be VP is one who -
    • refuses sex ed in schoools
    • denies evolution
    • denies climate change
    • combats ROE/VS WADE
    this is where and when she deserves a sound smacking
    the kiddies are off limits but the hapless parental skills are not, the stupid bird brain school education courses are not , the anti abortion bviews are fair game
    it is not about being against life it is about being denied the choice
    and all of that is fair game and deserves discussions
    kudos for jeralyn to get it
    I am a woman, it happens I have been actively immersed in planned parenthood since those last 30ys including participating in clinics, It so happens I am a feminist
    but feminism does not entitle anyone to get my vote without vetting
    sarah palin is as limbaugh a babe
    any woman who tolerates being called a babe and that means she has looks but no brains is a no brainer for me
    I want to carry on giving choice to women, and helping them keep their babies or do what is their painful and sad choice
    sarah palin is denying that freedom
    and since when it is going overboard to discuss a candidate position when it comes to climate change, education, sex education and choice
    since when this is off limits

    by the way it is interesting that those self righteous anti obamas pro palins larry johnson bloogers forget who is larry johnson
    this guy was a staunch republican not so long ago
    interesting isnt it

    Amazing stuff coming from "liberals" (5.00 / 3) (#261)
    by ks on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 10:52:05 AM EST
    Responding to particularly vile rumors is not a standard practice?  Somebody tell better Obama to take down his "Stop the Smears" website.

    So called liberals using the National Enquirer as cover for the dubious attacks. Amazing.  Whether she announced it to combat the dailykos nuts or the National Enquirer doesn't change the fact that is was publically announced as a result of something as opposed to announcing it for political gain as is being alleged here.  

    Also, it was not an "open secret".  It wasn't secret at all.  It just wasn't known to the general public.  

    Bottomline? If you want McCain elected... (5.00 / 2) (#266)
    by Exeter on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 11:27:21 AM EST
    Keep attacking Palin.  You are doing EXACTLY what the McCain wants you to do.  It is ginning up support among the large block of lower class, uneducated Clinton voters for Palin-McCain.  Here's a little news flash:  teen pregnancy and marriage (especially 17 year old) is VERY common among lower class whites.  

    Instead, keep the focus on McCain.

    I suppose... (4.94 / 17) (#23)
    by Cairo Faulkner on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:56:23 AM EST
    ...he's part of the family now. I don't imagine Palin sent a load of secret service agents over there and bundled him into the back of a van; his mother seems concerned about him but not fiercely opposed.

    He is part of the family now, so if he wants to be on stage, or Bristol Palin wants him there, or Sarah Palin invited him, it's fine. He isn't a child. He is potentially the father of the grandchild of the Vice President of the United States, the media will get him whatever he does.

    I really think nobody should comment about what is psychologically damaging or how someone has exploited their children unless they know the people involved. This is why talking about family matters is unwise: not just because it is irrelevant to politics, but because we speak from positions of total ignorance.

    Amatuer psychology is ridiculous (5.00 / 8) (#50)
    by Grace on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:16:19 AM EST
    We don't even know these people.

    Professionals don't make diagnosis over the phone, and I don't believe we should make them over the internet.  


    I agree. Even further. (4.87 / 8) (#21)
    by Tony on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:55:35 AM EST
    Jeralyn, I would go even further than you.  One of the most disgusting things about this is that McCain's surrogates are doing everything they can to score political points off of Bristol Palin's pregnancy.

    Watch this interview...


    ...and see Michelle Bachmann disgustingly try to make an argument about Bristol's pregnancy reinforcing Sarah Palin's pro-life credentials.  They are blatantly and horrifyingly attempting to politically benefit from her daughter's pregnancy.

    James Carville wisely and decently avoids any comment on the matter.

    It strikes me as odd... (5.00 / 3) (#102)
    by Wander on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:34:18 AM EST
    That both McCain and Palin have said they're proud of Bristol's choice to keep the child.

    I thought they didn't think women deserved a choice at all?  Thats certainly their public policy.

    Seems like a "rule for thee, but not for me" moment, no?


    Adoption? (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by ineedalife on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:28:11 AM EST
    Many young women in Bristol's situation choose to put the baby up for adoption.

    Yrs, but that's not what they said. (1.00 / 1) (#173)
    by Wander on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:36:16 AM EST
    They said it was her choice to keep the baby, as in the womb - not keep it as in post-birth.

    there is nothing crude here (4.85 / 7) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:51:32 AM EST
    and I didn't make fun of them. As someone who has had an 18 year old son and represented many others, I believe this is an unwise decision.

    When she said they are a private matter, I respected that. I can't any more now that she wants to put them on the world stage.

    Ok (4.66 / 9) (#18)
    by SueBonnetSue on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:53:22 AM EST
    So they're going to be on the stage.  So what?  Should she have pretended like they didn't exist?  Like she was ashamed of them?  How would that have been better?  

    she can't have it both ways (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:04:24 AM EST
    she can't say my daughter's pregnancy is a personal issue and then bring out the boyfriend to put him on stage. She's publicizing it.

    She publicized it when she announced it! (4.62 / 8) (#40)
    by SueBonnetSue on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:09:20 AM EST
    So what?  Can't they still have some privacy?  The same privacy afford to every other Presidential candidate's children?  Or do we only support that if the candidate or President is a democrat?  

    when she flies him in from Alaska (5.00 / 4) (#41)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:11:34 AM EST
    to appear before millions, she can't ask for privacy or people not to discuss it.

    That's your last comment, they all say the same thing. Come back another day, you've made your point. I disagree,


    have other nominees' children (5.00 / 2) (#157)
    by Josey on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:54:42 AM EST
    been engaged during a Convention? and included the soon to be "new" family member on stage.

    Dick Cheney (none / 0) (#159)
    by JAB on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:02:03 AM EST
    Mary's lesbian partner appeared on stage? (none / 0) (#203)
    by Josey on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:06:35 AM EST
    shooting up the evening news, (5.00 / 1) (#174)
    by sancho on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:36:50 AM EST
    quoting the song, at talkleft has been one of life's pleasures for me since the scooter libby investigation. but i think we've mainlined into some serious crazy paranoia with the palin thing. palin is the logic of the republican party. and that is why we need to fight her. but the fact that her baby is out having a baby makes her "normal" and i see no difference between palin incorporating her kids into her political narrative than any other politician doing so. what she's supposed to do? go join leonard cohen at a buddhist retreat until this whole thing blows over?

    jeralyn, please,i am with you for not wanting to see mccain and anyone he chooses as vp be elected. but you're right not to get personal or to confuse sarah palin's grandchild with the stakes of this election. we don't want people getting personal with obama. or we'll have palin as vp.

    let's stay out of the republican trap--for once.


    Here's what! (5.00 / 5) (#43)
    by gentlyweepingguitar on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:12:02 AM EST
    The point isn't that her 17 year old daughter is pregnant. The point is all the 17 year old and younger girls in this country who are pregnant, without wealthy loving parents to support them,  without decent medical care, who've been given lousy educations, who have dismal futures ahead of them, who the Republicans ignore. That's the problem.

    well judging (5.00 / 4) (#82)
    by Chisoxy on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:57:26 AM EST
    by the common perception in this thread it would seem that is their parents fault, take it up with them. They dont all live in Alaska. They all have parents who shouldn't rely on the school system alone to teach about safe sex.

    Here we go again (4.82 / 17) (#49)
    by mabelle55 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:15:26 AM EST

    First, Jeralyn, it sounds like a long-winded excuse to bash the Palin family...again and a "moral justification" to boot!

    It is just as hypocritical for Democrats to laud privacy and personal and family concerns and then to turn around and bash somebody - whether Democrat or Republican - because their behavior doesn't "fit" into your Moral Keyhole.

    It's reprehensible. I don't care which side of the political aisle you're on. If Democrats want to act like Republicans, maybe we do need an honest-to-god third party in this country.

    Has Bush's presidency been so long and so bleak and so mean that we become the very things we hate about Bush and Republicans?


    Okay to TALK, not to ATTACK (4.66 / 3) (#15)
    by KVFinn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:52:06 AM EST
    Jeralyn isn't saying it's okay to attack Bristol and Levi, she's saying it's okay to talk about them.  

    They requested that their family business stay private, but if they play a role in what is probably the biggest speech of the convention there's not really any way you can avoid mentioning the pregnancy without it getting ridiculous.

    Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:06:21 AM EST
    thank you.

    You are wrong Jeralyn! (5.00 / 14) (#71)
    by Serene1 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:35:48 AM EST
    Palin didn't start her campaign boasting about her daughter's pregnancy. She was forced to do so because of the vicious rumors that were being spread around. Even after she announced her daughter's pregnancy you had some in the MSM and left bloggers still arguing that it was a cover up and they wanted to see Trig's birth certificate.
    What Palin is now doing is trying to give dignity to her daughter's pregnancy by inviting the boy also. Both the boy and the girl were responsible for Bristol's pregnancy and instead of Bristol facing the heat alone I think it is a wonderful thing that the boy has been also asked to take responsibility for it. I don't think this decision may have been easy for her but under the circumstances I do believe this is the right decision and that hopefully with this people would stop talking about a purely private family matter.

    And finally I am truly disappointed at you Jeralyn. As a mother couldn't you have understood even so much. What sarah Palin has been exposed to in terms of rumour mongering these past few days was horrific enough. That she decided to take the bull by the horns instead of shying away and hiding her kids is a brave move by her and instead of applauding her are we going to shame her further for this?


    I don't think so... (4.00 / 3) (#101)
    by Wander on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:32:00 AM EST
    That can't possibly be true.

    The options were:  Wait for Bristol to start unmistakeably showing - that would be right before election day, mind you - and reap the whirlwind then.


    When Bristol started to show, sequester her from the public eye - which would be cause for asking why, and you loop back to the first option.


    Sequester Bristol immediately - and again, cause for asking why, given that she's clearly an auxillary caregiver for Trig, and you have today's news anyway.

    No, there's no way to justify that they were forced to respond to scurrilous rumormongering.  Politicians steadfastly ignore that kind of gossipmongering all the time.  The reason they announced it was because if they had waited, Bristol's own body would have given them away at a much less opportune time.


    The pregnancy was already known in (5.00 / 2) (#181)
    by BernieO on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:41:32 AM EST
    her hometown so it was going to come out anyway.

    I think this is a distraction from Palin's positions. From what I can find out Palin is not a one dimensional politician the way so many Republicans are. She has made strong statements about preserving the environment and had her state file a brief in the case against Exxon trying to force them to finally pay up for the Valdez spill. She said there is clearly still oil on the beach. She believes that oil drilling can be done in a responsible way and has had the state put inspectors on sites instead of relying on the oil companies to do the job. (What I want to know is if offshore drilling still deposits oil on nearby beaches like it used to or has the technology improved enough to stop this? In the 80's you had to wash the black stuff off your feet every time you went to the beach. Anyone know?)

    Palin even fought for a sales tax increase as mayor, not your typical cookie cutter right wing thing to do. She did lower property taxes, but this is a much more nuanced approach than crackpot like Grover Norquist advocate. (And Norquist is a powerful voice in the Republican Party).

    None of this is to say I will vote for her, but I do think we should try to be objective and stop judging people on their personal lives. From my experience people who are bad spouses or parents can often be really good at their jobs. That is what should matter to the public.


    Not much (none / 0) (#148)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:22:57 AM EST
    I heard it through the grapevine...

    I'm not surprised (none / 0) (#151)
    by ineedalife on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:30:47 AM EST
    I bet Obama "vetted" any possible Rep VP choice much more thoroughly than McCain.

    Plagiarizing is serious -- (5.00 / 2) (#165)
    by Josey on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:24:12 AM EST
    and reflects character. But Sen. Biden was caught plagiarizing - so we hear nothing about it.
    Biden's ethnic jokes? - nothing.

    Charges of racism are serious and reflects Obama's character - just how far he'd go to win the nomination by falsely accusing the Clintons of racism.

    Bill Clinton recently stated "I am not a racist." Obama's silence told me all I needed to know about his character - and willingness to allow his campaign's false narrative to continue.

    We could also assume Obama wasn't "vetted" due to his connection to anti-America types and attending a church for 20 years that spews hate for America, Jews, Whites....
    Who would allow their children to be exposed to an ideology of such hatred and divisiveness?
    Barack Obama.


    Are you a Democrat? (2.00 / 6) (#207)
    by byteb on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:10:24 AM EST
    or part of CHAOS? just asking.

    Ok, they're pregnant and engaged. (4.25 / 4) (#19)
    by SueBonnetSue on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:54:46 AM EST
    Anything else we need to say about them?  

    Yes, when they're used as part of a campaign. (5.00 / 4) (#52)
    by KVFinn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:17:19 AM EST
    When campaign representatives are on TV making the argument that you should vote for Palin because of how she's dealt with the pregnancy, how do you respond without talking about the pregnancy?

    exactly (4.00 / 4) (#22)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:56:02 AM EST
    I don't intend to insult them. I just see no reason to maintain a ban on discussing them.

    I don't think it's "shaming punishment," (4.66 / 12) (#92)
    by zaladonis on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:14:09 AM EST
    I think it's defiance and pride, as in this is who we are, we're standing tall together.

    As a Democrat I'm disgusted by the way some Democrats are using this to attack the Palins and Johnston.  There's nothing shameful about family members and the baby's father standing onstage alongside a 17 year old girl who's unintentionally pregnant, but the lack of respect some Democrats are showing is shameful.

    And politically speaking, all you're doing is helping to more deeply solidify the Republican base and motivate them to defend and protect Palin, and get to the polls in November.

    Where's the respect we used to have for personal choice?

    right on. (4.00 / 4) (#96)
    by jeffhas on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:27:44 AM EST
    you may assume they (4.50 / 2) (#7)
    by cpinva on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:45:22 AM EST
    are getting married because they really want to, i'm not. i'm not assuming anything, i'll wait until i hear it from them.

    i was underwhelmed by gov. palin's professional accomplishments and nominal experience. her total lack of judgment, with regards to her daughter and this young man, is just another reason why she has no business on the ballot with sen. mccain.

    Either they will, or they won't, and she'll raise the baby with her family.  <shrugs>  

    I just can't believe how much the left, the people who supposedly support single moms, are so concerned about this.  The reaction of the left has truly been astonishing to me.  

    I do not get it.  Why is this an issue for us?  


    It's not an issue for me. (5.00 / 3) (#121)
    by Fabian on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:04:01 AM EST
    People will do what people will do.

    The statistics are against the young couple/family.
    I wish them the best of luck.


    mind-numbing hypocrisy? (5.00 / 3) (#122)
    by Nasarius on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:05:29 AM EST
    On the part of Palin. Which, I suppose, is just business as usual for the right.

    Sadly No explains it all.


    Most I know are super judgmental of (5.00 / 5) (#185)
    by andrys on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:46:45 AM EST
    her behavior as a mother.  Agreeing to run for VP when she has a newborn (this doesn't matter for men, as we have seen) --
    even with a quite extended family and a husband who has quit his jobs to stay at home with no conflict of interest seen.

     And then of course there's the Down Syndrome aspect and people think she should stay with the child and bond with him for the next 6 months.  Even for enlightened Dems, a woman's first responsibility -- even if her talent and focus is on the workplace and she has others who can help and she brought her most recent child to work with her after only 3 days in the hospital -- must be with the children.  She should not think of being at work.

     Not only does all this sound oldest-fashioned Republican, it doesn't bode well for ANY woman running for high office because the children should be first focus but if she's single then people say, what?  No man?  We want a FAMILY.

     Of course a lot of the venom is because of her views and stances and because, too often, ultra-conservative people want their more restrictive views on life to rule our own.  

     But I wish we'd stay with the real problems instead of attacking her as a bad mother.


    Why is it an issue (4.33 / 6) (#93)
    by Ardeth on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:14:49 AM EST
    I guess because folks are scared that Sarah Palin will actually bring McCain the votes he needs to win the election.

    And that instead of being a bad choice, she'll turn out to have been an inspired choice, and the next Vice President of the United States.


    Let's face it, (4.45 / 11) (#201)
    by frankly0 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:03:55 AM EST
    Jeralyn, finally you've just lost it over Sarah Palin, like every other liberal blogger.

    You've been obviously champing at the bit to attack her from the day her selection was announced, going to the bizarre extreme of opening a pool over how long it will be before she must be removed as was Eagleton. (It seems never to have occurred to you that Eagleton was removed not simply because he was not adequately vetted, but because there was something very important that was revealed about him that would have prevented his selection had he been vetted -- his electroshock treatments. Is there something in Palin's background that is comparably bad? There is no reason to believe that there is necessarily, or even probably, such a thing, except in the reckonings of the most cynical of minds. Yet you leaped on this conclusion as if it were an inescapable certainty.)

    You have really descended into behavior just like other liberal bloggers -- despite the fact that Palin is essentially a complete unknown, you have acted from Day One as if you know her heart and her life must be filled with evil. Nothing else can explain your relentless attacks on her on every available angle, however weak.

    I mean, you can't stop talking about her inexperience, while knowing that Obama -- whom you now seem to support as uncritically as any of the very people who once attacked you -- has the exact same exposure, and, of course, by any rational account represents vastly more of a problem because he's the Presidential candidate. And your salivating over every last scandal (until recently, excepting her "family" scandals) as if somehow, without real evidence, you know they must be terrible things, if only we get to the bottom of them, likewise makes you look as if you've gone way past the ability to think objectively about Palin. And your pushing of the "troopergate" story, when the out-of-control, domestic abuser trooper in question would so clearly in another case be one you and Talkleft would centerpiece as an example of something that cries out for reform of our political system, shows just how much you're willing to throw out your erstwhile principles in service of some more basic need you have to attack Palin at all costs. (One irony to me is that if the trooper in question had not been related to Palin, and the case had been a cause celebre among domestic abuse reformers -- as it could well have been, given the facts of his truly egregious behavior -- and had Palin NOT done anything to shake up the system, then I have exactly no doubt that you'd be attacking her for not being a genuine reformer.)

    Really Jeralyn, I have no idea what buttons Palin must be pushing in you, but she's brought out just the absolute worst I've ever seen in you.

    I think you've met the enemy, and it is you.

    WOW! (4.33 / 3) (#56)
    by s5 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:21:08 AM EST
    Jeralyn, this story just keeps getting more and more insane by the minute. And your reasons for lifting the ban make a whole lot of sense. This isn't just a media circus. Sarah Palin and the McCain campaign have appointed themselves as the new ringleaders, staging their private lives and the private lives of their children as a circus sideshow spectacle. And for what end? Who knows what they could possibly be thinking at this point.

    amy carter wasn't (4.25 / 4) (#11)
    by cpinva on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:48:06 AM EST
    an unwed, pregnant teenager at the time, being used by mom and dad to show what religious stalwarts they were. if you don't think that's exactly what gov. palin is using the two of them for, you just aren't very bright.

    So we should judgmental too? (4.57 / 14) (#16)
    by SueBonnetSue on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:52:12 AM EST
    Sorry, but the blogs on the right seem to be very happy and supportive of this young couple.  It's only us, the democrats, who are slamming these kids.  

    I am disgusted by my party and their nastiness and judgmental attitudes.  

    The Palins are proud of their daughter, just as Obama was proud of his daughters.  Both appeared with their parents on their important night.  Sorry folks, but I just do not have a problem with any of this.  Palin isn't using her daughter anymore than Obama used his.  


    no one here has slammed the kids (5.00 / 4) (#62)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:27:17 AM EST
    don't misstate what is written here please.

    i haven't seen (5.00 / 4) (#70)
    by TomStewart on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:35:44 AM EST
    anybody slamming the kids, but I have seen blogs taking Palin and McCain to task for being against birth control education for young people. That's fair. The right is of course talking it up like they love seeing pregnant, unwed teenagers. What else can they do? Criticize their own candidate, or the fact that they hate the very thing that might prevent such a thing? Thou shall not speak evil of another republican. What do you think they are? Democrats?

    Really, If Palin wants privacy for the kids, she shouldn't have invited them to appear together at the convention on national tv. It looks like political butt covering frankly.


    Totally Disgusted with the Palin parents (5.00 / 3) (#139)
    by NWC80 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:09:15 AM EST
    No, it is with the cynicism that this represents from the Republicans.

    Of course the right wing blogs are in ecstasy over this and contrary to your absurd claim - no one is slamming these kids.

    Scrutiny should be directed at the parents who don't have a clue or seemingly a care that their decisions have blown up any chance for the kids to have privacy.

    I care not one whit about their private lives, except that they are choosing on their own to parade these teens out like they are poster children for their rabid right-wing views, while denigrating those that might make other decisions in similar situations.

    Fred Thompson last night:

    And we need a President who doesn't think that the protection of the unborn or a newly born baby is above his pay grade.

    Worse is that Palin herself slashed funding for those less fortunate!


    ...Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee who revealed Monday that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, earlier this year used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live.

    After the legislature passed a spending bill in April, Palin went through the measure reducing and eliminating funds for programs she opposed. Inking her initials on the legislation -- "SP" -- Palin reduced funding for Covenant House Alaska by more than 20 percent, cutting funds from $5 million to $3.9 million.

    The Palins, with a combined income of over $200K, are quite capable of supporting these children. Yet, when it comes to helping those left fortunate Sarah Palin is completely hyporcritical.

    THAT disgusts me.

    The issues SHOULD drive this election and the CHOICE is as clear as ever.

    Under no circumstance should this McCain/Palin farce be ushered into office. The tripe spouted at the lectern at this convention should focus those that care one iota about progressive issues on defeating this "team" without reservation.


    what this girl's (3.80 / 5) (#30)
    by cpinva on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:00:45 AM EST
    pregnancy does is reinforce just how wrong her mother is on the issue of childbearing choices. gov. palin is opposed to choice, sex ed and contraceptives. sadly, her daughter now suffers the reasonably anticipated consequences of her mother's ignorance.

    is this the message the republicans really want to be sent out from the convention?

    Not exactly true (5.00 / 6) (#35)
    by SueBonnetSue on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:04:47 AM EST
    Sarah Palin supports the use of birth control.  She is opposed to abortion but would not ask for the law to change.  

    Do you really know what Palin (5.00 / 7) (#44)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:12:57 AM EST
    educated her daughter about? And do you have a link that quotes her saying she's opposed to contraceptives?

    My understanding is, she's pro-contraceptive, so please prove my understanding wrong.

    I have known plenty of young women in my life who were more than educated in sex ed and pregnancy prevention. Oops! Literally. Teenagers are still getting pregnant across all walks of life. And doing drugs etc, no matter how they've been raised/educated.

    Also, are they not teaching sex ed in the Alaska school system? I haven't researched that one yet.


    Palin is against sex ed. (5.00 / 7) (#59)
    by KVFinn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:25:23 AM EST
    >>Also, are they not teaching sex ed in the Alaska school system?

    Palin's official position is to replace sex-ed programs with abstinence-only programs.  

    She recently  announced that Alaska would be applying for federal abstinence-only sex-education funds for next fiscal year, saying "the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support."


    do homeschoolers teach sex ed? (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by landjjames on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:28:54 AM EST
    I thought I read somewhere that the Palin children were homeschooled.  So whether or not there is sex ed in the Alaskan schools is irrelevant in this case.

    Links? (none / 0) (#69)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:35:24 AM EST
    No :) (none / 0) (#78)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:52:34 AM EST
    KVFinn is who I'm asking.

    BTW, you have the same name as my pops :)


    Palin started it all (3.50 / 2) (#164)
    by candideinnc on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:17:09 AM EST
    If I had a child who I knew would be the object of incredible press scrutiny, and that child was unmarried and pregnant, my obligations to my family would, I truly hope, out weigh my career ambitions.  Palin's decision to expose her child to this scandal mongering is (next to her complete unfitness for office) the most distressing part of this entire fiasco.  It speaks volumes that her family values put her children second to her ambition.

    I think we should not assume (5.00 / 1) (#171)
    by befuddledvoter on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:29:56 AM EST
    Palin's decision to run as VP was not the decision of her family.  Why assume Palin did this all on her own with little input and concern for her husband and kids?  Perhaps her daughter would have felt very upset knowing that her mother decided against this run becuase of her pregnancy.

    wow! Just Wow! (5.00 / 3) (#176)
    by Serene1 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:37:17 AM EST
    by that count, how dare Bill C run for presidency when he knew the number of affairs that would come to light later, how dare Edwards run for Presidency for a similar reason, how dare Obama run for Presidency when he knew that in turn he would be harming his church and their member by bringing them to spotlight so on and so forth or also how dare Kennedy run for Presidency with his womanizing ways and his affairs galore.
    Also by that count Bush Jr. should have turned out to be an excellent President because when he ran for presidency he didn't have any unsavory family issues. But surprise it was the tainted Bill C who did a far better job as a president in more ways than one than the presidency of untainted Bush sr. and Bush Jr. or even Reagan.

    I agree (5.00 / 2) (#198)
    by candideinnc on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:01:47 AM EST
    Absolutely!  If Clinton had given any thought to his family, he would not have had the affair with Lewinsky.  The same with Edwards.  They both gambled with their families and lost.

    Your comments on Obama and his church are nonsense.  I can go to church and disagree with my minister.  So can he.  

    As far as this reflecting on Bush and Kennedy, I never argued that marital fidelity had any correspondence to presidential competence.  Your logic escapes me.  You miss the point entirely, though, that when one has skeletons hanging around, you don't tell the press to go hang up their coats in your closet.  This is what Palin did.  it is what Edwards did.  It is stupid, and it betrayed their families.


    You were right then and you're right now (3.00 / 2) (#247)
    by limama1956 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 10:19:19 AM EST

    I feel the same way that you do. My tummy dropped when I read that the BF was heading to MN to join the "fun". What has been missed in all the hoopla and rhetoric is that McCain handled this poorly. Why didn't the young man join the family last week in Ohio? He was certainly as much a part of the family then as he is now. Whether Palin is qualified for the VP slot is another story, but this whole fiasco calls McCain's question into serious judgement, never mind Palin's.

    I think bringing the BF in now is also a terrible idea for another reason, as supposedly there is still another facet to this story that has yet to drop. If me, a nobody knows about it, then you can bet your bottom dollar that the Enquirer is already on the hunt.

    Sarah Palin is a rather horrible parent. (2.28 / 7) (#87)
    by Key on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:03:28 AM EST
    Sarah Palin is a rather horrible parent.  What kind of person would thrust their child into the spotlight like this?

    Palin is unqualified to hold the office of V.P. at this point in her political life.  If she was the kind of person who truly believed in family values, she would would have turned McCain down for the sake of her daughter.

    It certainly wouldn't have been the last shot she would likely have had at running for V.P. or perhaps President, and in 4 or 8 years she could have vastly improved her qualifications for one of these slots by finishing her term as governor and running for a federal office.

    What was her hurry?  And now, with her incredible lack of judgment in putting her daughter through all of this, I don't think will ever be qualified.  She has no integrity.

    Oh please (5.00 / 13) (#104)
    by Ardeth on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:37:11 AM EST
    So much for my own hopeful comment that Jeralyn's changing her policy wouldn't result in this blog sinking into personal judgmentalism.

    Shall we go on to attack Barack Obama's parenting for putting HIS family into the media spotlight of a presidential campaign?  No, of course not, because that kind of attack is reserved for females who presume to have both a family and a career.

    Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter is in the spotlight because some scumbag on the Daily Kos made up a vicious rumor about the supposed parenthood of Sarah's Down syndrome afflicted son.  That rumor was disproved -- and more effectively, I might add, than I've ever seen a political rumor disproved -- by the acknowledgment that Bristol is in fact pregnant now.

    If anyone is responsible for this debacle, it is the nasty rumor machine in our own party who just couldn't resist trying to character assassinate another female candidate.


    There's a difference (5.00 / 3) (#109)
    by Wander on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:45:33 AM EST
    Between getting up on a stage with your family...
    and making your family an illustration of your platform.

    The first, every politician does; it's no different froma CEO posing with his family for a christmas card to send to his associates, or having your young ones play the musical instrument they've been learning for your friends.  It's optics, nothing more.

    But that's not how Sarah Palin is going about it; she seemed/seems determined to use her family not as a demure background but a living illustration of her fundamentalist bona fides, and that it a much higher-profile status that does expose the family to comments.


    really? (5.00 / 2) (#120)
    by jeffhas on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:01:16 AM EST
    living illustration of her fundamentalist bona fides

    This has got to be the most dysfunctional 'fundamentalist bona fides' I've ever seen.

    ... and personally - as a perfectly happy dysfunctional family member - I'm glad to see the Republicans embrace it... maybe we've had an effect all these years - they seem to be progressing.


    Well.... (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by Key on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:22:37 AM EST
    Isn't that the way it always is? Fundamentalist bona fides are amazingly adaptable things. They can be contorted into all sorts of odd shapes until they are barely recognizable. But don't worry, they are also extremely elastic and shall eventually return to a more normal recognizable shape, where what fundies say is always more important that what they do.... Alright. Last post for me on this thread....

    Absolutely (5.00 / 0) (#110)
    by Key on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:49:18 AM EST
    Do you recall when Obama and his wife were giving an interview, and then his daughters came in and they participated?  After that error in judgment Obama apologized and said he made a mistake, that he shouldn't have let that happen, and wouldn't let it happen again.

    A great example of a parent making a mistake, realizing the mistake was made, and taking steps not to let it happen again.

    This is far different than what Palin is doing.  She's thrusting her daughter in the spot light rather than protecting her daughter from the spot light.

    The rumor regarding Palin's 5th child should never have been dignified with a response by Palin.  She offered up her daughter's pregnancy as a way to disprove a rumor that really made her look horrible.  Rather than ignore the rumor and look horrible in the eyes of people spreading the rumor, she decided to disprove the rumor at her daughter's expense.

    That is horrible parenting.


    Obama also said... (5.00 / 4) (#123)
    by Ardeth on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:05:59 AM EST
    ...that Sarah Palin's family problems were private.  So far he, at least, has been too classy to discuss them.  Or to cast stones.

    yeah... (5.00 / 4) (#124)
    by jeffhas on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:07:32 AM EST
    The rumor regarding Palin's 5th child should never have been dignified with a response by Palin.  She offered up her daughter's pregnancy as a way to disprove a rumor that really made her look horrible.  Rather than ignore the rumor and look horrible in the eyes of people spreading the rumor, she decided to disprove the rumor at her daughter's expense.

    because the 'secret' of her daughter's pregnancy wasn't going to slip out as the next two months progressed and her mid section was getting larger.

    You have no idea whether or not this daughter is proud of her own decision, or happy to support her mom or not... and neither do I... so, I won't judge her for the both of us.


    Of all the right-wing frames... (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by Dawn Davenport on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:49:21 AM EST
    ...I hated about Obama's connection with Rev. Wright, the one I found the most odious by far was the "They brought those sweet, young girls to sit in that hateful church."

    So yeah, I'm not touching this one even with a 10-pt. poll.


    whew! (5.00 / 12) (#112)
    by jeffhas on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:52:46 AM EST
    If she was the kind of person who truly believed in family values, she would would have turned McCain down for the sake of her daughter.

    Yeah... I'm sure her daughter would be thrilled to live the rest of her life with that on her head.  That'll make for a terrific Mother/Daughter relationship with no guilt or regrets.

    Since when is wanting a family AND a career a bad thing in the Democratic Party?


    Apparently all the time (5.00 / 15) (#119)
    by janarchy on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:00:56 AM EST
    The people who are the most vitriolic about this whole Bad Mother meme seem to be Democratic women. I guess we should all just stay home barefoot and pregnant because we can't possibly have careers and children. And they say the Republicans are neanderthals?

    This has truly become Bizarro World.


    Why would daughter "live" with that? (5.00 / 2) (#125)
    by Key on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:16:12 AM EST
    Why would her daughter have to "live" with that on her head? Since when does doing something for your child mean your child will need to feel guilty?

    Duncan posted the following yesterday: "According to MSNBC, the Palin kids were told their Ohio trip was to celebrate an anniversary. In the dark about the Veep announcement."

    If that's the case, then her kids need never have known she was offered the spot. Nobody in America would have known. And wanting a family AND a career is never a bad thing. Unless I'm mistaken, Palin is currently the governor of Alaska. Some might consider that a career....


    seriously? (5.00 / 10) (#129)
    by jeffhas on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 05:30:39 AM EST
    You're offered the position of a lifetime, one where your particular skill-set as a mother and a leader are deemed helpful to a nation by a Presidential nominee... and you're not only supposed to turn it down, you're supposed to keep  the knowledge of that offered position a secret.

    What century is it again?

    The fact that you are being nominated shows every person that you can be judged by the content of your being - it should be your proudest moment... but shhhh!!! don't tell anyone.

    I'll just say this:  It was Palin's decision to make, and she shouldn't be judged for it... and as progressives, we have always been about NOT JUDGING people for the decisions they make... and we don't call them horrible people.

    ... but if it were me, as a child of the mother that was given this historic opportunity, how could I not feel guilty if she didn't jump at the chance because she felt my personal decisions were a problem that would hold her back.

    Aren't we all better than this?... shouldn't we be trying to make people feel proud of the lives they have?... warts and all?... Where is your/our humanity?


    I keep thinking (2.75 / 4) (#94)
    by gentlyweepingguitar on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:22:33 AM EST
    she has a 3 month old son with Down's Syndrome? How can she possibly educate herself, bond with, and care for the special needs of this child, care for her other 4 children, and take on the responsibilities of VP at the same time? Maybe she is a super woman, afterall. Unless she's planning on hired help?

    Is it anti-feminist of me to say I couldn't do it? To say when you choose to have 5 children, it's a big time consuming responsibility? Is it wrong of me to say this? Cuz I'm thinking it.


    No, it's not anti-feminist... (5.00 / 12) (#106)
    by Dawn Davenport on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:39:21 AM EST
    ...to say that you couldn't do it. It's anti-feminist for you to make the call that she can't.

    you're allowed to think and feel any way you want (5.00 / 5) (#107)
    by jeffhas on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:42:47 AM EST
    I just don't think it's very progressive... I might even say it seems sexist. I mean isn't that a conundrum of modern feminism? - even though there shouldn't even be a premise of a conundrum for feminism at all.  Men and women make choices about their lives vs. careers all the time - and each choice is really a balancing act of sacrifices.

    I would defend her right to take on those personal responsibilities and seek professional success if she wants to and it makes her happy.  If she succeeds, and her personal life gives her a perspective the rest of us couldn't have in making professional decisions - than lucky us... if not, and it all unravels in a mess, well then, she will have to take responsibility won't she....

    The only difference here is, as citizens - we get to take into account all of this stuff in advance and decide who the best person is for the job... and I won't judge you for your decision... but I can't help but wonder... how many employers say (have said) the same things you are thinking above about any number of potential female employees?... yeah, I know, "but this is the Vice Presidency"...


    Maybe she has a support system (5.00 / 8) (#115)
    by Manuel on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:58:25 AM EST
    consisting of her husband and relatives.  I heard the Obama children have been staying with their grandmother.  How about Joe Biden?  He commutes to DC for hours a day.  I am not sure I could do that.  It is great to have families in politics struggling with the same issues regular families are facing.  Whatevr happened to "It takes a Village"?  From some of these comments, I may need to find another village.

    No, it is not wrong to say you could not do it (none / 0) (#166)
    by befuddledvoter on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:25:57 AM EST
    Question:  Would you be even asking this question if Palin were a father, not a mother?  I think you would not.  I have to admit it is a question I have asked also though, but I immediately realized that I would not be questioning this if Palin were the father/politician.  My bias: overall,  fathers are different than mothers in child rearing and nurturance.      

    You really don't want to go down that road (none / 0) (#153)
    by JAB on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:34:38 AM EST
    You could also change the name from "Palin" to "Obama" and the words "VP" to "President" and the references of "she" to "he".

    See how that works?


    What is Palin's financial status? (none / 0) (#76)
    by gentlyweepingguitar on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:50:02 AM EST
    Does anyone know? I'd like to see their tax records. Does anyone know?

    Google is your friend on this (none / 0) (#85)
    by nycstray on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:59:04 AM EST
    one. She's on the vote sites that disclose campaign raising/spending and also her family's income is out there.

    IIRC, she makes $125K as Gov and he clocks in in the 90's (again, IIRC!). You also need to look at what Alaskans make for jobs there vs here.

    They have PDFs of her voter reg out there, so I'm guessing they have here financials out there also.


    Here's some of it.... (none / 0) (#162)
    by ctrenta on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:14:27 AM EST
    ... And it ain't pretty.

    Spread the word.


    For what it's worth... (none / 0) (#146)
    by Mshepnj on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:20:29 AM EST
    I don't post here often but I do read what's posted here several times a day.  The past few days this has been a haven for sanity on the issue of Sarah Palin's family situation. For what it's worth, I agree with your attempt to keep the conversation on Sarah Palin and not her family members, and the fact that this young man is being brought forward with the Palins on stage doesn't change that he is (soon to be) part of the family.  

    It's your blog, but I just wanted to let you know that I got it right with the ban.

    Speaking only for myself, of course.

    oops... (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by Mshepnj on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:22:14 AM EST
    That should say: "It's your blog but I just wanted to let you know that I think YOU got it right with the ban."

    Press Coverage from Northern Cal (none / 0) (#228)
    by Katherine Graham Cracker on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:02:20 AM EST
    I would tread very carefully on this issue

    from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat

    Why? (none / 0) (#246)
    by kredwyn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 10:18:41 AM EST
    Maybe to make her daughter happy?

    lucy (none / 0) (#260)
    by lucy on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 10:48:20 AM EST
    Politicians can't use their children for political gain and then say they are off limits.  Palin is using the fact that her 17 year old daughter is pregnant but did not abort the baby and is going to marry they baby's father to curry points with her hard right political backers.  

    If she wanted privacy for her family she would not have accepted McCain offer of the vice presidential candidacy.  We can condemn the press all we want but she knew what would happen.

    She is using her daughter and this young man to say convey the fundamentalist Christian message:  Teen aged pregnancy and childbirth is OK as long as you get married.  That is not the message I want teens to get but it is the message she is sending.

    I also think it is wrong for Obama, Edwards, and other politicians to use their cute young children to gain support but that is the way the game is played.  

    Palin knows what she is doing and I feel free to condemn it.

    ha (none / 0) (#264)
    by connecticut yankee on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 11:05:42 AM EST
    Wonderful slur TimV,

    The Obama camp has nothing to do with this.  I guess we could pin the "Vince Foster was murdered by Hillary" claims on McCain but it would be just as silly.  Did Hillary dignify it? No. How many crazy rumors have been generated on the internet? How many suggest Bush orchestrated 9/11?  Does Bush dignify it? No.

    Highlighting one is pure politics.  The republicans just don't want to discuss Palin's problems as a candidate so they are throwing up a smoke screen of indignation.  I can read the talking points from here.

    I guess what's bothering me (none / 0) (#265)
    by gentlyweepingguitar on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 11:13:51 AM EST
    with this Palin situation is that the Republican response is all about appearances. Come on, no one could be happy about their 17 year old daughter getting pregnant. It is a serious bump in the road in that child's life. There's some kind of arrogance in the Palin's handling of this situation, like they're setting an example for all parents of 17 year old pregnant girls. But most 17 year old pregnant girls don't have the money, resources, or connections the Palin's do.

    From my viewpoint, all Republicans have to do is get some  semi-attractive woman with coiffed hair and a red dress out there on the stage, alongside their chosen male leader, and for all appearances they look good. They have things under control.
    Fellow Republicans flock to their polling places to vote Republican.

    Republicans never deal with the real issues, like torturing prisoners, deny, deny, deny until photos come out, then blame whoever is expendable. Pretend issues like healthcare and education and this war brought about by lies are under control, these problems don't exist.  All they have to do is get out there and smile, smile, smile. While behind the scenes their true masters are plotting and planning how to destroy the planet, make the rich richer and screw the middle class.

    If Palin talks about the failure.... (none / 0) (#267)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 11:28:30 AM EST
    ...of abstinence only education with her own daughter, then she'll be doing the country a favor.  Short of that, it's all just a show.  The difference with Obama's kids of course is, first, their age, and second, that Obama makes no moralizing stand about abstinence only education being the best and ONLY way to "educate" children about human sexuality.  That Palin has, and now finds herself in this position with he daughter, is merely the personalizing of political failure.  If abstinence-only didn't work for the child of such an accomplished and financially secure intact family, what possible logic could there be to believing abstinence-only will work with kids from much less fortunate and anything but intact families?

    Since abstinence-only is such a firm part of her political beliefs and actions, and one she actively seeks to impose on the popluation as a whole, the personal aspect of this failure cannot go without public scrutiny.  If it did, the entire issue would be without any personal context, it would merely be an abstract.  And abstract sexual education is, in a word, worthless.

    Dadler.... (none / 0) (#269)
    by alexei on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 11:46:04 AM EST
    Sometimes women make a choice to have babies.  That means, they don't use any birth control.  Teen pregnancies haven't stopped because they have access to birth control.  I know of several teens who were using birth control and decided to get pregnant.

    Obviously, I agree that "abstinence only" is not effective and does lead to "unwanted" pregnancies.  I just can't say that this is one of those cases since Bristol did not specify (nor does she need to).  This is her choice and her body, women do also have the choice to bear children as well as to abort.  So, to categorically state that this is a case that "abstinence only" failed is not correct unless you know for a fact that this was an unwanted pregnancy.  

    Comments closed (none / 0) (#270)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 12:36:43 PM EST
    We close comments at 200. Excess ones may be deleted. New ones will be deleted.

    Ban Lifted (none / 0) (#271)
    by Ellis on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 01:12:06 PM EST
    "So Sarah Palin, in her bid to show America, that her daughter, who got pregnant as an unmarried teen is really no different than any other young married couple who get pregnant, is putting the best interests of her child and her fiance second to her need to show family love and harmony at a political event watched by millions around the world."

     I understand your desire to "keep it clean," and the initial ban was well-intentioned, if naive. I say naive because we're dealing with Repubicans and it's pretty obvious that Sarah Palin has a lot more in common with George Bush and Karl Rove than she does with Mother Teresa. As far as I can tell, Palin's handling of this entire affair from the beginning has addressed the needs of the campaign before the needs of her family.

    Now that the Republicans have made it clear that all criticism of Palin is an insult to the dignity of all women everywhere, as well as being sexist and elitist, it's obvious that no matter what the nature of criticism directed at Palin actually is, it will me mischaracterized by the GOP, probably with the help of the MSM.

    It also seems clear that if Sarah Palin were a recovering meth-head that would be proof to Republicans of her character, her faith, and her fitness for office. The only question is -- are there enough American voters to see through this garbage and elect Obama or are we doomed. I'm leaning toward doomed, but I don't want to go down without a fight.

    The Upside (none / 0) (#272)
    by Ellis on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 01:24:21 PM EST
    I suppose now that Levi is in the family we can expect him to get a job in the McCain Administration. After Lieberman, Levi will probably have his pick of cabinet positions.

    Needless to say, he will be chosen because he's the best qualified person the Republicans have to offer, which, come to think of it, could be true.

    I got this email (none / 0) (#273)
    by Prabhata on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:34:55 PM EST
    From a young man in my family. The Obama supporters are in a state of panic. I added the bold. It's funny.  I told him to "get over it".

    Sarah may not hold up well against Biden on foreign affairr,
    but wait 'till they get to the swim suite portion of it !
                             Jay Leno, The Tonight Show

    What would posses John McCain to select a woman candidate as VP with 0 foreign experience against
    Joe Biden ?
    Make Joe look like a bully expecting to gain sympathy from the electorate.

    I think we can answer now the question why he chose the least qualified candidate, even among
    Republican women, for the contest.
    Yes, she is red meat for his base, and they are going for her anti-abortion stance. That's a bonus point.

    But the main strategy was to have Obama look really bad if he dared attack Sarah.
    A black man attacking a white lady ?
    Would make the blood boil among Repubs, independents and
    women who would come to the rescue of their sister.

    Would have worked great, except it took Obama and Biden just a few minutes to see the ploy,
    and quickly told their troops to stand down and show restraint.
    I was surprised by their reaction.

    In McCain's dreams, this would work. One more woman used by him in his pathetic existence.
    Should McCain be elected and die in office, we would have a VP ill equipped to take charge in
    a dangerous world.
    But that wouldn't matter to him.
    Damn the country. Votes for me first !


    What is this...on Todd's jacket (none / 0) (#274)
    by Katherine Graham Cracker on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 03:42:50 PM EST
    What are they tying to the back of his shirt

    Shame on McCain (none / 0) (#275)
    by limama1956 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:12:57 PM EST
    Have you guys been to Talking Points Memo? They have video of McCain and the "ceremonial laying of the hands" on this young couple. It's supposed to be private, we're not supposed to talk about it, yet McCain uses them for a staged photo opp?

    Alaskan Independence Party (none / 0) (#276)
    by bison on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:24:08 PM EST
    I want to hear more outrage about Sarah's husband being a member of the Alaskan Independence Party.  I want to hear more about her attending the AIP convention and speaking before the group,

    Not judgemental Honest... (none / 0) (#277)
    by laila on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:26:05 PM EST
    I am so glad the ban is lifted...I think this whole situation attests to her lack of educating her daughter.  I mean seriously, I think of my parents and them getting me on birth control because they weren't ignorant they know.  I think of Palin herself pregnant in her 40's, I think of her daughter having to be married at her young age (largest divorce rate in the country in teen marriages) I think of her husband the separatist (and their country first crap and they question Obama's patriotism) IS THIS A PARODY, I think of how lacking diversity the convention is and I just can't damn well understand anyone who would defend the party never mind McCain's pick. GOP is calling all sexist for questioning her experience, so I guess we cant call them racist? HELLO!!! I feel like I am in the damn twilight zone. I don't understand what this game is.  Seriously...

    Jackson Browne? (none / 0) (#278)
    by kaleidescope on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 04:34:38 PM EST
    I kind of like Jerry Jeff Walker's take better:

    He was born in Oklahoma
    And his wife's name is
    Betty Jean Thelma Liz
    He's not responsible
    for what he's doin'
    Cause his mother
    made him what he is.

    And it's up against the wall
    you redneck mother
    Mother who has raised
    a son so well
    He's 34 and drinkin'
    in a honky tonk
    He's kickin' hippies' asses
    and raisin' hell.

    Jerry Jeff seems to capture the Levi we got to know from his MySpace page better than Jackson Browne (though Jerry Jeff doesn't have David Lindley playing guitar for him).

    Hmmm (none / 0) (#279)
    by Monda on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:15:42 PM EST
    Now I know why BTD is gone for a break.  He knew what was coming ...

    the press is actively looking for dirt on fam (none / 0) (#280)
    by john marzan on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:51:04 PM EST
    maybe for the mccain camp it is more convienient to bring levi to them now and secure him physically, and to prepare him for the EVENTUAL national media scrutiny and invasive interviews that WILL come from press types crawling all over Alaska looking for all kinds of dirt on Palin family members, whether the kid likes it or not.

    progressive? (none / 0) (#281)
    by canadian gal on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:46:16 PM EST