Speaking of Governor Palin
In no particular order:
1. The rumors that Governor Palin is actually the grandmother of her most recent child rather than the mother are appallingly stupid, so if you believed them even for a minute, please hit yourself on the head with a hammer. Hard. Twice.
2. Palin’s “The Internets are saying idiotic things about me, so I’ll announce my unmarried teenage daughter is currently pregnant to show how wrong those rumors are” maneuver is one of the great qua? moments of the campaign so far. One, why dignify abject stupidity; two, while noting her daughter’s pregnancy to the press was inevitably necessary, in under a minute I can think of about sixteen different ways it could have been handled better, and if you give me another minute I could probably think of about thirty other better ways. At the very least, the simple unadorned fact of the current progress of Miss Palin’s pregnancy would obviate the rumors without the need to have addressed them explicitly. Let’s just say it’s not the way I would have done it.
3. Obama’s response (i.e., “it’s a family matter; it’s not relevant to the job Palin might do as VP; leave them alone”) is right and correct, so good on him. Also, speaking as the son and brother of former unwed teenage mothers, there are worse things in the world to be, especially if one is fortunate enough to have one’s family at one’s side.
4. However, let’s not pretend that if, say, Joe Biden’s daughter were teenage, unmarried and pregnant at the moment, that the right wing noise machine would not be shitting itself blind with glee at the fact, proclaiming with gravity about how these are just the sort of terrible consequences that liberal beliefs lead to and intoning solemnly behind barely stifed grins about how it actually is relevant to the election and should be discussed, publicly and at length, over and over and over again.
5. While Miss Palin’s pregnancy is (or should be, anyway) out of bounds as a subject for discussion, things that are up for continuing discussion include: Gov. Palin’s positions on abstinence-only education, women’s control of their bodies, birth control, Roe v. Wade, whether medical professionals can refuse on religious grounds to give treatment to women, and all other manner of topics relating to sex, women’s bodies, and choice. If Gov. Palin and the McCain campaign try to use Miss Palin’s pregnancy like they use Senator McCain’s former POW status — i.e., a cheap and easy trope to trot out in order to avoid answering reasonable questions — that’s well worth calling them on.
Which is to say: Yes, Governor Palin, your daughter is pregnant, and I respect her choice (as well as the fact that she has a choice) to have her child, and her right to privacy while she deals with the choices she’s made. Her choices, however, do not excuse you from having to explain your own, at least as they regard how they will affect the choices other women will be able to make about their own bodies, should you get into office.