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.

204 Comments on “Speaking of Governor Palin”

  1. *claps* Bravo, Mr. Scalzi. You are honestly the first person that I’ve seen respond this way and I really appreciate it.

    I have 941 OTHER reasons to dispute Governor Palin’s appropriateness, I don’t have to go after her family, especially her vulnerable teenage daughter. Attack the policies and issues, not the person, if you’re going to do so.

  2. I’m sorry for the girl; she’s just 17, she should be studying for her diploma and preparing for college, her life just started and a child will deprive her of many things that she should’ve experienced.
    I just hope that the decisions of keeping the baby instead of giving him/her in adoption (I doubt that her family would’ve ever consented to an abortion) and above all to marry the father were her decisions only.

  3. Incidentally, my mother got pregnant with me at 17, and the decision of my teenage parents not to marry has a lot to do with why I have such good relationships with both of them today.

  4. Giacomo: Yeah, seriously. I had my first son 2 days before my 19th birthday. I know what I gave up to have my children. I don’t regret it, but I do occasionally think “What if…”

    It’s not something that I’d wish on anyone for any reason, let alone if it wasn’t their own choice.

  5. Thank you. I have been receiving emails from friends about the motherage of the new baby for a couple of days, and I’m about to tell some people to take me off their lists all together if they don’t cease and desist.

    In a twist on your conjecture about what Republicans would do if Biden’s daughter were pregnant, I’m wondering if teenage pregnancy will now be un-demonized, much as drug addiction was when Rush Limbaugh was revealed to be one. A drug addict, that is. He’s been a proven demon for years.

  6. Angelle: I think that the marriage can have an even more profound effect on a teenager than the child. I grew into raising the child, but grew out of the marriage with horrendous results for both my children and myself.

    I really don’t regret that my mother never married my father. I sometimes wish I’d had the same sense.

    It is, however, a situation where no one has the “right” answer for anyone else. A lot of life seems that way.

  7. I think the smart response from the McCain campaign would just be to go ahead and release Palin’s medical records. I think they’re required to do it at some point *anyway*, so it would be a nice way to avoid dignifying the whole thing with a solid response.

    P.S. The only thing about the affair which made me think negatively of Palin is the bit with her water breaking in Texas and then her flying back to Alaska to deliver. That’s just *dangerous*, from all I understand.

    P.P.S. Mental exercise: Just imagine if Obama had a pregnant 17 year old daughter. “Shitting themselves blind” wouldn’t even come close.

  8. Unwed teenage mothers (though I understand that the young Miss Palin will be marrying the baby’s father) are nothing new, and nothing bad. It’s not a course of action I’d recommend, but it’s not the end of the world. Mr. Scalzi is quite right on this point. However, one point that bears noting is that this particular instance of teenage motherhood lacks most of the downsides that one might typically associate with such a choice. In particular, Miss Palin will not lack for support, whether financial or (presumably) emotional. Her circumstances, however, are exceptional. The vast majority of teenage mothers find themselves locked into a life of low-paying jobs, raising children in a state of unrelenting insecurity, victimized by everyone from indifferent landlords to abusive boyfriends who are allowed to stick around because, well, at least they pay a little bit for groceries now and then.

    I’m not criticizing what any woman does in trying to raise a family in the face of such challenges. The victimization is not their fault, and some (maybe most) of their choices are compelled. At the risk of being presumptuous, maybe we should read point #3, above (“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.”) in light of “Being Poor.” Maybe I’m wrong (I haven’t lived through it), but “Being Poor” looks like a more compelling and complete picture of unwed teenage motherhood than raising a baby in the Governor’s Mansion (or Number One Observatory Circle).

    All of this pales in comparison to the bigger irony, namely, that Gov. Palin would like to use the power of the state to deny women the very choice that she feels should remain inside the family. I look forward to the inevitable tap dance.

  9. Okay, please forgive me if I’m being an idiot here, but exactly why is it that “the rumors that Governor Palin is actually the grandmother of her most recent child rather than the mother are appallingly stupid”?

    I’m not assuming anything here, I just haven’t been party to much information on the issue. I mean, since pretty much the exact same scenario happened in my family within living memory, I’m not fully inclined to dismiss the accusation out of hand. Any guidance would be appreciated; my brain is precious to me, and I’d like to know I’m doing the right thing before I cause myself to sustain a closed-head injury. Twice.

  10. Well, in no particular order as well, as a right-winger, I mostly agree with you, except partially on number two, and strongly on number four.

    Taking point number four first, while I’m not saying that there aren’t right-wing a-hats, the skew on them definitely seems biased towards the left, at least on the internet. You ask what the “right-wing attack machine” would do, all you have to do is look at how the most recent similar-ish thing on the left was treated. Namely the John Edwards affair/love child. What you’re postulating would happen just plain didn’t in that case, at least in the “respectable” part of the right side of the internet. It might have at Free Republic, I don’t read there enough to know, but it didn’t happen at National Review or, at Redstate for example. Most of the discussion on the right, in fact, was aimed at the way the press did (or in the vast majority of cases did not) cover it. Actual tut-tut’ing over the behavior? Not much at all. The left? Well, the reaction to this was so predictable that there are even conspiracy theorists who are postulating that this whole thing was planned. The story, that is, not the pregnancy.

    As for number two, I think the plan all along was to release the information today, basically using the hurricane as cover, and the left-o-sphere’s reaction provided a decent cover, but when paid bloggers at presumably respectable places like the Atlantic are spending a bunch of time on the nutty rumor in number one, it probably does bear some refuting.

    As for number five, absolutely her views on all those are pertinent. As are Obama’s views that such a pregnancy is a “punishment”, and his views on what should be done to children who survive botched abortions, and when abortions should be available. choice/life is a tough issue, and Americans have a wide range of opinions on it. Neither the Republican view of ‘after conception, nothing at all allowed’ nor the Democratic view of ‘abortion should be legal until the last toe leaves the mother’s womb’ commands anywhere near a majority of the population. If you picked a view of ‘first trimester ok, parental notification requirements allowed’, now that probably would command a majority of the country, but that wouldn’t please the extremists on both sides who put in most of the money, so it will never happen.

  11. Samuel Tinianow:

    Among other things, it’s stupid to have assumed a) that the most newsworthy women in the entire state of Alaska (and one of the most newsworthy women politicians in the US) could have successfully faked a pregnancy, and b) that the daughter of the same would have been able to hide a to-term pregnancy.

  12. Samuel @11,

    The rumor which had been flying through the left side of the internet was that Governor Palin’s youngest child, 4 months old or so, was actually the child of her 17 year old daughter, hidden to cover up the “shame”. It was a fairly disgusting bit of speculation on zero evidence. If you can make yourself go to the left-wing blog sites like Daily Kos or Democratic Underground, you’ll find a ton there. I recommend showering heavily afterwards though.

  13. I think it’s, sadly, just another example of how well abstinence-only ed and culture doesn’t work, the statistics and studies prove it doesn’t work, and the religious right buries its head in the sand and refuses to acknowledge reality.

    Should Palin get into office, she will have to pry my contraception from my cold, dead hands.

  14. Scalzi, there’s photographic and videographic evidence that Sarah Palin was not seven months pregnant when she advertised to her constituents that she was. Whatever you may think is the resulting reasoning for that, it stands. You cannot hide #5 that well, that far along. Perhaps if you are a teenager with your first one, you can. But you cannot carry number five like number one–and Sarah Palin was double her size with number one, by the way, there are definite photos of that.

    Whether or not Trig is actually Bristol’s, the whole thing stinks. And there’s no way on earth Trig is Sarah’s. Doesn’t the video camera ADD ten pounds? How come it didn’t? And what is UP with that birth story? Mothers everywhere are wondering at the discrepancies with the leaking of amniotic fluid, the long plane ride, and the other things that just aren’t safe or recommended. And the doctor who delivered Trig has been scrubbed from the record, as well. Whatever they are doing, they are certainly doing it VERY ODDLY. You can at least admit that while still maintaining Trig is Sarah’s.

    There’s hard evidence that Sarah Palin wasn’t pregnant when she said she was. *shrug* And I haven’t seen any photos of Bristol since she has supposedly been pregnant where she hasn’t had Trig firmly attached to her front or was wearing a hoodie with things stuffed in the front pocket. So we shall all see how she progresses. Perhaps she is undergoing extensive counseling on How To Hide The Fetus courtesy of her mother, who seems to be quite the whiz at that sort of thing.

    Obama is saying the correct thing. Neither he nor Biden nor their familes can say anything different, nor should they ever. It’s the high road and bless him for taking it. Let the rat race and the blogosphere get to the bottom of this and ignore it otherwise, run a clean race.

    Problem is, committing various types of fraud (birth certificate, Social Security number, healthcare paid for by taxpayers) through a child that isn’t yours isn’t…really…something a vice-president should do. Kind of like being part of Enron wasn’t something top politicians should have been doing. It’s still shady business.

    It’s not the child. Seriously, dang, babies happen, especially out-of-wedlock babies, it’s really no big deal. But it’s the coverups, the stories, the fact that Palin herself made certain things out to be big deals, and all of that, that is the problem, at least in MY mind.

  15. Skip:

    “when paid bloggers at presumably respectable places like the Atlantic are spending a bunch of time on the nutty rumor in number one, it probably does bear some refuting.”

    Yeah, I think Andrew Sullivan kind of went off weirdly here.

    Leaving aside that your discussion of what the right wing noise machine is seems to ignore its largest and most influential component (i.e., right wing talk radio) I don’t buy an equivalence between what went on with John Edwards and what the reaction would be to a Biden unwed teenage daughter. Biden is on the Democratic ticket while Edwards was already well out of the race. That said, I’m not aware of Limbaugh et al., being quiet about the Edwards thing; quite the opposite, in fact.


    “There’s hard evidence that Sarah Palin wasn’t pregnant when she said she was.”

    Well, no. What there is, is lots of speculation and pointing at pictures, which is not the same thing as hard evidence. DNA samples are hard evidence. Photos (particularly in this era of photo manipulation) are not much of anything.

    When you have real, live, actual evidence of something, you let me know. Short of that, let’s not call speculation and rumor-mongering “hard evidence.”

  16. Elections are won by only two kinds of people: either the ones that get the electorate to vote with their hindbrains (that is, out of fear or despair) or the ones than are able to get people to THINK and override said hindbrain. Given that the second kind of candidate is a much rarer occurrence than the first, campaigns that incite fear, rejection and despair have come to be seen as winners, a fact reinforced recently by Mr. W’s two terms in office.

    Which is why the American media falls over itself discussing what certain reverends might have said when a candidate was in their vicinity or the fact that the selfsame candidate has a certain… let’s say physical feature (ok, he’s black, get over it) – points certainly relevant for all the other important things like, you know, foreign policy, healthcare, economics and the rest. I find it amazing that these things get printed at all, let alone as arguments in a campaign to choose who will be for the next 4 years the most powerful man on the planet.

    Sarah Palin seems to be a decent human being. So does McCain, for that matter. I don’t think their human qualities are in dispute here. It’s their ability to lead a country on a certain path – and to influence a significant part of the world in the process. So if you’re an American, regardless whether you’re a Democrat or Republican (although I guess there are far more Democrats around there), I believe it is your patriotic duty to see past the drivel and innuendo and choose a leader that’s actually good for your country.

    Don’t screw it up this time, America.

    Best regards,

  17. Not exactly “zero evidence”. There are reports about Palin’s daughter being pulled from her school for several months on the grounds of having contracted mononucleosis (the reports are alas not clear how long exactly she missed school).

    Anyway, it shouldn’t have been difficult for the McCain/Palin people to disprove the rumors. Instead, there was this stunning statement in which they announced Bristol’s current pregnancy…

  18. Jeez, I go to an afternoon baseball game and all hell breaks loose!

    I’m especially concerned about the Bush (and possibly future McCain) administration’s objection to both birth control and abortion.

    Oh well. Every family goes through difficult times. Obama is right that Palin’s family matters should be private, but you’re right that Palin’s views on family planning, abortion, and birth control are fair game.

  19. John and Skip: So it’s been said, but what I’m looking for here is some kind of actual refutation, along the lines of confirmation that the decidedly un-pregnant-looking photos of Palin during her pregnancy were shopped, medical precedent that the oddities of the pregnancy are possible, or thereabouts. There is evidence that Sarah Palin was not the mother, however it is purely circumstantial evidence that should bear relatively easy refutation. Since I know first-hand that this kind of alleged familial cover-up was in practice as recently as the 20th century, I can’t honestly say what to think unless something pretty conclusive comes out about it.

  20. Regardless of parentage, the fact she named her children
    Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow and Piper does not give me enthusiasm for her decision making process.

  21. This reminds me of that occasion when I met an ex-coworker, looked at her tummy, asked her about her pregnancy… and it turned it she wasn’t pregnant at all. It was just her tummy.

    I wanted to SINK THROUGH THE EARTH’S CRUST right then. And that’s how people who spread these pregnancy rumors ought to feel.

    So, does this mean the 2012 elections will be all about who’s pregnant with whom?

  22. Bristol Palin’s choice regarding pregnancy would not exist if her mother was able to write the laws.

    I read some of the Alaskan political blogs to get up to speed on Palin in general and an explanation of what the “Babygate” rumor is appears in a blog posting at Mudflats in this form:

    The rumors, though, say one of two things: either Sarah’s new baby is actually NOT her baby at all, but her 17-year old daughter Bristol’s baby, or the new baby is hers, but Bristol, a senior in high school is now pregnant.

    The more scurrilous first rumor gained traction partially because Sarah Palin was caught in a bald faced lie about “Troopergate”. Also, the 9 hour plane flight after the water broke strikes many as, well, a bit unusual. The gist of my reading is that Alaska is small, folks knew Bristol was pregnant, but they couldn’t peg the timeline. In lieu of facts, rumors – one of which happened to be true. Ugly, but Alaskan politics is a fascinating train wreck.

    If nothing else, I thank mcCain for introducing me to the hypnotic cesspool of Alaskan politics.

  23. John, I’ll grant you that statement by Rush was out there – I hadn’t heard it. I must have missed the show that day. But there’s certainly a difference between entertainers like Rush, who are, in effect, paid to say outrageous things, and political analysts. Rush, and say, Ann Coulter on the right are the equivalent of Michael Moore, and Al Franken before he decided to run for office. Both sides are going to say stupid, objectionable things.

  24. You cannot hide #5 that well, that far along. Perhaps if you are a teenager with your first one, you can. But you cannot carry number five like number one–and Sarah Palin was double her size with number one, by the way, there are definite photos of that.

    It really, really depends on a number of factors, some of which vary from pregnancy to pregnancy — how much weight you’ve gained, how the baby is positioned, whether you have a condition such as oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid). The child in question has Trisomy 21, and only weighed about six pounds at birth, so we’re not talking about a giant baby.

    I’m currently nine months into my second pregnancy, and don’t look anywhere near that far along — a change from my first pregnancy, where I was in maternity clothes before the end of the first trimester. It would have been quite easy at six months to hide it entirely under a jacket. I just didn’t gain much weight at all, and the way I’m carrying him, I’m measuring a month and a half behind.

  25. Samuel Tinianow:

    “Since I know first-hand that this kind of alleged familial cover-up was in practice as recently as the 20th century”

    Involving a sitting governor? Who is seen up close and personal by the press on a daily basis? And who is under intense scrutiny by said press for a number of other, unrelated political issues?

    Really, sorry, no. Saying you need actual refutation that a sitting governor engaged in a complex scheme to fake her own pregnancy in order to hide the fact her daughter was pregnant does not track, because such a thing is completely fucking stupid. The correct response is the response to make of any harebrained rumor: Where’s the proof the rumor-mongers have?

    What I’m seeing is people saying that she doesn’t look pregnant enough for them, which strikes me as one of the dumber things someone could say — pregnancies are highly variable, and I myself have known women who have gotten into their third trimester without looking like they were so, including women who had previously gotten quite large in earlier pregnancies. I’m embarrassed for folks that this is the argument they’re trying to use.

    Asking Palin to prove she wasn’t faking her pregnancy is very much in the same line of “senator, when did you stop beating your wife?” Shall we ask her to prove she’s not an alien while we’re at it? I mean, we don’t have proof she’s not.


    “But there’s certainly a difference between entertainers like Rush, who are, in effect, paid to say outrageous things, and political analysts.”

    Skip, I know that despite all textual evidence to the contrary, you do not think so little of me that you actually expect me to swallow the whopper that all Rush is to the right wing is an entertaining and pleasant way to while away one’s commute.

  26. David @ 9
    Why do you think that McCain’s folks would release Palin’s medical records when they are fighting so hard to keep his under wraps?

    Obama’s response is indeed spot on. Good on ya.

    OTOH even CBS is questioning her fitness as VP http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/01/politics/animal/main4405240.shtml and truth about the recent series of lies by her about her past history is starting to surface. Her own, obviously unvetted, past coming to light is all that is really needed to illustrate McCain’s “judgement” ability.

  27. I listened to Al Franken a few times a week during the three years he was on Air America, and while I didn’t agree with everything he said, I found that he assiduously avoided saying stupid, objectionable things. He wasn’t perfect at it, but he was pretty darned good.

    The “everyone does it” defense shouldn’t be used beyond third grade.

  28. And the whole ‘Fake Baby Mama Gate’ thing wasn’t only appallingly stupid but downright creepy. Sorry, but when supposedly serious political blogs are inviting people to closely examine photos of the “professional tightness” of Sarah Palin’s clothes for evidence of preggy-bumpiness… I’ve got to check the masthead to make sure I’ve not had some bot redirect me to a particularly creepy fetish site.

    And, my God, doesn’t the mere fact of her selection (and Palin’s own record and public statements on matters of policy) provide enough ammo to ask substantive questions McCain’s judgement, and her sheer competence to be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office (and the tie-breaking vote in the Senate) in a time of war abroad and deep financial insecurity at home, without using her children as offensive weapons? There’s even some right-wingers out there who aren’t buying the Orwellian doublethink and asking some hard questions about Palin’s qualifications.

    To be coldly political about this, I think all FBMG has done is send McCain and Palin into the convention with a distraction, and public sympathy, they don’t deserve. And while it’s probably impossible to prove either way, I do think there is going to be some (totally undeserved) blowback from this for Obama. Fairly or not, candidates do get beaten over the heads for the sheer frak-wittery of their respective nutroots.

  29. Knowing the kind of media scrutiny of one’s family, fair or not, that comes with being a candidate for national office, if I had an unwed pregnant daughter I would not have accepted the offer to run for VP. The daughter has enough to deal with without adding all the media attention to it.

  30. Samuel Tinianow: for the love God, man, drop it, will you please? I live ten miles from the women. My kid is in the same school system as Bristol Palin. As many have noted, it’s not a big town, everybody knows everybody, and everybody knows everybody else’s business. Trig, is Sarah Palin’s kid. The rumors to the contrary are manufactured bullshit, and not even good bullshit, just crazy crap that has gained a foothold because people like you won’t let it go. I met Palin in person, when she was pregnant, she looked like a pregnant woman, she acted like a pregnant woman – now understand, I didn’t actually perform a OBGYN exam on her, and for some reason she didn’t invite either myself or the press cameras into the delivery room – but I’m pretty fucking sure she was pregnant.

    Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, this rumor is even dumber than the creationism/evolution crap yesterday. I’m no fan of McCain, but for crying out loud if you’re going to vote, at least base your opinion on something other than this silly nonsense.

  31. The (increasingly remote) possibility that Palin covered up her daughter’s pregnancy doesn’t bother me that much. Surely there’s a place in the “no abortion, no birth control, abstinence only education” belief system for the
    “raise your child’s baby as your own” contingency. If that’s really what happened, I’d say Palin is pretty much on message.

    I’d let the whole thing drop, but there’s still a point that demands explanation. I question the judgment of a woman who would fly across the country while eight months pregnant and leaking amniotic fluid. All because, er, “You can’t have a fish picker from Texas”. Honestly, find me any doctor who would sign off on letting a woman in that condition fly for nine hours instead of sending her directly to the nearest hospital. That’s extremely risky behaviour.

  32. But there’s certainly a difference between entertainers like Rush, who are, in effect, paid to say outrageous things, and political analysts.

    Yes. “Entertainers” like Malkin, Rush and Coulter are a huge part of the right-wing noise machine, whereas political analyists don’t have much of an audience. Comparing them to Michael Moore is one thing (although Moore, as far as I know, has not posted the home addresses of people he disagrees with, nor has threatened conservatives with a baseball bat), but kindly don’t pretend that these people float out there in the ether while right-wingers merely shake their heads at their high-spirited antics.

  33. I hereby promise that I will vote for whatever candidate chooses a verified extraterrestrial as a running mate. That would be soooo cool.

    Oh, I suppose that there are constitutional problems with that. Never mind.

    Why “dignify abject stupidity”? The rules of media logic. If a certain scandalous rumor about Palin is proved to be utterly baseless, then all future scandalous rumors will be treated as false. She is very lucky to have this happen to her.

  34. Funny – unless the boyfriend is 17 too, Alaska would be the only (?) state that he wouldn’t have commited statutary rape, right? Not that I particularly agree with the concept of that being really wrong between certain age groups at their age, but I’m merely pointing out it would have probably had more interesting political repurcussions in any other state!

    Also, it’ll be interesting to see how she sticks to her abstinence-only educational ideals now that she’s seen just how that works out! Ha. That whole concept baffles me. A friend of mine who has been running HIV facilities in a country with particularly bad rates of infection (can’t name it as it’s still a bit of a hot potato with her, and she *is* the boss) has had to take down her condom posters whenever the US funding people visit, as they’re insisting that abstinence-only is enforced there, too. Crazy, just crazy. Ah, well… I’ll just go back into my little cave in England!

  35. For me the point is: I am a feminist that believes in freedom of choice and privacy when it comes to my health concerns. I MUST absolutely grant that to Governor Palin and her daughter, whether or not they agree with me. It’s none of my damn business.

    There are so many OTHER good reasons to discuss Governor Palin’s policies, even where they touch on abstinence, sex education, and the right to choice. I do not need to know about her sex life or her daughter’s sex life to know that Governor Palin’s position could threaten my access to birth control, should she and McCain win in November.

    Over at Shakespeare’s Sister, they’ve started a Misogyny Watch for Palin, as they did with Clinton, because they note that misogynist tactics aren’t any less misogynistic because they are directed at somebody you disagree with. To quote the crew there, “We defend Sarah Palin against misogynist smears not because we endorse her or her politics, but because that’s how feminism works.” Likewise, I defend Palin’s daughter’s right to make choices that are either congruent or not with her mother’s policies (which I disagree with) and both Palin and her daughter’s right to medical privacy when it comes to making decisions about fertility.

    Again, please note: LOTS of stuff to criticize Palin on WITHOUT getting personal.

  36. Chris Billett: You mentioned your friend having to take down the posters whenever the US funding people visit. That’s the not-so-awesome side effect of Bush reinstating the Global Gag Rule after he took office. You can read more about that here: http://www.globalgagrule.org/ It’s a really pernicious bit of work, it is.

  37. I am deeply saddened to hear of a 17 year old who is pregnant and planing to parent the baby. This would have been a great PR coup for the “ADOPTION NOT ABORTION” right-wingers if the girl was given the opportunity make an adoption plan for her baby.

    I am strongly pro-choice, and respect her choice to continue the pregnancy (if it is truly her choice) but asking a 17 year old to be a parent to show off her mother’s Family Values is just sad. Oh, and the BBC says the girl and the baby’s father are going to get married. Why do these people feel the need for that?

    The baby is the looser in the equation.

    I agree with earlier posters who point out how effective “abstinence only” sex ed is. My son was subjected to that at school, and my DH and I made sure we closed the knowledge gap in his education.

  38. “Among other things, it’s stupid to have assumed a) that the most newsworthy women in the entire state of Alaska (and one of the most newsworthy women politicians in the US) could have successfully faked a pregnancy,”

    You’d think, then, she wouldn’t have been able to surprise absolutely everyone (according to the Anchorage Daily News) with the announcement seven months in (and just a month before the birth).

    I don’t think the rumors would have started if the official story on record didn’t sound so utterly strange.

  39. I do feel for the young lady and do not think she needs to be dragged into the media circus! However I just don’t have a lot of respect for her mother putting her child, children in this position! I do still think there is some kind of cover up with the down’s syndrome baby! But my main issue with Palin is that she is a big hypocrite! I’m glad this girl is choosing to keep her child and the good thing about that is that she is choosing! Palin does not believe in a woman’s RIGHT TO CHOOSE!! Palin has no right to dictate to other’s what there choice should be! I do not personally believe in abortion but I don’t believe I have the right to dictate to someone else what they need to do! Also I disagree with her solution to teen pregnance being absinence only! You see it didn’t work for her child! Their needs to be sex education! They say that teen pregnancy is especially high in Alaska! Seems like to me as PTA mom, mayor and governor she should have been trying to come up with some solutions on decreasing teen pregnancy McCain just disgusts me with such POOR JUDGMENT!!!!

  40. I find it funny that had the media not come out with this ridiculous story of her being the Grandmother of her youngest then perhaps she would not have been inclined to tell the world of her daughter’s VERY private pregnacy just to debunk the previous. On the Flip side SHAME on CNN for asking “Did she not think before accepting the position on the ticket how this would weigh on her 17 year old daughter.” Sad that the decission to run for a government office is based on wether your child is pregnant. I suppose I should resign my position in the morning, My Daughter gave me a Grandchild at the age of 37 and still I managed to function excellently running the 4 dealerships I have had place within my charge.
    REALLY? Can we not find something worth discussing about her SERVICE?

  41. And there’s a fundamental hypocrisy from the “noise machine” that really need to be taken head on.

    If “experience” isn’t a disqualification for Palin, then it’s no longer a credible stick to bash the more experienced Obama over the head with.

    If Biden is an out of touch “Washington insider”, so is John McCain.

    Sauce for the donkey is sauce for the elephant. Isn’t it?

  42. For all you who are saying Sarah does not believe in birth control you need to do your research, Palin is a long term member of a group called Feminists for Life, which is not opposed to birth control. So you probably can’t tag her for leading the youth of Alaska to unwanted pregnancies.Also for those saying that Bristol is the father of the infant are just stupid and illogical. Down syndrome babies usually result in pregnancies where the mother is a lot older and why would any hospital release medical records, they would all be in serious trouble with Hippa policies. Why cant we accept that her daughter made the wrong choice and move forward and stop assuming. Plus i know that if it would have been a man running for vice-president this would have never been a big deal.

  43. @26 Ian M.: Troopergate, from what I’ve been able to find out, is a bunch of crap. The guy she fired was already under investigation when she took office. And her ex-brother in law not only was caught drinking in his squad car, he threatened to kill his father-in-law during the messy divorce proceedings. AND he tasered his step-son for fun. Lovely fella who should have been horsewhipped.

    And as for taking the plane ride after her water broke, remember this was her fifth pregnancy. By that point she knew exactly what was going on, and how much time she had. Not exactly her first rodeo, so to speak. My wife’s water broke 15 hours before our oldest was born. Having the plug come out doesn’t mean the baby is headin’ down the chute in five minutes.

    @39 Chris: The age of consent in Alaska is 16. In addition, Palin has publicly stated her support for contraception.

    “In 2002, when she was running for lieutenant governor, Palin sent an e-mail to the anti-abortion Alaska Right to Life Board saying she was as “pro-life as any candidate can be” and has “adamantly supported our cause since I first understood, as a child, the atrocity of abortion.”

    Palin said last month that no woman should have to choose between her career, education and her child. She is pro-contraception and said she’s a member of a pro-woman but anti-abortion group called Feminists for Life. ”


    @43 Fiona: They’re getting married. That’s a good thing. My parents were 18 and 17 when they got married, (under the strong objections of her parents, I might add) a marriage that lasted 59 years.

    Guess what? It’s her call. They’re both from the same hometown, so I suspect they’ll have plenty of family help, which makes a difference in a case like this.

    Why does everyone assume a teen marriage is doomed? Talk about being judgmental!!!!!

  44. May as well defend the daughter/granddaughter thing…

    John, don’t you want to live in a world where the most interesting scandals and mudslinging are that a politician lied to help save someone’s reputation? The “faked pregnancy to save her daughter” thing is quaint. If it’s true, its hardly a mark against her. Most of the recent candidates (or presidents) have rather noxious scandals (whether true or false). I personally would be much happier if the the scandal was a) true and b) the worst that could be said about any of the major candidate for the next few decades.

    “Romantic Fever” is a subject everyone can relate to, and relatively harmless as gossip goes.

    Let’s face it, the Alaskan press found her pregnancy fishy (as previous posters had noticed). Scandals rarely start unless someone notices a piscatorial aspect. I, for one, found the entire thing charming enough to kind of hope it was true.

    As for plausible, well yes. People don’t normally plan their lives assuming a microscope, even governors. Remember that Clinton took a while to adapt to the fact that everything he said was recorded and that the press (or GOP) would point out his contradictions (saying one thing one day, and another the next). People do stupid things because they think nobody will notice/catch them. Like quoting British Socialist’s life history as their own. Or daring the press to uncover their adulterous lifestyle. This ‘conspiracy’ is a bit more daring, since it would involve multiple people, but if they all thought they were helping out a young woman (and a politically well connected young woman, at that), I can imagine 5-10 people keeping quiet about it. The doctors would probably consider it a professional duty.

    The photographic “proof” looked fishy (assuming the photos were legit) but all the other stuff is what gave it the ring of truth. Most of the pregnant women I know get exceedingly cautious, and the flying on an airline at 8 months just seemed wrong. I was going to ask an OB/GYN I know what he would think, but it doesn’t matter now. Apparently Gov Palin is a hardier sort, but it struck me as weird. [I guess that it was the result of it being her fifth pregnancy … all of my friends are currently on their 1st or second, people are more cautious in novel situations].

  45. Sarah Palin was not married when she got pregnant with her son Track. She eloped with her high school husband without telling anyone supposedly because she knew her family could not afford a big wedding. This seems very strange. The press should really look into this.

  46. Pat @ 41: Snort, thanks, man, that made my day.

    Fionia@ 43: You say you’re deeply saddened, mostly because you’ve created an entirely projected situation to be sad about. “I’m strongly pro-choice” – yeah, just as long as she makes the same choice you would. Bah.

    Will @ 44: She made that announcement in March. March is the middle of winter here. We tend to wear heavy bulky clothes because it’s usually around -30F at that time of year. Palin isn’t the first woman to be pregnant and nobody realize it around here – unless you happened to be in an office with her. The official story isn’t strange to us, or even noteworthy actually.

  47. See this YouTube video. Some republican, some patriot Palin is LOL In the vid she calls the Alaska Independence Party’s convention “inspiring”. Well, the AIP wants to cede from the United States and become a break away republic, using their oil wealth to run things.

    Their founder who passed away, refused to be buried anywhere near an American Flag.

    WHat a mess Palin is.

    Here it is on The YouTube…

  48. Hooray for Obama for keeping things on track (or trying to!)!!!

    And, after hearing about all of these skeletons in Gov. Palin’s closet, I am kind of hoping she’s leaning a little more to the middle than the hard-core conservatives… otherwise, she’s just a hypocrite!!!

  49. Dave in Georgia @ 49, I did not say that a teen marriage is doomed, but I did say the situation is very sad and I feel the baby will be the looser in the equation. An unplanned teenage pregnancy is NOT ideal.

    I would think that teen marriages were much more common 59 years ago than they are now. I would HOPE that we had come farther in 59 years than to say to a pregnant 17 year old that she should marry the birthfather and they should raise the baby.

    Honestly, do you really think that is the best choice for the baby and the girl? My point was that if you are anti-choice, then at least consider making an adoption plan for the baby so that it can be raised by ADULT parents, not teenagers.

  50. Hey, folks, keep in mind that Palin is an athlete and lives the standard Alaska lifestyle. She goes hunting all the time, has run marathons in the past, was the point guard on her high school basketball team (where she got the nickname “Barracuda”) and helped lead them to a state title. She’s not necessarily going to big out, okay.

    @51 J: Please get serious. So what?

    And if anyone things something like this would get the fundies’s shorts in a wad, guess again. They’ll look at all this as liking her because she did the right thing in their eyes. You do something, you take responsibility. And that’s not just a fundie thing, okay?

    And the thing with the daughter, again, not a negative to the religious right.

  51. John:

    What I’m seeing is people saying that she doesn’t look pregnant enough for them, which strikes me as one of the dumber things someone could say — pregnancies are highly variable, and I myself have known women who have gotten into their third trimester without looking like they were so, including women who had previously gotten quite large in earlier pregnancies.

    Okay, that’s more along the lines of what I was looking for, thanks. Being a 23-year-old male I haven’t known too many pregnant women, so if I’m embarrassing myself then I guess that’s how it goes. Sorry I had to beat it out of you.

  52. I guess that it was the result of it being her fifth pregnancy … all of my friends are currently on their 1st or second, people are more cautious in novel situations

    We’ve had three.

    In my experience, labor goes faster with each one. My wife was a bit under-cautious with #3, which meant that she had a baby half an hour after arriving at the hospital. Her doctor didn’t have time to arrive, nor did the on-call doctor from his practice. The delivery was handled by the on-call doctor for the hospital, who we met about 5 minutes before the birth.

    Mention of the eight-hour plane flight had her practically convinced on its own.

  53. Jim Wright @ 52, I DON’T think she should have an abortion IF it is not her choice. I am not in favor of forcing people to have abortions.

    My point is that a 17 year old should know about birth control and be very aware of her choices even if she chooses to carry the pregnancy to term…. she should not have to place the baby for adoption any more than she should have to raise a baby she did not plan to have.

    Very few 17 year old unmarried girls PLAN to be parents.

  54. @55 Fiona:

    “An unplanned teenage pregnancy is NOT ideal.”

    Agreed. But having family around to help makes a lot of difference. It’s small-town Alaska, which may very well be a plus.

    “Honestly, do you really think that is the best choice for the baby and the girl? ”

    Beats the crap out of me. Not my call. But I know what I don’t know. Don’t know the families, the kids, etc.

    “My point was that if you are anti-choice, then at least consider making an adoption plan for the baby so that it can be raised by ADULT parents, not teenagers.”

    Maybe they did, but the daughter made it clear that she wanted the baby and is mature enough to make that kind of decision. 17 doesn’t mean immaturity any more than someone in the 50’s is necessarily mature. With family support, it can work. And her family is obviously very stable.

  55. Fiona @43: Two things:

    First, please shut up. You are not helping; you are part of this mess of taking a 17-year-old woman’s private life and making it national gossip. Doing so in such sanctimonious “how could she” tones of voice is nauseating.

    Second, you have no evidence that she was “asked to parent the child just to show off her mother’s Family Values.” None, whatsoever. You are projecting that onto her, because you are incapable of imagining that a 17-year-old woman is capable of forming an independent opinion that she wants to keep her baby. This lack of imagination is your flaw, not Ms. Palin’s.

  56. Brooks Moses:

    You’re not the one here who gets to tell other people to shut up. Please file that away for future reference. Thanks.

  57. I am a “44” yr old Full-time working mother ….and now grandmother……………….Any mom worth her salt……..cannot give her full attention to such an Critically high office……….
    Any mother………..
    under investigation………..
    with five children………………..
    one pregnant………………..
    one with a medical condition…………….
    can”NOT”…and I don’t care how experienced she is and I don’t care how many people are supporting her……..MY GOD!!!where are the real mom’s are………………..that can tell the truth……………about how tired they are???

  58. Brooks Moses @ 61

    No, I won’t “just shut up.” I never said “how could she” and my point STILL is that I find the whole situation sad. I want 17-year-old girls to have information about birth control and, unlike this girl’s mother, I want 17-year-olds to have the CHOICE of continuing a pregnancy or terminating it.

    I am capable of imagining a 17-year-old girl’s ability to make an independent opinion. I once was a 17-year-old girl. I still feel sorry for the baby.

  59. The claims about Palin being “feminist” sound weird. Read some of the policy statements she made while running for governor of Alaska:


    Saying she supports contraception is a bit rich, when she explicitly said she didn’t support teaching explicit sex-ed, i.e. learning about how your body works and how to use contraception efficiently…

    Oh, and I like that one too: she believes in “honoring the family structure”!

    That was about denying gays the right to marry, BTW.


  60. #43 Fiona:

    Barack Obama’s mother was only 18 when she had him. Do you think he considers himself a “loser?”

    And for those who want to know the real story behind Palin’s flight, here’s a link. It covers the whole thing, from where she was in her pregnancy to how she felt when she flew:


    One of the nutcases above, Julia, I think, said Palin’s OBGYN had been “scrubbed” from the record. A simple google search of “sarah palin doctor” brought this link up.

    One more thing, the abstinence teachings aren’t going to do well when we have a society as sex-crazed as ours. For God’s sake, they’re putting erotica in Young Adult books nowadays! They put giant “Sex in the City” billboards up!

    Abstinence would be a good thing, but our society simply won’t allow it. Sad.

  61. Sarah Palin did not fly while in active labor. In fact, her labor had to be induced in the hospital.

    I, too, had leaking fluid with my 2nd child. I also had to be induced. It was no fun.

    With my third, I waited to go to the hospital until I was sure labor had started, and then I still had to wait 7 hours to give birth!

    People, get a grip. Sarah didn’t do anything wrong.

    Also for the record, Sarah belongs to a group, Feminists for Life I think it’s called, that is pro-contraception. So, she does believe in choice, but not in murder.

    Why this is so difficult to understand is beyond me.

  62. Sex out of wedlock is not the big deal it used to be. But I’m not sure those conservatives have realized that yet. My generation is not a generation without values… we just have different ones!!!

  63. #51 J

    Getting married after a baby is conceived seems very “strange” to you? I heard today that Obama’s parents did that very same thing!

    If you really want to discuss something strange, let’s talk about presidential wannabe’s who think of babies as punishment. Can you think of anyone?

  64. Elizabeth C: One more thing, the abstinence teachings aren’t going to do well when we have a society as sex-crazed as ours.

    So it’s basically irresponsible to teach abstinence in the real world, isn’t it?

    And as for “putting erotica in YA books”… Please. We are not talking about young children, here! Teenagers have hormones. They are in the process of developing adult bodies and feelings. Of course they are interested in sex, either from a practical point of view (which is the domain of sex ed), or a romantic one. So erotic stories or art (tales of “first night”, for instance) can be appropriate for young adults.

  65. I don’t think the issue is that Sarah Palin’s 17 year old daughter is pregnant; I think the issue is that people shouldn’t act so pious when it can happen to anyone. I wish her daughter all the best because she has a rough road ahead of her. Unfortunately, in this day and age, 17 year olds getting pregnant are more common than it should be and, unfortunately for Sarah Palin’s daughter, she is directly in the limelight and will be talked about for days to come. Yes, it is true that it is a private family matter but for the Republican party and their holier than thou attitude, this is just plain comedy. They want to make comments on how Obama had roman pillars behind him and, “He thinks he’s an emperor.” Can we discuss the real issues here instead of nonsense? I want to know about the economy, the future of my children’s education, and health insurance.

  66. Irene & 19yearoldnerd:

    I used to live in an inner city neighborhood where most people were on welfare and kept right on pumping out the kids. They hung around at home all day watching Jerry Springer while their kids were out skipping school, doing drugs and having sex.

    I’ve seen what the effects of kids being exposed too early to sex are and they’re not good…unless you want to turn society into a larger picture of what I just described.

  67. Elizabeth C:

    “So, she does believe in choice, but not in murder.”

    Oddly enough, as do the people who believe abortion should be an option. And if you don’t believe it, check with the law. It’s pretty clear as to what is murder here in the US. Abortion isn’t it.

    Do me a favor, Elizabeth C., and leave the penny ante rhetorical bullshit like this off my site. If you can’t manage that, then don’t comment on this particular thread anymore.

  68. I didn’t think the rumor was crazy on its face — I may have felt differently if the rumors about John Edwards that were absurd two months ago hadn’t turned out to be entirely true. (Not that the two things have anything in the world to do with each other, but it did make me wonder about the calibration on my BS detector.) That said, the calls to “disprove” the rumor are way excessive. Politicians are not obliged to start handing over medical records the minute somebody comes up with an interesting theory.

  69. I don’t think Sarah Palin’s daughter really had an ‘informed choice’, given that her parents seem opposed to allowing her the information she actually needed (sex education). Teen pregnancy is usually heartbreaking, removing options and futures from young girls, no matter how you look at it. Parents who impose their belief systems on their children without realizing it is simply that, a belief, are really abusing them.
    Parents have the right to believe what they want, but they don’t have the right to impose that belief, in the form of brainwashing, on their children.

  70. I feel that having sex out of wedlock is a big deal. I did at 15 and got pregnant the first time! My mother and dad stood by me, that is what loving parents are suppose to do. Look at the number of unplanned pregnancies and compare them to the number of abortions, some young ladies and parents (not all) feel that if they get pregnant, abortion is an option and it is for some but why put yourself in the position? There are STD’s, AIDs, stuff that will kill you! Sex comes with maturity because it is an emotional thing. Sleeping with someone sould be special, not a recreational sport and I feel some people treat it like that.
    I respect the younger generation views on a number of things but knowing what I do now at 48…..I would have chose differently (sex) would not have been an option for me.
    I agree with Pat that a woman with 5 children, 1 with Downs Syndrome, and a grandchild on the way is more than a notion with one child let lone 5. Who will be there to help her daughter understand what her body is going through? Who will be there to calm her if something goes wrong with the pregnancy? My mom never left my side, she was there all nine months and a real MOTHER should know that.

  71. Janie, are you saying that you think having 5 children should disqualify a woman from being vice president?

  72. What I cannot understand is why this young girl does not instead offer the baby up for adoption? That is being pro-life, yes? I am pro-choice but I know when I was younger if I had gotten pregnant, I would have gone the adoption route. I am not sure that this is Bristol’s decision though. I believe that her mother made this decision for her. She should consider giving the child up. She’s 17, has college to look forward to and an entire life. Having a baby should not be a reason to get married. She may have no feelings for the father of the baby. Emotions change frequently when you’re young. Now she’s being forced to marry this guy. Does she really want that?

    I think good family values would be to put the baby up for adoption to a family less fortunate in fertility. Finish school, go to college, get a job and live life and enjoy it while you’re still young.

  73. Brandy, then do you think Obama’s mother should have given him up for adoption, too? She was only 18 when she had him.

  74. >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.

    Hypothetical; shame, John. :)
    And I suspect Rush Limbaugh is having a really hard time doing without his oxycontin right now. Self-restraint is frustrating. :)

    >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,

    It would be nice if it worked, alas, it applies mostly to teenagers (snicker).

    >women’s control of their bodies,

    >birth control,
    Like gun control, measured breathing helps.

    >Roe v. Wade,

    It would be nice if all the people pro and con, actually read the decision, which is pretty well reasoned, and not what most people on either side think it is. No one ever does.

    >whether medical professionals can refuse on religious
    >grounds to give treatment to women
    Sometimes (I love Kosh-like answers.)

    Jack Tingle

  75. #73 John
    “It’s pretty clear as to what is murder here in the US. Abortion isn’t it”

    I believe Roe v. Wade pertains to the issue of privacy between a woman and her doctor, yes?

    I know I won’t convince you that something actually dies when an abortion is committed, but…


  76. Hi John,

    I don’t think the rumors that Palin is her son’s grandmother are “stupid.” They’re merely unproven. What is stupid, and very ugly, is the idea that you can or should publish the idea until you have absolute proof. Given Palin’s behavior – flying after her water broke – and the pictures, I think it’s reasonable to be suspicious.

    Also, like the other posters above, I’ve also known families in which a teenage pregnancy was attributed to the grandmother. It seems like a fairly typical response to teen pregnancy during the first two-thirds of the 20th century, and I don’t doubt that it continues in some families. It’s ugly, hurtful, and very dysfunctional, and it does immense damage.

    For the rest of it – Bristol’s pregnancy – I say it’s open season. The Republican machines, as a matter of snarling, bullying, vote-crazed reflex, would do the same to you, me, or Mother Teresa, if they thought it would influence an election. Lies, slander, and hate are natural to these people, and they won’t stop until they’ve been (metaphorically) beaten to a bloody pulp.

  77. Alex, you’re not helping your cause with that stuff. Even Obama himself has distanced himself from the Kos blog postings on this matter.

  78. Given the truckload of other, real crap that came out about her today, having people go nuts on this story, however awkwardly timed and presented, has sucked up all the oxygen.

    Today the national media got their teeth into:
    1. Her involvement with AIP.
    2. Her quest for earmarks as a mayor (contra the reformer image)
    3. Her support for the Bridge to Nowhere, making her a liar out of the box

    This is all on top of the unanswerable problem that picking her makes McCain into a gigantic hypocrite on the whole foreign policy experience thing.

    Granted, journalists are still pursuing those things (Campbell Brown ripped McCain’s surrogate a new one on the experience thing tonight) but it has basically been all inappropriate meddling in a teen pregnancy all the time. Ironically, given everything else, McCain’s peeps (quite perversely) may actually be glad to have to flack on the pregnancy story. At least they have the high ground in telling people to shove off about Bristol.

  79. Ok, about the teenage daughter being pregnant. Normally this is not an issue, however, Palin said when running for governor in 2006 that she would support funding for abstinence-only education in schools, now let’s assume this is not a virgin pregnancy, proving abstinance education only, didn’t work.

    Now as far as the Down Syndrome child. First, the energy and time it takes to provide what’s needed for a child with special needs is a full load. Who’s going to carry that Load? I say, and I can’t imagine how the “Family Values” preachers can argue this…that the most important need of that child will be A caring and attentive Mother and Father. So where will she get the time?

    This also leads to a question of judgement. While pregnant with her last child, the VP decided to go on a trip that led her to Texas where she began leaking fluid. Instead of going to the nearest Hospital or Urgent care which were in abundance, she decided to board a commercial airliner while in LABOR. HUH? The Doctor’s in Texas weren’t competant enough for her so she chose to take a 14 hour flight so that Ed (from Northern Exposure, who was a shaman in apprentice, last I saw) could deliver the baby? This was on a Friday, she was back at work on Monday. Somebody help me.

    McCain spent less time talking to this woman than I do deciding on Chicken or Pizza for dinner.

    There’s only one answer. McBush is caught up in the Obama Frenzy and doesn’t want to stand in the way of history by beating Obama.

  80. No, I am not saying that 5 children should eliminate a woman from anything, I’m a woman. What I am saying is when you have children, they become your priority because they are your responsibility. Noone can raise your children like you can specifically when you have girls.

  81. @88 Mr. Bee:

    “This also leads to a question of judgement. While pregnant with her last child, the VP decided to go on a trip that led her to Texas where she began leaking fluid. Instead of going to the nearest Hospital or Urgent care which were in abundance, she decided to board a commercial airliner while in LABOR. HUH?”

    She wasn’t in labor. She’d had false labor for months, and was on the phone to her own doctor in Alaska, checking in regularly.

    “The Doctor’s in Texas weren’t competant enough for her so she chose to take a 14 hour flight so that Ed (from Northern Exposure, who was a shaman in apprentice, last I saw) could deliver the baby?”

    Nice slam on her OBGYN, who had delivered her daughter seven years ago. I guess everyone in Alaska is a yahoo, right?

    Dude, get real. In fact, do your research before you start posting. Like maybe this article out of the Anchorage Daily News.


    “McCain spent less time talking to this woman than I do deciding on Chicken or Pizza for dinner.”

    Actually, McCain talked to her in February, and she made the cut every time they sliced down the VP list.


    Again, do your homework.

  82. Janie, I’m a little confused by your answer. You say no she shouldn’t be disqualified then you go on to say why she should be.

    Sheesh, maybe those feminists are wrong after all! No one can raise your children like you can…daycare…preschool…


    Maybe we’re supposed to be barefoot and in the kitchen after all!

  83. Will Entrekin @ 44:

    You’d think, then, she wouldn’t have been able to surprise absolutely everyone (according to the Anchorage Daily News) with the announcement seven months in (and just a month before the birth).

    Actually, delaying the announcement is exactly what one would do in a risky pregnancy. Also, I imagine “not looking pregnant” is relatively easy in winter in Alaska, with a baby that weighed only 6 pounds at birth.

    I grant you the last-minute flight is weird, but the rest of it is just nonsense, and there are so many more relevant things to talk about.

  84. I’m with Skip, not John, in the appraisal of the “right wing noise machine.” I am so disgusted with this kind of politics that I don’t actively listen to much left wing news anymore. I don’t listen to much right leaning news either (note the bias there). I have listened to Rush talk about things that have happened around Colorado and he has demagogued it all to hell. So, Mythago #37, we don’t just shake our heads, and we are not all out on the wing. We either listen or we don’t. That is where these clowns get their money. Rush, Coulter, and, to a lesser degree, Malkin put their own schtick on things. entertainers are like that.

    My experience has been that the left wingers are far worse. They are the masters of demagoguery. Just look at Michael Moore’s and John Spratt’s comments about Gustav descending on NO. http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2008/08/30/former-dnc-chair-laughs-about-timing-gustav-hitting-n-o. Let me know if that hits the major news shows.

    So when I heard that McCain chose Palin for his VP running mate, I cynically knew the shit was about to hit. I was still disappointed and that feeling is not likely to go away any time soon.

  85. John Scalzi
    “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”

    Perhaps, but if you dance around the subject, then you have to deal with interpretation of your dance.

    Her answer was blunt to the point end of story “they” got nothing out of it. She moves on.

    Daily Kos along with the Newsweek (kos works for Newsweek) that’s where they got the “photos” they were running to “prove” the lie That Trig was not her son but her grandson.

    If Newsweek is smart they will fire Kos and hope the millions that know about this, won’t talk. That’s not likely.

    Obama? Is true blued screwed even if he had NOTHING to do with these rumors that were blasted out Friday night, they will be linked to him and his minions and there is no way he can shake that.

    These rumors came out sooo fast they could only have been put together by a research group, and disseminated across the web that takes organization.

    That takes a campaign and the only one running against McCain/Palin is Obama.

    It may not be fair but that’s what happens when ya let the inmates run the asylum.

    And the other rumor that she caused Trig to have Down Syndrome because of improper pre-natal care (thank you Alan Colmes for being and idiot) or not getting to the hospital soon enough? The backfire on that is going to be extreme.

    “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.”

    YAWN, Trying to justify your actions base on some imaginary, never happened, scenario makes you sound like a moron or 12 year old

    “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.”

    Sorry but ya blew your credibly, and exposed your self as a partisan nut case.

    Reasonable questions? 4 hours ago the “reasonable question” you fools were asking for was a DNA test On Trig to PROVE that he was not Sarah Palin’s son.

    Any “reasonable question” you ask is going to be answered with “Im sorry weren’t you the one that wanted a DNA test on Trig?”


    Any “reasonable question” you ask is going to be answered with “ oh please, do I have to prove to you again THAT Down Syndrome caused by improper pre-natal care?”

    You can’t win, game set match.

    I wonder what Roves been up to lately?

  86. Pat Smythe:

    “entertainers are like that.”

    For “entertainers” they’re certainly on news programs as political commentators quite a lot. And “entertainers” don’t generally have their columns run in the opinion section of the newspaper. Now, it’s possible that people on the right can’t tell the difference between politics and entertainment. But while this would explain a whole lot about their politics, I’m willing to believe that most of them, in fact, understand the difference.

    So, please, stop trying to maintain these political commentators are just “entertainers.” It’s insulting to the intelligence of everyone who knows the difference. And if you honestly don’t know the difference, please learn. It’d be helpful to the discourse of the nation.

    Re: Doug Schoen:

    Ah, it appears the flyby morons have arrived. A quick check of the blog stats shows that CNN has linked here and thus we’re getting a new influx of people, some of whom apparently think they’re just all clever and withering and shit. Well, you know. You go with that, kids. In the meantime, just in case, here’s a link for the new folks to the comment rules.

    Play nice, and no one gets hurt.

  87. To be honest the response of the democratic party to Gov Palin has been an eye opener. Check out the comments sections of political sites, wow. Damn I didn’t take Hillary’s complaints about sexism very seriously but now the pure mean spirited garbage I see now pounds the message home. I’m sure Obama is rather appalled by the people speaking in his name. I am very disappointed that we seem to have a choice between the religious right vs the religious left in this election as I desire a secular, reality based government but thats America for you.

  88. PixelFish #40: I am glad that Shakespeare’s Sister is looking at misogynistic tactics against Palin. That is a good thing. I agree with you that criticism should be on Palin’s stance on issues as compared to one’s own. That is why I cannot vote for a Democrat Presidential candidate. The typical Democratic views on economics, tax policies, and some social issues goes against my views. Too bad so many go after these silly rumors just to wallow in moral superiority for a while.

  89. Charlie:

    Possibly, but just because they can’t tell the difference doesn’t mean I’m obliged to go along with their delusion.

  90. Elizabeth, I believe that each person have their own values and morals such as yourself. If you were to ask my husband about me, he would tell you, she is very independent, doesn’t like anyone telling her what she can and cannot do, I wanted to have 5 children but she wanted to have three and that is what we have. Because she was a young mother she decided not to go to college until all of our children were grown and out of the house because she worked 40+ hours a week and that was enough time to be away from the children. Our daughter although 27 now can call her about anything and she will stop what she is doing. These are some of the things that he would tell you. I believe that some children who have absent parents get into a number of things that they would not otherwise do. I also believe that some parents let their children do whatever they want to do. Daycares, preschools cannot insteal in your children the values that you can, you cannot be substituted. So, I don’t really understand your views and really what you are trying to say. I don’t like to put myself in any catagory, feminest or otherwise because I am my own woman and my views come from the order of which GOD has set. Am I perfect, No, am I right all the time? No, do I judge people? I honestly try not to. But do I believe that the world is in the state it is in because we have taken prayer out of the schools, have issues with Christmas, teenage pregnanies are in record numbers, molestation and so on and so on. Would you not agree that something, somewhere is wrong?

  91. C’mon, John. Not fair. There are so many more political commentators that are worth listening to on both sides than to resort to the entertainers. They are only on shows for their shock draw and the entertainment value. Sure their opinions are sought, but do you think they are going to sway anybody who isn’t already there over to their side? Not likely. I’d rather listen to George Will, Kondraki (sp), and Bill Crystal than Rush or Coulter. I do know the difference between entertainers and commentators. When they combine the two, I tend to question whether they are worth listening to anymore.

    If you are wondering whether we can tell the difference between politics and entertainment, did you watch the Obama extravaganza last Thursday? Maybe we all need some self-adjusting.

  92. I am relieved to see that so many of you are questioning all of the things I am about Sarah’s “alleged” pregnancy with her 5th child. I agree with some of the other posts, if she did in fact give birth to Trig it’s fairly simple just to release her medical records. I don’t believe it’s even possible that a mother would take a commercial flight after her water broke with a SPECIAL NEEDS, high risk pregnancy to fly all the way home to her small town hospital risking the life of her baby, herself and possibly the safety of the unsuspecting passengers of that plane. I think that little Trig was probably welcomed into this world long before Sarah ever made it home to her small town hospital, which seems to have no record of his birth now anyway?

  93. Dave in Georgia, HUH?
    Get your head out of your ass…I’m not dissing her doctor, I am dissing her judgement. A fourteen hour flight instead of getting checked out? And talk about dissing doctors…the doctors in Texas aren’t as good as those in Alaska? Are you joking?

    If she wasn’t in labor then the rumours are true that it wasn’t her child. The flight attendents all said she didn’t look pregnant and after giving birth to a child at age 42, she shows up for work on Monday? I guess she is Uberwwoman.

    You didn’t address my point of the needs of a down syndrome baby. Don’t tell me to do my research, I have..stop drinking the Kool-Aid..this is the worst pick since the Trailblazers selected Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan.

  94. Pat Smythe:

    “They are only on shows for their shock draw and the entertainment value.”

    Oh, bah, Pat. This is the rationalization that gets pulled out when people complain, quite accurately, that the right celebrates commentators whose only genuine value is knife work. Their purpose is not “entertainment”; their purpose is to introduce scum into the discourse, because it’s politically useful to have that scum in the discourse.

    If their main purpose, as you continue to suggest, is “entertainment value,” then get them the fuck out of my news shows. I don’t watch news for “entertainment,” and it’s a piss-poor rationalization for their presence.

  95. What I cannot understand is why this young girl does not instead offer the baby up for adoption? That is being pro-life, yes? I am pro-choice but I know when I was younger if I had gotten pregnant, I would have gone the adoption route.

    Because women who get pregnant, even teenage women, might feel a connection to their babies, and not want to give them away like goldfish?

    I really can’t stand the way that people who have never seriously thought of adoption, either from the side of the first parents or the adoptive parents, treat it so cavalierly. While I’m sure that there are some women who can blithely give their babies away without a second thought, many others find it very emotionally difficult, even when they eventually do decide to go through with the adoption. It’s not like they can just necessarily go right back to being 17-year-old girls with no concerns other than college and boys — it’s still a decision with consequences they have to carry around forever, as earlier generations’ adoption experiences have amply demonstrated.

    Older parents may be able to provide the baby with more material things, but that doesn’t automatically make them superior parents. The best parent for a baby is one who wants to raise the child and do her best for it, regardless of her age. Choosing to adopt a baby is a much more serious matter than going down to the local animal shelter, and so is choosing to place your child for adoption. It CAN be the best choice, but it isn’t automatically so.

    Oh, and I’m speaking as someone who was somewhat “less fortunate in fertility”, although I did manage to get pregnant with assistance. Very few phrases make an infertile couple’s hackles rise faster than “why don’t you just adopt?”, and it’s no better to ask “why don’t you just give it away?”. Parenting is way too big a decision to be treated so flippantly.

  96. Mr. Bee, et al:

    I’m going to start deleting posts in which people tell other people to “get their heads out of their ass” or any other similar such thing. Argue the topics, don’t whack on each other. If you can’t manage that, I’ll be happy to toss you. Don’t think I won’t.

  97. But all of this insanity aside. Are you really going to tell me that this is the best that Grandpa’s Old Party can present?
    Forget all of the personal stuff..when the American people scream for change…and listen up DAVE. We don’t want more of the same and worse even. She’s an ultra right wing Buchanan worshipper. That’s the facts. She’s also a liar. She lied about the “bridge to nowhere”. She doesn’t know anything about Iraq….her words. Her take a giant step socially backwards ideas are an insult.

    For ages you neo cons have been screaming, “let us be in control” and look what you have done. Just Look….put the freaking Kool Aid down and LOOK.

    Oh and I guess you’re so ashamed of this administration that you’ll use anything to avoid it…oh yes Bush is watchin’ “that Russian Hurricane”..too late Bub, you had your chance three years ago and people died and lives were turned upside down.

    Here’s a message to all of you conservatives….GO AWAY. Just shut up for about six years. You have to go to the corner and wear your dunce hats.

  98. Delete whatever you like. But try deleting the lying crap that passes for arguments first. When someone just goes with the party line and say things they know they would never accept from their oppositions…that’s a problem..and I’ll speak out anytime I wish…this country is still ours..no matter how hard this administration has tried to stop freedom of thought and speech.

  99. While I don’t care either way about Palin’s last kid, it would make an interesting point if her “my child is gonna be an *Alaskin*!” statements (per the plane ride) were looked at in terms of the AIP association mentioned above.

    Obama’s mother was 18 (legal age folks) and Palin’s daughter is 16/17?

    And for all you DKos bashers, I suppose your getting lots of internet points from the McCain campaign site?

    A) kos works for -Newsweek- ? *guffah*
    B) Out of 100’s of thousands of people who could (trolls included) post stupid /who’s baby was it/ stuff, maybe 6 to 8 did so. With the appropriate scorn.

    Peddle that trash to somebody who might actually believe that it’s a valid take on the site.

  100. I think that the previous Grandmother rumours were invented and spread by stupid, and vile, and a whole bunch of other adjectives people — the first of which are Alaskans. The dKos people “merely” adapted them for their own purposes. (there is an Alaskan newspaper aticle about original rumors that I can’t seem to find right now)

    This very favorable to Palin Time magazine article:
    In Wasilla, Pregnancy Was No Secret – TIME
    came out today — so there was really no choice but to try to get out ahead of the story.

    Palin’s made a lot of enemies during her rapid rise the the Governor’s office. I think the most important part of her career was while and after she was the Ethics Commissioner the the Oil and Gas Board she exposed the corrupt Board and Republican Party Chairman (one guy).

    I think she has a lot of good small government type ideas — to go along with the social conservative stuff. This is the traditional half-a-loaf deal that small l type libertarians have been buying from the Republican Party forever.

  101. Mr. Bee:

    “I’ll speak out anytime I wish…this country is still ours..no matter how hard this administration has tried to stop freedom of thought and speech.”

    That may be so, but this is my site and you’ll behave here by my rules, or you won’t post here at all. The First Amendment doesn’t apply here. And here, people’s piss-poor arguments are left on unmolested, so that others can pick them apart, but when people start hurling the insults, that’s when I get annoyed. Please don’t annoy me.

  102. Chris @# 38: I believe that if an extraterrestrial was born in the United States, it would be eligible to become President, and therefore qualified to be a VP candidate.

    If, however, the extraterrestrial was, say, hatched, I’m not sure whether it would be considered a “natural-born citizen”, so that could raise constitutional issues.

  103. As i sign off I would like to say concerning Palin daughter, I don’t judge anyone that makes a mistake, I did. But I believe that if this was Obama’s daughter, would be hearing a different story?

  104. “Their purpose is not “entertainment”; their purpose is to introduce scum into the discourse, because it’s politically useful to have that scum in the discourse.”

    John, I’ll grant you that. But I haven’t attributed this inclusion to the GOP, but rather to the particular news agency putting them on the air. I don’t celebrate these people; if I want to laugh, then I’ll listen to Rush.

    I agree with you about the news shows. I want substance with as little crap as possible. I still think there are news shows that put the “entertainers” on not for their insight so much as for the chance they make fools of themselves. But then, I am cynical.

  105. Pat Smythe:

    I’m glad we agree where we agree, then. Citizens United for News Shows Without Entertainment! Or, uh, something.

  106. John,

    Yeah, but the term “born” would give the right-wing nutjobs grist for their lawsuit mill.

    (Unless, of course, it was a Republican extraterrestrial, in which case it would give the left-wing nutjobs grist for their lawsuit mill.)

    Although, just having done a little bit of research, I could see a reasonable argument being made that oviparity, ovovivipary, and vivipary are all forms of “birth”, thus giving the freedom-loving Democrats (or the Republican guardians of liberty, again, depending) a solid legal foundation to include said E.T. on their ticket.

  107. Oh, and for those who have never been pregnant, “leaking amniotic fluid” isn’t like you see on TV. Some women have the classic big gush of fluid, but others just lose a little bit of fluid, hardly enough to notice. To put it delicately, it can be difficult to know if it really is amniotic fluid, or something else, that you’re leaking. Most pregnant women wonder at one time or another if they might be, and it usually turns out not to be the case.

    I wouldn’t necessarily be very happy about the idea of traveling for eight hours if I were leaking fluid, but I would also be very, very upset at the thought of going through labor and delivering my child alone, many miles away from my husband and family. If I’d had several children, knew I had long labors, and was not yet experiencing regular contractions, I might take the chance. TV doesn’t get that right, either — labor generally takes between 12 and 24 hours. They don’t even want you to come to the hospital until you’ve been having contractions every five minutes for at least an hour, and that often takes hours or even days after you feel the first contractions. You can always be wrong, of course, but it’s not as outlandish an idea as many seem to think.

  108. What I wonder is how many GOP movers and shakers are going to trust McCain after springing something like this on them. Honestly, it makes all of them seem like keystone kops chasing after rumor and scandal, and never knowing which one is real or not.

    Sure she’ll keep the evangelical loon vote, and probably the liberal hating free-republic vote, but they’d vote for Ted Bundy if he was a Republican running against Obama.

    The question is, what is Palin’s family issues going to do to influence undecided moderates? We know she’s jettisoned any hope of attracting the Clinton PUMA crowd. But I don’t think swing voters will be impressed by McCain in light of this scandal.

  109. Sorry that this is a little long, but I promise not to post very much. :)

    John, I guess the responses here show you why it was reasonable for the Palins to do what they did. I was wondering whether it was the right way to go, but it looks like they at least needed to make a statement or all of the nutjobs would end every statement with “…and they haven’t even denied it!” That, and I agree with Chris @38.

    Regarding item #4 (just think if a Democrat’s daughter were pregnant…), I agree that Republicans would probably use whatever they could against any opponent, but let’s not conflate issues with political attacks. Someone with a looser moral code can always bash those with stronger moral codes, calling them hypocrites, while remaining out of the line of fire himself. “That hypocrite got pregnant out of wedlock!” or “She had an abortion!” only has an effect in the subculture that stigmatizes those things. You can imagine a Southerner in 1859 saying “That Northerner hates slavery but sure likes those inexpensive cotton shirts” — but that doesn’t mean that the Northerner is wrong to oppose slavery.

    I considered not posting — I churned out too many words on the first VP blog post — but there are a lot of comments here and elsewhere that appear (pardon me) to have very little insight into the minds of the people they’re criticizing. For what follows, if you find yourself disagreeing with the position that I espouse, please consider that it’s probably closer to what the Palins think than whatever you’re thinking.

    * Someone rather smugly wondered whether Sarah would change her mind about abstinence-only eduction now that she’s seen where that leads. If I’ve read things correctly, Sarah’s first child was born out of wedlock. If that didn’t change her mind, why would her daughter’s? Right is right, after all, even though we fallen (as in “the Fall of Man”) people don’t always live up to our own moral code.

    * Some people insist that it’s important that Miss Palin had a choice to have her baby, hoping that there would be no pressure from the parents to bring it to term. If Mrs. Palin truly believes that abortion is murder, then her conscience would be weak indeed if she said, “no problem, honey, you decide.” That would be like our Northerner above being an abolitionist but saying to his son, “well, now that you’ve bought that plantation in the South, you’re going to consider whether to have slaves. I’m personally opposed to it, but that’s your call.” An abolitionist — any that I respect, anyway — would fight to keep his son from bringing that moral ill on himself.

    * Fiona @43 was saddened that Miss Palin (Sarah’s daughter) will keep her baby. But In a culture where sex is important and generally reserved for married life, it’s fairly likely that the sex wouldn’t have been casual. They may already have decided to get married. They might have been talking about having children. Even if they hadn’t, they may take family seriously enough to commit once they realize what’s happened. Fiona particularly seems to assume that these people should give the child up — which is a closed-minded and unliberal position to hold, and seems to be predicated on a casual view of sex that apparently doesn’t reign in the Palin household.

    * Tom @34 and others seem not to have considered that the Palins might talk to each other. There were discussions of Palin becoming VP over a year ago. It’s quite possible that Miss Palin wouldn’t let her mom turn down the nomination. It’s the Vice Presidency of the United States, for crying out loud. She’s 17, not seven, and she’s an unwed mom, not Monica Lewinsky.

    * Some folks seem to think that “abstinence-only” means “no sex education”. I knew all the functionality of sex by the time I was eight or so, but I also knew it was reserved for parents. The problem that “abstinence-only” people have with most sex eduction curricula is that it’s presented as if “they’ll do it anyway, so they should at least be safe.” They believe (I believe) that outside of a monogamous relationship, there’s no such thing as “safe sex” anyway, just a reduction of the odds — and teens are notoriously bad at playing odds.

    As a side note, Pixelfish @40: Good on you.

    I’m glad to see Obama’s response. Remember that family matters weren’t always left as private: during the 2004 VP debate, Edwards talked about Mary (Cheney’s daughter), which turned an otherwise reasonable debate of the issues into a much more personal scene; and Kerry, in the Presidential debate that followed, also talked about Mary Cheney. They rightfully met with ire, from the Cheneys and from others.

    If you’re still reading, John, what do you think about “whether medical professionals can refuse on religious grounds to give treatment to women”?

  110. I agree with all points except #4.

    #4 may actually be true- no doubt many jackasses on the right would scramble to capitalize on a Biden teenage pregnancy. But it’s insignificant, because there are jackasses on both sides, and in fact the jackasses of the left are in fact currently engaged in an equivalent act of foolishness.

    It’s best not to focus on the jackasses of either side. Both sides have ’em. By paying attention to them, you give them what they want (they are essentially trolls). And you’re asserting that they matter, which implies that the jackasses on your side matter, when you take note of them.

  111. Matt:

    “But it’s insignificant, because there are jackasses on both sides, and in fact the jackasses of the left are in fact currently engaged in an equivalent act of foolishness.”

    Well, it’s not actually insignificant, because tomorrow, once all the right wing blowhards get back to work after their Labor Day weekend, we’ll hear a fair number beat their chests about how awful it is that some liberal bloggers did to Sarah Palin and her daughter that exact thing they would gleefully do if the shoe were on the other foot. Now add up the audiences all the right wing radio talkers vs. the reach of these liberal bloggers, and you’ll have some inkling as to why I’m not entirely convinced that these acts, while of equivalent foolishness, would be equivalent in reach.

    “It’s best not to focus on the jackasses of either side.”

    It’s not me I’m worried about.

  112. It figures… If a democratic VP candidate with a 17 year old daughter were found to be pregnant during the campaign, it would be an example of how we are losing our values, destruction of the family, deterioration of society, etc. etc.

    But because it’s the daughter of a right wing republican, it is a “family matter” and shouldn’t be brought up? Forget that fact that her mother preaches abstinance as the only viable way to not become pregnant, even though it has NEVER worked. Incrediblay ironic that it isn’t working in her own family. Are we REALLY to believe she can run our country when she can’t keep her own family in order. Unfortunately it won’t stop the preaching from her self percieved moral high ground. This is getting absolutely rediculous!!!!

  113. Earl:

    “Are we REALLY to believe she can run our country when she can’t keep her own family in order.”

    Leaving the issue of whether she can run the country, I do have to say that I’m always somewhat surprised that people seem to forget that teenagers, possessed as they are of free will, but (thanks to continuing brain development) not spectacularly excellent personal judgment, will sometimes do things their parents have raised them not to do, up to and including getting pregnant. This includes kids “raised right” as well as the ones totally neglected by their parents, etc.

    Which is to say any complaint about how Sarah Palin (or anyone) “keeps her family in order” that does not factor in the fundamentally chaotic nature of teenage personal agency, is not a complaint I find particularly valid.

  114. I am a mom with five children (three girls) so I feel I am qualified to speak on this issue.

    I do not think any woman in her right mind would get on a plane to fly from Texas to Alaska while she is in premature labor. That’s just crazy. I have to question her judgement on this one. She could have had the hubby and doctor flown to Texas and had the baby in a hospital there. This was a blatant disregard for the child’s safety.

    I know she would have had to lie to the airline or at least not tell them because there is no way they would have let her on the plane.

    If I had just given birth I would remain home with my child for several weeks. How do you give birth to your fifth child and be back to work three days later? Truly this is not healthy for the mom and not in the best interest of the baby or the family. For this reason doctor’s recommend six weeks out of work when women give birth. Honestly I would not be thinking about work. I would be at home bonding with my child, making sure he learns to nurse properly, and helping the other children adjust to the new family member.

    If I had a daughter who was pregnant at the young age of 17, I would have passed up the decision to be the VP nominee. Her daughter is five months along. Over the last four months she needs to be with Bristol and NOT on the campaign trail. It is certainly not healthy for Bristol or the new baby for Palin to drag them along.

    I know what it feels like to sacrifice for my children. I have given up a lot – for the time being. I have always told myself (and my children) that having children is not an excuse for not being what you want to be in life – but it may take a little longer. Palin is young and she can still be VP or even President one day. Today her family needs her more.

    I willingly have given the time to make sure my children have their mom at home. They will always be the priority in my life. Mrs. Palin needs to get her priorities in order. I admire her ambition to succeed but when you have children you have got to put them first. If you don’t then who will?

    A final note. When Ashley Simpson got pregnant no one gave her a break. The media was relentless in hounding her and her family. Her pregnancy was highly publicized and her parents suffered greatly by having their private family issues become a media field day.

    What is the difference in this case? The Simpson family deserved the same respect the media seems to be giving to the Palin family.

  115. Jake at 124: Bravo! You posted the post I tried and failed twice to try to compose here.

    It’s a serious and difficult issue, and people of goodwill have vastly different views all the way around.

    But people, including, sadly, our esteemed host Mr. Scalzi, seem bound and determined to make the daughter of a Vice Presidential candidate a political football, all the while protesting that “the other side would do it if they had a chance.”

    Maybe so. Maybe not. But you all had a chance to pass on it, to take the higher ground you all profess that is the road that should be taken.

    You didn’t.

    Go look in a mirror and see who’s playing politics with a candidate’s children now–right now. It isn’t the Republicans.

    If you want this time to be different—if you Hope for Change (to coin a phrase), wouldn’t now be a good time to start?

    So what now, folks? What now?

  116. I used to be one of those people who believed abortion was murder.
    Then I had a dream in which I was a pregnant… and it changed my life. I didn’t want to end my collegiate dreams; didn’t want to spend 9 months with someone growing inside me; didn’t want to be “THAT girl.” In my dream, I don’t know how I got pregnant, but I sure didn’t want to deal with it. I am now pro-choice… just because of a dream!
    If a simple little dream can change my views, I have a hard time believing that living it didn’t change Gov. Palin’s views just a little… even if she can’t publicly admit it (note my anonymity).

  117. filbert:

    “But people, including, sadly, our esteemed host Mr. Scalzi, seem bound and determined to make the daughter of a Vice Presidential candidate a political football, all the while protesting that ‘the other side would do it if they had a chance.'”

    Oh, bullshit, filbert. There’s a substantive difference between talking about the legitimate news event (the McCain/Palin campaign issuing a press release about Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy, and claiming it was in response to online rumors), and actually using the pregnancy itself as, as you state, a political football. Also bullshit: suggesting that the right wing noise monkeys wouldn’t in fact have a field day with such things were positions reversed, or suggesting my comments here are anything equivalent.

    Save your tut-tutting for someone who deserves it, if you please.

  118. anonymousbychoice, you’re willing to put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and suggest that she can’t believe what she says she does. Perhaps you’d be willing to let me put myself in your shoes and suggest that your conviction wasn’t particularly strong?

    I won’t do that — I wasn’t there to see how strong your conviction was — but at least please admit that you have no evidence to suggest that Sarah Palin is insincere.

  119. @ Jake Freivald:
    As for my conviction, it was indeed very strong (very vocal and… ehh inflamatory)… which just goes to prove your point, doesn’t it?
    I must consent… I have zero evidence of insincerity, and Gov. Palin is either dead set in her beliefs, or very good at hiding it!

  120. As has been mentioned above, both “baby” controversies are an unneeded distraction from the real shortcomings in Palin’s record and behaviours.

    Jake Freivald @ 124
    Abstinence-only is usually just that. Minimal if any information about any other choice by design. Personally, I would think that having knowledge of all possibilities, would in any question (sex or otherwise), lead to an optimal chance of making the best choice. For the person making the choice, not anybody else. Monogamous or otherwise. Your morals are not those of everybody else and while I insist you be allowed to convince others, I do not feel your personal moral outrage allows you the right to impose them on others.

    AFIAK Edwards debate comment was in pointed response to a specific question. The comment was complimentary to Cheney and about a publicly active, lesbian-outreach-campaign-running, adult daughter. The politically motivated, faux hysteria that emerged the next day was stunning in it’s hypocrasy and blatent manipulation.

  121. Whoa boy. first the underage daughter of the right wing VP choice is pregnant. Next comes the growing troopergate scandal and “new evidence” that is about to come out…..

    I just heard on CNN that Mcain is NOW sending a team of people to Alaska to vett Palin.

    I have no doubt that the utra right wing would vote for a rock if it had an R on it, but anyone that can think at all and is paying the least bit of attention MUST question Mr. Mcains judgement……

  122. First, absolutely mad props to Mr. Scalzi for the original post. Leaving aside the discussion of what the GOP flacks may or may not have done had the tables been turned, Mr. Obama handled the situation with dignity and integrity. He continues to impress!

    I guess what astonishes me is that this is news at all. It’s the second story behind Gustav on CNN’s mobile site (where I usually tune in). Let’s just recap for fun. A young woman (’cause that’s what an 18-year old is!) evidently had sex (surprise), got pregnant (hmm, happens even to people using birth control sometimes), decided to have the baby (that’s a choice too!), and is marrying the baby’s father. Wow. Bet that doesn’t happen like, EVERY FREAKIN’ DAY! It’s happened 3 times to 2 in-laws in my own family (40 years ago – 2 births to teens, 1 stillborn), and yet all the women involved grew up to be decent, loving, hard-working, successful folks. Admittedly, neither woman remained married to her teen sweetheart, but that didn’t end either of their lives.

    And for those jumping all over Ms. Palin about the birthy-ness or not of her littlest baby, exactly how is it your business? Regardless of whether Ms. Palin bore this child in her own body or adopted someone else’s baby, she and her husband are the child’s parents – a uniquely challenged child I might add, with special needs most here would not understand. If Ms. Palin had adopted the child, she ought to be commended on two points: first for providing a loving home to a child; and second for volunteering to be the parent of a disabled child. As a parent of a disabled child (autism) who got drafted, I’d be even more impressed with her if that were true.

    Besides, how is all this relevant to Ms. Palin’s ability to be the VP? I’d like to hear her talk about her views on issues like Roe v. Wade, sex, abstinence, etc., I’m not interested in hearing her “defend” them. I just want to know what they are. Like most of you, I know where I stand on those issues – I just want to know what the candidates think. I’ll make my own decision thank you very much. Of course, I’d like to hear about more than those issues too – just because Ms. Palin is “y-chromosome impaired” doesn’t mean the only thing she’s qualified to talk about are women’s issues! What about defense, the right to privacy, tax policy, education and especially rights for the disabled like her son? What about the transformation of our country from an agricultural and industrial powerhouse to a consumer-driven service economy?

    Nope. Let’s talk about her pretty hair and whether its really her kid…’cause that’s what really matters. :(

  123. You are more principled than I John. Yeah, I blogged the pregnancy, but it was more about the hypocrisy. I certainly don’t have ill will towards Palin’s daughter. Lord knows I’ve got my hands full with 4 18 yo’s and an 19 yo that don’t understand what the hell being an adult is about. They just don’t have kids. Yet!

    We have somebody that is espouses limited sex education where it’s abstinence until you get married (and I really don’t care what else she has to say on sex and reproduction) and has her own child, yes a child, not a legal adult, who is now pregnant for 5 freaking months and still isn’t married. And nobody, her mother, the people that supposedly vetted her, McCain (who has now shown himself to be completely oblivious) didn’t think about how to handle the situation?

    Along with her possible impeachment for abuse of powers, and her hip attachment to indicted Sen. Stevens, and the outright lying that is going on (the bridge to nowhere among others) (the lying really gets me the most), how can anybody take her seriously?

    I have two words for those of us old enough to remember back from ’72.

    Thomas Eagleton

    And I’ve been thinking that since the day she was announced.

  124. Nargel @137: Abstinence-only is usually just that. Minimal if any information about any other choice by design. I’m not really denying that. We didn’t have condom-on-a-cucumber demonstrations, for instance. But the point was to educate us on what sex is for — and in most cases, it’s linked to babies. Still is, no matter how many condoms they put on cucumbers.

    My mother’s joke was that “the best birth control is an asprin, held firmly between the knees.” The mindset is different — a reliance on self-control and doing the right thing rather than on objects and spermicides. I don’t denigrate those who use contraception, and I used to use it myself, but I do honestly and actually think that I was wrong to do so and that they’re a symptom of a particular kind of decline in our society.

    AFIAK Edwards debate comment was in pointed response to a specific question….The politically motivated, faux hysteria that emerged the next day was stunning in it’s hypocrasy and blatent manipulation. I don’t remember it that way. In fact, the second Edwards brought up Mary, I thought, “What a jerk!” The next day I was surprised by the lack of outrage. Only the following day, and after Kerry repeated the error at the Presidential debate, did it start to pick up a little bit of steam. But my memory’s more faulty than the next guy’s, so maybe I’m wrong.

    We’ve just gone off-topic, so that’s my last post on those subjects unless they’re tied back in.

  125. Scalzi, you could have saved some electrons by just saying “everybody does it” without the sanctimonious clucking about “right wing noise machines.” In phrasing it that way, you turned an otherwise valid point into yet another tiresome political attack.

    We both know both sides do it whenever they have the chance. But can we maybe agree that it’s wrong? That’s all I’m after here.

    Yeah, it would be wrong to go after Biden’s daughters, or Obama’s daughters, if they were in the same situation. It’s wrong to go after Palin through her daughters. It was wrong to go after Bush through his daughters. It was wrong to attack Clinton through Chelsea, and wrong to attack Carter through Amy. Yeah, people did it.

    It’s wrong. No matter what side does it.


  126. Janie @ 102:
    Wow. I didn’t realize that sick men only started molesting children when we removed prayer from schools. Can we do Hindu prayers? Because personally I find them less oppressive and more uplifting. Nice to know the answer is so simple! No one ever EVER misbehaved as long as they were praying (to your god presumably)! in the whole history of the world!

    Jake @ 124:
    “Some folks seem to think that “abstinence-only” means “no sex education”. I knew all the functionality of sex by the time I was eight or so, but I also knew it was reserved for parents. The problem that “abstinence-only” people have with most sex eduction curricula is that it’s presented as if “they’ll do it anyway, so they should at least be safe.” They believe (I believe) that outside of a monogamous relationship, there’s no such thing as “safe sex” anyway, just a reduction of the odds — and teens are notoriously bad at playing odds.”

    Actually, statistics show that an inclusive sex education is far more effective at preventing pregnancy and STD’s. And teenagers aren’t idiots and birth control is not rocket science. I learned all about birth control in the Catholic girl school I attended and I therefore never got pregnant. It works. Harm reduction is always an option.

    Also, so many of these so called abstinence only programs are actually full of out right LIES about the effectiveness of condoms, as well as lies about statistics of homosexuals that have HIV.

    Again, harm reduction is a good strategy that has proven to work in more that just the arena of sex education.

    Teach teenagers to effectively use birth control and to treat their partners with respect whether they feel they want to have sex or not. Sure you can emphasize that abstinence is probably the best option, and there are lots of legitimate reasons to argue why that it true. You don’t have to make up a bunch of crap and use shaming scare tactics and then keep young people woefully misinformed of other options.

  127. Dave in Georgia @ 49
    re: Troopergate,
    “The guy she fired”? She fired “respected former chief of the Anchorage Police Department” Walter Monegan the person who was allegedly pressured to fire Mike Wooten (the unpleasant brother-in-law). But the only person who has lost a job under investigation I know of is Chuck Kopp, who Palin appointed in Monegan’s place and apparently had a sexual harassment reprimand. By my reading, Monegan is the only person in this debacle with even the appearance of credibility. In fact Palin appointed Monegan, so either Palin appointed someone “under investigation”, or you are so confused you don’t realize that Mike Wooten is still an Alaska State Trooper and the person fired is the Commissioner of Public Safety.

    Tasering: the son apparently wanted to see what being tasered felt like. As a father, I would point out this is why we don’t sell tasers to eleven year olds or for that matter taser them even if they ask for it. However, this was seen as a mitigating factor in the case.

    Horsewhipping is not among Alaskan trooper disciplinary options. Palin and her family brought 36 complaints against Wooten, 11 of which were found to have merit. He was given a 10 day suspension. The scandal is in Palin’s pursuit of vengeance using her position to pressure Monegan into firing Wooten, and then firing Monegan when he actually followed the rules of the agency he manages. He may have wanted to fire Wooten, but the disciplinary procedure started before his appointment and Monegan (smartly) decided to abide by the process. Here’s the best narrative I’ve seen on Troopergate, again from Mudflats. Wooten sounds like a douche, but the police investigated and punished him.

    Frankly, your understanding of this seems incredibly shallow.

    Let me restate it was, well, a bit unusual and nothing you’ve said challenges that. Palin checked with her doctor and flew home. It was her decision to fly in late pregnancy, over the age of 35, with a special needs child to the Republican Governor’s Energy Conference. The unusual nature of the plane flight fueled the speculation of the coverup theory, as did her daughter leaving school for months with mononucleosis around the time of Trig’s birth.

    Palin lied in Troopergate, lied about the Bridge to Nowhere (pork money still safely in Alaska) and her fading credibility fueled the (let me agree with Scalzi ridiculous) rumors about the coverup. The unusual trip back combined with her daughter’s absense from school and pregnancy rumors

  128. and that is what one gets for typing when it is late and you are tired, an accidental submit. but to finish

    …absence from school and the Bristol pregnancy rumors created an ideal environment for bullshit to sprout and flourish. The most interesting thing about the “Babygate” to me is that Alaska is so strange that it gained traction in the first place.

  129. “I used to use it (birth control) myself, but I do honestly and actually think that I was wrong to do so and that they’re a symptom of a particular kind of decline in our society.”

    And the pregnancy of a 17 year old isnt?

    I find it funny (not in a good way) that “after” people grow up and change they expect young people to not do the very things they did as teenagers. “Young people these days” etc. etc. when we were all young and made mistakes along the way. You can’t learn for others, and never will be able to.

    Face it. Young people will be compelled to have sex. Educating them about all aspects of sex including contraception is what works… Period. Anybody that doesn’t ackowledge that “fact” is in denial.

    Now I hear that even though Mr. Mcain only met Mrs. Palin a total of 2 times, and she has what anybody awake would have to admit is a “thin” resume, and is under investigation for wrong doing in her own state, and her underage daughter is pregnant, AND Mr. Mcain is saying that he knew all this.

    I mean, COME ON… Is anybody REALLY going to tell us independent voters that this is the BEST candidate for vice president Senator Mcain could come up with? Before you give me the talking points… Knowing all of the above, YOU would REALLY pick Ms. Palin? I

    f your answer is yes, boy I am glad you aren’t running….

  130. Oh and btw “‘Feminists’ for life” are not “pro birth control.” They take no stance on it whatsoever:

    “Feminists for Life’s mission is to address the unmet needs of women who are pregnant or parenting. Preconception issues including abstinence and contraception are outside of our mission.”


    Someone somewhere in this thread asserted they were pro contraception. They aren’t necessarily against it, but they don’t support it either. We cannot therefore judge Palin’s stance on it just by her belonging to this group.

  131. Jake, I guess you and your mother believe that every time a married couple has sex, they want to have a baby (a la Monty Python’s Meaning of Life). Or that married people have no business having sex unless they want to have a(nother) child in nine months.

    Parents are always telling children to stop whining about [boring school subject] because you may think [subject] is dumb now, but when you’re older you’ll be glad you paid attention. And when the subject in brackets is algebra, or the state capitals, or how to do multiplication without a calculator, that’s considered to be good parenting. But when it’s human sexuality, particularly anything that hints of approval that our children may, someday, grow up and have sex, suddenly all that received wisdom goes out the window in a flurry of panic.

    By the way, Jake, may I note how completely putrid of you it is to have reaped the benefits of contraception in your wild youth, but want to keep it away from others.

  132. can you spell “cover up” watch out for the Miscarriage announcement… after the election of course.

  133. I’ve seen it said several places that somehow Palin’s daughter being pregnant makes Palin a hypocrite. Somebody needs to learn what being a hypocrite means.

    Hypocrisy would be if you found out that she taught her daughter safe sex when she thinks abstinence only is what should be taught in schools.

    Hypocrisy is when you say one thing, but do another. It is not when you say one thing, and somebody else does another. That’s just regular old contrary human nature.

    Or maybe kids only ever do what their parents tell them to do where you come from.

  134. On this narrow matter, I agree with Mr. Scalzi and Senator Obama. But I only 1/2 agree with “this rumor is even dumber than the creationism/evolution crap yesterday.”

    1/2 agree: rumor is very stupid.
    1/2 disagree: the creationism/Intelligent Design issue is not (speaking again as a scientist, spouse of a scientist, teacher, spouse of a teacher, son of a teacher) “crap.” Because the issues of reproduction and evolution are rather tightly linked to public policy matters on (for instance) abstinence-only sex education. The ability to reject ideology and accept statistically supported scientific facts are, to me, more important for a potential President than, say, how pretty one is on a beauty competition stage or TV.

    Harlan Ellison famously states: “No, you are not entitled to an opinion. You are entitled to an INFORMED decision.”

    Sarah Palin, whom I find personally attractive, and attractive as representative of a pioneer libertarian culture (see my essays on Heinlein, Westerns, and Space travel), is on record with denial of educational ability of citizens to make informed decision, denial of scientifically proven facts, and hence a priori of questionable merit for high office.

    I have had students who were pregnant teens. I have a cousin who became a grandmother at 29. I think that the comment on connecting the consequences of teen pregnancy with poverty were on target.

    The past is a different country. How old were Romeo and Juliet supposed to have been in Shakespeare’s play (look it up).

    This is the year 2008 by my calendar (yes, first day of Ramadan gives a different one). There is roughly a 50% chance that Sarah Palin is VP on 20 January 2009.

    I do not believe that Science is the only road to truth. In an earlier thread I listed 5 magesteria, each with its protocols of truth and proof. Right now, in the USA, there is a weird asymmetry in that one cannot be elected President if one denies the validity of revealed/religious truth (i.e. be being an avowed atheist) but one can be elected President by denying the central tenet of Biology (i.e. Evolution).

    One can be First Lady by elevating one’s Astrologer to a major advisor (and thinking that “Just Say No” works with drug addiction, which I consider a close equivalent to abstinence-only sex education).

    One can be elected President by denying arithmetic truth (and accusing anyone who questions one’s lies by counterattacking with the ritual phrases “voodoo economics” or “fuzzy math”). One can deny geopolitical reality (hello, Czechosolvakia 2008). So why does it subject the argument to attack, and the speaker, to say that Intelligent Design is wackier than Flying Saucer True Believers? The former Director of SETI for the Planetary Society, a student of Carl Sagan’s, and noted Skeptic, admits in interviews that there may be a 1% chance that UFOs really are alien spaceships.

    But there is much, much smaller than 1% probability that Evolution is not scientifically verified fact.

    A politician who denies that is a radical enemy of Science. Science, misapplied, may have caused some of the world’s problems.

    But abandonment of Science in favor of superstition — be it Creationism, Palm Reading, Astrology, Hollow Earth, Flat Earth, Pyramid-Power, or the like, is on the face of it a valid reason to question to fitness for office.

    This is the United States of America. We made the first artificial fission reactor, the first human flight to the moon, played the key role in decoding the human genome, and will be remembered for these triumphs of rationalism. We also invented Blues, Jazz, Rock, baseball, and basketball — not rational, but Aesthetic truth. And the modern Science Fiction short story (Poe). I object to those who would throw that away. I object to people whose psychiatric need to denounce Darwin, or Einstein, having power over public schools. Just as I object to people whose psychiatric need to deny the Holocausts (of Armenians, Rom, Jews, and others).

    This goes much deeper than my opinions about Evolution or someone else’s opinion that my opinion is “crap.” This is about the choice between knowledge and ignorance; between learning and the fall of civilization itself.

    If that is not a valid part of the political discourse, I don’t know what is.

  135. Late entry from the Uk so forgive me if you’ve all thought of it already, but whilst acknowledging it not to be IMPOSSIBLE for Bristol to have given birth in April, five months ago and be five months pregnant, I would have to say that straight after giving birth, I for one would not allow any man within a hundred yards of me for at least the advised six week period! I think most women would agree that this should answer the ‘ was Trig Sarah’s child or Bristol’s ?’debate, no?

    As for the rest of it, I personally feel that SARAH Palin made the decision to become VP. She may well have talked to her family about it but I doubt her daughter would have had much of a say in the decision. I therefore feel, personally, that her daughter’s life, like the lives of the rest of her children, should not be open to rampant media speculation.

    That said, I think the choice of Palin for VP is a valuable coup for the Democrats!!

  136. The thing about the phrase “right wing noise machine” is that it is, in and of itself, and attempt by the left wing noise machine to demonize the right. It’s a talking point that’s become Conventional Wisdom, for the purpose of neutralizing right wing talking points. If it’s from the right, it must be a vicious smear, Conservatives Are All Hypocrites, etc. Although to hear them tell it, most liberals count “demonizing the opposition” as being the Worst Thing You Can Do. Because they’re not demonizing, they’re only speaking the simple truth!

    Check it out: GIS for “right wing noise machine” vs “left wing noise machine” (57,500 hits vs 2,380) and also “republican attack machine” vs “democrat/ic attack machine” (52,000 hits vs 3,560).

    If it gets repeated often enough…which side is creating the most “noise”, I wonder — ?

  137. Ann Dunham, the mother of Barack Obama, was born on November 29, 1942. Barack Obama was born on August 14, 1961, his parents were married on February 2, 1961. According to the math she was 3 months pregnant and had just turned 18 years old when she was married.

  138. As long as the left-wingers keep deluding themselves that Palin was a last-minute pick, the McCain camp will be happy to continue baiting them. Dems need to realize that she’d been on the top of a very short list of candidates for months, and McCain’s camp left no stone unturned when checking her background. Her daughter’s pregnancy was no secret, and neither is Obama’s stance on ‘unwanted’ teen pregnancy. Hearts-and-minds, people.

  139. This is exactly why we do need sex education not only in schools, but in the home. This is what happens when parents and politicians are opposed to educating their maturing children about the basic facts of human sexuality. Would I tell my own children to wait? Of course, but I also want them to know that they can talk openly and honestly about perfectly normal, natural feelings they experience as they grow up. I would like to think that young people know the consequences of their actions before they get into trouble, but they don’t if we don’t teach them.

    We should know from countless other examples that trying to ignore, deny, and cover up these issues only draw young people closer to them.

    Republicans love control and hate knowledge. It’s very sad.

  140. For Vice-President Parlin daughter to be expecting a baby at 17 is very sad and shocking because, you would think a family thats in politics would have more sense to take advantage of the best resources that is given to them like, best healthcare, the best doctors, the best care, and nice hospitals. At 15, I was a homeless girl and I stayed from shelter to shelter from house to house and all I thought about is finding an job and getting a stable place to stay, not, sex or getting married at 17. I did just that but, it was hard. At 23, I had my first child and only child and being a parent is the hardest job in the world. My point is, I did not have the good resources nor parents who help me or stood by me. I know this kinds of things happens. Somtimes, people seems to just think about themselves. The people we really need to pay attention to is, family. This Vice-President job is not meant to be at this time for Mrs Parlin. McCain, you said that you wanted to find an Vice-President who can shake things up at the White House and you have done just that.
    American voters is not looking for that and American voters do not want or need that. To Obamma, a person background does matter at this time for this type of job postion because, if you can’t handle and maintain your life, how and the world can you maintain and help the American people?

  141. @147, Roger quoted me as saying [Contraception is] a symptom of a particular kind of decline in our society and asked And the pregnancy of a 17 year old isnt? Of course it is, Roger. They’re in fact both symptoms of the same sort of decline.


    Several commenters are making the same mistake with me as they are with Sarah Palin: assuming they know how I think because of the views I hold.

    Among other things, they seem to think that it’s easy to believe one thing for your entire life and then, through a combination of argument, observation, and reflection, to conclude that you’ve been completely wrong. You might uncharitably call that a “flip-flop”, but it was a slow and seismic change in my understanding of sexual morality. I’m now 37, and have only thought this way for five or so years. I wish I understood it all twenty years ago, and I’m going to try to make sure that my kids do.

    If you start with that perspective then perhaps you’ll see why, contra Roger, I don’t think that young people in this society will behave differently from the way I did; why I have great sympathy and, to the extent possible, empathy for the single mother; and why I’m not arrogant or dismissive when discussing the issue with people who disagree.

    You might also remember that the “Every Sperm is Sacred” Monty Python sketch was a parody rather than a sympathetic representation of the pro-life and anti-contraception mindset. One might as well ask an evangelical for a lesson in evolutionary biology. Mythago, you should be above that.

    Those who think me “putrid” are within their rights. This isn’t the right forum to address all of their concerns, but suffice it to say that I disagree. But I hope that they at least grant that I must be sincere or I wouldn’t sign my name to posts on this forum regarding something that I know will be extremely unpopular. It’s far easier to simply walk away or hide behind anonymity.

    At any rate, after all that, my point remains precisely as it was: if you simultaneously think you know how someone thinks and radically disagree with them, it’s unlikely that you really know how they think. When you say, as Alexandra does at 157, that “Republicans love control and hate knowledge”, you are actually showing your own ignorance.

  142. Janie @ 116
    “But I believe that if this was Obama’s daughter, would be hearing a different story?”

    Well, yes. You see, he doesn’t want his daughters “punished with a baby.” So you are right, it likely would be a very different story and Obama would probably not be announcing he is about to become a grandfather.

  143. “With time running out — and as Mr. McCain discarded two safer choices, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, as too predictable — he turned to Ms. Palin. He had his first face-to-face interview with her on Thursday and offered her the job moments later. Advisers to Mr. Pawlenty and another of the finalists on Mr. McCain’s list described an intensive vetting process for those candidates that lasted one to two months.

    “They didn’t seriously consider her until four or five days from the time she was picked, before she was asked, maybe the Thursday or Friday before,” said a Republican close to the campaign. “This was really kind of rushed at the end, because John didn’t get what he wanted. He wanted to do Joe or Ridge.”

    You really want this guy in the White House? He might rush to make a decision without considering, you know, any information or intelligence whatsoever… ready to lead? PFFFFT! Ready to put politics as usual aside, put country first and reach across the aisle to get things. done? LOL. His choice of VP had nothing to do with putting country first and everything to do with trying to grab headlines… it doesn’t get more pathetic then that, my friend ;)

  144. For Vice-President Parlin daughter to be expecting a baby at 17 is very sad and shocking because, you would think a family thats in politics would have more sense to take advantage of the best resources that is given to them like, best healthcare, the best doctors, the best care, and nice hospitals.

    I think sperm and ova pretty much try to get together and make a zygote regardless of how privileged the people spurting them out may be. What happens after that point can be affected by access to decent health care, of course, but also by the beliefs of the woman in whose body the miracle of life is taking over. Just because you have access to decent health care doesn’t mean you have to avail yourself of it.

    On a more general note: Plenty of people in the throes of passion do things that they themselves would consider regrettable in other situations. The brain’s pleasure center is a powerful master once it takes over. That’s not hypocrisy, that’s human nature. Focusing so much on Bristol Palin’s lapse of judgment and not on her difficult decision on how to deal with it rather misses the point, IMO. I think the debate about the value of abstinence-only sex education can be held without dragging a specific 17-year-old girl into the debate simply because her mother happens to be on a presidential ticket.

  145. “if you can’t handle and maintain your life, how and the world can you maintain and help the American people?”

    This is the kind of thinking that really irks me. I mean, look at how the Clintons handled their personal lives during their tenure! I don’t have a lot of respect for a woman who lets her husband cheat on her over and over again, but that didn’t stop Hillary from advancing politically, did it?

    And it shouldn’t have, either! My personal opinion of her personal life didn’t matter. Her public work and her “in it to win” attitude are what really mattered.

    The same respect should be due Sarah Palin.

  146. To the bloger that printed, can you spell cover-up. Watch and see there will be a miscarriage after the election. Sounds pretty mean, but, I agree. I just had to respond because, it made me laugh.

  147. See Update below.

    If its Sarah Palin, why is she distinctly not pregnant in a photograph which was apparently taken on Super Tuesday, which is in February, when, as Jazz Shaw points out, Palin would have been about six months along in her pregnancy?

    Keep in mind, before we wind up the Friday night activities in Blogistan, that this is still only ten hours after the announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCains VP announcement caught so many of us flat-footed. In ten hours, though, the hits keep on coming. Lets take a quick look at a few more.

    The first one, and possibly the most tawdry of the bunch, came via several e-mails which arrived after the announcement here at Jazz Headquarters. Check out this picture of Sarah Palin from Super Tuesday this year.

    Its a nice shot, but according to at least once source it was taken on Super Tuesday. Thats in February. At that point, Palin should have been six months pregnant with her last child. It does make me wonder if the following will turn into a story.

    the oldest girl is rumored to have actually been the one who had the last baby, the one with Downs Syndrome. She was taken out of school the last 4 or 5 months of her mothers pregnancy.

    On March 5th, 2008 Alaskas Republican Governor, Sarah Palin, announced to the media that she was 7 months pregnant with her 5th child. She is currently 44.

    Palins daughter Bristol is 16 and attends an Anchorage high school. Students who have attended class with her report that she has been out of school for months, claiming a prolonged case of mono.

    Palin does not appear pregnant in any recent photographs. The announcement came as quite a shock to people who had worked closely with her, and have been quoted as saying that she did not appear pregnant whatsoever during the prior 7 months. While this is debatable, you can judge for yourself here: http://gov.state.ak.us/photos.php

    (Ed Note: That link has since died since we first looked at it. The pictures were removed today.)

    IF there is anything to this story, there are two issues as I see them. First, and most obvious, is the honesty issue. Why would Palin have lied about who the mother was? Which leads to the second issue: If Bristol Palin IS the mother, how does she feel about all this? If the story is true, and Sarah Palin lied to spare her daughter embarrassment or emotional pain, what does that say about how Bristol Palin felt about the pregnancy itself?

    The fact that the photographs of Sarah Palin at a time when she would have appeared to be pregnant, if she really was, were taken down and the link killed, is a little odd if theres nothing to the story.

    This theory would explain a bizzare episode in the Palin pregnancy: allegedly, her water broke in Texas and she flew to Alaska for the birth, without notifying the airline. http://startelegram.typepad.com/politex/2008/04/more-on-that-al.h

    This seemed really risky and unwise when I heard it last week. But if Bristol was at home and her water broke while mom was in TX, it makes sense in terms of maintaining a cover story.

  148. #157 Alexandra:

    You go from speculating that conservatives tell their children “nothing” about sex to saying conservatives love “control.”

    Kinda…well, it actually makes no sense if you really think about it.

    And my opinion is that liberals are the ones who love control. Control of speech (fairness doctrine), control of business (taxes taxes and more taxes), control of schools…and the list goes on.

  149. No respect is due to Sarah Palin’s policy statements, though. The ones about no freedom of choice (even if it meant her own daughter would have to bear a rapist’s child), no real sex ed in high school, no right for gays to marry, teaching creationnism in science classes, advocating against mining safety and pollution control, no universal health care, censoring library books, etc., etc.

    And then, there are her links to the Dominionists of Joel’s Army. And even more close links to the Alaskan Independance Party, who calls US soldiers “occupation troops”…

    A link to a list of links about these issues:

  150. Oh, great! You deleted the entire thing and now I’ve called myself a goon!

    That one’s on me, I’m afraid.

  151. Says Elizabeth C, troll: “And my opinion is that liberals are the ones who love control. Control of speech (fairness doctrine), control of business (taxes taxes and more taxes), control of schools…and the list goes on.”

    Whoa… The amount of spin makes me dizzy, here.

  152. Irene, some of those are deep and complex issues, and I’m sure they’ll come up in the debates.

    As for me, I know that Obama is fond of Marxism and that his tax the rich scheme will definitely affect me at some point in time, and that’s my main beef against him.

    No nation was ever taxed into prosperity.

  153. What I meant by liberals controlling schools is that they are against vouchers and choice. In schools.

    Nice namecalling, btw.

  154. Just for the record, my husband and I make about $50,000 per year, if that. We have a family of four. We are not rich by any means. But we are making it on our own, and don’t want assistance from the govt, and don’t want to pay higher prices if Obama gets his way and raises taxes on businesses.

    Like I said before, I’ll be watching the debates, but I’ve already pretty much decided on McCain.

  155. Why is there even a discussion about this.? It is totally a family matter and does not involve or affect the presidential election. The news media has to have something dwell on and make a big deal about even though it has no importance to the election. Maybe we should do a study or search on how many daughters of news media personnel have become pregnant under the age of eighteen?? Because if their daughters become pregnant I don’t want them reporting the news, their biased at that point.

  156. Al H., Palin issued a press release about her daughter, thereby explicitly giving her consent for the press to note her daughter’s pregnancy. The issue at this point is whether it’s appropriate now to use the pregnancy as a continuing element of the political discussion surrounding the election.

  157. It is very difficult to watch entire groups of people be judged or maligned simply because of their political affiliation. I think that we all, as individuals, have beliefs that diverge from the group’s. So, when I see posts that sum up the actions of thousands of people and blame it all on leftist ideologies or right-wing hypocrisy, I find it hard to pay any attention to any other valid or invalid points they might be making.

    It’s like saying “All Hispanic people do this…” or “It’s because of fat people that this is happening…”. Some of you are so caught up in your dislike of democrats or republicans or liberals that you’re not taking any time to actually step back and evaluate the issues objectively.

    At the end of the day, we all have to go to the polls and vote for someone who we feel comfortable making decisions for our daily lives and, because of our country’s power, for the daily lives of people in countless other nations.

    So, the facts here are very important. Bristol’s pregnany gives us a few particular facts…

    1.) She is sexually active.
    2.) She’s fertile.

    So, how does this impact your decision at the polls in November?

  158. Elizabeth C said:
    I don’t have a lot of respect for a woman who lets her husband cheat on her over and over again

    Well, good for you. Remind me why that’s any of your business? Because it surely isn’t.

    Also, the concept that she “let” him cheat on her over and over, well, thank god my marriage isn’t about my controlling his behavior. Blech.

  159. 3&4:
    Yes, I agree, good on Obama for his response. Whether he believes that, I don’t know, I don’t know the man. I’d like to think that he did it because it’s the right thing to do, not just because it was a shrewd political move. But if you think for a nanosecond that many of his underlings aren’t sharpening their knives, salivating at the thought of the teenage unwed mother, you’re fooling yourself.

  160. If faking a pregnancy to save her daughter’s reputation is the worst thing she’s ever done, she’s some kind of saint.

    I heard the rumor that her daughter was pregnant several weeks ago (from gossipy family in Alaska) so it was going to come out, and probably better as a press release than otherwise.

    There’s Obama’s statement today and the previous one “… I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby…” :facepalm: He has a foot-mouth problem when he’s off the teleprompter.

    The problem, as I see it, is that there are not a thousand Sarah Palins running for office — both conservative and liberal. People who had lives other than training to have power over other’s lives. We desperately need many more of her (and the male versions, too!)

  161. JustAnotherJohn @181

    Yes, I agree, good on Obama for his response. Whether he believes that, I don’t know, I don’t know the man.

    My impression is he was sincere. And my impression is that he is a decent man.

    But my impression of his policies and position are such that I would prefer he did not become President.

    And I’m also thinking that his Blogging and Media supporters are doing their best to see that my preference is realized.

  162. facts vs. rumors vs. conspiracy theories – and the question of relvancy

    until facts emerge to the contrary – there is no reson to believe the rumors that Gov. Palin’s daughter is not her own- futher discussing conspiracy theories without new facts is an irrelevant waste of time.

    if one wants to critisize Gov. Palin’s judgement regarding flying while pregnant – ok – fact based, but relevant? Not every mother’s pregnancy is the same – there is no reason to assume that she didn’t have medical advice etc. so – becomes a private matter – non issue.

    The fact that Gov. Palin’s teenage daughter is about to be a teenage mother – relevant how? – actually consistant with her public statements regarding abortion etc (now if Gov. Palin advised her dauther to have an abortion – that would show inconcistancy – but really none of our business)

    here’s what’s relevant:

    Gov. Palin lacks experince in foreign affairs

    Gov. Palin’s stance on government’s roles in sex-ed, abortion, reproductive rights, gay marriage and other issues is consistant w/ conservative-republican party lines

    Gov. Palin has questionable ethics history – see news articles re “bridge to nowhere”, “asking for resignations to test loyalty” etc.

    Gov. Palin appears to lack qualifications to hold the office of VP

    How does Palin make McCain a stronger candidate?
    I was on the fence in McCain vs Obama – I like to think of myself as independent- McCains choice for vp means I’ll most likely vote democrat this november

  163. I would add to Jason Mitchell’s point @184: People are perfectly entitled to take into account Gov. Palin’s judgment in flying while pregnant(*) or her daughter’s pregnancy, or not to take those things into account, in deciding how to vote. That’s everyone’s right. But it is vanishingly unlikely that talking about those things at any length will add anything of value to our public discourse. Explaining McCain’s health care plan? Added value. Finding out more stuff about Gov. Palin’s daughter and her boyfriend? Zero added value. We should take note of the fact, or not, as we so choose, and move on.

    (* I would say that I do find the description of Gov. Palin’s choice to fly on the eve of her son’s birth odd, but I also recognize that this is exactly the kind of story where it’s hard to evaluate choices that were made unless you were there, and the kind of story that does not benefit from third-hand retelling, so I am personally inclined to ignore it.)

  164. we have taken prayer out of the schools

    I know Janie’s done the rhetorical equivalent of pissing on the tree and running, but for the remainder the the viewing audience, this is a lie. It is flatly unconstitutional to take prayer out of public schools. What has been done is to take government-sponsored prayer out of the schools.

    Faux-Christians like Janie spread this lie either because they cannot imagine any kind of prayer that is not coerced, or because they genuinely want the government to be an instrument of forced converstion. Regardless, it’s a lie.

  165. Prayer might leave school after (but not before) the end of pimples, first dates, late periods, pop quizzes, and the one&one.

  166. I question Palin’s decision-making about her family. If her teenage daughter was pregnant, she had to know that stepping into the VP slot was going to drag that into public discourse. As Scalzi points out, there are dozens of better ways they could’ve handled that. Ways that wouldn’t have dragged the girl into this kind of muckfest.

    And someone upthread made a similar point, but Palin’s the mother of a 4 month old special needs child. Taking care of such a child is a full-time job, at least. There are plenty of people who can’t devote themselves to that full time and still put food on the table. I think that’s a damned shame, and they’ve got my sympathy.

    On the other hand Palin’s made a decision not to be aroud for the next two months. And her goal is to continue being extremely busy for quite a while longer, while dragging her infant away from a support network of friends and family. Her husband isn’t a stay-at-home dad. Who’s going to be taking care of that little boy?

    Family values??

  167. This “false” pregnancy thing is not new in politics. James II’s second wife was accused of faking her pregnancy as part of a plot to ensure a Catholic heir to the English throne. Of course in this instance the baby is not potentially in the line of succession whoever his “real” mother is.


  168. john,

    i think fake baby gate is plausible. sometimes people go for the ‘big lie’ exactly because no one would dare to question it. as voters we have the right to question things that seem ‘fishy.’ the burdon of proof is not on the one asking.

    it would have been easy for palin to publish the official birth certificate for trig. instead, she gave us a distraction.

    also, it IS stupid to fake a pregnancy. But isnt it also stupid to embark on a 4000 mile flight while in labor?

  169. @188 John Marcus – Would you be saying that about a male candidate? Is it awful that Obama is away from his daughters for so long at an age when they need to have both parents around?

    The sexism is coming from all sides, now.

  170. In addition to the difficulties of faking a pregnant governor and non-pregnant daughter, no-one seems to have pointed out here that a 44yr old is about 40 times more likely to have a Down Syndrome baby than a 17yr old is.
    Rough calculations suggest that Alaska would probably average less than one Down Syndrome case* a year to someone 18 or younger.

    * incidence before screening, so views on abortion don’t enter into it.

  171. 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

    Right. Just like they were relentless when Al Gore’s son was arrested for drug possesion during the 2000 campaign.

    Oh wait. No. Nobody said a word about that. Mmm. Well I’m sure you make a good point, even if it’s unfounded and not backed up by any examples.

  172. Several commenters have mentioned Obama’s statement about not wanting his daughters “punished with a baby” if they make a mistake. I don’t see what’s wrong with that – if they don’t have a right to choose how to deal with that mistake, then it is certainly a punishment. A 9-month sentence at the very least, if they choose to give the child up for adoption. I agree that babies are wonderful creatures, miracles if you will, but they deserve to be born to those who CHOOSE to have them, not those who are forced to.

    Bristol is lucky to have that right, to have chosen to keep her baby, and is lucky to have a supportive family and a boyfriend who is willing to step up and be a father to that child.

    And I read that Mr. Palin, first dude extraordinaire, is planning to be a stay-at-home dad to take care of Trig. I may not think Sarah Palin is qualified to be VP, and certainly don’t agree with her views, but I’m not going to question her judgment on how she wants to raise her children. None of my business.

  173. DG Lewis @ 120: I seem to recall that, when Superman ran for President, the Supremes ruled that he wasn’t “born” until his capsule opened in Kansas–therefore he was eligible for the presidency.

    Make of that what you will.

  174. Her husband isn’t a stay-at-home dad. Who’s going to be taking care of that little boy?

    Guess we should be screaming at Mr. Palin to step up to the plate, shouldn’t we? Oh, wait, I forgot: only mothers are responsible for anything about children other than the bills.

  175. I used to be a big fan of Campbell Brown, but after the last couple of days of witnessing her nasty side as she relentlessly attacked her guests about Palin she and CNN have lost me for good. I don’t understand her distain toward Palin? No matter what or who people support, a reporter, or TV personality like Campbell Brown should try to remain impartial and demonstrate more professionalism and responsible journalism!

  176. As a former nurse I know this: no women that is in the latest stages of pregnancy is allowed to get anywhere near an airplane and take a long flight…you aren’t even supposed to be flying the last month. No way, no how would you go on a flight when you are leaking…that means that your first line of defense against infection is gone…a very unsafe time for your child and for you. If Palin flew in that condition than I seriously question her judgement.

    I have had four kids and I, like most women, get bigger with each pregnancy and the delivery is much, much faster with each delivery! Scary fast, in fact. In my case hardly enough time to get to the hospital….can’t imagine getting on a 9 hr. flight. And she was carrying a child with a known risk factor, holy cow… has this women no common sense?

    Let’s talk common sense…let’s talk family values. Maybe Palin should spend more time mothering her kids and not chasing after some politcal office that she is going to lose anyway. Looks to me like she has plenty of challenges at her own doorstep.

    Oh, yes, I am sure Mr. Palin is a fine parent. Maybe he could use a little help from Sarah.

  177. Hello, new reader here. (Clicked through from another blog.) I have only one quibble with this article, and I apologize in advance if it’s too nitpicky:

    “2. Palin’s…maneuver is one of the great qua? moments of the campaign…”

    I think you meant quoi, the french word for ‘what/why.’ (Depending on context.) (Eddie Izzard reference??) Although the sounds for this/these words are extremely similar throughout the romance languages, as far as I know none of them use the q-u-a spelling.

    Unless I am wrong. In which case, please enlighten me!

    I like the blog. Will continue to read. :)

  178. I liked Gov Palin the first time McCain introduced her at the convention but as she rolled on with her half-truths, I simply got disgusted.

    Her cavalier attitude towards the truth is siimply incredible… beginning with her bridge to nowhere, etc.

    By parading her family to the voting public, using every one of them to further her ambition, she herself is guilty of outrageous behaviour towards the public and towards her own family.

    One thing that Mrs Palin seems to be forgetting is that she has not been thoroughly vetted and so cannot blame the American public for wanting to know about her but she mustn’t complain or play the sexist/victimology card when people start asking questions.

  179. The Mommy-Grandma rumor wasn’t _that_ stupid, stranger things have happened. I’ll agree there was never sufficient evidence to believe it for even a minute, but it was at least plausible, more so than the official “Went into premature labor so jumped the first 10 hour flight home so her baby could be born in ALASKA, by God!”. Anyone with such poor judgement shouldn’t be trusted with children at all, much less nuclear launch codes.

    So what I think happened was, there was no surprise labor, or if there was, it happened after she got back to Alaska. She went in and got labor induced, whether for pressing medical reasons, or just because it was at a time convenient to her schedule. Something that plenty of women do, but which wouldn’t necessarily endear her to the “base”, so she made up some bullshit story to get sympathy. Of course I can’t prove this, but if it turns out to be true, I WILL say “I told you so!”