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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Republican family values

The Sarah Palin nomination for vice president is rapidly turning into a disaster of epic proportions.

It's not just the news that the 17-year-old unmarried daughter of a "family values" candidate is pregnant, although that can't be good news to the evangelical community McCain is hoping to win over. I can't wait to hear the reaction of James Dobson, who only grudgingly said he would support McCain after Palin's selection.

Nor is it the fact that Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.

Or even that Palin was under investigation for improper conduct surrounding the continued state employment of her now former bother-in-law state trooper.

No, the issue is the judgment of John McCain in forging ahead with the selection of a novice political figure with several skeletons in her closet -- skeletons he knew about. As the New York Times noted:
The selection of Gov Sarah Palin of Alaska proved quintessentially McCain — daring, hazardous and defiantly off-message. He demonstrated that he would not get boxed in by convention as he sought to put a woman next in line to the presidency for the first time. Yet in making such an unabashed bid for supporters of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, he risked undercutting his central case against Senator Barack Obama.
The selection now truly feels like a rash, gut decision based on little knowledge. Translate that into a decision-making process involving terrorism.

The McCain's camp effort to pass the announcement off as a response to blogosphere rumors is classic misdirection. While those initial reports were scurrilous, they ultimately proved valuable by forcing the issue to the forefront.

And let he who reveled in John Edwards' affair not cast the first stone about private lives. While I admit a deep discomfort in making 17-year-olds the focus of political scandals, sadly the fact is relevant when the candidate's family is being packaged in the way the Palin family is.

And let's not forget McCain was quick to inject a then 18-year-old Chelsea Clinton into the political dialogue with a tasteless "joke."

But again, that is not the issue -- McCain's lack of judgment is. Did he truly believe that this fact could be withheld in today's 24-hour news cycle? Pregnancies are hide to hide -- even pregnancies of 17-year-old daughters who can be kept out of the limelight.

Lest you think I am being too easy on Palin -- fret not. But my criticism is not over the fact hers may well resemble a typical American family with all the attendant trials and tribulations.

No I think Palin's judgment is as shoddy as McCain's -- for pursuing this candidacy in the face of what apparently is her third strike. Add that to her thin resume and you have someone even less qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency than Dan Quayle.

UPDATE: Now we know what Dobson (and others) will say. Can't help but wonder of that forgiveness is bipartisan.

But nothing changes my mind this is a question about McCain's (and Palin's) recklessness.

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Blogger Aniraks said...

Absolutely! Over the past decades we keep hearing that the Republicans are the party of “family values.” What does that mean? I think we should be able to judge the effectiveness of a family’s values and judgment by seeing how their children turn out. So let’s look at the children of high-ranking Republicans and high-ranking Democrats. There’s Chelsea Clinton, with an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a Master’s Degree from Oxford. Let’s compare her to Bristol Palin, 17 years old and pregnant. Which would I want for my children? Now let’s look at Amy Carter, who has completed an undergraduate degree from the Memphis College of Art and a Master’s Degree from Tulane University. Compare her to Jenna Bush, who while she did complete a teaching degree from the University of Texas and is now active in promoting literacy programs, had numerous charges brought against her for underage drinking. To be fair, her sister Barbara graduated from Yale and did not experience the addiction problems of her sister. Republicans’ staunch espousal of conservative family values does not “protect” their children from the “sins” of supporting abortion (Maureen Reagan), being homosexual (Mary Cheney), or choosing atheism (Ron Reagan). So my question is this…If Republicans can’t get their own children to grow up and support their conservative ideals, what right do they have to try to force these ideas on me and my family?

October 10, 2008 11:32 PM  

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