And it isn’t going to work.
Time Magazine’s Nathan Thornburg finds he likes Sarah Palin’s hometown, and agrees with its residents on the irrelevance of yesterday’s pregnancy story. So will the voters.
I just got off the phone with a longtime Wasilla resident. She had urged me to find time today to go up to Hatcher Passâ€””the most beautiful place in the valley!”â€”when I mentioned that the story on Bristol’s baby is now national news. Her voice slowed. “Oh,” she said. “I’m so sorry. That’s so unfair.”
Wasilla seems at times to be utterly without guile. It’s a large part of the town’s charm, and it’s exactly the quality that could make an unorthodox pick like Palin pay off. Don’t get me wrong â€” she’s a tough politician with sharp enough elbows on her own. But still, she appears to be more steeped in the values of her hometown than any politician I’ve ever come across.
Maybe that means Palin is a little too much Northern Exposure for Americaâ€”after all, her father’s good friend Curt Menard happily showed me a picture of the governor as a high schooler in 1981, in a root cellar with family and friends, helping skin and cube and cure a whole moose. It’s enough to make you almost miss fake hunters like John Kerry and Mitt Romney.
People in Wasilla are Alaskan tough, so not only does a thing like teen pregnancy not seem like anyone’s damn business, but it’s also not seen as the calamity so many people in the lower 48 might think it is. This is dangerous country â€” it’s not just the roughneck jobs on cable reality shows. It’s real life here. I listened to the absolutely heartbreaking story of how the godfather of Track Palin, Sarah’s oldest son, died in small plane crash just minutes after having dropped off four kids. Another family invited me into their home and told their incredible story; with one son in Iraq, their other son was working on a conveyor line in Anchorage, got caught in the belt and had his head partially crushed. He lived to stand across the kitchen table from me and his parents, looking fully healed just three months later, grinning at his dumb luck and wondering what comes next in life. “It makes you realize that a thing like a little teenage pregnancy isn’t such a big deal,” his mom said. “Bristolâ€”and lots of other girl like her out there â€” are going to be just fine.”
If you haven’t guessed yet, the people here are genuinely friendly. Even those in Palin’s inner sanctum who have been told since Friday not to talk to reporters by McCain’s media team, are almost apologetic that they can’t be neighborly and chat, since you came all this way to little Wasilla. And those who can talk, do. All weekend they had the decency not to pretend that they didn’t know the governor’s eldest daughter was pregnant. But they also expected decency in return, that I wouldn’t be the kind of person to make sport out of a young girl’s slip.
The fact is, regardless of what you will hear over the next few days, Bristol’s pregnancy is not a legitimate political issue. Sarah Palin is a longterm member of a group called Feminists for Life, which is not opposed to birth control. So you probably can’t tag her for consigning young people to unwanted pregnancies.
The attempt by the dirtbags of the left to whip this into a scandal will only backfire on them.
Leftwinger Larry Johnson, a former Hillary supporter, has a few apt comments on when family members are and are not appropriately made into political issues. He’s right about the clowns at Kos and the turncoat poofter Andrew Sullivan, too.
Did you catch Barack Obama threatening to fire â€œhisâ€ people if they are helping fan the flames about the preganancy of the Republican Vice Presidential candidateâ€™s 17 year old daughter? Families, so he says, are not fair game.
So, why do you think Barack came out on this? Because immediate internal polling is running very negative against the Obama campaign, which is perceived as pushing the Bristol pregnancy story. They are being painted as bullies and hypocrites. Most Americans, especially those bitter white folks clinging to God and guns, view this as a private matter and none of the mediaâ€™s business.
For starters, anyone who is 21 years of age or less should not be a target of any campaign. Attacking a 17 year old girl and spreading vicious lies, as have the clowns at Kos and Andrew Sullivan (just to name two of the more prominent offenders) is beyond the pale. Family members who are over 21 are fair game if they are using the fame of their parent, spouse, or relative to make a buck or get an advantage. I think the views and actions of a spouse also are relevant if the man or woman has engaged in conduct such as hurling racial epithets or promoting policies that most Americans reject.
I think it is noteworthy that Sarah Palinâ€™s husband resigned his job in the Oil and Gas industry in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety while Michelle Obama used her husbandâ€™s position to enrich herself. She got a job she would not have if her husband had not been a player in the Chicago political machine. To that extent I think the actions and words of spouses are relevant and potentially important.