Sarah Palin Scandal(s)?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Before I get to the point, I wanted to thank the people involved with this blog.  There seems to be no shortage of political blogs, but so many of them offer very little in terms of rational debate, but tend more towards hyperbole, name calling, and bloviation.  This place is different and people are able to reasonably and passionately express opposing viewpoints.  I'd like to think this is beneficial.  I have certainly learned much and have changed my opinion in several policy areas and this is due to the type of discourse that occurs here.

The same can't be said for the rest of the blogosphere.  The Palin nomination has drawn a lot of scrutiny, as it should.  She is a relative unknown and we should know about how she has governed, how she has voted, and what she thinks on the "issues."  Reasonable or not, I would also expect that people would have questions about her personal life.  I don't care for most of the gossip or personal stuff, but I do expect there to be some factual basis.  We have already seen Obama be the subject of a nasty rumor that he was some kind of closet Muslim.  Some even took that to the absurd by suggesting he would institute some kind of Islamic law in the US.  

The Palin version of the nasty rumor was seen briefly on our own blog before Smitty canned it.  It suggested that Palin's youngest is actually the child of one of her other children and that she faked her own pregnancy to cover up for her daughter.  Daily Kos ran a very elaborate one with pictures that has already been debunked by numerous outlets and is completely without merit.  I have never been a huge fan of Kos, but had respected them for the most part.  I would certainly have put them in the top 10 for left leaning blogs.  I am pretty jaded about some stuff and I know this is nothing new.  That being said, it still makes me very mad.  On one level, it is just a rotten, dishonest thing to do.  On another level, it distracts people from more important issues that are certainly critical to our nation.  Despite being denied and proven wrong, they are still believed by some.  I still hear the closet Muslim rumor.

As I was composing this post news came out that Sarah Palin's disclosed that her daughter is pregnant.  It is hard to tell where this will go.  I am sure both sides will spin it all sorts of ways.  The fact that McCain knew maybe says that we are able to not make such a big deal about irrelevant stuff, but maybe not.  One thing is for sure, this will clear up the accusation that he was pandering to the religious right.

24 comments:

Smitty 3:30 PM  

It's tough to say how this plays. The Republicans are probably best to play the Right to Life card; despite the implications of premarital sex, for which our declining society and damn liberals is (are) to blame (with a healthy dose of personal responsibility), it was of utmost importance to keep this baby and have it and raise it responsibly (unlike the liberals, who certainly would want to kill it).

The Dems...maybe they play Obama's "personal responsibility" call that he has given in the past and in his nomination speech. Have it, and raise it. It's your responsibility, and if the father is still around, he needs to be included.

I will personally be extremely disappointed if the Dems use it as an attack; instead, each side (unfortunately) can use it to spin a positive message that reinforces their decision. The Dems will be equally sunk if they try any Pro-Choice messaging with this.

In other words...I wonder if it's best that the Dems stay silent and let the Republicans either downplay it or use it to reinforce some sort of positive message, on the understanding that if they try to go towards "...and Obama and the Dems would want to kill it..." then they can unleash the "how dare you" press release.

Make sense?

Dems: quiet. Repubicans: RTL message based on personal responsibility.

Smitty 3:34 PM  

And here it is:

"Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family," they said in a statement issued by McCain's campaign.

Sounds like where they want this to end. We'll see what the MSM does about this.

B Mac 5:02 PM  

I think MOST of America lets this issue slide. After all, it happens; kids do stupid stuff. But the majority of the people who DO care are going to be the core cadre of Christian conservatives (say that 3 times fast).

It says almost nothing about Sarah Palin's ability to be VP. Nor does the campaign's announcement that her husband had a DWI like 75 years ago. But it takes a little tarnish off of the "Jesus sent us this Vice President" sheen.

The other thing it brings to the front is one of process; how carefully was she vetted? From most accounts, she was a somewhat hasty selection. Are there other skeletons waiting in a closet somewhere? Some random policy stupidity, error in judgment, or (heaven forbid) time she said "Goddamnit" when she stubbed her toe?

For Obama's part, he did come out today and call for a cease-fire on the Palin girl. And calculated or not, that's the right thing to do. This is a 17-year-old girl; she isn't a political player. When someone chooses the limelight, their personal foibles are fair game. When it's a teenager going through a tough time, that's gotta be off limits if we have any decency.

B Mac 5:14 PM  

For those of you familiar with the Kwame Kilpatrick situation (which at this point has to be just about everyone), tell me this lead won't play in Michigan:

"Alaska Governor Sarah Palin hired a lawyer three weeks ago to act on her behalf as state legislators investigate whether she may have abused her power in firing the state police chief for refusing to fire her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper, CNN has confirmed."


http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com

steves 6:29 PM  

Dems: quiet. Repubicans: RTL message based on personal responsibility.

This would be the classiest thing to do. We'll see.

But it takes a little tarnish off of the "Jesus sent us this Vice President" sheen.

Maybe. I haven't heard much yet. As this crowd doesn't really have a spokesperson, but rather a bunch of people claiming to speak for a large group (i.e. Dobson et al.). If they throw her under the bus, then they need to go back and read the Bible. It is full of examples of deeply flawed people doing some incredible things.

For Obama's part, he did come out today and call for a cease-fire on the Palin girl.

Some Dems act like assholes, but this guy has consistently showed integrity. Impressive.

I never thought of the Kwame Sarah comparison. From what I know about both situations, she has a way to go before she approached Kwamwe corruption. I have never been a supporter of him, so I may be biased.

B Mac 7:08 PM  

Oh, she isn't even close to Kwame's level. Very few are. The guy has dumb-ass abuses of power down to a science.

Palin's case could *almost* be chalked up to a family issue, though you only get so many free passes for 'family issues' before the press gets tired of the "cease fire" orders and opens up anyway.

I'm merely pointing out an amusing connection between the two situations. I'm guessing it won't be the last connection you'll see on the topic (at least not if the Michigan for Obama folks are on their toes).

Christian 8:18 PM  

I will say this- this race is the most interesting that I have seen in a long time. History will be made, either way. This blog, and the posters, have certainly contributed to my understanding different perspectives of the candidates, the race, the parties.

So if nothing else, I will make an intelligent vote. HOWEVER- I will be drunk at the time after having read one of Smitty's reviews.

Andy 8:56 PM  

So I haven't had time to check the blog in a while, and will leave comments here.

First, before addressing the scandal, I think Palin is a great choice. Maybe I am the only Dem to say that, but I do think so. Great conservative credentials to rally the base. A woman, to pull in independent women (those who aren't rabidly pro-choice). She cleaned up Alaska government, is a "real" person, and will relate well to the public.

Now to the scandal - I think independents will not care. They see this happen every day. I think the conservatives will care. The radical right. They were concerned anyway that a mom of 5 will be away from her children as VP, but now they are concerned that she couldn't prevent her child from premarital sex. They will be real concerned, espscially with "maverick" McCain. But, realistically, where will they vote? Not for Obama...and I don't think they stay home because they don't want to give Obama the Presidency. They hold their noses and voter for McCain and hope he stays healthy and stays conservative. My assumption.

I think, in the end, the Palin pick is a good one and she gets past this "scandal".

Oh, and lets not forget...he husband is an ESKIMO! We could have a 2nd Gentleman Eskimo!!!

Tony 9:52 PM  

Steve,

Help me to understand what you mean here, One thing is for sure, this will clear up the accusation that he was pandering to the religious right, because many on the right are turning her into a heroine.

Bob 8:59 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob 9:00 AM  

Thanks for the positive comments about this blog Steves. You never can be sure how people are reacting to your differing views until someone makes comments like yours.

As far as the issue at hand-

If a scandal or controversy is handled well by those involved, I think voters will forgive almost anything. That includes criminal issues, sex scandals, cheating on a spouses, etc. By coming out with this early, they handled it well. (Even though Palin’s daughter clearly concealed her pregnancy by always holding a very well-placed infant sibling over her front.)

What the voters won't forgive is hypocrisy. That is the bad part of this choice for McCain. He went out and talked about experience for a long time and now chose someone inexperienced. Also, if Palin was supposed to go out and trumpet "family values" during the campaign, she's going to have to be more careful.

Some folks think the issue of Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy will negatively impact the support of the social conservatives, especially the evangelicals. I don’t think so. They will accept this as long as Palin’s daughter raises the child, gets married and isn’t “let off the hook.” If she were to choose an abortion, or even adoption, evangelicals would see it as not taking proper responsibility for having premarital sex. I get this view from evangelicals, not my own views.

Smitty 10:07 AM  

Great conservative credentials to rally the base.

Such conservative values as subscribing to a political ideal whereby the argument for succession from the Union is a good one? Because she has been a part of that particular brand of Independent in Alaska.

A woman, to pull in independent women (those who aren't rabidly pro-choice)

Actually, womean all over, from social consevative through Indy and liberal, are having a discussion about the wisdom of having so many young kids and the amount of time it will take to be Veep. It sounds sexist on its face (funny, coming from women), but the root of the argument is that there is a LOT at stake here; that a woman Veep needs to be so visible and so effective and do a great-enough job so as to disprove a millenium-worth of sexism that she needs to decide family or Veep, and the only right decision here for her is family. The argument is enough to raise question as to the wisdom of her, versus a ton of other extremely well-qualified female Republican potential candidates.

She cleaned up Alaska government

I would be interested to see what Alaskans thinks about her "clean up." We here certainly agree that Engler didn't so much clean-up state government.

is a "real" person

Inasmuch as she lives, breathes oxygen and has family problems like the rest of us, sure, but I am seeing some reaction outside of the crazy sycophant Republican base that shows that despite her "realness" she was not properly vetted, versus (again) some equally- or more-qualified women in the party.

and will relate well to the public

Agreed. Mitt Romeny would not have related well; we saw here in the DeVos campaign that the public just doesn't trust someone like that. But in terms of relating to the public, there are loads of other potential picks of both sexes taht fit that bill.

All in all, I still believe they hastily picked her for some overtly sexist reasons before they took the time to really find a female candidate that brings something to the table other than a soccer-mom speaking style and youthful attractiveness.

Tony:

because many on the right are turning her into a heroine

I will let Steve address the first part of your comment, since it's his post and I can't speak for him (though I suspect it was tongue-in-cheek about premarital sex and religious views on that general activity), but there is some publicized blowback from the "religious right" heroizing her for her decision. Mostly, it's the implication and the none-too-quiet comment that Pro-Choice Democrats would have just killed it and tried again. Wrong. Most people, regardless of Life or Choice views, would have had the baby even if they knew it had Downs syndrome (at least according to outrage over the implication). So let's be sure to applaud all women who go-ahead and have babies that they know have developmental issues, whcih I dare say is close to all women.

Tony 10:51 AM  

Smitty,

Thanks for your kind response. I have to agree. I think it is heinous that men like Dobson and Richard Land are using this as an opportunity to smear Obama. They have drawn an unjust conclusion--they "know" that Barack and Michelle would counsel their daughter to have an abortion so that (in Land's words) she wouldn't be "punished with a child." Its amazing that they "know" that is how the Obamas would respond if they were in a similar situation.

What has Barack and Michelle brought to this election? A happy, healthy, monogamous family, well-adjusted kids, and a good life for his family. Yet family values are only what the right says they are. Yeah. Obama sucks.

Thanks for the discussion, Smitty.

Bob 1:22 PM  

Joe Trippi has an interesting take on the Palin pick. I think it is a take that may not come true, but Dems should take seriously.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/09/dems_shouldnt_underestimate_pa.html

steves 2:02 PM  

Such conservative values as subscribing to a political ideal whereby the argument for succession from the Union is a good one?

I did some research on this and found a substantial amount of reports that claim this accusation is false. Some bloggers are claiming that a video which references her meeting with this group and claims from some group members is proof that she belonged to this group. Apparently, she has never identified herself as a member of this group and there is a record of her being a 'registered Republican' since 1982.

Even more ridiculous is that the bloggers are saying that Palin believes what the group believes, which reminds me of how Rev. Wright's beliefs were tied to Obama. I don't see where any of Palin's actions would lead anyone to believe she is a secessionist.

Steve,

Help me to understand what you mean here, One thing is for sure, this will clear up the accusation that he was pandering to the religious right, because many on the right are turning her into a heroine.


Smitty is right, though since McCain knew when he chose her that her kid was with child, it seems that there would have been better choices if he wanted to go for the hard-core evangelicals. I guess they can spin it however, but if you wanted to appease that group would you pick someone with an unwed, pregnant, teenage daughter?

If she were to choose an abortion, or even adoption, evangelicals would see it as not taking proper responsibility for having premarital sex. I get this view from evangelicals, not my own views.

I think they may be ok with the adoption angle, though this is just my opinion.

What has Barack and Michelle brought to this election? A happy, healthy, monogamous family, well-adjusted kids, and a good life for his family.

Very true.

Smitty 2:07 PM  

and found a substantial amount of reports that claim this accusation is false

Well that's the last damn time I get my news from the fucking Today Show. I blame Matt Lauer.

Tony 3:13 PM  

Steve,

Thanks for the follow-up.

but if you wanted to appease that group would you pick someone with an unwed, pregnant, teenage daughter?

This probably ain't a can of worms we want to open, but given that McCain knew (or says he did) Palin's daughter was pregnant and vetted her anyway, and knowing Bristol would keep the baby, get married, etc., I would suggest that he knew that it would energize the religious conservative base. And it has!

I don't know if it was a coolly calculated ploy, but the cynic in me says so.

Bob 3:23 PM  

"I don't know if it was a coolly calculated ploy, but the cynic in me says so."

I am with Tony. If he knew it, he knew it would play well.

Smitty 3:57 PM  

I would suggest that he knew that it would energize the religious conservative base

Agreed. Keeping babies, getting married, and forgiveness of mistakes. I'm listening to NPR right now, and Republican conventioneers seem nonplussed about the news.

steves 4:05 PM  

Well Matt Lauer is the Edward Murrow of our time ; )

Seriously, I was worried when I read that, but the more I look, the more it seems to be a non-story, though not quite the level of BS that was the Daily POS.

Hah, maybe McCain is more crafty then I thought. OTOH, most evagelicals weren't going to vote for Obama anyway. The ones that are going to vote for McCain will do so no matter who the VP is. My guess is any benefit of having Palin would overshadow the fallout from the kid. Most people can relate to teens acting carelessly.

Anonymous,  8:58 PM  

I think it is clear, that there was virtually no-vetting of Ms. Palin, given that McCain only met her once before making her the VP nominee. Astonishing!

Given that she has been dropped in our lap 63 days from an election, we need to make sure the press, the dem opposition researchers, etc. dig up what they can, so we know what we are in store for if McCain wins.

I don't find much of this shocking. These are the days of the man with the baby, a woman who grew onto a toilet seat from sitting on it for 8 months, sex videos from Mini-Me and Screech, and dozens of banks going belly up, and China lending us our money.

This nonsense about her kid being pregnant is nothing that shouldn't be expected, just like the papparazzi how took pictures of Chelsea Clinton and her dates when she went to Sidwell Friends School, and Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter and on and on and on.

Welcome to the 21st century Wasillians!

steves 6:49 AM  

This probably ain't a can of worms we want to open, but given that McCain knew (or says he did) Palin's daughter was pregnant and vetted her anyway, and knowing Bristol would keep the baby, get married, etc., I would suggest that he knew that it would energize the religious conservative base. And it has!

I still don't know. I hate to beat a dead horse, but I am just having trouble seeing why he needed to woo the RR. Polling data showed that McCain had solid support. Has he gotten a significant boost? Have you heard many religious conservatives saying they were voting for Obama, now they will switch to McCain because of Palin?

I can understand McCain trying to spin this to help him, but I question that picking someone with an unwed, pregnant, teenage daughter would be a good move to court the RR. If so, then it is taking a big chance. There are too many variables. The plan seems to be that she will get married and keep the child. Ok, that would probably fly with the RR. What if she decided to do something else? Support among the RR may erode.

I still believe that picking her was a way to solidify support among people that thought he was a RINO, though the RR certainly can be included in that group.

Sopor 8:56 AM  

Well I for one, know next to jack diddly about politics. For that reason, I tend to not say a whole lot in the politic related discussions. I really like to read what you guys say though, you've all got a lot of great insight, and I gain a lot of awareness because of that.

So maybe someday I'll know enough to pipe up, but in the meantime I'll stick the beer ;-)

Mr Furious 12:19 PM  

I don't think the unplanned, unwed pregnancy costs one single evangelical vote as long as Bristol gets married and has the baby.

That stuff happens ALL THE TIME in every evangelical community, and as long as "the kids get married and do the right thing," all will be forgiven.

--

I make a habit of taking Joe Trippi seriously, so I take him at his word on Palin.

--

I fully expect the narrative on Palin to change dramatically after tonite. The press has been picking her apart, and I think she will do well with her speech, and they will feel the need (pressure) to back off of her.

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