9.02.2008

THE BABY BUMP

The 17-year-old, unwed daughter of Governor Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, is pregnant. Now what?

The news broke Monday and came from the Governor herself, and since that moment the media has been in a feeding frenzy, smelling blood in the water. But they have absolutely no idea what to do about it. And neither do Democrats.

The fact is that while the news is a bit shocking, it does not leave Palin or McCain open to any sort of serious criticism whatsoever. In fact, this revelation may even help the McCain/Palin ticket, for three reasons.

First, unwed teenage mothers are the liberals’ bread and butter. If they attack either Governor Palin or her daughter, Bristol, over the situation they find themselves in they will be exposed as the hypocrites that they truly are. While Democrat pundits have appeared on the news with apparent giddiness, it has been hilarious to watch them dance around the issue. The only criticism they can offer is calling into question McCain’s judgment on critical issues, suggesting that he should have vetted Palin better. This attack, however, begs the question (if the media would only ask it) of whether these Democrats feel that her daughter’s pregnancy disqualifies her to be the vice president. The ensuing sputtering and equivocating response is fun to imagine.

Secondly, the media is unwittingly throwing the Republicans a lifeline after Hurricane Gustav forced them to scale back their convention, a setback many pundits, including Karl Rove, speculated could seriously hurt McCain’s chances. The media buzz surrounding Palin is whetting the public’s appetite to know more about her, and since we’ve only seen her speak as the vice presidential nominee once or twice since she was rolled out, the next opportunity to watch her is tomorrow night at the Republican National Convention. I can guarantee that viewership will be high and the Republicans will finally have the nation’s full and undivided attention.

Lastly, this does not hurt Palin’s appeal to the demographic she was intended to net: working, suburban mothers. This is something that most of them will understand and sympathize with, and it makes her even more real and approachable to these women. Furthermore, the aforementioned attack route that the liberals might take would only further serve to poison these women against the Obama/Biden ticket, and the Democrats know it; this is a voting block that they cannot afford to cede to McCain.

The Sarah Palin pick was always going to result in rabid scrutiny given the surprise element and the fact that she is a relative unknown to the nation at large. There are conservatives out there who are panicking about this development, and that’s understandable. But the only way this will hurt McCain is if the Republicans let it. The Democrats can only attack McCain on this issue from one angle, and that is calling into question his judgment, and they have to tip-toe through it. If they want to have that discussion I welcome it, and let’s examine Barack Obama’s judgment while we’re at it (Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, Bill Aires, etc, etc, etc). Palin remains assailable only on the question of her experience, and I remain convinced that the more the Democrats harp on it the more they will alienate women in general and pull Barack Obama’s experience back into the spotlight.

Wake me when the debates start.

1 comment:

Hariolor said...

Well said on all counts - precisely the opinions that have been echoed in my own household.

What I found astounding was watching the talking heads on Sunday morning (namely the Meet the Press gang) chasing each other in circles, all agreeing that Palin was a bad choice, but none of them having a qualitative argument as to why. The liberals hate the choice, as she is a staunch conservative that can still pull many of their moderate or issue-oriented voters away. The media hates her, because they are mainly liberals, and the rest are so much part of the entrenched system that a relative outsider with few skeletons and a reputation for cleaning house is their worst nightmare.

Much as I hate to say it, it looks like McCain is, at the least, shrewd, and hopefully is emboldened to really move back to the independent ideals that he has been preaching. Now the Republicans, even more so than the Dems, can argue that there needs to be a force for change in Washington, and this ticket can do it.

Fascinating, finally the campaigns have gotten interesting. I can't wait for the debates. McCain, for as snarky as he is, should readily handle the youthful and inexperienced Obama. Let us hope that Palin's poise and pragmatic manner can weather the storm of ol' "Foot-in-Mouth" Biden.