I still think Palin is still a better pick than Romney would have been, but I’m forced to concede that one of the advantages to picking Mitt over the Alaskan hockey mom would have been the fact that America has already had enough time to absorb all the Mormon skeletons in Mitt’s closet. Sarah Palin is now getting the full media rectal examination, and, unlike the rest of her, it’s not all pretty. So let’s deal with what we’ve learned, one by one.
1. Pregnancy Problems
Despicably, the Daily Kos immediately began to raise questions about Trig Palin, Sarah’s infant Down Syndrome son, insisting that the Alaskan governor had faked the pregnancy in order to cover up for her daughter, who was ostensibly the real mother of the child. Pretty soon, semi-legitimate news folks – notably Andrew Sullivan and Alan Colmes – began to pick this up and run with it, and Obama had the good sense to tell the lefty slimeballs to knock it off, but not before Palin was forced to disclose that the child couldn’t be her daughter’s offspring, because said daughter is currently five months along with her own little bundle of out-of-wedlock joy. We’re told the daughter plans to marry the baby’s father, and since this is a family issue, we should all butt out.
What’s the political impact?
I honestly don’t know. My reaction is that the lefties overplayed their hand and the backlash helps Palin, but I’m a partisan hack who’s predisposed to discount the negative. I think, though, that enough people have dealt with these kinds of challenges in their immediate or extended families that nobody’s going to be too eager to make political hay over this. I have yet to see any conservatives who are upset with Palin over this, and while there are plenty of lefties ready to cry hypocrisy against anyone who champions traditional values and then falls short of them, the fact is that Sarah Palin is running for office, not her daughter.
Logically, you would assume this all blows over quickly, but politics isn’t logical. You never know what will stick. Who’d have thought the world would care that Dan Quayle misspelled potatoe? (Yes, I spelled it incorrectly, too. That’s ironic humor. Commence laughing now.)
2. Daddy’s DUI
Sarah Palin’s husband has a 1986 drunk driving conviction. People forget, but it was a similar long-ago DUI that almost derailed W back in 2000 – he was comfortably ahead in all pre-election polls until the last-minute announcement of his decades-old conviction gave Gore enough momentum to send us all into recount hell.
This has come out early enough that I think it blows over, too – nobody remembers W’s record on this, either. The guy was 22 and did something stupid, and he’s not even the candidate. I just don’t see how this matters much.
3. Pledge Perceptions
My friend Philip called this to my attention on Facebook – he comments on it in my preceding post, too – but I’ve only seen this referenced in various lefty blogs, and given the track record of these blogs re: faked pregnancies, it could turn out to be crap. Yet the story is that, when asked about whether the phrase “Under God” should should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance in a questionnaire for Alaskan state candidates, Palin reportedly responded thusly:
Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.
To both Philip and to me, the clear implication of this answer is that Palin believes the Pledge of Allegiance was written by the Founders, when, in fact, it was written in 1892, and the phrase “Under God” was inserted by anti-Communists during the Eisenhower Administration. (She also forgets to use an apostrophe when writing the contraction of “it is.” Ghastly!)
I showed this to my wife, and she didn’t see the problem. When I pointed out the Pledge’s timeline and pedigree, she laughed and said I was getting it wrong. “She’s saying the founders believed in a nation under God, not that they wrote the Pledge!” I think Palin can persuasively make that case, too, and that this is essentially a non-issue. (Although, candidly, I do think Philip’s interpretation of it is correct.)
As for me, despite these tempests in a teapot these last few days, I still dig Palin, although I confess my enthusiasm for the ticket has waned since the announcement.
These “scandals” have nothing to with it. The problem is McCain, not Palin. I read a piece over at The Corner by Rick Brookhiser that persuasively argued that Palin is being used solely as a sop to conservatives, and that once elected, McCain plans to ignore her and just send her to funerals. The fact that McCain hasn’t reversed himself on ANWR despite Palin’s presence on the ticket demonstrates that he’s not really listening to her, and he plans to continue being John McCain, not Sarah Palin.
That leads me back to Jacques Cousteau territory.
I may be alone in this, but I would much rather have a genuine, bedrock conservative with limited experience but real accomplishments like Sarah Palin in the Oval Office than John McCain, who has plenty of experience being wrong.