I hope Sarah Palin checked for any knives in her back when this photo was taken. Or at least had someone look for the "Kick Me" sign.
I'm about to shock the heck out of my regular readers/friends with what I'm about to say . . . y'all, I feel sorry for Sarah Palin! During what should be a pretty heady time in her life, she is inundated with rumors, innuendo, and the revelation of some pretty private, embarrassing information. No matter what I might think of her idealogically, I feel bad for her, particularly the onslaught of criticism heading her way in light of the pregnancy of her 17-year-old daughter Bristol. Bloggers and political commentators are questioning her parenting skills, and that's just not right. There are plenty of "good" kids from "good" homes who end up pregnant. We don't know what kind of sex talk the Palin children receive, but even kids who get the nitty gritty details spelled out for them in technicolor have accidents.
Now, I'm sure there are those who are fearful that I'm jumping on the train engineered by Laura Bush and think I'm adding my voice to the call to take it easy on Palin because she's a woman. To that I say, "One, you don't know me very well, and two, hell to the no!" Palin is, in all honesty, getting the same kind of treatment a man would get in the same situation. (Although do fathers have to pin the scarlet P -- for pregnant teen -- on their jackets when their daughters get pregnant the way that mothers do?) On a certain level I applaud the press for not taking it easy on Palin.
No, my real argument here is with John McCain and his vetting team. Either they did a half-assed job of vetting this woman and did not uncover things that should have raised some serious red flags about her candidacy OR they decided to ignore whatever they uncovered and throw Palin to the wolves anyway. It's been made obvious to us that Palin was McCain's third choice at best (after Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge), and there's the implication that McCain's attitude when he didn't get his way over Lieberman was "I don't care. Whatever." Nice way to govern, dude. The McCain team seems to have looked at one thing in making their choice -- Sarah Palin's gender -- and decided that either the rest would remain cozily hidden away (although Bristol's growing bump would surely have started to show by November) or weren't significant enough to make a difference, that people would vote for her regardless because of that whole vagina thing.
In the meantime, this woman has been devoured by the press and potentially had her career irreparably damaged. Yes, Sarah Palin did make the choice to accept the offer knowing there were all these skeletons hanging over her head, but as many people who've appeared on Meet the Press have said, how do you turn down that call when it comes?
McCain and the GOP have set this woman up as a sacrificial lamb and sent her to the slaughter with no seeming concern for her welfare. Maybe Mike is right and she was never meant to make it to November, that she's been set up as a sort of Eagleton so that when McCain gets the choice he really wants, it won't piss off the right as much. Or maybe this will all blow over and be barely remembered come November. Maybe the hope was that the news about Bristol would attract even more women to the McCain/Palin ticket. Nothing like using a 17-year-old pregnant girl as a gimmick to get votes.
And yeah, okay . . .maybe this does piss me off a little more because Sarah Palin is a woman. But it's more because I worry that this is just going to be one more thing that will make it harder for women to aspire to power and give those who think that a woman has no place in the White House (except when she's picking out china and hosting teas) all the more "proof" that they need. And maybe, too, it will become a deterrent for women, that they'll shy away from seeking higher office because they don't want their parenting skills called into question.
No matter what, this is a historic election. The question is whether it will be a history we want or dread.