Palin Family Values

It’s hard to contain my amusement at the misadventures of the Republican Party, whose campaign faltered once more after Obama’s successful convention and the soap operatic revelations about Sarah Palin’s family, which suggested that McCain indeed hadn’t vetted her at all beforehand:

Barack Obama has hit the crucial 50 per cent mark in the polls for the first time after an impressive Democratic convention and concerns over John McCain’s choice of the Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.

The Democratic nominee now holds an eight-point lead over Mr McCain – 50 per cent to 42 per cent – according to today’s daily tracking poll released by Gallup.

Whether or not the polls will keep that distance between the candidates is anyone’s guess, but there are clear reasons why Obama has taken a lead again. I would firstly maintain that he succeeded in presenting himself as leader-in-waiting in his nomination acceptance speech. He behaved in a presidential manner, was neither egotistical nor evasive, and most importantly came across as having sound judgment on the issues which matter to the country. Whilst the Republicans are trying to relaunch the culture wars of the last election through Sarah Palin’s VP candidature, they have an enormous two-pronged problem with the McCain/Palin ticket. Firstly it’s essentially preaching to the converted – despite the attempt to make Palin the story, she offers nothing new to the electorate outside the Republican hardcore. She also isn’t quite as in-tune even with them as they want us to think – she was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party before joining the Republicans. It’s not very American really to support secession from the Union, is it?

Country first, eh?

Rumours also persist that the fifth Palin child isn’t Governor Sarah’s after all:

Left-wing blogger sites, including the prominent Daily Kos, had been speculating that Mrs Palin’s fifth child, Trig, who was born earlier this year and diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, was in fact carried by Bristol, who would have then been 16.

There are a number of elements to the story which don’t add up, not least of which being baby Trig Palin’s not appearing on the list of births for April 18th at the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, not to mention serious inconsistencies in accounts of his relationship to the Johnston family by the Johnston family. Let me remind you that Levi Johnston is now the confirmed father of the baby 17 year old Bristol Palin is pregnant with – did Governor Palin cover up an earlier baby for legal reasons? I’m leaning on the side of probably not, but there are clearly unanswered questions about Trig which need to be addressed. Sadly though Obama disagrees, but Democratic commentator Hilary Rosen suggests the party shouldn’t see the Palin family’s complications as a no-go area:

“I think that, if anything, it makes it clearer that Democrats have to highlight that the issue isn’t what Sarah Palin and her daughter choose to do with their own family. It’s that they want to make those choices for all women,” said Rosen.

Indeed Jon Stewart’s Daily Show has this to say:

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more about “Category 5 S**tstorm | The Daily Show…“, posted with vodpod

But coming out of a widely acclaimed convention speech, could it be that Rush Limbaugh is right after all?

Rush Limbaugh, the enormously influential conservative talk show host, told that Palin had electrified the religious right, who were greeting the pick as a “home f***ing run”. He added in an email, “Palin = Guns, Babies, Jesus,” the holy trinity of Republican rightist politics. Limbaugh contrasted Palin’s life story with Barack Obama’s statement earlier in the year that some poor white voters were “bitter” – “clinging” to their faith or their guns out of fear. “Obama just lost blue-collar, white Democratic voters in Pennsylvania and other states,” predicted Limbaugh

Sarah Wildman thinks not, or at least not necessarily. As I wrote in my last post, for all her sassy bluster, Palin was still only preaching to a narrow base, that of 2000 and 2004, and the rules of the game have changed since then. Not only is the anti-Republican tide considerable, but the mainstreaming of religious anti-abortionism and homophobia has died down. It’s notable that Palin, as McCain, assiduously avoided discussion of the actual issues affecting the country (which Obama did ):

Tad Devine, who was chief strategist for Democratic candidate John Kerry’s unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2004, said Thursday: “I think the best way to respond would be to point out that she said practically nothing about the biggest issue of our time,” Devine said, listing the economy, the Iraq war and the health service.
“I think they should refrain from anything personal.”

Devine, like other Democrats, feels that the impact of Palin will quickly diminish. “I think in the end this election will come down to McCain and Obama, as they always do,” he said.

Maybe. Except even the Republicans know they can’t win a straight fight between McCain and Obama. They need (and will keep) Sarah Palin as the face, the attitude, the attack dog and (in their eyes) the embodiment of the small, petty issues which they feel will excite Americans more than the actual, substantial ones. Obama and Biden will ignore this at their cost. With gender remaining as thorny an issue in this campaign as race, the Democrats will have to tread carefully and cleverly to disarm her. I don’t believe just dismissing her will be enough.

And finally we mustn’t forget the disgrace that is John McCain himself. You may think that Jon Stewart pushes the boundaries too far when he jokes about Sarah Palin as McCain’s third wife:

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But look at this!

Skip to 3:00 on the Daily Show video to watch Samantha Bee hilariously deconstruct the Palin candidacy more effectively than any politician or commentator. Will her satirical take on identity politics be prescient for November or will it remain merely a black look at how stupid the Republican campaign thinks enough female swing (and yes PUMA) voters are? Ultimately my guess is she’ll fulfil her role as a distraction from McCain’s numerous weak points and push it to a nail biter; a former McCain strategist thinks she’s a disaster.


14 responses to “Palin Family Values

  1. Dude, you are whacked. You need to leave the juice and weed alone. Sarah Palin is more ready for the White House than Barrack. The left wing hacks, including you, are concerned because if Palin becomes VP, she will more than likely be the front runner for President in 2012 and she will be whupping some Hillary and Obama ass. Besides, let’s face it homey, Sarah is better looking than Michelle. Show some respect, but start with yourself first by blogging the truth and not a bunch of crap from Daily Kos Must Go.

  2. I thought I’d made myself clear – I doubt the rumours about Trig are true. What makes her personally unpalatable for the job are:

    her support for teaching creationism on equal par with evolution:

    But yes, she does believe in teaching Creationism (in the election for Governor of Alaska in 2006, she declared “I am a proponent of teaching both [i.e. Creationism alongside evolutionary biology]”). And yes, that is relevant to her candidature for vice-president. I’m alarmed on several grounds at Governor Palin’s place on the Republican ticket, and this is one reason.

    her extreme views against abortion and her not-quite support for gay rights;

    her probable ‘Troopergate’ abuse of power and reliance on typical right-wing militaristic, jingoistic rhetoric to justify her importance (I’ll admit I’m sick of Obama starting to do the same);

    Oh and you did notice that the campaign is about McCain didn’t you? It’s not about Palin – she’s the back-up. If elected VP she won’t be in the White House clever clogs. And if you’re trying to justify her candidacy based on her looks, you’re really REALLY on the wrong blog lol

    I’m not sure what’s disrespectful about disagreeing with everything this ultra right-wing social conservative – she hasn’t even succeeded in teaching birth control to her own daughter! If you too are a conservative, I’d be interested in your views about her support for Alaskan independence from the US federation.

  3. At least some people are seeing sense:

    “The cash keeps flowing in to the Obama campaign in the wake of Sarah Palin’s speech, suggesting that whatever effect she’s had on the GOP base has been duplicated on the Democratic side.

    Obama spokesperson Tommy Vietor confirms that the campaign has now pulled in over $10 million since her speech — a “one day record,” Vietor says.

    “I hope she gives a speech every day,” Vietor joked.”

  4. I don’t like her as a candidate but she certainly got some energy into the campaign.

    Notes: Troopergate was fully justified the guy went on a bender and tasered an 11yr old boy and threatened to kill people.

    The baby meme is just weird, first to be speculating on it without any evidence, second to ignore photographic evidence that she was pregnant for 9 friggin months, and third many turn around and than accuse her endangering the baby by not rushing home when the water broke. Personally on the 5th kid she probably has a good idea of what to expect.

    In the US the creationist thing is pretty normal and on par for all 50 governors. I’ve read various things but simply allowing it to be taught is fairly normal. My teacher explained it this way, According to all evidence life spawned here naturally after gestating for millions of years in many forms before slowly evolving higher and higher functions, Conversely others believe it sprang from no where.

    I think your treading on weak ground here, “And finally we mustn’t forget the disgrace that is John McCain ” getting your talking points from Jon Stewart, *shakes head*

    I don’t like the man that much but his was the only speech of both conventions that I could stand to follow all the way through. He knows how to turn his suffering into strength and when you watch him hobble across the stage you realize that this entire race must be agony for him, it made me think of how much he wants it. No I think the only way that the democrats can win is by trying to tie him to Bush despite his constant opposition to so many of his fundamental programs over the past 8 years. I’m surprised you don’t support him more considering his staunch no torture crede.

  5. “the only way that the democrats can win.”.

    er. Tim. they are winning []. that’s why McCain was so desperate to shore up the ‘base’.

    All the ‘fiscal conservative’, ‘anti-corruption’, ‘bridge to nowhere’ stuff with Palin is b*shit. That’s why she’s doing no press conferences ;/

  6. I thought liberals were supposed to be soooo compassionate. How about a little compassion for Sarah and Bristol. If you knew what life is like in Alaska you would understand why Sarah had to say that Trig was her baby. Okay, so it’s coming out now that she’s been chosen to be the Vice President but have a little heart for pete’s sake. Wouldn’t you have tried to protect your daughter if you were in her place? Sarah has been a damn good governor for us and she’ll be just as good a Vice President, and hopefully President, for the U.S. Just because Bristol was tempted by Satan doesn’t mean that Sarah didn’t offer the proper teachings of the Bible to her daughter. We are all sinners and, as Jesus said, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Good bless Sarah and Bristol and God bless America.

  7. @happyM smoke much happy weed?

    @Paul, if you trust polls I’d question your judgment. I have never seen one that ever was right for the final tally. However all of them together still show an evenly divided country with Ohio and Florida as the main ones to watch.

  8. Leaving a 3 day old baby (one with special needs no less) at home doesn’t show the kind of family values that I respect. I talk more about this in my blog: For me, family values means that the parents should respect the needs of their children.

  9. SteveJJ maybe you should learn to spell the names of politicians before joining in on political talk.

    Yes, the Palin baby business is very strange indeed. A month before “giving birth” the Governor didn’t show a bit, and people who know her were very surprised when she said she was going to have a baby. Even the airline people thought Sarah didn’t look pregnant on the flight from Texas to Alaska, just before she supposedly “gave birth”. Meanwhile, Bristol was taken out of school, enrolled at another school, and had “mono” for at least 5 months. Convenient way to hide the teenager’s pregnancy. Sarah Palin stole her own daughter’s baby, for political gain and to make the family look “nice”. This is serious child abuse. Is Bristol pregnant again as Sarah is claiming? Maybe, maybe not. Sarah claims Bristol is “about” 5 months pregnant, trying to make it look like she couldn’t possibly be the mother of Trig who was born just under 5 months ago. Bristol might be 4 months pregnant, entirely possible if she had a baby in April. Teenagers are very fertile. Sarah lies and covers up to gain advantage, like many many other politicians have and continue to do. It’s no wonder Bristol always looks so serious and sad. Anyone looking at pictures of her holding Trig would believe she is the mother, she acts very motherly toward the baby unlike Sarah.

  10. Mudflats has a good post today about the POLITICAL relevance of her family

    Sarah Palin has repeatedly said that having her baby is Bristol’s ‘decision’. And isn’t Bristol lucky to have a decision, and a supportive family, and someone who wants to marry her, and parents who are well-off and willing to help her, and the help of a nanny. Yes, she is. And, frankly, it would be a mistake to question the family’s decision because it is their decision, and that’s the point. The crux of this issue is that Palin believes other girls like Bristol should have no decision – not in the case of rape, or incest, or both. Not if you’re 12 or 20 or 55, rich or poor, married or alone, sick or well, able or disabled.

    + I posted a reality check today on ‘The only poll that counts’

  11. @ Tim – The baby meme is just weird, first to be speculating on it without any evidence

    Well again – it’s a blog – speculation is entirely fair game. But it’s hardly without evidence. The inconsistencies in Trig’s background have been noticed by a lot of people and a lot of it is mentioned here. Considering she’s running on a family values platform, as is pointed out in the post, how she runs her family is in my opinion entirely open to the utmost scrutiny.

    In the US the creationist thing is pretty normal and on par for all 50 governors.

    That’s so not true – sorry. It’s not remotely accurate either to say that they’re all creationist, or all support creationism being taught on an equal basis to evolution in schools. Promoting pseudo-science as in any way equal to actual science is incredibly irresponsible, if not actually immoral. Of course the idiot incumbent already supports this garbage, so in a sense it’s hardly surprising that the masses wouldn’t be bothered by the GOP trying it on yet again.

    No I think the only way that the democrats can win is by trying to tie him to Bush despite his constant opposition to so many of his fundamental programs over the past 8 years.

    You present the ‘so many’ as being essentially opposed to everything that Bush has done over eight years, yet that’s hardly the case. As Bill Clinton and Obama both realise, where the battle lines have been drawn for the election, he’s been wholeheartedly in support of Bush. And during the campaign, he’s drifted further and further to the right than Bush, making any remaining notions of him being a ‘maverick’ quite preposterous.

    I thought liberals were supposed to be soooo compassionate. How about a little compassion for Sarah and Bristol.

    Well on a human level of course I feel compassion for them, particularly Bristol. To be marrying someone who doesn’t want kids and is being forced to be a husband and father must be terrible for her, and for him. I don’t think the conspiracy story about Trig is true though, despite some very unusual evidence which still hasn’t been explained. It would be very VERY unusual for a 16 year old girl to have a Down’s Syndrome baby – less so for a woman nearly in her mid-40s.

  12. “It would be very VERY unusual for a 16 year old girl to have a Down’s Syndrome baby ”

    Yeah it would be, yet incredibly typical for a 40 year old woman. Personally I would ask why she wanted to have another child so late.

    As for Bristol, I do feel sorry for her but I’m not going to make any assumptions that that she didn’t want this marriage. It’s not opportune but it still might be what both of them want. I believe in the consequences of sex and that’s why i stay monogamous and play safe. I feel worse that she has to do this on the national spotlight, but not many of us get to pick our parents.

    @Democrats hopes for November
    I’m simply saying that I think the best strategy is to push the similarities. On several of the big ticket bills that McCain opposed, torture, parts of the war, immigration. McCain staked out radically different ideas than Bush. Yes he voted together 85 to 90% of the time but policy wise they have rarely seen eye to eye.

    Where are you registered to vote btw? I’m curious which state you have ties too

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