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Monday, September 1, 2008

Spinning the Pregnant Palin

posted by on September 1 at 10:21 AM


The campaign intends to cast this as the kind of situation that ordinary American families face.

Yes, ordinary American families face this situation all the time. Fewer would face this situation, however, if we had comprehensive sex education in the United States, and teenagers had access to accurate information about birth control methods and contraceptives were made easily available.

And it’s great that Bristol is choosing to keep this baby. As the adoptive parent of a child born to a pair of unwed teenagers, I’m certainly not in favor of abortion in all circumstances. But it’s a choice that the teenagers should be able to make with, whenever possible, input from their families.

But Bristol still made a choice here.

UPDATE: First, this is sitting in the comments section…

Palin’s 2006 AK governor questionnaire:

Question:”Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?”

Palin’s response: “Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.”

Anyone got a link for this? I’d dig it up myself but I’m blogging on the fly here.

If this is actually Palin’s answer, then she opposed the kind of medically-accurate, comprehensive sex education and programs that could have prevented her teenager daughter’s pregnancy. Congrats, grandma!

And in response to A Little Wiggle: I’m not taking refuge in legalisms when I say that abortion is a choice a teenager should be able to make with input from her family “whenever possible.” Sometimes a teenager can’t discuss her pregnancy with her parents, and most people get that. It’s why large majorities—including opponents of abortion—believe an exception should be made for cases of rape or incest. Because, you see, sometimes the problem is rape and incest. It’s kind of hard to get a little input* from your father about your unplanned pregnancy when your father is the father.

* or a little “more input,” I should say.

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Someone should ask Governor Palin why she doesn't think other mother's daughters don't deserve the right to make a choice.

Posted by ru shur | September 1, 2008 10:34 AM

This candidacy is -over-

McCain's Depends-handlers are presumably working on the extraction of this nightmare from his trainwreck ticket.

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber | September 1, 2008 10:37 AM

Palin's 2006 AK governor questionnaire:

Question:"Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?"

Palin's response: "Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support"

Posted by Trouble town | September 1, 2008 10:41 AM

Two opportunities for the Dems: First, explain how this sort of situation might be mitigated with fully funded sex ed.

Second, show how someone in the daughter's situation, but w/o the economic advantages she has, will be better off under the Dems. That is to say, sure, it may be something ordinary families face, but it is much easier to face it with a social safety net.

Posted by sw | September 1, 2008 10:41 AM

The difference is the mother of the typical american family is not in the same position of power palin is. Palin can not sew her daughter's legs together, but, Palin could require schools to pass out rubbers, not merely wish they would.

Also, I bet this 17 year old will get all the first-class neo-natal care her mom's gov't paid-in-full-for-dependents-and-primary-alike medical plan will allow. No showing up at the county-run ER with broken water and no maternity doc on record for her, no siree, not like 'ordinary' teen mom's.

Posted by Phenics | September 1, 2008 10:42 AM

Absolutely pitch perfect, Dan. The McCain/Palin ticket wants to take away or limit choice in regard to unplanned pregnancy, that's the real issue here (along with the failure of abstinence education). Bristol's pregnancy is a perfect opportunity to drive the point home, hopefully without eviscerating a 17 year old girl for the poor decisions she made in the process.

Posted by PopTart | September 1, 2008 10:45 AM

Let me guess - the boyfriend proposed without any prodding from the governor's mansion?

This is a despicable, politically expedient arranged marriage. Palin is taking away her daughter's right to choose when she wants to have a child AND her right to choose if, when, and who she marries.

Posted by Ziggity | September 1, 2008 10:46 AM

When her daughter's water breaks, she should send her on an 8-hour flight, just to show her how it's done.
Wow, this story is getting JUICY.

Posted by Madashell | September 1, 2008 10:47 AM


And Bristol won't have to rely on WIC, food stamps, and a minimum wage job without benefits in order to take care of her kid. She might even be able to continue her education.

Posted by keshmeshi | September 1, 2008 10:48 AM

This has been the most politically exciting weekend in memory.

And this story a nice Monday-morning cherry on the cake.

Is it me, or are the Repugs are in an absolute shambles?

I hate to leave my computer for fear I'll miss the revelation that Cindy McCain was born a man.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | September 1, 2008 10:48 AM

..."input" from the family?

"whenever possible"

Funny how just when Dan, America's post-moralist moralist, sneaks up on a tough issue, he takes refuge in legalisms. Whenever possible.

Dan, stick to playing the clown.

Posted by A little wiggle, dan? | September 1, 2008 10:49 AM

So, concerning Sarah Palin, the anti-choice, pro-abstinence VP nominee: yesterday we had the rumors that her teenage daughter had sex and a baby out of wedlock.

Today the GOP today counters the rumors with the news that Palin's teenage daughter had sex and is going to have a baby out of wedlock.

Thus does the past become present.

Posted by Cornichon | September 1, 2008 10:50 AM

I have to say, I'm angrier at Sara Palin than I have been at many public figures. What does "family values" mean if it doesn't mean supporting and protecting your children when they're going through traumatic events? Running for VP is one of the most selfish acts I can think of given that she has an infant and a pregnant 17-year old daughter at the same time. Putting them in front of the worldwide media for certain ridicule is as cruel an act as I can think of.

Posted by lish | September 1, 2008 10:51 AM

I guess this means the baby will be Bristol's second child. These people are the "Clampetts of the North."

Posted by ratcityreprobate | September 1, 2008 10:54 AM

I seriously doubt this girl felt like she had a choice. Even if she had access to good information about sex and birth control, her choices were severely limited by her whack-job fundie family. I feel for her and her "decision" to marry the father and thereby compound the difficulty of this very public teen pregnancy. And McCain knew? Doubt it!

Posted by girlydoll | September 1, 2008 10:54 AM

As much as I am relishing watching Palin being destroyed there is part of me that sees this as more "gotcha" politics that isn't appropriate in any circustance.

Remember the VP that McGovern picked who was dropped when it was revealed he had electro-shock treatment for depression?

Expect Palin to be dropped today or Tuesday from the ticket due to "family" issues.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | September 1, 2008 10:55 AM

@14 - I think that's been pretty much debunked.

Posted by Ziggity | September 1, 2008 10:58 AM

The other piece of family values to keep in mind here is that Palin is subjecting her daughter to this level of attention. She too made a choice by agreeing to be on the ticket. Talk about doing all you can to protect your kids....

Posted by Juan | September 1, 2008 11:00 AM

@14: 17 nailed it-- If Bristol is five months pregnant, there is no way that Trig was hers as one cannot simultaneously carry two pregnancies at different stages. Bristol was already pregnant when Trig was born. It's time to give up the "Trig is Bristol's" line of batshittery and head towards the much more fruitful "Hey Palin, tell me again how well abstinence-only education works for teenagers" line of questioning.

Posted by Jessica | September 1, 2008 11:03 AM

@ 17 Irony is not your long suit, is it?

Posted by ratcityreprobate | September 1, 2008 11:05 AM
Posted by A Non Imus | September 1, 2008 11:08 AM

Thanks, Gov. Palin, for giving my daughter and me so much to talk about.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go dust off my Jamie Lynn Spears speech.

Posted by Who's Sarah now? | September 1, 2008 11:09 AM

@20: If by irony, you mean sarcasm, let's just say I've drunk many a bracing draught from its limpid wells. That said, sarcasm doesn't always come across well in short comments like yours.

Posted by Ziggity | September 1, 2008 11:12 AM

This family really likes to fuck, don't they?

Posted by kebabs | September 1, 2008 11:14 AM

Does anyone else think that Bristol's plans to marry the boy who got her knocked up were probably made last night without the young man's actual input?

Posted by Y.F. | September 1, 2008 11:19 AM

Pay no attention to that pregnant elephant in the GOP living room! The bigger scandal, according to wingnut bloggers, is how Barack Obama most shamelessly "expolited" his kids by posing for pictures with them at the Democratic convention.

Posted by Slip Mahoney | September 1, 2008 11:23 AM

My cousin had her first child when she was a teenager and lived in a trailer park. And *her* first child had a daughter at age 19 and didn't marry the father--and lived in a trailer park. So I'm not one to pass judgement on this sort of thing.

That said, the Palins (and lots of Republicans) strike me as people who *are* likely to pass judgement on this sort of thing. And gays. And people who are on welfare. And women who have abortions. And people who want to teach science in our schools. And war-protesters. So I don't have much sympathy for this family or the Republican party right now.

How on EARTH did John McCain think that asking a former beauty queen/sportscaster/fisherwoman/part-time mayor of a small village/first-term governor of a small state was a GOOD thing? It casts even more doubt on his judgement. He's a crazy old man with no respect for this nation. Scary.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | September 1, 2008 11:24 AM

@24. What better way to make more good, Christian soldiers.

Posted by Julie | September 1, 2008 11:25 AM

McCain will double-down and keep her on the ticket.

If he does ditch her, he'll go with Holy Joe in a sort of "fuck you we tried it your way already" fashion.

Posted by ru shur | September 1, 2008 11:25 AM

@10 -- hey!

September 1, 2008 2:20PM ET

(PHOENIX) -- Spokespersons for the McCain campaign and Hensley & Co. today confirmed that the candidate's wife and company chair Cindy McCain was born a biological male. The campaign insisted the revelation was not politically driven, in the face of criticisms on liberal blogs.

"We did not announce this to win back the males alienated by the choice of Sarah Palin, who was named to win disaffected Clinton supporters," said campaign director Rick Davis.

Doctor Bris Cuttitoff, who removed Cindy McCain's sex organ in 1968, issued a statement through the campaign.

"The organ in question was of normal size, if somewhat thick in circumference. The procedure went smoothly and a love pita was constructed."

Campaign officials requested dignity for the memory of Mrs. McCain's organ. McCain, appearing at an abstinence education convention with the Palin family, took no questions on the matter.


Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | September 1, 2008 11:26 AM

@19 We have only this lying family's word that this poor girl is five months pregnant. Isn't the poor baby only five and a half months old? As I understand it, it's not impossible for siblings to be born nine months apart, especially if the mother is a fertile teenager.

We still don't know one way or the other about the poor baby's parentage, but could anyone possibly put it past these people for the original rumor to be true?

But, yes, Palin's revealed as a screwed-up, hypocritical liar either way.

Posted by whatevernevermind | September 1, 2008 11:32 AM

If I were to place a bet it would be on the GOP keeping Palin on the ticket. I thnk McCain would stand more to loose if he had to change the VP pick. Of course if this were a Democratic candidate with an unwed pregnant daughter the Republicans and their parrots in the media would be calling for the candidate to withdraw immediatly.
I don't think McCain can afford to look like McGovern did in 1972. McGovern said he was "one thousand per cent" behind Eagleton then the next day he switched vp candidates.

Posted by Heather | September 1, 2008 11:35 AM

Oh Dear Lord, Please let Gov. Palin's husband come out of the closet with boyfriend in hand. We need a well rounded American family in the White House.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | September 1, 2008 11:44 AM

Five months pregnant? That doesn't seem like a careful choice to anyone else? A number that can't be confirmed by anyone but the baby daddy (who is no where to be found), the baby momma (who is also in at least partial hiding), and their doctor (who ain't gonna talk).

It just so happens to the *exact* number that she'd need to be pregnant to have NOT mothered Trig. That doesn't seem carefully plotted? No one else is waiting for the "Uh-oh, she had a miscarriage but is still going to marry the baby-daddy?" announcement?

I wholeheartedly believe that Sarah Palin is NOT the mother of Trig-- there is absolutely no way that a 40+, five-time mother would have her water break at 4:00 am and then choose to hang out through the night, go to a convention and give a speech (while now leaking amniotic fluid-- a dangerous situation for both the mother and unborn child), get on a plane for an eight hour flight from Dallas to Anchorage via Seattle (a flight on which she was, according to the flight attendants, in fine spirits and not showing any signs of discomfort), and then still choose to drive from Anchorage, where there's a first class medical facility, to her podunk town to IMMEDIATELY give birth to Trig.

It just doesn't happen like that.

She'd be having contractions like crazy on that flight-- have you ever SEEN a mother about to give birth? It is absolutely, without a doubt, an absolute impossibility that Trig is her child and that the birth went down the way she claims.

Posted by Samantha | September 1, 2008 11:45 AM

Meet the daddy of bristol's baby. I'm not positive, but am pretty sure:

Posted by wally | September 1, 2008 11:46 AM

Hypocrasy flows through Seattle like the waters of Lake Poncetrain over the levees.

Generation "G" (Glut), the real millenials, not Generation Xerox, is a generation of plenty.

More babies...more food...more homes.

The typical cryto-Malthusian Lib of yesteryear can't stand the idea of fecundity.

It slams the whole Al Gore culture of Death right in the face!

Heterosexual females having lots of babies? "Eeewwwww", says Belltown!

Posted by John Bailo | September 1, 2008 11:48 AM

One of the perils of democracy that liberals don't like to talk about is that even trailer trash gets to vote, and there's a lot of trailer trash in the US--and they'll just lap up Palin and maybe even preggers Bristol, because many of them have been there too.

Posted by Hamiltonian | September 1, 2008 11:49 AM

This is the Slog - home of the enlightened intelligensia about human sexuality - is it?

The sexist, judgemental stuff about this girl Bristol is bull shit that stinks to high hell.

It is her life, her vagina, her eggs. Her body. It is called reproductive freedom for women.

Why the hell is her fucking history your business and why having a kid is so strange?

Dan, you have dropped ten notches out of twenty, all you preach in your career as sex expert has wilted. This most ordinary event- sexually active young adults, beyond the age of consent and you sound confounded and like some puritan granny.

All I read here is sexism, morbid voyeurism, and non liberated real time views on human sexuality.

Very strange what heated politics does to flush out the smelly liquid bull shit in gallons.

Posted by Rodger | September 1, 2008 11:52 AM

@35, wow...

levi thomas gourley's Blurbs

About me:
I work work work. ALLL DAY LONG! But shit, I got my house done and built. It is nice. My sister hangs out there sometimes. I like to eat up good food at fun diners and shit. Always a good fine time here. Oh shit, I like movies, and books, and games, and some music sometimes. .. ..

Who I'd like to meet:
A hammer. A saw. A house. A wall. A fancy girl. Must be fancy though. You gots ta like building and framing and camping and woods woods woods and family, at least my family anyway. They mean alot to me.

HAHAHAHA..."fancy" indeed.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | September 1, 2008 11:55 AM

Here's the source of that anti-sex ed quote. From a gubernatorial forum:

Posted by Judith | September 1, 2008 11:58 AM

Linky linky here:

She also states that she's supportive of "under God" in our pledge of allegiance because if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it's good enough for her. Sweet Jesus.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | September 1, 2008 11:59 AM
Two opportunities for the Dems: First, explain how this sort of situation might be mitigated with fully funded sex ed.

This is a bullshit argument.

It's based on a bad-faith assumption that most teen pregnancy is caused by lack of education. And some of it is: we all know the stories of kids having sex standing up, or misusing birth control pills. But most of the teen pregnancies I've known about personally were caused by carelessness and apathy. I myself had a lot of profoundly unsafe sex in high school, and I'd been getting sex education since the 5th grade. It was pure luck I never got any of my partners pregnant, and another billion dollars for sex ed wouldn't have made a fucking bit of difference.

That's point one.

Point two: how many people reading this honestly believe -- honestly -- that Bristol Palin's pregnancy was caused by a lack of awareness about the risks of sex. How many of you believe that she actually didn't know how to put a condom on her partner or whatever the fuck it was that got her knocked up? Because, what with her four siblings and all, I'm pretty sure ignorance was not the precursor of this pregnancy.

Given this general frame of reference, Democrats who claim that their reason for dwelling on this story is some kind of altruistic crusade for sane sex education sound like smarmy self-righteous liars. Kind of like Christians who tell queers they're going to hell, but claim they're only doing it out of love -- "I hate the sin, but I love the sinner."

And that brings me to my third point: religious conservatives are not going to believe that Democratic harping on this story is born out of anything other than a desire to point up the moral hypocrisy of the Republicans. And accusations of immorality from the party of queers, drug users and atheists are extremely provocative to religious conservatives. It's not like they're going to see this on the front page of The New York Times and go, "Oh, hey, my moral worldview is based on faulty assumptions -- I'm going to vote for Obama this year!" They're going to see this on the cover of The New York Times and feel like it's just one more example of arrogant urban liberals calling rural conservatives a pack of ignorant hypocrites.

The only potential this story has to affect the political landscape is to galvanize the right-wing against us. That's it.

This is -- or should be -- a non-story for people on the left. There is absolutely no percentage in pursuing it. Our opponents in this election have lied to the American people to engage us in an illegal war that has cost over 4,000 American service personnel their lives, cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars, and completely destabilized our standing in the global community and our economy. They have spied on Americans, they have illegally detained civilians, they have tortured prisoners, denounced the Geneva conventions and overseen the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Do we really need to get into a national debate about Bristol Palin's pregnancy?

Posted by Judah | September 1, 2008 12:04 PM

From Obama:

"I have said before and I will repeat again: People's families are off limits," Obama said. "And people's children are especially off-limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin's performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. So I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18 and how a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn’t be a topic of our politics."

Posted by Jana | September 1, 2008 12:07 PM

Anagram of Bristol and Levi:

It lobs liver.

Posted by Spoogie | September 1, 2008 12:09 PM


Hey, Judah, that was a long post but if you don't mind I'd like to hear even more of how out of touch you are on teen pregnancy. Tell us: why do the kids from ignorance-based sex education have more unprotected sex and higher pregnancy rates? Have a theory on that?

Your blather about whether the wingers will be influenced by this is beside the point. The independents and moderates will teeter and waver and then break for Obama in droves once they get the full story on this Palin trainwreck of a candidate.

Posted by elenchos | September 1, 2008 12:18 PM

While Bristol's decisions, (and timing) are unfortunate, and she will spend the rest of her life living the results of her decision, for better or worse, it's unfortunate that her simple teenage pregnancy is national news.

She isn't the governor, and she's not running for VP, she's just a kid from Alaska trying to deal with what would normally be pretty difficult. With the media coverage, and being the center of the entire sex education and abortion argument in America has to make her situation almost impossible.

Add to that the pressure from her parents and the McCain campaign to be absolutely perfect from here on. I'm guessing she isn't getting a lot of personal time with her boyfriend/husband to be, considering she's at campaign events.

With ambition a buzzword in this election cycle, it's sad that Ms. Palin's and Mr. McCain's ambition have overshadowed the needs of the Palin family. And for those who believe we wouldn't even consider this if it was Mr. Palin in the position, it would still put Bristol in an unfortunate media spotlight.

While this will all "blow over" it seems it's of little value to anyone, but it sure keeps the blog comments going. :)

Posted by Scott Shultis | September 1, 2008 12:20 PM

@Jubilation -- Thanks for the wire story. If only it were true.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | September 1, 2008 12:28 PM

Spinning the Pregnant Palin - I shall never get that image out of my mind. A new children's game from Hasbro? The holidays are drawing near...
Thank you Mr Savage.

Posted by E | September 1, 2008 12:31 PM
49 is totally legit, by the way.

Posted by elenchos | September 1, 2008 12:35 PM

#34, you wrote just what I have been thinking all along, how could the story of Trig'e birth possibly be true (about the water breaking, the long flight back home, the quick birth)before any of this came out--and maybe now we can understand how Palin could rush back to her office after two days (or some say three). I have been interested in how many people call her nomination an INSULT--that was the first word that came to my mind, too.

Posted by Hattie | September 1, 2008 12:36 PM

@38, et al,

You tell 'em in defending Bristol Palin's choice to carry the child, but don't claim to be defending "reproductive freedom for women." The GOP ticket opposes reproductive choice. I agree, what happens in the Palin family is their private business, yet Sarah Palin is running for VP on a GOP platform that would defund pre-emptive sex education programs and block any number of birth control options (not just the abortion method) for any sexually active and fertile American women -- whether they be married or unmarried, young or old -- who don't want to become pregnant.

Posted by Suba Teacher | September 1, 2008 12:36 PM

Can anyone in poltics keep their own story straight?
judah is right this is a non issue for the left, geez this Bristol is being crucified

Keep focused people!

Posted by Lesley | September 1, 2008 12:43 PM

@41 above also pointed how in the same questionnaire SP stated that regarding "under God" (in the Pledge of Allegiance) - it was "good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me."

If people don't see why that answer is funny, read up on history at

Also, since it's a kos-y day, this video is indeed hilarious:

Posted by stinkbug | September 1, 2008 12:46 PM

Thanks for highlighting my comment, Dan.

I think Palin's stance on sex ed is the most damning part of this whole story.

Some peeps up above did post the URL for the 2006 AK governor-candidate questionnaire (the source for this info) in case you missed it.

Posted by Trouble town | September 1, 2008 12:47 PM

Has anyone ever heard of Irish Twins, and why do we believe them that she is exactly 5 months pregnant? A republican has never lied to you before? The only way to prove Trigg's parentage is through a birth certificate and/or DNA, not outting your teenaged daughter. This whole thing stinks to high heaven, or at least to Karl Rove. I feel for the teenager, she is being used, but not by the left, ladies and gents, but by her own loving mother.

Posted by pll | September 1, 2008 12:49 PM

Yep, it's her body. But, unfortunatly, women's reproductive bodies are more visible and therefore more public than men's bodies. that's why teen pregnancy--and double standards in education and sexuality--are easier to talk about with girls than with boys. The personal is political, not because a bunch of lesbian feminists said so, but because bodies occupy public spaces.

AND when Bristol's mother is pushing or supporting legislation that keeps young women from making informed decisions about their bodies, vaginas, eggs, etc., then there is cause for outrage, with or without Bristol. Bristol's pregnancy just highlights the double standards, hypocrisy, and outrage.

Posted by Jessie | September 1, 2008 12:51 PM


Aside from your rambling caterwauls, you've completely missed the point.

The point is not that a 17 year-old is pregnant (again!) out-of-wedlock, the POINT is that said 17 year-old's mother is a right-wing religious nutcase who BELIEVES abstinence-only sex ed is the ONLY proper curriculum for teenagers, despite the OBVIOUS FACT that a-o sex ed DOESN'T AND NEVER HAS BEEN EFFECTIVE in reducing teen pregnancy.

And IF it turns out Bristol is in fact the mother of Trig, then this whole issue becomes even more compounded. In the early days of the 21st Century, we are still having to confront the notion that for some people the very notion of teen sex is so HEINOUS that mothers go to extraordinary, bordering on insane, lengths to protect their daughters from a social and religious stigma of their own making THAT SHOULDN'T EXIST IN THE FIRST PLACE.

This is not about Bristol's poor decision-making skills, but rather totally about her mother's poor decision-making skills, and by extension, the extremely poor decision-making skills of the man who is directly responsible for us even having this discussion.

Posted by COMTE | September 1, 2008 12:54 PM

@56 Jessie,

Honestly and beautifully said. Thank you.

Posted by Suba Teacher | September 1, 2008 1:03 PM

Levi = levee

Posted by stinkbug | September 1, 2008 1:10 PM

Those wishing for this not to become a hot story are wishing in vain. I would never know the name Jamie Lynn Spears if not for her teenage pregnancy. Our tabloid celebutainment media eats this shit up, and no matter what Obama or anybody else says this will get coverage. This is part of what candidates and anybody else who chooses to enter public life signs up for: An uncomfortable level of scrutiny of everything they do and everybody around them. It would be nice if coverage of the election was dominated by thoughtful discussions of policy, but unfortunately that's not the world we live in.

Republicans who are suddenly outraged at this sort of personal attack evidently have short memories, since attacks on opponents' character have been their stock-in-trade for quite some time and they have rarely made apologies for bringing a candidate's private life into the forum of public debate. It's too late to try to claim the high ground here. Did McCain consider Chelsea Clinton off-limits when he made his famous wisecrack about how her dad was Janet Reno?

I agree it would be a mistake for Obama to try to capitalize on this scandal in any conspicuous way, but those wishing this story will go away might just as well wish for the moon. The American media cannot resist this kind of soap opera.

The onus here is on the GOP to try to spin this their way. All the Dems need to do is keep their mouths shut.

Posted by flamingbanjo | September 1, 2008 1:15 PM


Tell us: why do the kids from ignorance-based sex education have more unprotected sex and higher pregnancy rates? Have a theory on that?

Boy, you're about three different kinds of stupid, aren't you?

If, as I said in my comment some pregnancies are caused by ignorance about sex, then it follows that a population that has less education about sex would have more pregnancies. That's actually explicit in the comment.

What's implicit is that a lot of communities without sex education are also communities with higher general rates of poverty and many fewer options for career and life paths. In other words, poor people who don't feel like they have a lot of choices tend to A) cling to religion and images of religious salvation and B) be apathetic about things like birth control. Thus, more babies among the economically disadvantaged generally. The connection to less sex education is partly causal but, I would be willing to bet, largely correlative.

And, finally, what you've evidently never bothered to research is the fact that the swing vote in the last three presidential elections is not actually particularly moderate. The regions that went from Clinton in 1996 to Bush in 2000 were concentrated in a crescent that goes from western Kansas, down to northern Louisiana, and up to the northern border of South Carolina. That crescent of counties voted for Clinton twice because Reagan and Bush had done such a shitty job on the economy, only to be economically devastated by Clinton's trade liberalization agenda. They're basically low-skill rural factory workers, so their jobs are the first ones to go to China and Mexico. They tend to be socially conservative evangelicals with a lot of illegitimate kids, a high incidence of substance abuse, spousal abuse, and incarceration. They have a lot of forgiveness in their hearts for people they regard as one of their own -- Bush, Cheney, Palin -- and a deep-seated hatred for arrogant college-educated yankees who judge them.

Since the modern Democratic Party is essentially a bunch of college-educated yankees, the way to win these people over is by getting them their jobs back, not by calling Sarah Palin or her teenage daughter a whore.

Posted by Judah | September 1, 2008 1:18 PM

@25: shotgun wedding!

Posted by antiuser | September 1, 2008 1:54 PM

Picture this:
Grandma gets out her gun.
"your marrying Bristol,right???"
"Bristol,what part of no did you forget? No condome?"

Posted by Gray Panther | September 1, 2008 1:57 PM

Picture this:
Grandma gets out her gun.
"your marrying Bristol,right???"
"Bristol,what part of no did you forget? No condom?OH!!!!!!"

Posted by Gray Panther | September 1, 2008 2:00 PM

Perhaps rather than shooting a moose from a speeding snowmobile or wrestling polar bears in her spare time mom might have found the time to inculcate those legendary family values at home. It seems like the RNC's favorite hockey mom was asleep in the goal on this one.

Posted by Ma Kettle | September 1, 2008 2:03 PM

John McCain has really acted 'recklessly'
for the good of us all. As for Palin, I
think she spreads herself way too thin already. In 2 months time she will surely
show how 'unqualified' she would be if for
some event, she had to step up to 'Commander
in Chief' ----

Posted by Paulette Paisley | September 1, 2008 2:12 PM

For the record, I gave McCain money during the primary season & am a 54 year old, childless, single professional female (with advanced degrees). I'm a political independent, in part, because I can't support the pro-choice agenda.

That said, I am furious with Senator McCain & Governor Palin about what is being done here to the Palin children for nothing else but the fulfillment of political ambition. This situation reflects such a horrific sense of judgment on both their parts that I'm absolutely floored.

Before I knew anything about this story, I knew that something was awfully wrong in the family when I saw the daughters at the announcement on Friday. Bristol was holding the baby and she looked like she wanted to cry.

Imagine that you are these children. In the last 2 years, you have been through a bruising gubernatorial campaign. Your mom goes from being a full-time Mom/part-time professional to being a high visibility, full-time professional who is gone from home a lot. Your Dad is gone from home every other week as he's up in the old fields working. Then you find out that your mother is going to have another child. Then you find out that the child has Down Syndrome. Then you find out that your brother is deploying to a war zone. Then you find out that you/your sister are pregnant at 17.

And then your mother decides to run off to campaign for vice president - all the while saying that she won't resign as Alaska governor. And now you're being carted around the country like show dogs!

Oh, and let's mention too that your Mother got where she is by stepping on the backs of every other Republican in the state & she/McCain are making it a point to make those Alaska Republicans even more livid at how they are being portrayed.

Let's mention too that these children have lived in a small Alaska town their entire lives. And everyone says that this is a private family matter? When will someone have the balls to stand up for these kids? It's sure as hell that none of the adults around them are.

Posted by In the Interests of the Children | September 1, 2008 2:39 PM

Judah -

You bring up good points and yes, the American public should be outraged about the illegal war, detentions, etc. But the fact is, they don't want to worry about all that and therefore, they don't care. They do care about schadenfreude however and this is a perfect example of it.

There's a lot of hypocrisy in the party of family values' veep having a teen pregnancy from their veep nominees. And politics is a dirty business - you can take the high road all you want, and you can lose. Dirty politics plays in Peoria and to not use that as an advantage is folly.

So who wants to bet that Pallin will step down from the Veep slot in order to take care of her family? Or has the damage (5 months of it) already been done? Either way it's a PR disaster for the McCain team and shows incredibly poor judgement - if he can't fully vet his veep, then what other boneheaded decisions will he make?

Posted by Donolectic | September 1, 2008 2:44 PM


No, Judah. The people of the world are not all two-dimensional stereotypes sent from Central Casting for the purpose of making every puzzle easier for you to solve. College educated yankees. Jesus that's lazy.

Posted by elenchos | September 1, 2008 2:57 PM

As a long time Wasilla resident, with a somewhat close relationship with the Palin's, I can honestly say that Sarah Palin was not pregnant with Trig, nor did she give birth to Trig. This will be Bristol's second child.

Posted by Wasilla Resident | September 1, 2008 3:36 PM

Hey - maybe she DID use birth control, and it failed. Just realized that we can't really jump on our let's-bash-the-daughter-bc-of-mother's-stance on-sex-ed-policy until we know that.
Which we probably never will. Problem.

Posted by onion | September 1, 2008 3:44 PM

If it were a Democratic candidate whose teenage daughter were illegitimately pregnant, Republicans and the religious right would have a field day dissecting the moral shortcomings of the candidate, his/her family, and the party. Of course the irony of the bankrupt family values of these conservatives escapes no one; I give Obama credit for his principled restraint and admonition to leave Palin's family alone. Such gentlemanly comportment would never be reciprocated by McCain and his cohorts.

Posted by jess | September 1, 2008 3:57 PM


So, basically, you have no response to any of my points, except to accuse me of stereotyping. And you accuse me of being lazy? You're hilarious.

Posted by Judah | September 1, 2008 4:06 PM

Judah, you aren't making any points. You're wasting time, claiming that teen pregnancy is forever tied to membership in your stereotyped social groups. "The connection to less sex education is partly causal but, I would be willing to bet, largely correlative." You lost that bet years ago, you ignoramus.

Shut up, please. Go read a book, and then come back and talk about what you learned.

Posted by elenchos | September 1, 2008 4:20 PM

Well said, 67! That's exactly the real tragedy here.

I'm a working mom myself and have no issue with Palin choosing to work and care for her kids. But to subject them to the national spotlight right now, with the issues they have going on in this family, smacks of selfishness, or at the very least thoughtlessness. And that's the last thing I'd want in the White House.

Posted by Deirdre | September 1, 2008 4:37 PM

McCain picked up 10-15 million from picking this over the top religous unexperienced hockey mom (who thinks that because Alaska is close to Russia, she understands foriegn relations).

Here will be the beautiful part. With the 15 million in the bacnk, drop Palin, and pick Lieberman right after the convention and the checks have been cashed.

The republicans may not know (or care) how to run a country but they sure know how to run a campaign.

Posted by Gus | September 1, 2008 5:01 PM

#18 - Yes. I pity this girl quite a bit. I think it's rather cruel to accept the VP nomination when you not only have an infant with Down's, a knocked up teenager, a son heading to Iraq, not to mention the two other daughters.
These are not parents of values. They are publicity whores who are ready to exploit their children for personal gain.

Posted by Jen | September 1, 2008 5:07 PM
You're wasting time, claiming that teen pregnancy is forever tied to membership in your stereotyped social groups.

Did I claim that? Could you please quote the part of my comment where I said that, because I'm not seeing it.

Go read a book, and then come back and talk about what you learned.

Ooh, snap. Nice retort. I'll get right on that.

Posted by Judah | September 1, 2008 6:39 PM


Let's have a woman who is is facing alleged corruption charges for ethic in her home state, who has little to no experience, who has no record of being a stay at home mom so critical to the FAMILY FIRST people, whose daughter is knocked up, who just had a Down's Syndrome baby, who sought to have Polar Bears taken OFF the endangered species list so that oil companies could pillage Alaskan oil resources, who has very naughty photos circulating of her on the internet and MAKE HER PRESIDENT?

I know Mr. McCain will have a heart attack soon so America....lets just vote the WORST PERSON WE CAN THINK OF INTO OFFICE?

AFTER ALL.....there is very little left of America that hasn't already been destroyed in the last 8 years by this REPUBLICAN CORPORATE CRIMINAL CROWD now occupying the White House.

YEAH for America!! Do to yourselves what no terrorist has the capacity to think up!!!

Posted by Sammy | September 1, 2008 6:41 PM

The psyche of every teenager I know is extremely delicate. I finally worked through the teenage pain with my son and none of it was easy and all of it happened between me and him, his high school counselor and, for a short time, a psychologist who was truly skilled in dealing with teenagers and their parents. I would never have put him in a position where he was the subject of a national media frenzy - and he certainly wasn't pregnant. I am here to attest to more than the delicacy of the pregnant teenager's life. I would think that Sarah Palin would be looking at her entire family and trying to figure out what she needs to do to step up and take care of these people. She has an infant who will require extraordinary love and attention. She has a teenager who has stepped out of bounds. She has three other children who are trying to figure out what's going on - I can't even understand what kind of a monster picks NOW to say, Okay, yeah, let's join the Republican ticket and run for VP. She's a creep, and I mean that in the deepest, most malevolent sense of the word. She's a member of the It's All About Me Club - the creepiest club of all. Watch this family melt, right before your eyes. And kudos to John McCain, who knowing all this, said, I want you! We'll be following this/her story for years. She should be ashamed - and we don't even know if this is the end of it.

Posted by Busy Mom | September 1, 2008 6:59 PM

The next President of the USA could be a woman whose daughter shacked up with a 25 year old dude trolling for high school pussy.

John McCain crashed a lot of jets as a "maverick" in the Navy, the last mishap ending up at the Hanoi Hilton. This latest wreck shows that he can't be trusted period.

Posted by mark | September 1, 2008 7:23 PM

Levi Thomas Gourley is the father. He is 25 years old and has a kid from another woman.

A 25 year old man having sex with a 16 year old girl is commiting rape is nearly all states.

This means that Gov Palin believes that rape victims should not be allowed to abort the rapists child, but she also thinks the rape victim should marry the rapist.

Not even the Taliban goes that far!

Posted by Joe Tyson | September 1, 2008 8:09 PM

Totally unrelated to Palin, but I was at looking for new Palin stuff and ran across this story:

"A 6-year-old boy was shot and killed by a 7-year-old in the Western Alaska village of Akiak Sunday evening, Alaska State Troopers reported. The boys were in an abandoned house and found a high-powered rifle, a Remington 700, troopers said. ... The shooting isn't considered criminal, and alcohol wasn't a factor, according to troopers."

Phew, thank god alcohol wasn't a factor!

Posted by stinkbug | September 1, 2008 8:10 PM

So what's wrong with trolling for high school pussy?


Posted by TruckerT | September 1, 2008 10:46 PM

How much do you want to bet that Bristol's baby is delivered a bit late. There is no proof that she is 5 months pregnant and if she is close to 5 months, that would be perfect timing from the delivery of her last child. We all think it's far-fetched but nothing surprises me now.

There has not been ONE PIECE of evidence released supporting Sarah Palin as the mother of her 5th child. Not one pregnant picture/ after-birth picture or birth certificate. Nothing.

Posted by Titangirl | September 2, 2008 1:39 AM

Did everyone miss the fact, as reported in the NYT, that Gov. Palin herself eloped and had her child 8 months later?

Posted by Finster | September 2, 2008 11:41 AM

Actually, a grown man having consensual sex with a sixteen-year-old is NOT rape in most states. The age of consent is sixteen or less in well over half of the states. In particular, sixteen is the age of consent in Alaska. Now you can argue whether or not that's a GOOD thing, but it is the law.

BTW, if Bristol is the mother of Trig, how old would she have been when the child was conceived?

Posted by Sailor Barsoom | September 2, 2008 4:53 PM

The REAL question (and you can be sure no one is going to go there), is WHO fathered Trig ? Protecting that secret is about the only motivation i can come up with for such an elaborate cover-up.

This family is a classic case of the political maxim
"What you see and what you know are two different things"

Family politics IS politics. Where else would politics come from ?

I too feel awful for the kids, my dad used to parade us around and i know what it feels like, if only on a local scale. Can't imagine in the national spotlight with all the dirty laundry.

There is also a rumor that Sarah secretly had a child at sixteen.
These dynamics keep playing themselves out until resolved.

Posted by omo | September 3, 2008 8:35 AM

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