The Palin pregnancy and much more...
Article added on September 3, 2008
When you try to get one of the top job's in American
politics, you get under scrutiny as nowhere else in the world. The downside
of running for the office of vice president is the lack of privacy that
follows. John McCain's staff pointed this out to
Sarah Palin when they
interviewed her for the job.
As noted before, her foreign and security
policy experience is zero, but she is the only of the four candidates with
executive experience (as a mayor and a governor), the one experience that
counts for the top job.
Regarding her bipartisan record, reports about her early years in politics
until she run for governor indicate that she was rather a divisive than a
unifying figure by bringing subjects such as abortion into play. However,
both as mayor and as governor, she has not tried to implement radical
measures or push through extreme legislation. She was rather above the
parties, challenging her own Republican Party and its establishment, winning
her an approval rating of 80%.
Barack Obama has no notable
bipartisan record [added on September 3, 2008 at 23:40 Swiss time,
correction regarding the vote not 98:2 but 96:2:2 on September 10, 2008 at
19:40 Riga time: The
Coburn-Obama ethics bill cited by the Obama camp passed the Senate 98 yes, 2
no and 2 not voting/present. The
Obama-Lugar Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act was
cosponsored by McCain and even supported by the Bush administration. It was
not controversial either. It was routine to the point that there was no
recorded vote and it made no headlines; Karl Rove, yes, the dirty PR man,
published this info in the Weekly Standard]. He has been on the left side of his party most of time,
so has Joe Biden. Biden with his long senate experience has made some
bipartisan efforts, in recent years regarding global warming, but also in a
bipartisan effort in which he was opposed to the famous surge of troops in
Iraq, which turned out to be a success
Barack Obama trumpets
“change”, but has never delivered. Palin has a record of fighting
corruption, limiting public spending, taking on special interests and
The one of the four candidates with an impressive bipartisan record is John
McCain. Campaign financing, immigration, global warming and torture are a
few keywords. He stuck with his policies even when they were unpopular with
the GOP or with the general public.
The introduction of Sarah Palin into the election process redirects the
focus on experience, women voters and abortion.
On the experience level, the
Obama camp can only lose because Obama himself has no executive experience and hasn't
delivered anything remarkable in his entire career.
Palin's presence on the McCain ticket constantly reminds voters - especially
women voters - that Barack kicked Hillary out of the race, although in
a perfectly legitimate way. If she can attract the independent and Democrat
(female) vote is another question.
The subject of abortion could partly become toxic.
The fact that Sarah Palin kept her baby with Down Syndrome and the child pregnancy
of her daughter should not hurt her. However, her position against abortion
in any case, even in the case of rape and/or incest is rather extreme. It is consequent
if you are strictly pro-life, but you cannot force a woman other than
yourself to have a baby who is the fruit of rape or incest. As long as Palin
stresses that she is not in favor of enforcing her position nationwide, it
will not matter too much. Anyway, it is not up to the vice president to decide on
You may say - with good reasons - that abstinence and the refusal of sexual
education for children is the wrong way, the pregnancy of Bristol Palin being an
illustration for that claim. Maybe Sarah Palin has learned something.
Sarah Palin and her husband Todd broke the story of the pregnancy of their
daughter Bristol in order to fight rumors that her son born in April was in
fact her daughter's son. The smear campaign by Daily Kos and other
left-wing websites proofs that not all nuts are on the extreme right of the
political spectrum. In fact, anybody should have known that already after
the rants by Jeremiah Wright.
Back to the baby. The Palin's announced in a statement:
proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become
grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows
she has our unconditional love and support. Bristol and the young man she
will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a
child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family.”
This means, her daughter had the choice to have the baby or not. Even if
this is a well crafted statement, it highlights that Sarah Palin has no
intention to impose a nationwide ban on abortion.
McCain was pro-choice, now he presents himself as pro-life. Obama's position
is not 100% clear-cut either, although he is in the pro-choice camp.
Year after year, over one million abortions take place in the United States,
and not only teenagers are affected. About 1/75 white women and 1/21
African-American women has an abortion once a year.
Nobody can force a woman to have an unwanted child, especially as a result
of rape and/or incest. The best way to handle the abortion matter is the middle ground.
Most Americans agree on that. For both the pro-choice and the pro-life camp:
sexual education is important, and we live in the age of contraception. In
1951, a certain
Djerassi developed the first oral contraceptive pill. In addition, there are condoms. If you do not want a child, you
have a choice: best use the pill and a condom together. Of course, this
would not completely eliminate the cases of unwanted children, but the
number of abortions could surely be significantly reduced.
As for Bristol Palin's child pregnancy, the best words came from Barack Obama:
heard some of the news on this and so let me be as clear as possible: I have said
before and I will repeat again, I think people’s families are off limits, and
people’s children are especially off limits. This shouldn’t be part of our
politics.” He stressed: “It has no relevance to Governor Palin’s performance as governor, or her potential performance as a VP. And so I
would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories.” He finally
“You know my mother had me when she was 18, and how a family deals with issues
and you know teenage children, that shouldn’t be the topic of our politics and I
hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that’s off limits.”
Well said, senator, there is nothing else to add.
Kaylene Johnson: Sarah: How a Small Town Mom Turned Alaska's Political
Establishment on Its Ear. Epicenter Press, April 2008, 159 pages.
Order the book from
Amazon.com. More of an introduction than a profound book, but that's all
that is available about Sarah Palin right now.