Babies, Lies and Scandal

Sarah P. US magazine cover

For so many years, we on the left have been playing Jeremiah in the wilderness, anguishing all alone over the latest of many attacks on our beloved country by the far right. It’s refreshing to finally kick back for awhile and let the mainstream media, at long last, step in to anguish themselves over the weighty issues of the day. To think that an esteemed publication such as US magazine would step forward and so gloriously take up our cause… 🙂

OK, I confess to a serious/hilarious case of schadenfreude these last few days. Enjoy.

27 thoughts on “Babies, Lies and Scandal

  1. I thought that cover was Photoshopped when I first saw it. But no.

    Looking at that lovely little baby, I feel the need to be serious for a moment. Nineteen years ago last month, my sister-in-law learned, via amniocentesis (a procedure despised and often slandered by anti-abortionists, btw) that her son would be born with spina bifida. I won’t detail all the ironies that immediately followed (pro-choice aunt supportive; anti-abortion aunt urging termination), but I will say this:

    A child with a disability requires full-time parenting.

    Governor Mommy or Veep Mommy won’t cut it. My sister-in-law, Schoolteacher Mommy to make ends meet, had a hard enough time. She also had her husband, her mother, a sibling who is a childrens’ psychologist, plus she availed herself of every child-development center within a 20-mile radius. It certainly helped that my family lives in a major American metro with about twice the population of the state of Alaska.

    For Trig to live up to his full potential (and it’s mighty, I promise you), he needs his family to give him their full attention. His eldest sister could have been an excellent temporary “mommy” at times, but now she’s got challenges of her own. Maybe the 14-year-old will step up. (She won’t be bitter about that in future years, will she?)

    The Palins are a family in crisis. I say that with absolutely zero snark. What on earth was the governor thinking, saying yes to McCain?

  2. #3 You are so right about a special needs child needing full time parenting. Each child is an individual, but he will probably need therapy once or more a week and someone doing the exercises with him all of the other days of the week. Perhaps she can find a specialist that will dedicate his/her life to the baby if she is not willing to invest her time.

  3. “…and let the mainstream media, at long last, step in to anguish themselves …”

    I don’t know – I think they’re starting to remember how much they enjoyed doing their jobs before the W years. I loved Campbell Brown’s interview with Tucker Bounds (HuffPo has it here:

    And I don’t agree at all with the McCain’s claim that she crossed the line (his reason for canceling Larry King last night). Yeah, she’s having a good time with it, but that’s just somebody enjoying the jousting match, I think.

  4. #5 My guess is McCain needed to cancel with Larry King last night because an hour of exposure might show his cognative struggles that he hasn’t had tested.

  5. #7 – I agree completely. But it’s a perfect gambit from his point of view. (a) He escapes the interview, and (b) He gets to trash the “liberal press” some more. Win-win for the unthinking crowd.

    Win-win for our side too: (a) He loses the additional face time on TV, and (b) Campbell’s stock rises because she drew blood, perhaps emboldening her to keep it up…? Hope so, anyway.

  6. Wow Dave that is a great interview! A reporter actually rejecting the canned lines of a spokesperson! McCain has canceled Larry King for this interview? “How dare you do your job?!?” While I’m glad a reporter shows they have a heartbeat and are a little bored by the canned dialogues too, I must admit the Obama people are just as bad about these things than the McCain people.

  7. Perhaps she can find a specialist that will dedicate his/her life to the baby if she is not willing to invest her time.

    Unfortunately, the Annie Sullivans of this world are very, very few and far between.

    All I can say is, thank God Jennifer Aniston is back on TV.

    I was thinking the same thing about David Duchovny finally getting treatment.

  8. While I’m enjoying all this as much as anyone else, I think we have to be very careful. If the Republicans spin this right — and remember that their spinmeisters are the best around — they can make all us liberal, family disruptin’, baby-hatin’, abortionist fags look pretty bad to their constituents.

    Remember that may of those folks don’t care about the pregnancy and the facts surrounding it. All that many of them will see is the good little family, Mom standing by her kids, taking care of business and doing her all to make their world a better place while her hero son goes off ta fight them heathen terrorists in Eye-rak.

    Teenage pregnancies don’t bother these folks. If they did, they wouldn’t fight tooth and nail to keep their kids from having coherent information about sex. (Wonder if “the condom broke” with Bristol and swain, or if they just lacked the necessary information?) Lies obviously don’t bother them: look at how they justified (a religious term, by the way — look it up) Bush’s with regard to Iraq and a variety of other issues. As long as the kids get married and keep on squirting out little Republican Fundamentalists every year or so, the Right will forgive all.

    They’ll forgive Gov. Palin as well. (You really must look up “justification.” It’s an education in itself.) She’s one of them. The more we dig, the harder they’ll dig in. The media, us liberal and progressive bloggers and others with a leftist axe to grind need to be very careful, attacking on issues of substance only, and bearing down hard, not attacking circumstances that could happen in anyone’s family. That’s not smart. Not smart at all.

  9. Conservative moms will love that cover! Seriously, they don’t read the headlines. They see happy Mommy Palin with her adorable infant and say, “She could have aborted him, but look! he’s adorable and she’s smiling and happy”. No matter how hard we try to show Palin for the weak candidate she truly is, the dyed-in-the-wool Conservatives will embrace, and more sadly, vote for her. For her, not McCain.

  10. Bill — I agree we could push the derision thing too far. I’m saying no more until I hear her speak tonight. Many pundits say she will do better than expected and come out looking good. We’ll see.

  11. Many pundits say she will do better than expected and come out looking good

    Well, she was a sports newscaster. She’ll have no problems reading the teleprompter. If my guess is correct,her speech writers will transform her into a compendium of foriegn affairs and events. We’ll get a volley of geographical locations and foriegn sounding names that will make even the most informed among us recoil in awe at the depths of her knowledge. I expect a show that will make the speaking skills of Abba Eban sound like a country bumpkin by comparison. Intimidation can be just as effect in winning people to your side as a gentle and warm appeal on a personal level. We’ll see! People do respond to people who project power and authority.

  12. Bill – of course the Rs are going to spin this for all they’re worth. And they know full well the power of images and stagecraft, and are unbeaten when it comes to manipulating the public through them – as you point out. But I’m just enjoying being able to sit back and let everyone from Us Weekly to the NYT and LAT and Campbell Brown dig into this story. I don’t think I’m the only one who’s astonished that for once, here is a story has been picked up by other media orgs outside the leftie blogosphere. Imagine, journalists actually doing their job for a change.

    I don’t think there’s a lot more to be said until after Sarah’s speech tonight at the RNC, except to state that I too, am greatly relieved that Jen will be on TV this fall.

  13. Our team is apparently armed and ready:

    “The McCain team may not have vetted Sarah Palin with boots on the ground in Alaska, but the Democrats sure did — two years ago when she ran for governor. The oppo-research, compiled in a 62-page document with countless summaries or direct quotes, largely from local newspapers, covers all of the important issues you would expect to see, from her views on abortion and abstinence to tangled oil pipeline questions…”

    Thank Howard Dean and the 50 state strategy.

  14. jus*ti*fi*ca*tion 1: the act, process, or state of being justified by God –Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary

    Wow, who knew?

    Bill, I agree that teenaged moms don’t upset fundamentalists like they do everyone else. “Justified,” in their eyes; i.e., ordained by God. But what about the vast majority of the electorate that isn’t nuts? I think everyone else is going to see Sarah Palin as a crappy mom. I really do.

    I wonder how many people will watch her tonight.

  15. Even the WSJ today was commenting today on how carefully the RNC has quarantined the Palins. At some point in time, Barbie, I mean,, Sarah is going to have to go on the campaing trail & answer real questions, eiither from real reporters or from real people in a Town Hall forum. We risk going off the deep end on family questions, but international experience, can she relate to the lower 48 when AK has only fish, energy & tourism. No major cities or the urban problems, no industry, no techology base. When was the first time she visited DC? How much AK oil is shipped overseas? Should all Americans get a refund (as Alaskans do) on offshore & ANWR drilling. (It’s our oil.) Does she really think global warming is not man-made? Under what circumstances should abortion be legal? And the question the press needs to ask loud & soon.. When is Sarah going to be allowed to answer questions like these without help?

  16. Heeere we go. Pegs Nooner calls it. Apparently this exchange occurred when the talking heads thought their mikes were off. I’ve emboldened the money quotes, in the spirit of “The Scotty Show” on dKos:

    Chuck Todd: Mike Murphy, lots of free advice, we’ll see if Steve Schmidt and the boys were watching. We’ll find out on your blackberry. Tonight voters will get their chance to hear from Sarah Palin and she will get the chance to show voters she’s the right woman for the job Up next, one man who’s already convinced and he’ll us why Gov. Jon Huntsman.

    (cut away)

    Peggy Noonan: Yeah.

    Mike Murphy: You know, because I come out of the blue swing state governor world: Engler, Whitman, Tommy Thompson, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush. I mean, these guys — this is how you win a Texas race, just run it up. And it’s not gonna work. And —

    PN: It’s over.

    MM: Still McCain can give a version of the Lieberman speech to do himself some good.

    CT: I also think the Palin pick is insulting to Kay Bailey Hutchinson, too.

    PN: Saw Kay this morning.

    CT: Yeah, she’s never looked comfortable about this —

    MM: They’re all bummed out.

    CT: Yeah, I mean is she really the most qualified woman they could have turned to?

    PN: The most qualified? No! I think they went for this — excuse me– political bullshit about narratives —

    CT: Yeah they went to a narrative.

    MM: I totally agree.

    PN: Every time the Republicans do that, because that’s not where they live and it’s not what they’re good at, they blow it.

    MM: You know what’s really the worst thing about it? The greatness of McCain is no cynicism, and this is cynical.

    CT: This is cynical, and as you called it, gimmicky.

    MM: Yeah.

    Oh, that is so fun! Peg o’ my heart, did Ronnie know you were such a pottymouth?!

  17. joanr16,
    I had exactly that thought today.My daughter is 15, when she was young, only Mommy could help when she was sick or hurt. To a child Mommy is all powerful and magical. 5 kids need a Mommy more than we need another “washington outsider” to shake up the “establishment”.
    I seem to recall W ran as a “washington outsider” in ’04.
    Same old shit, different diaper…

  18. I think there are a lot of women out there that question her judgement in accepting the nomination. She has 5 kids, one with special needs. I worked with the developmentally disabled for many years, babies with Down Syndrome need OT & PT from the day they are born. I question a lot of her judgement, if the story about her flying back from Texas to have the baby after her water broke just boggles my mind, and to go to hospital without a NIC unit when you are in your 36th week, what what she thinking? I also question marrying off your 17yr old daughter even if she is pregnant, it’s 2008 not 1958. Most women like myself have kept quiet on this, but I think there a lot who feel the same way. She needs to get her family in order before she can tackle the USA.

  19. Marilyn, comment 23, there are two areas in which Palin can be criticized, professional and family. Your comment is a great start on the latter. I hope someone/some group from our side can begin to make the kind of arguments you’re making, and make them loud and calmly enough to cause some discussion in the media.

    I too was struck by the way the shotgun wedding of Bristol and Levi was “announced” and wonder if the two would be getting married were Palin not in such a visible position. It isn’t merely 1958 in the fundie mind, it’s more like 1258.

  20. We have _two_ Babygates here. Babygate 2 is Bristol demonstrating the ineffectiveness of abstinence-only education; and also proving that the GOP is now officially in _favor_ of unprotected premarital sex, teen pregnancy, and shotgun weddings.

    Babygate 1 is Sarah, leaking amniotic fluid, going to the airport rather than a hospital. An amazingly bad choice; what was she thinking? Was it stubbornness, or in other words pride? Was she planning to deliver in Wasilla, no matter what? Is that how she makes important decisions?

    Babygate 2 is about parental failure, small-town secrecy and official hypocrisy; nothing new there, though it is amusing to see the RNC honoring a baby-daddy. But Babygate 1 is a disturbing look into Sarah Palin’s mind. How smart is she, really?

  21. I agree that a special-needs child needs a full-time parent.

    But if McCain is elected (please please no), they may plan to have her husband step into the job — he can hardly keep his BP position in Alaska while living in D.C.

    In addition, of course, these are wealthy people by the standards of most Americans, though not in comparison to Bush or McCain. Unlike most of us, they also have the option of paying for round-the-clock care for the child.

    Again, I agree that a special-needs child has, well, special needs. But I’m not comfortable with the assumption that those must be provided by the mother. I realize there’s a wide streak of such prejudice in the beliefs Palin subscribes to, and I think her recent actions have been hypocritical considered in light of those beliefs. But I *don’t* share those beliefs and I am four-square against those prejudices… and I’m concerened that criticisms of Palin on this topic, however justified, just reinforce the prejudice that it’s women who are responsible for “family”.

  22. As a white American of Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland’s generation, I am apalled by his Old South efforts to inflame racist fears by calling Sen. Barack Obama “uppity,” among other ugly, coded domments.

    Like Westmoreland, I have vivid memories of the Civil Rights struggles and the shameful oppression we witnessed in our early lives. Unlike him, I drew different lessons from the experience.

    Today, he would like us to believe that his comments did not reflect racist code or his own concealed contempt for every American who differs from him, in race, gender or ideology. I think few of us will or can believe that.

    It brings shame on our nation to be represented by such a man. Fortunately, his opponent has shown the grace and courage to call his remarks what they are. I have already made my donation to defeat the reprehensible racism of the past. Please join me in this by making even a small contribution to Stephen Camp, the young attorney from Newnan, Georgia, who is running against Westmoreland.

    Mr. Camp’s website is:

    (And please forward this message widely!)


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