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A Typical Middle-Class Struggle

On the Palin situation: It immediately struck me that Sarah Palin was chosen as a candidate who understands middle-class family struggles, and this is a pretty typical one. On the scale of family secrets, a pregnant teen marrying her boyfriend is hardly shocking. It is personally wrenching for all involved. But, if properly handled by caring parents, it can sometimes result in the arrival of new life and a new family. And a new life is always a good and glorious thing, whatever the circumstances of his or her birth.

What does all this say about Palin herself? That she is a hypocrite? Absurd. She seems to have acted in a manner entirely consistent with her religious beliefs. (If she had urged her daughter to get an abortion, that would be hypocrisy.) That Palin is somehow unqualified for office because she couldn't "control" her own family? This is a foolish, cartoon version of Victorianism.

There are only two things that would concern me. If Palin had not informed the McCain campaign about this situation before her selection, it would mean she has poor judgment. But the McCain campaign has said it was informed. It would also disturb me if Palin had not fully discussed her decision to run for vice president with her pregnant daughter, who will now be exposed to a lot of vicious ridicule. In light of this family struggle, I hope Palin's decision to join the Republican ticket was a family decision.

Those who believe that a family situation of this sort will alienate or anger evangelicals have never actually met an evangelical. Just listen to James Dobson's Focus on the Family broadcast, or read one of his books. Responding to his evangelical listeners and readers, he addresses every imaginable family challenge, from adultery to child sexual abuse to bedwetting. Evangelical Christianity (in most modern forms) is not about the achievement of perfection, it is about the acceptance of forgiveness and healing. Nearly every evangelical knows and respects someone who has dealt with this kind of situation with dignity and with God's constant help.

And I can't imagine why Palin's family situation would alienate middle-ground women voters either. Is it really the expectation of modern women that their leaders and role models have perfect, perpetually cheerful families?

All this said, I still feel terrible for the Palins and their daughter (and the poor guy she intends to marry). The slimiest elements of the Internet culture will be after them. But Americans, I believe and trust, are more decent than this vileness.

By Michael Gerson  | September 1, 2008; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Gerson  | Tags:  Michael Gerson  
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Next: A Story Palin Should Tell

Comments

ROTFLMAO!!! This news combined with the news of Palin's husband's arrest for D.W.I. should put an end to McSame's campaign. Mrs. "Family Values" seems to be awash in sin, and yet she has the nerve to pretend to be righteous and right. Well, as far as I'm concerned, these people can put their "family values" where the sun don't shine because that's about what they're worth. This woman cannot even teach her 17 year old daughter right from wrong, and yet she would prance about with the gall to tell everyone about "family values". I knew McSame was insane the day his choice of this woman for the V.P. spot on the G.O.P. ticket was announced. But, I didn't realize how soon his lack of judgment and experience would be revealed to the world. Now, we all know, and all you McSame supporters can hide your heads in shame, as the senile, old man is given a fitting good bye party at the G.O.P. convention. Obama/Biden 08!!!

Posted by: caliguy55 | September 1, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Bristol Palin's pregnancy is a private, family matter.

And as for us evangelicals being good and pure and simple, wake up buddy.

Ultimately, moderate women will be turned off by Palin's extreme political beliefs, not by personal issues.

In a year when Democrats have a huge registration advantage over Republicans, McCain selected an extreme right winger to energize his party. In doing so, he lost the democrats and the independents.

Game over. That is the story.

Posted by: Deep Blue | September 1, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

It's not the pregnancy but the hypocrisy and the outdated views of Palin and McCain on sex education. Why are John McCain and Sarah Palin pushing abstinence only education on our kids when her kids can't even adhere to it? Abstinence ONLY education is outdated and ineffectual with deadly consequences. HIV may not be an issue among teenagers in Alaska, but it is in most of the rest of the country. That's the issue.

Posted by: Dawn | September 1, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Time for a little Straight Talk. Who vetted Sarah Palin? No wonder no one wants to go to the GOP convention. This is, of course, a private matter for the Palins, Gerson and the GOP except they also believe they have license to insert themselves into the delicate matters of everyone else.

Aside from any cynacism with regard to the tangled web and it's failure to really dispel the rumours (a little independent and trustworthy DNA testing could probably do that), here's what really bothers me:

McCain knew of this and surely Sarah Palin knew of this. Both of them are would-be players on the national political stage with all its glare and the lack of privacy it brings to everyone connected with the candidate and still they thought that having Sarah Palin, despite a lack of other real credentials to succeed McCain if he died, as the VP candidate was a good idea.

Neither of them cared about the feelings of a 17 year and her privacy? Not to mention that of the baby's father! They decided it was OK to drag these two young people into the glare of a national spotlight. Even if these two are going to get married, this is still embarrassing for them (esp. if they are fundamentalist Christians) and they don't deserve this.

Posted by: Sara B. | September 1, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

God I hate to hear that another teenager has made the same mistake billions of kids have done before, having sex before marriage, it is something the Right Wing nut jobs can not tolerate.

I am sickened by the need of the Palins to even have to announce it on the national stage. And to have the McCain camp feel the need to ask Democrats not to even broach the subject is laughable.

I am a Democrat and I would never use any one's child for political gain. McCain, you are addressing the wrong party. Yours is the one filled with intolerance that would use any perceived moral misstep to gain power. Have you forgotten Terry Schiavo?

My prayers go out to the kids involved. Hold your heads up high. You didn't do anything that most haven't done, you just wear the badge showing you did it.

Gerson I'm glad you are now politicizing it as Palin being a typical middle class family you have just proved my point.

Posted by: OldManTalking | September 1, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Who is the daddy?

Posted by: ??????? | September 1, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans---particularly their Christian, conservative members---really tick me off. I'm a Christian myself (yes, there are Democrats who are Christians), and what really irritates me is that now the conservative bloggers are trying to paint Palin and her daughter as saints because they didn't have abortions. There are lots of women and pregnant teens who don't have abortions.

What kills me is that Mr. Focus on the FAmily himself still praises her---but how can she possibly be focused on her family to be running for VP, when she has an infant with special needs and a teenaged daughter who's pregnant?? Not to mention the other three. Those kids obviously need her more now than the country does, but she's going to have a whirlwind schedule of campaign traveling. What is the woman thinking?

As a woman, I do believe a woman can be anything she wants. But I DON'T believe a woman---or a man---can have it all. There are trade-offs for everything, and at some point everytone needs to decide what their priorities are.

Posted by: Karen B | September 1, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson, You won't find a true Democrat attacking the Palin family, we are not the party that used Terry Schiavo to push an agenda.

Posted by: Terry | September 1, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"The slimiest elements of the Internet culture will be after them."

As opposed, I guess, to the slimiest elements of the mainstream political culture, who launch illegal wars using phony evidence, slander and slime their political opponents, violate (as in gang rape) the Bill of Rights, funnel billions to their GOP cronies while allowing major American cities to drown, etc.

People like Gerson's former employers, in other words.

Spare us the faux moral outrage, Mike. We're on to you.

Posted by: Peter Principle | September 1, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, man, have you ever turned into a Republican hack!

A family situation such as Palin's daughter I agree in itself should not be a scandal, nor a matter of paramount public interest. But--- The fact that she is such a venomous opponent to sex education in schools (but supports religious education vehemently), an advocate of criminalizing abortion, an opponent of contraception, and a candidate who has purported herself to be a "family values" candidate brings to the surface the very reasons to oppose her candidacy.

That combined with the fact that there seems to be a lot of family termoil going on in her private life, with her intervention into her sister's divorce, her husband's DUI arrest, all spells someone who leads a very timulterous lifestyle and brings a lot of unwanted drama and baggage to the ticket.

You're an idiot if you believe your drivel is going to convince any thinking person that this should not impact her eligibility to be VP.

Posted by: aBigSAM | September 1, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Being a pregnant teenage girl is not a rare event, but it just goes to show how laughable it is when the people espousing abstinence are faced with their own daughter's reality. The republican party is the worst with moralizing about teen pregnancy, especially when it involves young, black teens having babies!!!! That's the hypocrisy I see. Now, will you all just shut up and teach birth control and face some reality?

Posted by: BarbO | September 1, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Sara B. wrote: This is, of course, a private matter for the Palins, Gerson and the GOP except they also believe they have license to insert themselves into the delicate matters of everyone else.
*********
You said it, Sara B. I can only add, "Amen!"

Posted by: Olive | September 1, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

We should hear from the father of the child. Did he really agree to marry the mother? Or was he "strongly encouraged" to do so by the Palin family and/or the Bush campaign?

Posted by: Reader in SC | September 1, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

A parent who virtually abandons a newborn with special needs and a pregnant teenager in order to pursue a pie-in-the-sky political office is disgusting, regardless of party.

Posted by: Dawny Chambers | September 1, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

My, how standards change when one's own nominees are caught in lies and evasions.

Of course Palin's daughter's pregnancy is a story - how will those who have pushed abstinence as the only acceptable birth control method be able to rationalize this one? Like Gerson, perhaps - typical middle class family my foot. Doesn't wash.

Just like the lies about the Bridge to Nowhere (see NYT front page) - turns out that she was for it before she was against it. And she probably turned against it AFTER the Federal Government's share of the money was promised to Alaska anyway.

This nomination is an affront to women, to people who actually DO teach their children (male and female) how to avoid unwanted pregnancy, to people who value truth. If it's another McCain practical joke, it's not funny. This is out nation at stake here.

Jeanette

Posted by: Jeanette | September 1, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

The Palin pregnancy has nothing whatsoever to do with peace, prosperity, education, health care, energy independence or the environment.

We, the US, are currently bribing 100,000 Sunnis with $30 million a month to not fight; while we are running a deficit and Iraq has a surplus. The surge in bribes was what stopped the violence and when we stop paying bribes Shias and Sunnis will be at each others' throats again. Iran and Saudi Arabia might be involved.

The Republicans would love to draw us into Sarah Palin's family. But this election is not about her. It is about all of us.

We need to focus our public discourse on POLICIES. The mainstream media, along with the Republicans, have dumbed down the discourse in this country to the point where our way of life is being threatened - by China, India, global warming, entitlements, lobbyists, etc - and we still want to talk about silly stuff like a teen pregnancy????

Posted by: Deep Blue | September 1, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Wow....if Chelsea Clinton had gotten pregnant at 17, the right wing would still be flying that flag. When it suites you then morality is definitely in the eye of the right wing. Just like Cheney's daughter is the only one allowed to have a baby (in vitro) and is protected from any verbal right wing assault, yet Rachel Maddow is dragged thru the mud just for being a broadcaster on a progressive radio station and now at MSNBC. Hypocrotical swine...

Posted by: Doc | September 1, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

What is also important in the statement issued by the campaign is that her daughter decided to have the baby. In other words she made a choice. The same choice that if Ms Palin had her way would be denied other woman. Ms Palin made a choice to have a baby with Downs syndrome, however 8 out of 10 women who have pre delivery knowledge that there fetus has Downs syndrome choose to have an abortion. Again if Ms Palin had her way that choice would be taken away and all of those women would be forced to deliver that baby. ProChoice is about leaving the decision in the hands of the parents of the that child, and their physician.

Posted by: John H. | September 1, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

All this just puts to lie the efficacy of abstinence-only sex education. A seventeen-year old girl's life has just gotten very complicated and any dreams and ambitions she had got put on hold as she takes on responsibilities of parenthood and marriage.

Posted by: Little Red | September 1, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Gerson is quite skilful at taking either side of a question. Now he writes in an understanding way about pregnancy outside of marriage, but while writing for Bush just the opposite position was taken. Clearly, he is nothing but a partisan hack.

Posted by: Diogenes | September 1, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

It is unfortunate that Palin's daughter got pregnant before marriage. It is also unfortunate that almost 50% of women of all ages who get pregnant do not marry the father.

It is also unfortunate that the "change we can believe in" includes the following changes: 1) Homosexual realtionships placed on par with hetersexual relationships; 2) Hetersexuals and homosexuals getting sperm or eggs from unknown donors which will never allow the resulting child to know their biological parents or ancestry ( I am not tlaking where a man and woman cannot bear children on their own; 3) Promiscuos sex because all values and ethics are relative; 4) Single parents are just effective parents as both parents.

Getting pregant at a young age is sad and regretable. It happens in the best and worst of homes and families, in our increasingly secular and relativists culture. What matters in the end is whether you kill the unborn child or keep him/her. Whether you marry the dad and have a supportive enviroment of family and friends, or are alone with not support..

Posted by: rljmsilver | September 1, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Republicans should remember when you are in a hole stop digging.
Not scandalous. Please. Republicans have been blaming out of wedlock births for the destruction of America for decades. Now that it's one of their own it doesn't undermine the american family.
The hyprocrisy on display regarding Palin is absolutely unbelievable and the stench is going to turn off their base.
I don't care that Palin's daughter is pregnant, but I do care that I have to be subjected to Republican bs on this subject.

Posted by: Sheila B | September 1, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Yes she is a hypocrite and her behavior is NOT consistent with Christian biblical values....(only consitatn with hypocritical secular conservative values... do as I say, not as I do).

She should have been home RAISING HER OWN KIDS, instead of dumping them on family. She sacrificed her family (husband and children) on the alter of her ambition. Her husband is a weakling and apparently has no leadership value what so ever, he is a lacky to his wife. If they had an ounce of care for ANY OF THEIR KIDS, she would not have even come close to the VP slot and drag her daughter and the rest of the kids thru this mess. There is nothing to admire here at all. Selfish is more like it but that makes her fit in all the more with McCain who ABANDONED his first wife and kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

The only reason you liberals can call us conservatives "hypocrites" is because our standards are so much higher than yours. Just because we don't cater to the lowest common denominators in society like you do.

Posted by: James | September 1, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I guess consensual sex, involving a married man with an adult female who wasn't his wife, just wasn't enough of a typical middle-class struggle for the Republican Party to refrain from turning it into a twelve-month circus.

As one of the above posters points out, sexual hypocrisy isn't the Democrats' style.

That doesn't mean I won't laugh watching the campaign trying to make this a non-issue to a broad segment of its own base.

Posted by: John Thompson | September 1, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

After a certain age, parents are no longer obliged to correct their children, but only to direct them should they ask for guidance and help.
Therefore, if Sarah's 17 year old decides to have sex before marriage, even though her parents have told her more than once it is morally wrong, it does not become the fault of the parents when the act is committed, but solely the act of the child. She is now a young adult, and her acts are her own, not her parents. Should they leave their prodigy alone in such a situation? God forbid! They are always to be loving parents...guilty of nothing, but guilty only if they turn their backs upon the young adult who has made a mistake.

Posted by: Lizzelda | September 1, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Bristol's and the father's ages when they engaged in sex is an important question, considering the law: "The age of consent is defined as 16 years old, according to Alaska statutory rape laws. If a person who is at least 18 years old engages in sexual activity with a person who is 16 years old or younger, he or she will be charged with sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree. This charge is a felony in Alaska. And remember, it does not matter if you did not force or threaten the other person into performing this sexual act with you. It is still a crime under Alaska statutory rape laws."

Posted by: S. T. Agnew | September 1, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

What is Republican position on sex education and why Bush adminstration was opposed to distributing condoms in Africa

Posted by: sam69 | September 1, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

We'll see on election day.

Do American voters really want a "normal" person on the ticket?

Son Hunter Biden is getting rich for doing very little except trading on Dad's name. I'm sure Hunt drives the Mercedes to Chevy Chase everynight at the same time Regular Joe takes the train home to Wilmington or Scranton. Joe takes the train home 'most nights' but during the day consorts with all the Washington insiders as he has for 30+ years. He's such a regular guy, right down to french cuff shirts, hair plugs, etc. Joe's just like everyone in Scranton I'm sure.

I'll take the Palins - warts and all.

Posted by: Hip Ocracy | September 1, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Apparently this is a North Woods, Frontier small town and oil field family. Hard drinkig man from the oil fields and a small town mom with North Woods family. Just like the 30's, 40's and 50's. Arizona, Alaska, the Upper Pensula, Wisconsin to Montana or any where in the rural South. Farm and small town kids are still the same. They made a movie about this, BACK TO THE FUTURE. Things don't change, I suppose we should be gratefull that the girl isn't be shunned by her family or friends like social conservatives Christians did years ago. If she were my daughter she wouldn't have to get married and make a second mistake. But than as a great grand father I have a differant perspective of the situation.

Posted by: John T. | September 1, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The Democrat's push for national unity and bi-partisan comity is hopelessly divisive and insulting to conservatives. John McCain's selection of a complete unknown for running mate is "brilliant." And the fact that the Veep candidate's teenage daughter is pregnant is no big deal. One begins to wonder. Just what will it take for Mike Gerson to break from the GOP party line. Get this hack off the air, WaPo, or at least make him buy an ad.

Posted by: Ted Frier | September 1, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Talk about switching sides!

But in the bright side, nice to see Republicans talking about CHOICES, and TOLERANCE, and PRIVACY AND how the pregnancy (or end of the pregnancy) of a teenager out of wedlock is a PRIVATE FAMILY AFFAIR.

OH SO NICE to see that Teenage Pregnancy is not "a big deal" and that who cares, THEY CAN GET MARRIED and it will all be fixed! Good to know they have the option of GETTING MARRIED.

17 year olds who think they can fix a mistake by making a bigger one can get married!! unless of course they happen to ge gay, now THOSE people... they have no clue!

Posted by: DEMI | September 1, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Father is 26, she is 17. Wow she dated this guy for 3 years. The 23 year old man dated her when she was 14. This is statutory rape.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

PALIN = TENNESSEE TALIBAN

The end of modern science in our schools.

The end of easy to obtain contraceptives.

PALIN = TENNESSEE TALIBAN

McCain/Palin soon selecting 100's of federal judges based on her religious values, not her understanding of the Constitution. Neither Palin nor McCain have degrees in law.

REGISTER AND VOTE ABSENTEE and Save the Constitution.

Posted by: Bruce Becker | September 1, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Democrat, but I am quickly becoming ashamed of that fact. The sleaze machine that has been in full force since the Palin selection is disgusting. Much more of this and I'll be turning in my card.

Posted by: mark | September 1, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

This is typical of McCain's "celebrity values".

James, we call you hypocrites because you say one thing and do another. Either stop saying the one thing or stop doing the other. Remember Jesus forgives your sins far easier than he forgives your judging others.

Posted by: JT | September 1, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

OF COURSE the Father agreed to marry Palin's daughter. As true NRA members the Palins have this SHOTGUN on the rack behind the door, and ... !!

Posted by: FredSpoons | September 1, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Her daughter's pregnancy is very much a political issue IMO. It is another demonstration of the effects of the Republican approach to sex education and issues of pregnancy. Here is a 17 year old girl, certainly brought up within the dictates of the "abstinence only" mindset, who, like many brought up in such an atmosphere, now finds herself pregnant with a family that of course absolutely insists that she keep the child. There is no doubt that the daughter has no choice at all of whether to have an abortion or to marry the father. The conservative parents, no matter what is really in the child's best interest are certainly insisting that she marry the father and keep the baby. Not only this, but this is what she would like to require of all people in America who find themselves in the same situation. Take away choice, take away opportunity, take away education. This is the perfect example of the results of Republican policy and mindset.

I want to see Sarah Palin asked these questions directly: "Did you give your daughter education on birth control and did you offer to provide her with birth control? Did you give your daughter the option of having an abortion? Did you tell your daughter that she needed to marry the father?"

Yes, this IS a political issue, VERY MUCH SO!

Posted by: Jeff | September 1, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if Sarah Palin wasn't so egocentric she might have considered not only preaching family values, but also living them. What kind of mother is so narcissistic that she actually thinks she can devote eighteen hour days to her job as vice president of the United States while caring for a special needs baby and her other children? This is NOT putting your family first! I bet Romney and the Mormon crowd are livid about McCain's choice. Mormons totally adhere to the stay at home mom philosophy. Maybe if she wasn't so concerned with her own agenda she might have been around more to guide her daughter toward more productive activities.

Posted by: depink09 | September 1, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Another product of abstinence education success story.? And as far as the article. Nice spin. Someone watches FOX doesn't he. Wink Wink Non Non say no more.

Posted by: Greg | September 1, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Throwing stones from glasscages Americans?
Teenage pregnancy rate is almost 30%in the US.Amongst african-americans,its about double of the national average.Do the math.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The hard drinking hard workin husband just got a Driving while under the influence.

Is he going to quit his job fishing and take care of all the children while Mrs VIP goes off to Russia?

What's the plan? Are these family values?

Posted by: BRUCE Becker | September 1, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Again, the point is NOT the pregnancy, it is the preaching about having all the answers. As for sleaze, where have you been the last 8 years?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

This is such a shame for Palin's daughter. I can't imagine how that poor kid is feeling after being exposed like this. My heart goes out to her. Shame on her mother!! No job--NO job--is worth exploiting a vulnerable child in such a fashion, and I think the latest Palin train wreck speaks volumes about Palin and her character, or lack thereof. (While she was busy espousing Abstinence for everyone else's kids, where was her daughter?!) As a mother of teenagers myself, and a staunch feminist, I have to say that it sounds as if Palin's children, brand-new baby included, need her a great deal more than the United States does.

Posted by: Robyn | September 1, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Jeff, excellent questions:
Her daughter's pregnancy is very much a political issue IMO. It is another demonstration of the effects of the Republican approach to sex education and issues of pregnancy. Here is a 17 year old girl, certainly brought up within the dictates of the "abstinence only" mindset, who, like many brought up in such an atmosphere, now finds herself pregnant with a family that of course absolutely insists that she keep the child.

There is no doubt that the daughter has no choice at all of whether to have an abortion or to marry the father.

The conservative parents, no matter what is really in the child's best interest are certainly insisting that she marry the father and keep the baby. Not only this, but this is what she would like to require of all people in America who find themselves in the same situation. Take away choice, take away opportunity, take away education. This is the perfect example of the results of Republican policy and mindset.

I want to see Sarah Palin asked these questions directly: "Did you give your daughter education on birth control and did you offer to provide her with birth control? Did you give your daughter the option of having an abortion? Did you tell your daughter that she needed to marry the father?"

Yes, this IS a political issue, VERY MUCH SO!

Posted by: Bruce Becker | September 1, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I understand Gov Palin would like to have creationism taught in the public schools -- perhaps she will no push to add a discussion of how babies are created.

It's not the pregnancy itself that's a political issue, it's whether teenagers (who it seems we now all agree are going to have sex, good families or bad, Democrat or Republican, black or white, secular or religious) are going to be given adequate information to make informed decisions that obviously will affect the rest of their lives.

But the Republican party platform steadfastly clings to a policy of silence on contraception. As a human being, you have to feel for this young woman (and young man) -- but educated voters will also wonder if a quick trip to the drug store could have saved them so much anquish. And if so, why are these simple facts being withheld from Ms. Palin's daughter and her classmates?

Posted by: bob | September 1, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Gerson I am neither shocked nor offended by Bristol Palin's pregnancy. As you say, it is a problem that many families face. What does shock and sicken me is that Sarah Palin would accept the nomination knowing that it would open her daughter to national scrutiny at a very vulnerable time in her life. It strikes me as unspeakably selfish. Asking for privacy after she opened her children to this seems hypocritical. I look forward to reading your columns because they are grounded in morality. How could you fail to recognize that a parent's primary obligation to their children is to protect them from those who wish to exploit them. By accepting Senator McCain's offer she threw them into the lion's den.

Posted by: greg | September 1, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Teenage pregnancy is certainly nothing new under the sun but really, as modern society is concerned, is a post WWII problem. Before WWII they were sent away or got married and had a "love child". It is only post WWII that we offered more to young women than marriage and pregnancy if they so desired. The problem with the Palins is that they are "forcing" these children on a path of failure. The statistics are that this marriage will fail. In this modern age, why are we pushing marriage on these young children. Whether Bristol has the baby or not is of no interest to me but not allowing her to explore more possibilities in her life is such a sad close minded story. When I hear of social conservatives, that is what I expect, a lack of open mindedness and an inability to let others exist as they choose. This is why she will take down the McCain ticket. She will be the female Eagleton and there is more waiting to pop out of the Palin closet. The sad part of Gerson is he doesn't see this. What forward thinking father would want his 17 year old daughter to sign her life away with a forced marriage, and who is carrying the shotgun? These kids diddled when they should have dabbled and are being forced to pay a ridiculous price. Go social conservatives.

Posted by: mark | September 1, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

The McCain campaign seems to be entering full meltdown phase.

Posted by: Tom in California | September 1, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

To the person who wrote:

"Gerson, man, have you ever turned into a Republican hack!"

You do realize that his previous job was as George Bush's speechwriter. He's always been a Republican hack this is nothing new.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

State law in Virginia says that a 17 year old female can wed if she has her parent's permission. What is the problem here? If you people want something to cry about come down here to Charlottesville, Virginia and hold interviews with our 13 and 14 year old mothers---then you can rant and rave all you want! Palin's family is far more stable than the alternate lifestyle communes and beehives I see our "empowered" women reveling in down here. For the past forty years the American white man has given his women every single law and legal protection that they asked for--and now you onetime bra burners are truly empowered---so let's see what kind of lives your hard fought liberty will give your children. Suck it up ladies-you wanted it--you got it--you are EMPOWERED. As you watch the culturally and racially diverse couples stroll through Wal Mart and the malls keep telling yourselves "My feminism has opened up whole new vistas for my young daughter during her lifetime".

Posted by: Jim | September 1, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

But the McCain campaign has said it was informed. It would also disturb me if Palin had not fully discussed her decision to run for vice president with her pregnant daughter, who will now be exposed to a lot of vicious ridicule. In light of this family struggle, I hope Palin's decision to join the Republican ticket was a family decision.
---------------

No one can ever be prepared for the astounding ridicule, ignorance and stupidity, Palin never having to deal with Washington politics on a regular basis.

Sad, the first two "hit" are her infant son, and daughter.

IMO, she is unqualified for the office of VP, if McCain were to falter, she would assume the office, and being unprepared, who would end up pulling the strings?

As with Obama, Bush...

Posted by: Gadansk Tater | September 1, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin has more pressing issues at home than becoming VP. She should step down immediately.

Posted by: Sparky | September 1, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

If Palin can't run on experience, then she can only run on values.

And while stories about her children shouldn't be allowed, questions about Gov. Palin's decision making ability -- particularly in light of decisions about her career in the face of her family situation -- are most definitely on the table.

Posted by: cherie | September 1, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Dear Michael Gerson:

Is the James Dobson that you extol as a compassionate servant of Christ the same James Dobson who was praying for rain to drown Obama's big night in Denver?

Have you never observed that those who delight in schadenfreude do so at the risk of bring suffering upon themselves?

Thank God that Gustav has apparently done little fatal damage on the Gulf Coast.

Instead we have the regular drip-drip-drip of scandal emitting from McCain's half-baked Alaskan.

Posted by: Hugh Briss | September 1, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Another great article by former BUSH SPEECHWRITER Mr. Gerson.

So relevant, neocons bush/cheney and now McCain/Palin climate issue deniers get a hurricane to cancel their Convention first day....

Neocons and evengelicals agains Sex Ed and sex before marriage see their VP Pick announce 17 y.o. daughter's off-wedlock pregnancy...

May I advise Bristol not listening to her mothers suggestions regarding babies strange-naming, I got two ideas for the newborn:

...wether it be a boy or a girl?

Gustav or Katrina?

Posted by: GersonIsATool | September 1, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I insist that her "boyfriend" be arrested and tried. There are tens of thousands of men currently incarcerated for the same crime. A handful have committed suicide rather than face prosecution. He should be tried under the same laws passed by the Republicans for "the rest of us" and he should carry the same stigma of a sex offender they have mandated to others.

Posted by: Holier than thou | September 1, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Another great article by former BUSH SPEECHWRITER Mr. Gerson.

So relevant, neocons Bush/Cheney and now McCain/Palin Climate Issue deniers get a hurricane to cancel their Convention first day....

Neocons and evengelicals agains Sex Ed and sex before marriage see their VP Pick announce 17 y.o. daughter's off-wedlock pregnancy...

May I advise Bristol not listening to her mothers suggestions regarding babies strange-naming, I got two ideas for the newborn:

...wether it be a boy or a girl?

Gustav or Katrina?

Posted by: GersonIsATool | September 1, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Another great article by former BUSH SPEECHWRITER Mr. Gerson.

So relevant, neocons bush/cheney and now McCain/Palin climate issue deniers get a hurricane to cancel their Convention first day....

Neocons and evangelicals against Sex Ed and sex before marriage see their VP Pick announce 17 y.o. daughter's off-wedlock pregnancy...

May I advise Bristol not listening to her mothers suggestions regarding babies strange-naming, I got two ideas for the newborn:

...wether it be a boy or a girl?

Gustav or Katrina?

Posted by: GersonIsATool | September 1, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, the warm, loving families of the Christian Right. Ask any child who's been there how warm and loving it is if you're gay, or if you get an abortion, or if you think seriously about a non-Protestant world view. You may be forgiven for such "transgressions" if you are contrite enough. How patronizing! Here's hoping Bristol gets lots of love and support from her mother to be the kind of woman SHE wants to be.

Posted by: NK | September 1, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

By most of these negative comments about teen pregnancy, I can only assume that absolutely no one in your immediate and extended family has ever had a teen pregnancy occur. Consider yourself lucky, because now you know how people really feel about them.

Posted by: Michael | September 1, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Reminds me of the stories of Don Quixote (sp?) Simple, black and white morality applied to real-world, complex situations just leads to hypocrisy, lies, and other nasty actions to cover up one's own inability to adhere to their moral standard they require of everyone else around them. McCain is an adulterer, Bush lies, scandals are behind every door but they sure look good sitting in church don't they.

Posted by: Pat | September 1, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully, Bristol and Levi, like Todd and Track Palin and Tood Palin's mother, are Independents who will vote for Obama-Biden. Maybe then Bristol's child will lhave the benefits of sex education and contraception which Sarah denied Bristol denied her and the chance to lead a better life. Perhaps a few polar bears will survive Sarah Palin's efforts to exterminte them as well.

Posted by: mnjam | September 1, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson seems to be living in lala land. I'm sure the same Gerson who is trying to spin that story in an "if" rhetoric will be the same Gerson who would pound on a liberal candidate had this happen to him or her.

Posted by: Omidal | September 1, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Bristol Palin was pregnant when she gave birth in April. She's not pregnant now. This an example is typical conservative lies. You'll all be amazed when Bristol #1 is not married and #2 does not give birth in 4 months. She'll probably have a conveniently timed "miscarriage" after the November election that the family will want to be a "private" matter. Anyone stupid enough to believe the republicans deserves what they get. Enjoy $5.00 per gallon gas. Enjoy an economy in the toilet.

Posted by: Christopher | September 1, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

As a politically "undeclared" Alaskan, I take proper umbrage at partisan Democratic sniping at the Palin Family. When a party which annually parties to the tune of a "Jefferson-Jackson Day" fundraiser (an impregnate-my-slavewoman/take-up-with-another-man's-wife family values seminar?) trashes my near-neighbors, I gag at the hypocrisy of the Jackass Party's braying donkeys. The Palins are Jeffersonian yeomanry working to build homelife and community in a frontier beyond Jackson's dreams. Lay off, Democrats! If you think that the McPalin ticket isn't good enough to serve our commonwealth, then admit that the O'Biden ticket has one too many babysitters....

Posted by: Mike Rogers | September 1, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

DNA tests for the whole northern redneck Palin clan! Let's positively find out who's
related to whom. Richard

Posted by: Richard | September 1, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I think that Palin needs to discuss the pros and cons of policies coming from McCain and Obama from a hypothetical situation when her daughter can't count on her financial support. I also tend to think that this situation can be used by Obama to discuss the benefits of his policies for families like Palin.

And I also think that in truly independent and republican setting it is time for Bristol to move out with her husband and start a responsible and independent adult life. If it doesn't happen than Palin is a hypocrite.

Posted by: Andriy Tanatar | September 1, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Michael,

You must know that what you have posted is utter nonsense. Having listened to the garbage brought forth by the right wing over the past years--yes, remember the one huge, fat broadcaster calling a child named Chelsea Clinton a dog??? I'm sure you know who I mean and, unfortunately, he continues to spew hatred--I must say that you are the worst among us. Oh rest assured, this will make a difference in the election, maybe even the nomination, as will the investigation into the attempt to fire Palin's state trooper brother-in-law. Hypocrite is the proper word to describe the governor. BTW, too bad the storm isn't working out for McCain's desire to broadcast his acceptance speech via television transmission from the Gulf--it would be a real command performance taking full advantage of others' misery, I'm sure. Supposed maverick McCain's subservience to the supposed Republican power brokers, too, deserves the same description: hypocrite.

Posted by: j | September 1, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

The implosion of Palin could have been predicted. Basically she was a desperate"long bomb" of a choice and was grabbed impulsively at the last moment.
Mc Cain's favorite type of gambling is craps
in Las Vegas- he loves to make high stakes radical, flashy moves to extricate himself from problems and challenges. The trouble comes when is is wrong as he was in the case of the Iraq War and with Palin. Make no mistake. Mc Cain is a dangerous fellow. Not a man to be in charge of our foreign policy and our military. Obama is SO much more the intelligent player. It's not even close -as we are beginning to see.

Posted by: Scott Hess | September 1, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't amaze me enough of how length this George Bush outcast Gerson will go to defend the indefensible. Some time it pays to keep your mouth shut instead of coming across so stupid.

Indeed, Gerson is beyond stupid. With Palin nude pictures and in hooker-type outfit all over the net, is this what America is willing to put heartbeat away to being the president of the United States?

If she can't control her own household, how in the hell is she going to govern?

Posted by: M Willey | September 1, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

You must realize it's not the pregnancy that's the problem; it's the lack of mothering on the part of her mother. Where were mom and dad? If they have been teaching abstinence only, they obviously didn't do a good job. Maybe the mother felt being a politician was more important than being there for her teenage daughter.

Regardless, premarital sex and babies born out of wedlock are common today; what makes the difference is that Palin presents herself as part of that evangelistic "righteous" right ready to dictate to ALL women what they can and cannot do with their bodies.

I feel sorry for the baby.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Michael, you completely miss the point.

Palin is running on "family values." Where are hers? She claims as a "credential" being a hockey mom -- what kind of mom is she, really?

It's absurd to suggest that being a PTA-joining hockey mom is a credential for running the most powerful country on the planet. But if she's going to advance that as her credential, then shouldn't she at least have done it well? Total hypocrisy.

Posted by: Poly | September 1, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Such a family matter is private -- unless you're running to be VP of the United States! And you're one step away from being President. Seriously, can anybody view this woman as qualified to be President? And her husband as "First Man"? The Republican apologists are comical: "Oh, this happens to a lot of families! No big deal!" Can you imagine if Obama's daughter were 17 and pregnant? The Republicans would have a field day. I always hoped the two parties in the U.S. could work out their differences and move the country ahead, but the McCain/Palin ticker looks even more dangerous than Bush/Cheney (something I never would have thought possible), and it's time to send this two-faced, righteous, self-serving, God-using party out the door.

Posted by: Mike | September 1, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"The age of consent is defined as 16 years old, according to Alaska statutory rape laws. If a person who is at least 18 years old engages in sexual activity with a person who is 16 years old or younger, he or she will be charged with sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree. This charge is a felony in Alaska. And remember, it does not matter if you did not force or threaten the other person into performing this sexual act with you. It is still a crime under Alaska statutory rape laws."

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

First we learn Sarah Palin 5 months ago gave birth to a baby boy but never looked pregnant, flew 12 hours from Texas to Alaska after water broke, and drove to remote clinic to deliver.

Oh, It's Just Fine and Normal...
for minor 17 year old Daughter of "A Family Values Evangelical Christian Republican Vice Presidential Candidate" -- "Has A Baby Out of Wedlock"?

However... If it Were a 17 year old minor daughter of a Democrat Vice Presidential Candidate -

If Would Be A SIN and a Scandal!
You Bet!

Now Fox News, Wallstreet Journal, and Washington moonie Times - All Lead With "Obama Sez Pregnancy Off Record"?
What would they have done if Chelsea was pregnant in 1991 at 16 years old?

Posted by: Robert | September 1, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Dear Jim:
Does it hurt when your knuckles scrape the ground?
The only time I ever saw a man beating a woman was this past January, in broad daylight, at a gas pump in Leesburg, Virginia. There was no "protection," legal or otherwise, for her that day.


State law in Virginia says that a 17 year old female can wed if she has her parent's permission. What is the problem here? If you people want something to cry about come down here to Charlottesville, Virginia and hold interviews with our 13 and 14 year old mothers---then you can rant and rave all you want! Palin's family is far more stable than the alternate lifestyle communes and beehives I see our "empowered" women reveling in down here. For the past forty years the American white man has given his women every single law and legal protection that they asked for--and now you onetime bra burners are truly empowered---so let's see what kind of lives your hard fought liberty will give your children. Suck it up ladies-you wanted it--you got it--you are EMPOWERED. As you watch the culturally and racially diverse couples stroll through Wal Mart and the malls keep telling yourselves "My feminism has opened up whole new vistas for my young daughter during her lifetime".

Posted by: Jim | September 1, 2008 4:36 PM

Posted by: Just Wondering | September 1, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I've been reading that the father is a 26 year old college student. If this so, then this is no longer a "private family matter" at all but an issue of felony sexual assault under Alaska statute. Where's the hue and cry from all the law and order moralists? And what mother in her right mind would allow her minor child have a relationship with someone who's a decade older?

Posted by: lonesomebreed | September 1, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"Ann Dunham (1942–1995) was the mother of Barack Obama. She was an anthropologist in Hawaii and Indonesia. Stanley Ann Dunham Obama Soetoro (she later spelled it Sutoro) was a white woman from the Midwest who married and divorced not one, but two, foreign men (one from Kenya and one from Indonesia, both Muslim). She met Barack Obama Sr. in a Russian-language class at the University of Hawaii, where both were students. After one semester, at age 18 she dropped out of school and, three months pregnant, secretly married a man she met only a few months earlier. Young Barack was born August 4, 1961. At that time, interracial marriages were illegal in many states, and bi-racial children were ostracized by both ethnic groups as not "belonging" to either.

Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. (1936–1982) Government economist in Kenya. Besides US Senator Barack Obama, Barack Obama Sr. fathered six other sons and a daughter. All but one live in Britain or the US."

Posted by: submix8c | September 1, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

This was a private matter and should not be discussed here. I have friends who's children are in similar situations. It is, as stated not unusual.

I only hope the right nor the left use it in anyway as a political gain.

It shouldn't of even shown up in the news or discussed as a taking point.

Posted by: Palin's Daughter | September 1, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

People who live in glass houses...

Why do you think Senator Obama is saying "Shut UP! This is PRIVATE!"

Get real, mud-slingers!

Posted by: submix8c | September 1, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Michael - I hope you are teaching your children about sex and specifically contraceptives because otherwise this could happen to them. Also, I hope that you aren't ignoring the very real possibility that Bristol Palin isn't now pregnant but already gave birth to Trig - whose health care is paid for by Alaskan taxpayers - Sarah Palin's 4 month old Down's Syndrome suffering putative child. Please see this link:

http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-70930?ref=email

Posted by: KRXAhal | September 1, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for telling us. But I see it a different way.

This is very much a political issue as Gov. Palin has stated that her daughter "decided" to keep the baby. Since the Gov. is a convinced pro-lifer, stating that "life begins at conception" this is the equivalent of saying that her daughter decided NOT to kill the boy who got her pregnant. If "life begins at conception" why was this a choice? And if it was a choice why does the Gov. want to take that choice from others?

You can not have both. This is very much a political issue, not for the girl, she is old enough to do what she wants, but for the people who will vote in the next election and for the character of the Governor. Our ex-governor, Jeb Bush, passed a mandatory 5 year jail sentence law in Florida for possession of Crack and then got his own daughter out from under that law when she was caught with it. While this is not nearly as egregious, it speaks to the character of the politician.

As to this "Those who believe that a family situation of this sort will alienate or anger evangelicals have never actually met an evangelical. " This is pure stupidity. I grew up in North Georgia, Southern Baptist Evangelical. I will wager I know and am related to many, many more evangelicals than Mr. Gerson will even know. (ain't no Gersons in those hills.) PURE CRAP. Have you ever talked with an evangelical, Mr. Gerson? Not a political Evangelical like you, a real life, honest to God one? I can introduce you to a whole mess of 'em. They don't live in DC and they don't write bad speeches for bad Presidents.

Posted by: Kirk | September 1, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

To Just Wondering.

17 year old Bristol has been dating 26 year Old boyfriend "father" for THREE YEARS!

So..... 17 years - 3 years = Bristol was A 14 year old child Dating a 23 year Old Man! This is "Statutory Rape"!

Posted by: Realista | September 1, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with Mr. Gerson on almost every issue and have a personal distaste for him for sliming educators, but I strongly agree with him here. Leave these people alone. Did your parents have control over your behavior when you were 17? Give me a break. Everyone has to cut the cord and there's some risk in that. The number of mistakes I made at that age were innumerable. The people sliming this poor seventeen year old girl were arguing (in chorus with me) that a fifty something year old's politician's ugly affairs were not an important matter for public debate ten years ago. Leave their personal life alone and attack the dreadful policies that a McCain-Palin ticket would bring to the nation.

Posted by: Kevin Steimel | September 1, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Realista - please indicate your "source". It has just been revealed and only the name "Levi" has been given. My interest is piqued...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone tell John McCain he didn't have to go all the way to Alaska to find white trash?
The campaign theme song should be dueling banjo's from Deliverance the movie..

Posted by: eric | September 1, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

You're so full of crap, Gerson. First you hold Palin up as an example to us Black folks who do things like have children out of wedlock, then you say Palin is great because her daughter does the same.

Posted by: Bleaux Me | September 1, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Dawn says:

"It's not the pregnancy but the hypocrisy and the outdated views of Palin and McCain on sex education. Why are John McCain and Sarah Palin pushing abstinence only education on our kids when her kids can't even adhere to it?"

In other words, it's perfectly fine that Bristol Palin had extramarital sex as a 17 year old. Her mistake was in not using a condom.

Or was it? Truth to tell, the details on whether contraception are involved haven't leaked out yet. I'm sure Andrew Sullivan is on the case.

Posted by: Athelstane | September 1, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Much less insist that the minor daughter MARRY the man. Truly revolting.
--

I've been reading that the father is a 26 year old college student. If this so, then this is no longer a "private family matter" at all but an issue of felony sexual assault under Alaska statute. Where's the hue and cry from all the law and order moralists? And what mother in her right mind would allow her minor child have a relationship with someone who's a decade older?

Posted by: lonesomebreed | September 1, 2008 4:48 PM

Posted by: Seaglass | September 1, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I am a moderate woman, and also a mother. I am very upset with Sarah Palin right now, for shoving that poor girl Bristol into the negative glare of the international spotlight.

What kind of mother would do that to her child? One who puts her own personal, blind ambition before the needs of her family, that's who. I think Sarah Palin is a hypocrite of the highest order.

My thoughts and prayers are with you, Bristol.

Posted by: mamacita | September 1, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Bristol was raised by conservative parents who are very well off and educated. Her mother is a governor and father is an OIL executive. I support her decision to keep the baby. It is even easier that she is probably going to marry the father and the parents are supportive and very well-off. But, imagine a teenager who is living on food stamp or at minimum wage without health insurance with little or no education probably duped and raped and become pregnant but does not know how to protect her rights and does not have her parents/community/society supporting her. For her it is so important that she has the choice for abortion. The mother will be subjected to serious health risks due to lack of care and under age and the child who will most likely born with some birth defect due to mother age, physical conditions and lack of health care. A birth would actually end two lives. A choice will actually save two lives. Let’s be rational, practical and reasonable in 21st century.

Saving life is not just life at conception …. It is beyond birth …. How our kids are raised, educated cared for ….. With no education, health care and at minimum wage, life is a worse punishment than death itself. Let’s ensure every one is guaranteed of education, health care and respectable wage …. that’s what will make life worth saving. Pro-choice is the choice to SAVE life ….. that is truly pro-life. Causing 100000 Iraqis die for no reason is not pro-life.

Posted by: mbrane | September 1, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"ROTFLMAO!!! This news combined with the news of Palin's husband's arrest for D.W.I. should put an end to McSame's campaign"

Why would it affect the campaign at all? What sane person cares about a DUI that's twenty years old, of a candidate's husband? Twenty years ago, the Palins weren't even married yet.

Posted by: prettierthanthou | September 1, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Realista must be a hit-and-run smear-campaigner, obviously a Dem. I'm the one that posted the above.

Give us some FACTS! I did...

Posted by: submix8c | September 1, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Have the child. Abort the candidacy.

Posted by: trace1 | September 1, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

It was irresponsible of McCain not to put this out front and irresponsible of Sarah Palin to let her daughter go through this. "The slimiest elements of the Internet culture" have been after Obama and anyone else they could demonize, and McCain supporters should also condemn that.

Posted by: psk | September 1, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Here is why foxnews, and their conservative supporters, are so sad:

"On the pinhead front, 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. The sister of Britney says she is shocked. I bet.

Now most teens are pinheads in some ways. But here the blame falls primarily on the parents of the girl, who obviously have little control over her or even over Britney Spears. Look at the way she behaves."

Thanks Bill O'Reilly. You can read this at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,317577,00.html

Let's see what Rush Limbaugh had to say: (http://radioequalizer.blogspot.com/2007/12/spears-pregnancy-news-annoys-talk.html)

"CALLER: Would you tend to think that a family in this position, though, wouldn't you think that there would be a more watchful eye as a parent to be watching over these kids so this doesn't happen to them?

RUSH: I would certainly hope so, but it's long past time for this to happen. The parents here are the culprits!

CALLER: (chuckles)

RUSH: I mean, the parents, they're infected with this disease, this addiction to fame themselves. Look at Britney's mom, for crying out loud. "Put me on TV, too! Put me on TV!" You know, celebrity parents, they can go both ways, and some of them lose whatever grounding they had as adults when their kids get famous. They want to be part of it. They like the money themselves. It's very rare to have celebrity parents that remain grounded, but who's going to get this family in line?"

Posted by: Tony Shaw | September 1, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Uhhh the DUI was 20 yrs ago, before he even met Sarah. How does this figure in? Especially since Obama admits DRUG usage a LOOOONG time ago.

Tit-for-tat. Smear on!

Posted by: submix8c | September 1, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"...but how can she possibly be focused on her family to be running for VP, when she has an infant with special needs and a teenaged daughter who's pregnant??"

1. Maybe she has a nanny like other working moms. 2. Her pregnant teenage daughter will be getting married before the baby arrives and won't be needing Palin's attention.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

So, what's your point? Barack's parents weren't running for VP of the United States of America at the time.
--
"Ann Dunham (1942–1995) was the mother of Barack Obama. She was an anthropologist in Hawaii and Indonesia. Stanley Ann Dunham Obama Soetoro (she later spelled it Sutoro) was a white woman from the Midwest who married and divorced not one, but two, foreign men (one from Kenya and one from Indonesia, both Muslim). She met Barack Obama Sr. in a Russian-language class at the University of Hawaii, where both were students. After one semester, at age 18 she dropped out of school and, three months pregnant, secretly married a man she met only a few months earlier. Young Barack was born August 4, 1961. At that time, interracial marriages were illegal in many states, and bi-racial children were ostracized by both ethnic groups as not "belonging" to either.

Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. (1936–1982) Government economist in Kenya. Besides US Senator Barack Obama, Barack Obama Sr. fathered six other sons and a daughter. All but one live in Britain or the US."

Posted by: submix8c | September 1, 2008 4:49 PM

Posted by: Robyn | September 1, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Those who believe that a family situation of this sort will alienate or anger evangelicals have never actually met an evangelical. Just listen to James Dobson's Focus on the Family broadcast, or read one of his books. Responding to his evangelical listeners and readers, he addresses every imaginable family challenge, from adultery to child sexual abuse to bedwetting. Evangelical Christianity (in most modern forms) is not about the achievement of perfection, it is about the acceptance of forgiveness and healing.

+++++++++++++++++

Gerson, the usual silly re-tard, ranting about the usual gibberish nonsense of which he's an expert...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"You won't find a true Democrat attacking the Palin family, we are not the party that used Terry Schiavo to push an agenda."

You'll find the poison-spewing DailyKos and Huffington Post attacking the Palin family. And everybody knows that those two sites are semi-official arms of the Obama campaign.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

http://eagleforumalaska.blogspot.com/2006/07/2006-gubernatorial-candidate.html

Someone hasn’t picked up on this???? Check out her answer to #11

The Pledge of Allegiance wasn’t written until 1892 , LONG AFTER the “Founding Fathers” had passed on. And the words UNDER GOD werent inserted until 1954, at the urging of the KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS (who, I dont think, were ever considered the Founding Fathers). What a joke - she isnt even cognizant on her own countrys history.

Posted by: David | September 1, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I empathize with Barack Obama's sentiments but bottom line is that people naturally follow and emulate the bahavior, thinking and personal policies of their leaders and for that reason it is in fact necessary to question what those personal policies are or might be. We as citizens have a right to know. Sorry Barack its not off limits, unless of course you are trying to keep follows from knowing they are about to step off a cliff.

Posted by: George Hitchcock | September 1, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Robyn - The point is, dunderhead, that this argument is, indeed, pointless. Noone/Everyone is/was guilty as sin, so what? READ THE THREAD AND MY COMMENTS ALONG WITH THE OTHER DUNDERHEADS!

Posted by: submix8c | September 1, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I am an Evangelical Christian, supporting Barack Obama for president.

Bristol Palin and her pregnancy has nothing to do with this election.

Shame on those who think it does.

Dorian

Posted by: Dorian | September 1, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what your comment would be if it was Obama's daughter. You'd bring up all the figures on black teen pregnancy and talk about a man who couldn't control is family not being able to run the government.

Posted by: Salli Strauss | September 1, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

"Much less insist that the minor daughter MARRY the man. Truly revolting."

How do YOU know they insisted? Were you in the room?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

"What does all this say about Palin herself? That she is a hypocrite? "

Ah...Yes, exactly, a hypocrite.

Don't preach your family values to me Ms Palin.

What do you expect when your mother rails against birth control? That's just not realistic. Now pay the piper.

Posted by: Bridget | September 1, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson, you have lost all credibility. If this is had happened to a Democratic candidate you and your evangelical ilk would be launching moral salvos about loose kids and perverted values from the nearest mountaintop. Your hypocrisy is sickening.

Posted by: JRC | September 1, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

In a country where the current administration and their heirs (the McCain-Palin Ticket) do not believing in providing support to families but do preach about what the acceptable and morally appropriate traditional family is and should be, the circumstances of how Sarah Palin judges her career and family are fair game. The religious right, whose platform Mrs. Palin readily supports and plans to move forward if elected, attack working mothers as selfish and incapable of good parenting. Mrs. Palin's acceptance of McCain's offer to be his VP, and put her family through the grist of national campaign, at a time when her family was dealing with a newborn with special needs and a teen in crisis smacks of the very selfishness her supporters accuse non-adherents of.

Posted by: ol cranky | September 1, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"Father is 26, she is 17. Wow she dated this guy for 3 years. The 23 year old man dated her when she was 14. This is statutory rape."

"Dating" doesn't mean "having sex" you know. If they were having unprotected sex for that long, she'd have become pregnant a lot sooner than this. I know this will disappoint you and other bloodthirsty people, but in Alaska, the age of consent is sixteen.
Obama's mother was the same age when she gave birth to Barack. Isn't that nice?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

If this proves to be true, it ought to be the final nail in the nightmarish Palin coffin. Enough is enough. If McCain has any spine left, he'll dump her.
--

17 year old Bristol has been dating 26 year Old boyfriend "father" for THREE YEARS!

So..... 17 years - 3 years = Bristol was A 14 year old child Dating a 23 year Old Man! This is "Statutory Rape"!

Posted by: Incredulous | September 1, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"I insist that her "boyfriend" be arrested and tried. There are tens of thousands of men currently incarcerated for the same crime. A handful have committed suicide rather than face prosecution. He should be tried under the same laws passed by the Republicans for "the rest of us" and he should carry the same stigma of a sex offender they have mandated to others."

He's not a sex offender. She's over the age of consent.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

The Palin family dismisses basic sex education about avoiding disease and pregnancy prior to marriage. For most Americans, unprotected teenage sex is not a good family value. No amount of spinning can make this a good example from a potential VP candidate.

Enter John McCain. He doesn't get this. WHAT? This issue is not about Sarah Palin's personal values, it is about John McCain's bad judgment.

Posted by: insight2 | September 1, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

ol cranky - Uhhh, as stated above Obama's parents are DEAD, and therefore aren't in play. This does not, however erase the fact that he, himself is a result of a pre-marriage pregnancey... Again, why do you think he's saying "FOUL OF FAMILIES"!

Posted by: submix8c | September 1, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I can be understanding and supportive of families with pregnant teenagers but I look for a little more in a V.P., leadership, judgement, setting of priorities, etc. Palin has the right to privacy, she has the right to run for national public office but not both at the same time. The children she raises are a clear indication of her abilities and her character.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

"Much less insist that the minor daughter MARRY the man. Truly revolting."

How do YOU know they insisted? Were you in the room?

It's right here...read it and weep.

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jIMJWupyWNmvU3UX2aGhICmZrQ_wD92U3L8G0

Posted by: Robyn | September 1, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

We Americans tend to choose politicians on the basis of personality and whether they say the things we want to hear, rather than on their qualifications for the office. Well, I am a Democrat and I really hope that Obama wins. But I have to say that there are some things I really like about Sarah Palin. Despite her lack of qualifications to be vice president (and some of her dreadful opinions), in some ways I would really like to see her and her daughter Bristol living in the White House. I don't think the Republicans could manage to completely keep Bristol out of the public eye the way they did with Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter Mary (or, for that matter, with Ronald Reagan's children). And if it's true that McCain was aware of the situation from the beginning, in my book this is one more reason to admire McCain, despite his lack of qualifications to be president.

Maybe the time has come when even Republicans can admit that there are more important things abut candidates for public office than their sex lives.

Posted by: Lee Lady | September 1, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

"I've been reading that the father is a 26 year old college student. If this so, then this is no longer a "private family matter" at all but an issue of felony sexual assault under Alaska statute. Where's the hue and cry from all the law and order moralists? And what mother in her right mind would allow her minor child have a relationship with someone who's a decade older?"

Before you pulled this BS out of your fundament and posted it, you really should have looked up the law in Alaska, where the age of consent is sixteen.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I knew this was a red herring. Your going to see this woman drop out next week I pretty much can guarantee it. What is next I dont know?? but these are games for headlines.. Think of it as a controlled burn and I think this one is getting away from them tough. Thanks McCain for bringing reality TV values to the doorstep of the White House (The face of a nation and the worlds must prominant country)...

Posted by: erik | September 1, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

He's 26? She's 17? Are they cousins?
I hear banjo music.

Posted by: feralboy12 | September 1, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Funny how Edwards' actual affair was off limits but Palin's daughter is big news.

And WHERE are those people who always insist that "In Europe its not a big deal to..."

But to be fair, anything about these candidates is news.

Does it matter? No: I'm not voting for her daughter; or for a false idea of perfect. (Nixon's daughters were "perfect" and they were constantly ridiculed for it). No one's perfect.

I will vote against a candidate who, though decent and refreshing, pals with Bill Ayers; will expand the government with a vengance; who promises all the excesses of the Clinton years with none of the experience Bill had (I voted for him twice), who will raise my taxes, and promises the sun, moon and stars without raising anyone else's.

I will vote for someone the Republicans should have nominated 8 years ago; and a VP who--thank god--does not come from anywhere close to that cesspool of lobbyists known as Washington D.C.

I'll take a mom with 5 kids as VP or P anytime over whoever is preferred by the seething people here.

Posted by: W | September 1, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

OK, to whomever wrote this article.

I am a Protestant Christian 51 year old white male in Europe (actually, the Netherlands - you know: liberal abortion law).

If what the Palin family lives up to were the norm here, I could do the following:

As I am a remedial teacher of high school mathematics (often involving 15-18 year old girls) who come to my house to get their one hour update, I could just have intercourse with them (and if something got wrong) just marry them ?

Something is very, very wrong with the morals in your country.

Posted by: Toon Moene | September 1, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Dear Anon--
It's retroactive. He is. Palin's daughter may have been as young as 14. It's appalling. Palin can't dig out of this one.
--
He's not a sex offender. She's over the age of consent.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 5:10 PM

Posted by: Pea Soup | September 1, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"It's right here...read it and weep.
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jIMJWupyWNmvU3UX2aGhICmZrQ_wD92U3L8G0"

That news story doesn't say that the Palins INSISTED that the couple marry at all.

Did you think I wouldn't look?


Apparently, they had been dating for a long time and it was a serious relationship.

Posted by: prettierthanthou | September 1, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Lol, the idiot never even vetted her before choosing her. If he makes decisions like this without checking out the facts first, don’t you think he lacks the ability to make intelligent choices as a President?

Posted by: Michael | September 1, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

erik is right about one thing. the face of this nation is getting scary.

Posted by: mike | September 1, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

To sum it all up, Gersen is a partisan political hack.

Posted by: tyler | September 1, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Nice. I sincerely hope you're not a parent.
Again, Palin's daughter may have been as young as 14. Nobody, Red or Blue, could possibly condone that...will you?

--

Before you pulled this BS out of your fundament and posted it, you really should have looked up the law in Alaska, where the age of consent is sixteen.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 5:12 PM

Posted by: Pea Soup | September 1, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

"Dating a 23 year Old Man! This is "Statutory Rape"!"

Maybe you had sex on all of YOUR dates, but most teenagers don't.

Posted by: prettierthanthou | September 1, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

"Nice. I sincerely hope you're not a parent."

I have four children.

"Again, Palin's daughter may have been as young as 14. Nobody, Red or Blue, could possibly condone that...will you?"

She's seventeen now. Above the age of consent. If she was having igonrant, unprotected, uneducated sex at fourteen, she'd have gotten pregnant before now. You can't go prosecuting people on crazy supposition. Not yet, anyway.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

And while stories about her children shouldn't be allowed, questions about Gov. Palin's decision making ability -- particularly in light of decisions about her career in the face of her family situation -- are most definitely on the table
----------

I disagree with you.

To me, the greater issue is WHY McCain picked her, seemingly a very cynical, poor choice.

If he were to falter, she would assume the Presidency, a position she is clearly not qualified for, no matter how they paint it.

Her competency, or lack thereof, has nothing to do with her family, I would be more worried if she were autocratic and illusory.


Her family is her business, unless, of course, they're taking bribes from oil companies or wealthy russian connected middle easterners, while aiding terrorists in blowing up New York...

Posted by: Gadansk Tater | September 1, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Again, even IF the story of the age of "Levi" is true, then, according to my calculations, the age difference between Obama's Mama and Papa was 6 years! And a reminder SHE was 18 when SHE was unwed-pregnant WITH Obama...

Get real, dunderheads! This too will become a non-issue after THEY TOO are MARRIED! So, AGAIN, do you REALLY think Obama wants you idiots to slur the girl when HE HIMSELF is a product of the SAME CIRCUMSTANCE???

Posted by: submix8c | September 1, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to differ, but it does. Spin it all you like. Oh, and I love how you call it "dating" and put the rosy glow of "serious relationship" on it all. That makes it all okay. The only shotgun the then 23-year-old man in question should have seen was the real thing (surely not in short supply in the Palin home) when he initially tried taking advantage of a 14-year-old little girl...instead he's fixin' to go and git him a weddin'.
--

That news story doesn't say that the Palins INSISTED that the couple marry at all.

Did you think I wouldn't look?


Apparently, they had been dating for a long time and it was a serious relationship.

Posted by: prettierthanthou | September 1, 2008 5:15 PM

Posted by: Laua | September 1, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe you had sex on all of YOUR dates, but most teenagers don't.
Posted by: prettierthanthou | September 1, 2008 5:18 PM"

What planet are you from to make such a rash and incorrect statement? Look up the statistics DUNDERHEAD!

Posted by: submix8c | September 1, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"Uhhh, as stated above Obama's parents are DEAD, and therefore aren't in play."

As long as the Obama media exploit these stories about the Palin family -- and the McCain family -- then Obama's parents and the hagiography surrounding them are indeed in play.

"This does not, however erase the fact that he, himself is a result of a pre-marriage pregnancey... Again, why do you think he's saying "FOUL OF FAMILIES"!"

What does "foul of families" even mean? That doesn't sound like an English sentence to me.

Posted by: prettierthanthou | September 1, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

What is truly scandalous and vile is the fact that teen pregnancies are so often handled in precisely the deceitful manner that is being rumored (which is what makes it so believable in the first place), thereby forcing the mother and child to live a lie their entire lives.

Either that or adoption or abortion or (as we now know for a fact) a shotgun marriage.

None of those option speak of parental love, by the way, but reflect the insidious influence of religious prejudice and a completely SICK attitude about sex which inevitably leads to some form of mistreatment of the woman involved.

Sad on all accounts but (as every real Christian ought to know) rest assured the truth will out.

It always does...

Posted by: Carmen Cameron | September 1, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"What planet are you from to make such a rash and incorrect statement? Look up the statistics DUNDERHEAD!"

You tell me what the statistics are, since you are invoking them. The apposite statistics would be the statistics for fourteen year olds, COWFLOP!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

" A parent who virtually abandons a newborn with special needs and a pregnant teenager in order to pursue a pie-in-the-sky political office is disgusting, regardless of party.
Posted by: Dawny Chambers"
......... right Dawny, after all, raising the children is solely the mother's responsibility right??
... by the way, Palin's husband takes care of their children.

Posted by: Francisco Cardenas | September 1, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Que tire la primera piedra quien se considere libre de pecado!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

"..as every real Christian ought to know>>>"

What do you mean by "every real Christian" and what has that got to do with what we're discussing?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I certainly feel symphathy for Mrs. Palin's daughter,the child's father and the afftected families. This is somomething that can happen to any family, even the best of families. What bothers me is when I hear or read certain politicians, preachers, commentators, and other self-annointed moralists insinuate that irresponsible sex is a consequence of the teaching of liberal values (which means any religious or political view that disgrees with their own).

Posted by: TomC in America's heartland | September 1, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

"So, AGAIN, do you REALLY think Obama wants you idiots to slur the girl when HE HIMSELF is a product of the SAME CIRCUMSTANCE???"

Yes I do. Because Obama is the biggest hypocrite alive.

Posted by: prettierthanthou | September 1, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

prettierthanthou - hasty fingers... did you read my posts above? Obama (to paraphrase) says it is a "Foul to mud-sling families in this political race". My whole point of my posts (read them) is that all of this nonsense is pointless and baseless and is really a non-issue, since his own past is also in the same "pickle".

Basically, all of "you" and your "see this", "deny that", and "here are facts" (without basis I might add) are exactly why this country has gone to hell.

You "all" make me puke! To vote based upon "gossip" and "rumor" is insane! Get a life!

Posted by: submix8c | September 1, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

"Wow....if Chelsea Clinton had gotten pregnant at 17, the right wing would still be flying that flag."

But that never actually happened.

Can you think of another example where the right wing actually trashed somebody's daughter for getting pregnant, or something comparable before you start yapping about how the GOP are hypocrites?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, you are the man people love to hate. Hmmm...I wonder why?

I am a firm believer this issue should be a non-issue and the poor girl should be left alone. The "poor" dad to be already knows he's in a lot of trouble. Should he divorce Palin's daughter he'll have to leave the State to find a job.

Quayle is looking better and better. You think he'll come out retirement to join McCain's campaign when the press chews up Sara and she's forced out? Then we can look forward to one of your gems telling us how great Quayle is. I can't wait. I need the humor.

Posted by: BobL-VA | September 1, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

"prettierthanthou - hasty fingers... did you read my posts above?"

Yes I did.


"Obama (to paraphrase) says it is a "Foul to mud-sling families in this political race"."

But you didn't write that. Instead, you wrote: " ol cranky - Uhhh, as stated above Obama's parents are DEAD, and therefore aren't in play. This does not, however erase the fact that he, himself is a result of a pre-marriage pregnancey... Again, why do you think he's saying "FOUL OF FAMILIES"! "


My whole point of my posts (read them) is that all of this nonsense is pointless and baseless and is really a non-issue, since his own past is also in the same "pickle".

Posted by: prettierthanthou | September 1, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Come on posters. The issue of Obama has already taken place. Obama stated family members were off limits and especially the children of candidates. He will have nothing negative to say about Palins daughter or her mother in any context surrounding this non-issue. I know that's really tough for you neocons to believe. That a dem could actually have class, but that is the case here.

Posted by: BobL-VA | September 1, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Republicans like Gerson have been solemnly advocating "abstinence" over contraception for so long that the vice presidential candidate's daughter's pregnancy is legitimate news. Here's the language from the 2004 party platform:

"Abstinence from sexual activity is the only protection that is 100 percent effective against out-of-wedlock pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, including sexually transmitted HIV/AIDS. Therefore, we support doubling abstinence education funding. We oppose school-based clinics that provide referrals, counseling, and related services for contraception and abortion."

Didn't work for Bristol, did it?

We can thank Republicans as well for increasing the precentage of mentally defective children born in America. Great job.

Posted by: mnjam | September 1, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"Those who believe that a family situation of this sort will alienate or anger evangelicals have never actually met an evangelical."

Everyone has met an evangelical. There are as prolific and common as cockroaches.

Posted by: mnjam | September 1, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Wow.

Since Palin was nominated, the comment boards have become the home of some of the most reprehensible trash talking I've ever seen! If the things being said about this poor girl are really being said by democrats, then they deserve to lose this election. For shame folks. This isn't about sex education policy and there's no hypocrisy involved in a teen pregnancy. I think we all know examples of solid families with good parents and smart kids where something like this happens. It's just sad, not a subject for derisive snickering and gleeful schadenfreude.

With all this said, I don't think it can be emphasized enough what this whole episode says about the appalling judgment of the McCain campaign and Sarah Palin. The instant she walked onto the national stage holding her new baby and proudly pointing to the son that is getting ready to ship out to Iraq (on 9-11?!) she made the issue of her family and her skills as a working mother a central part of her political identity. She put a target on each of her children's foreheads and invited the media to begin shooting. Knowing about the pregnancy and STILL pushing your family forward in this way shows very bad judgment, or at least serious naivety.

Secondly, it strains the imagination to believe that they thought somehow that this pregnancy was not going to come out. As such, their 'strategy' for dealing with the problem (letting the press figure it out) shows even poorer judgment than advancing the 'family' theme in the first place. The way this is all happening is unseemly and is putting the daughter forward in the worst possible light. Her own family has fed her to the wolves, many of whom are cheerfully feeding on her here. If Palins were interested in affirming and celebrating their daughter, then they would have announced as part of the family bio that they were excited that she and her finance were expecting the first Palin grandchild. Instead, whatever the truth is, it now LOOKS like they are ashamed of her behavior and that the 'marriage' is being forced.

Finally, while I have no confirmation that the information is true, the claim made by an earlier poster that the father of this baby is 26 and has been dating the girl since she was 14 is simply shocking. I don't know about the rest of you, but where I grew up we all agreed that 14 year olds were CHILDREN and 23 year olds were ADULTS. Adults don't date children. If the Palins willingly allowed their 14 year old daughter to date a man 9 years her senior, then their behavior crosses the line from poor judgment to criminal neglect. My own daughter is nearly 14 and I can promise you that any 23 year old who tries to date her will get served with a restraining order (if he's lucky). There is NO justification for this behavior. I hope for everyone's sake that this part of the story is not true. However if it IS true, then I think it is, all by itself, enough to call into question whether Sarah Palin has the judgment or common sense to serve as President. The same holds John McCain if he knew about it and still went forward with the pick.

To summarize.

A) Stop being mean to this poor girl people!

B) Contrary to what Gerson and other conservatives want us to believe, this pregnancy is VERY MUCH a politically relevant event, because of how it was handled and what it says about her Mother's judgment.

Posted by: Cometboy | September 1, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson I beg to differ with you. Though, teen age is not uncommon but its not a typical middle class thing.
This may be happening in your or Palin's family but it does not happen in majority of families.

Posted by: sam69 | September 1, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Why does the WaPo attract the most immature, hateful liberal posters of any news site? Just look on ABC's web page for a saner set of comments, or the Chicago Tribune, or any other media outlet for that matter.

What exactly is it about the Post that it attracts the most hateful, anti-Christian people.

I for one am opting out of it.

Posted by: MarkF | September 1, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Dear Just Wondering---

The real tragedy is that men die every day for women like you. During my lifetime I have taken physical risks for women that defy description. You and your ilk are not worth the life of a single police officer, fire fighter or soldier. Your ability to express yourself is society's collective loss. Please move anywhere outside this country and learn what you have lost.

Posted by: Jim | September 1, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

There are two things that troubles me. One if McCain knew about this then he must have known this would throw the daughter into the national spotlight. This says something about McCain's judgement. Who would do this to a child? This is about Bristol and the young man. The other thing that troubles me is getting married at age 17 because someone is pregnant. If the pregnacy was a mistake that is not a reason to get married. Palin's family already going through a nasty divorce that is calling her integrity into question.

Posted by: McCain's lack of Judgement | September 1, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Can't believe this crap is coming from you, Gerson. Johny grandpa should admit of making a mistake by picking Palin. Dump her, then pick Pawlenty.

Posted by: GOP | September 1, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Okay, Mikey. Sarah Palin says that she and her husband are proud that their princess has _chosen_ (her word) to have the baby. That choice, if she had her way, would no longer exist. By the way, there's an old reading of the Genesis story that sees Adam's sin as a good thing because it gave people the choice between right and wrong, without which doing the right thing would be meaningless.
But it sure rips the guts out of the abstinence plank, doesn't it? How many other Republican planks just don't work?

Posted by: Hmmmmmmmm | September 1, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

The issue here is not that the daughter is pregnant, or that the mother is a bad parent or that abstinence does not work or any of the other comments made here.

The issue is that John McCain has the bad judgment to pick someone he knows has an issue that, rightly or wrongly, will be pounced upon by both opponents and backers. This is not someone who should be President of our country.

Posted by: Garring | September 1, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Okay, Mikey. Sarah Palin says that she and her husband are proud that their princess has _chosen_ (her word) to have the baby. That choice, if she had her way, would no longer exist. By the way, there's an old reading of the Genesis story that sees Adam's sin as a good thing because it gave people the choice between right and wrong, without which doing the right thing would be meaningless.
But it sure rips the guts out of the abstinence plank, doesn't it? How many other Republican planks just don't work?

Posted by: Hmmmmmmmm | September 1, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

This pregnancy is a coverup! Bristol is not pregnant and will have a “miscarriage”, and then they can use this “pregnancy” to deny that Trig is Bristol’s son, and then say that they don’t want to talk about her tragic miscarriage.

Posted by: coverup | September 1, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

There are two things that troubles me. One if McCain knew about this then he must have known this would throw the daughter into the national spotlight. This says something about McCain's judgement. Who would do this to a child? This is about Bristol and the young man. The other thing that troubles me is getting married at age 17 because someone is pregnant. If the pregnacy was a mistake that is not a reason to get married. Palin's family already going through a nasty divorce that is calling her integrity into question.

Posted by: McCain's lack of Judgement | September 1, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin had the choice to say no to being a candidate for Vice President and put her daughter first. But no -- she's pushing the poor girl into a hasty marriage and making her an object of international scandal. Humorous though, how this has the Family Values set suddenly scrambling to market teen pregnancy as something positive. Now there's a McCain caliber flip flop!

Posted by: Unbelievable | September 1, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

There are two things that troubles me. One if McCain knew about this then he must have known this would throw the daughter into the national spotlight. This says something about McCain's judgement. Who would do this to a child? This is about Bristol and the young man. The other thing that troubles me is getting married at age 17 because someone is pregnant. If the pregnacy was a mistake that is not a reason to get married. Palin's family already going through a nasty divorce that is calling her integrity into question.

Posted by: McCain's lack of Judgement | September 1, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

There are two things that troubles me. One if McCain knew about this then he must have known this would throw the daughter into the national spotlight. This says something about McCain's judgement. Who would do this to a child? This is about Bristol and the young man. The other thing that troubles me is getting married at age 17 because someone is pregnant. If the pregnacy was a mistake that is not a reason to get married. Palin's family already going through a nasty divorce that is calling her integrity into question.

Posted by: McCain's lack of Judgement | September 1, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Two things about this news:

1. It seems Sarah Palin and her brood are a bunch of overly-fecund multipliers, perhaps a result of living on America's last frontier. Such behavior is definitely a form of narcissism, and I think it looks icky to most Americans living in more settled places. The idea of dropping a baby matter-of-factly while washing dishes has been lampooned before. But it's more serious with someone we're hoping to put in a position where constant personal distraction is not a good thing. It makes folks think -- she can't even manage her overextended brood, and now she wants to potentially run the world's only superpower. Really?

2. The right is has bored us with its sanctimony for years now, and here we go with another example of their hypocrisy. These jokers can't even get their own family affairs in order. Does Bristol even know what a condom is? Perhaps it's time she found out! And are you so sure you want her marrying whoever it was who led her to break her vow of abstinence?

Posted by: Judas Gutenberg | September 1, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

What is scandelous is evangelical Christians continuing to push abstinance as the only acceptable means of birth control. The church has been opposing contraceptives and insisting that only abstinence is acceptable to prevent unwanted pregnancy for two millenium. It hasn't been and isn't a deterrent. Evangelical Christians, most especially of all Christians, continually state we are sinful, and that we can not control our lust. That is a basic tenet of the faith. Christ died so that we could be forgiven for the sins that we are sure to commit. Considering this position, evangelical Christians should expect that teenagers will sucumb to lust and have sex, and, if the youths adhere to their faith, it will be unprotected sex; ergo, there will be unwanted pregnancies. Given this, they are not serious about controlling unwanted pregnancies. Since they continually spout off that they are, they are hypocrites, but this isn't news; it is patently obvious they are. Continuing to object to teaching teens that using contraceptives is sinful and only abstinence is acceptable to prevent pregnancies is irreponsible. What is newsworthy about Palin's daughter is that it demonstrates again that abstinence doesn't work, even when the parents are concious advocates of this method of birth control. Since Palin is a vocal spokesperson for the evangelical position on the control of unwanted pregnacies; since she publically states her position on this matter and, in the process, interfers in the private family matters of those who don't accept her position, the news of her daughter's prgnancy is not a personal, family matter.

Posted by: ChuckB | September 1, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

How sad for a 17 year old to be thrust into the national media concerning a very private and personal matter. Sadder still that an ambitious mother of a pregnant 17 year old decides to expose her daughter to the media blitzgrig so that she can run for vice president. If she did, indeed, know prior to today's announcement, if she indeed, knew while she was getting vetted, she should have passed, simply stating that her place was with her family now !

Posted by: Gee Whiz in Georgia | September 1, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Mr. Gerson!

You can take the glorified Republican hack out of politics, but you can't take the politics out of the glorified Republican hack.

I'm sure you would have been this understanding if Obama had a teen daughter facing this situation.

Posted by: roje | September 1, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

re Gerson's closing line: "The slimiest elements of the Internet culture will be after them. But Americans, I believe and trust, are more decent than this vileness." So, er, the "vilest elements of the Internet culture" aren't Americans? Who are they? The French perhaps? This is another example of that strange disconnect politicians and pundits seem to make between "Americans" or "the American people" (good, caring, moral, freedom and democracy loving) and whichever group they dislike (by definition, not Americans there not good, caring, moral, freedom and democracy loving). Weird.

Posted by: Captiver | September 1, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Leave the daughter out of it. She didn't ask for this publicity.

But take Governor Palin to task for knowingly exposing her daughter to this mess.

And for lying. Governor Palin took her daughter out of school five months ago, and her official stated reason was that her daughter had mono. For five months.

Turns out she was pregnant.

That's lying to the public.

That's not something we are suppposed to tolerate in our leaders.

And it sure ain't Christian.

Posted by: Hillman | September 1, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

There are two things that troubles me. One if McCain knew about this then he must have known this would throw the daughter into the national spotlight. This says something about McCain's judgement. Who would do this to a child? This is about Bristol and the young man. The other thing that troubles me is getting married at age 17 because someone is pregnant. If the pregnacy was a mistake that is not a reason to get married. Palin's family already going through a nasty divorce that is calling her integrity into question.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T ed.. Not Used:
Like I asked before anybody seen the movie "Hustle and Flow."
Terrance Howard was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
for: Hustle & Flow (2005)
McCain has Terrance beat by a long shot. After Mrs. Palin's speech they might as well played the theme song "It's hard out here for a pimp." Mrs Palin and women are being used.. period.
Woman (young girls too) deserve better treatment and need to be respected, not used.

Posted by: R-E-S-P-E-C-T ed.. Not Used | September 1, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Gerson:

We realize that you are a propagandist and expect that because you write that Palin's issues will not affect evangelicals and should not affect middle-ground women, that it will be true. So sad that you have to write about this since it's just an everyday occurrence like a cold or something. So sad that you have to write that Palin, with all her problems, is the poster child the GOP wishes to present as their first-ever VP candidate even though you all are no longer writing how godly she is.

Face the truth. Palin's problems are huge. You can see it all over this board. But, hey, if you guys want to keep her, it's a free country.

Yours truly,
A middle-ground woman

Posted by: Mary | September 1, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Gerson wrote: What does all this say about Palin herself? That she is a hypocrite? Absurd
____________________

Gerson, you're a dishonest a$$h0le. Sarah Palin had a lot to say about "family values", and the importance of abstinence and contraception in her family, and it is very hypocritical of you to willfully ignore these statements just so you can project her in a positive light. You'd have been quick to criticize Palin if she had been a democrat, and YOU KNOW IT! Like I said...you're a dishonest, heavy-handed a$$h0le, and the epitome of d0uchebaggery.

Posted by: vmunikoti | September 1, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Gerson says "It immediately struck me that Sarah Palin was chosen as a candidate who understands middle-class family struggles, and this is a pretty typical one." -- Oh, I get it now. McCain actually went out looking for someone with a pregnant unwed teen daughter. Mitt and Joe just couldn't cut the pro-life mustard with no knocked up kids to parade. Plus -- since Sarah Palin lives in Alaska, next to Russia, that makes her a foreign policy expert by osmosis. Fortunately, she's also John McCain's soulmate (he proudly tells us) - something he was able to ascertain the one time he met her months before finally calling her and asking her out - on the campaign trail. Unbelievable.

Posted by: Oh Holy Abstinence! | September 1, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I have a feeling that we will find out that Sarah Palin only has four kids and this is her daughter's second pregnancy! Of course the media will not do the digging to find out but can you imagine if this was one of Obama's daughter? Could you imagine the news press, if we thought that one of his daughters were having premarital sex, pregnant or even rumored to have had a child? Even if his daughters were older this would be a huge story about "His family values." I am not saying that I believe all of this to be true about Sarah Palin, but I am saying that someone needs to be shinning the light on the situation of the double standard. Obama has been held accountable for his Pastor's doing, the character of people whom he shared a board committee with and even the values of a popular "democratic friend" who assisted him with buying his home.

Posted by: William | September 1, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

The problem is, we aren't talking about a "typical middle class family" here. This is the governor of Alaska, who has promoted abstinence among teens in her state. She can't even promote abstinence in her own home. If she can't control her own home, how can she be expected to lead, should that become necessary?

The McCain-Palin ticket is a joke. Let's hope the last laugh is not on us.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

How hilarious to watch Mr. Gerson's casual hypocrisy on this one. The evangelical right has been condemning teen sex and pregnancy up and down, back and forth for years. But now that one might get in the way of their Bush tax cuts for the wealthy being made permanent, a teen pregnancy is just a sign of a strong middle class family.

Just sickening, and another reason the religious right and their GOP users are being hounded out of decent 21st-century American society.

Posted by: Mary | September 1, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are very compassionate and forgiving -- to Republicans. A Democrat would be dragged through the mud for this. I'm not saying Palin should be, but I'd just like the double standard acknowledged.

Posted by: Doug Muder | September 1, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Nothing funny about this. Another example GOP hypocrisy. Willie Horton in reverse. "Just say no, but when I do it: i'ts okay."
No way do I want a leader who can't even get her daughter out of high school without being pregnant. Sorry. Thumbs down.

Posted by: katman | September 1, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Gerkin, you are the GOP hack of hacks! Nice spin - this is a public official that has advocated for abstinence and anti-choice. Their family decisions may be private but she has no problem sticking her nose in other families' private decisions about family planning, etc.

I also question her judgment as a public official, expecially since she is being put second in command, and as a parent. Things are coming out that are troubling and the opposite of the script you GOP hacks have been touting for the last 48 hours. If she was a democratic candidate, I doubt you would put your 2 cents in for tolerance. You've got some nerve...

Posted by: 2008 | September 1, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

I am far more concerned that Ms. Palin was a part of the Alaskan Indepence Party in 2000, the major goal of this party is to make Alaska a country and leave the USA. I also am very concerned about commercial with Criminal Steven's being removed from her website the day before the appointment and that she was in charge of Steven's 527 group. These are very concerning to me....

Posted by: ndrick | September 1, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Republicans hate gays. Uhh, err, until its Cheney daughter.

Then gayness suddenly transforms into a private family matter that should be off limits to commentary.

Republicans hate teenage sex. Uhh, err, until, well, you know...

Posted by: Dwight | September 1, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Okay, Mikey. Sarah Palin says that she and her husband are proud that their princess has _chosen_ (her word) to have the baby. That choice, if she had her way, would no longer exist. By the way, there's an old reading of the Genesis story that sees Adam's sin as a good thing because it gave people the choice between right and wrong, without which doing the right thing would be meaningless.
But it sure rips the guts out of the abstinence plank, doesn't it? How many other Republican planks just don't work?

Posted by: Hmmmmmmmm | September 1, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Think you're missing the point . . . the pregnant daughter has been part of the strategy all along -- a misguided strategy, of course, but choosing Palin gives us a view into the incredibly cynical depths of the Republican mind. It's a ploy to attract Christian voters by demonstrating that Palin has the "character" to force a 17-year old child to bear and raise a child. I didn't think there was anything left that could shock me . . . the Republicans are sicker than I ever imagined.

Posted by: Randy | September 1, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I have a feeling that we will find out that Sarah Palin only has four kids and this is her daughter's second pregnancy! Of course the media will not do the digging to find out but can you imagine if this was one of Obama's daughter? Could you imagine the news press, if we thought that one of his daughters were having premarital sex, pregnant or even rumored to have had a child? Even if his daughters were older this would be a huge story about "His family values." I am not saying that I believe all of this to be true about Sarah Palin, but I am saying that someone needs to be shinning the light on the situation of the double standard. Obama has been held accountable for his Pastor's doing, the character of people whom he shared a board committee with and even the values of a popular "democratic friend" who assisted him with buying his home.

Posted by: William | September 1, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Now we know why McCain ran the Britney ads!

He was jealous of her ability to garner fame through a mix of beauty and vulnerable humanity.

He fixed that up quick!

People magazine is loving the Palin clan. Thanks John McCain. America needed more idle banter.

Hmm...come to think of it, John's daughter looks a lot more like Paris and Britney than Obama or his daughter.

John, since you dragged up the Paris and Britney slime, don't complain. This is a mess you created.

Harvard law review. Constitutional law professor. Community activist. And you make the cheap comparison to Paris and Britney? After you whined and whined that Bush slimed you in South Carolina? Low ball is low ball. McCain invited the low ball.

May he reap what he has sown with his false indignation.

Posted by: Dwight | September 1, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Please. It is never the best thing to have a teenager get pregnant and have a child. It can only be "managed" to minimize the problems. Are you just as happy about minority teenage births and view them as a blessing or is it only for white GOP VP candidates?

Posted by: FiddleDeeDee | September 1, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

There's something really strange going on here. Either John McCain has terrible judgement or is deliberately throwing red meat to the right-wing conservative lions' den that he knows will blow up in their faces. Could this be his last ditch effort to get Lieberman or Ridge on his ticket? Nothing else seems to make sense.

Posted by: fralene | September 1, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but what this shows, once again, is that Hypocrisy is a cardinal virtue of the evangelical right. We have wasted millions of dollars on their worthless "Just Say No" approach to sex education, yet when the "Princess of the Right's" daughter winds up pregnant, the apologists say it's not such a big deal after all.

It's hypocritical because Sarah Palin made a choice to carry the child with Down's syndrome, but would deny that same choice to all other women, even in cases of rape. And sadly, for Bristol, she already lives in the world that her mother envisions for all women. Living in a small town, she probably had no way of obtaining birth control even if she had wanted to, since she couldn't have done so without word getting back to her family. And once she was pregnant she had no "choice," because to have chosen abortion would have ruined the "Princess of the Right's" political career.

No, if this situation involved the daughter of a Democratic candidate, these same apologists would be condemning the candidate without reservation. Lousy parenting skills, hypocrisy, poor family values, the whole works. Sorry, Mr. Gerson. It's not that I don't understand the "values" of the right. If anything, I understand them all too well, which is why, from the standpoint of true morality, I find them lacking.

Posted by: jsw | September 1, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Looking back at this whole McCain campaign.. it has just been ridiculous. I dont care if your a democrat, a republican, independent, whatever... Do not reward this ticket with any votes. It represents pure manipulation , hypocrisy and no ethical judgment what so ever... Do not vote for this man

Posted by: erik | September 1, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Gerson,

It was not a typical middle class issue when your ex Boss Bush was running against Sen.Mccain in year 2000 Republican primary.
They have created rumors about Mccain's adopted Bangladeshi daughter Meghan as his love child.

I think evangelical has made lot of progress in last 8 years.

Posted by: sam69 | September 1, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

The religious right is saying how this happening show how pro-life she is and how she is in touch with "common people", Guess if Palin's husband was a drunk and beat her, and she stayed with him that would show how committed she was to "traditional marriage"

What a bunch of wackos.

Posted by: Michael | September 1, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Can you imagine the foaming at the mouth outrage we'd be hearing from Gerson right now if Obama's daughters were a little older and one turned up pregnant?

Gerson would be screaming the old Republican saw about it being about trust, and not about the gravity of the crime.

So now I agree. It's about trust. Palin wasn't honest about this situation and that must be counted against her.

And Palin obviously can't take care of her kids with her current schedule. It will only get worse if she assumes the role of VP.

Posted by: MorganaLeFay | September 1, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Sara B. wrote: This is, of course, a private matter for the Palins, Gerson and the GOP except they also believe they have license to insert themselves into the delicate matters of everyone else.
*********
You said it, Sara B. I can only add, "Amen!"


and I can say: DITTO

Posted by: jaleh | September 1, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Christians should also be forgiving and open minded to homosexuals who are monogamous and who are very productive, pay taxes and are God loving or are they too focused on imaginary sordid fantasies that refused to grant them the respect and privacy they and their straight supportive families deserve. Give them the right to choose a married for life option.

Posted by: Nina | September 1, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

This issue has as much bearing on the election as Gov Palin's apparent love of moose stew! As Obama said, it is a family affair and it should be off limits. However, what may alienate or anger evangelicals, Mr. Gerson, is Gov Palin's claims to fame:

1. That there are apparently a lot of corrupt Republican officials in Alaska.

2. That she is good at catching corrupt Republican officials or at least standing up to them.

3. That catching said corrupt Republican officials make her a reformer and qualifies her to be Vice President.

Posted by: Nana | September 1, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

It is ashame...not on the kids but on the political culture of the repugnants. What if this was Chelsea clinton? can you imagine what Rush Limbaugh, Shawn Hannity and the rest of this demonic crowd will be airing? shame on the so called concervatives...shame on you James Dobson...if this was the child of a "liberal" will you say exactly what you just said about Ms Palin ??

Posted by: dave | September 1, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

My wife and I saw Sarah Palin in Washington, PA several days ago and think she's just great. remarkably fresh and candid she represents a truly liberated woman.
the media's double-standard is apalling. pundits desire the perfect person in a candidate and then do everything within their power to rip the individual to shreds. simply disgusting whether you are Republican or Democrat.

Posted by: Doug | September 1, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Just what I always dreamed of - the nice lady in the trailer next door for Vice President!

Posted by: Suzie | September 1, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes, this is a private family matter. What is worse: extramarital affairs which the Democrats seen to have as an items on their platform or a woman bearing a child out of wedlock? The Ten Commandments answers that question. FDR, JFK, RK, TK, GHart, BC, and recently the former VP nominee who has an affair out of marriage while his wife was recovering from cancer and the Democrats would not allow him to speak at their convention and instead has Cigar Bill speak. Those of you who have not had sex before marriage or who have not had an affair after marriage are allowed to wonder about this, but everyone else, KEEP QUITE; YOUR SINS ARE WORSE.

Posted by: Millie | September 1, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Obama put it best. Big elections are too often decided by small things. This is a small thing. The big issue here is the fact that St. Joan is a myth. She's a crony of Ted Stevens.

The Republicans would love to see this blown into a political issue. Gerson in his lackey role is more than willing to try to set fire the Reichstag in the process.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Mark, above, is not a Democrat soon to be turning in his card. He's a Republican trying to shame Democrats for discussing this salient issue. MCCain has lawyers in Alaska vetting Sarah Palin now! By putting his party and his people through all the consequences of this selection without thoroughly vetting Governor Palin, McCain shows a clear lack of judgement. He's impulsive and rash. He has the entire Republican party on defense today talking about love and diapers! It's the Gynacological Old Party! All women will judge Sarah Palin-- for accepting such an important position without weighing the impact on her young daughter and her party.

Posted by: ignatious | September 1, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Rev. Mike. Palin's daughter's pregnancy itself is a private matter and should have stayed relatively quiet. What is truly unforgivable from Palin's point of view is that Palin (and hubby?) took up McCain's offer knowing that their family life is quite complicated for the moment (5 kids incl a Downs kid, pregnancy) and meanwhile has a state to govern and an ethics investigation to fight off. And from McCain's point of view, what was he thinking, knowing all of this, in dangling the Veep spot that few would turn down, particularly one as young and ambitious as Palin? Was he willing to pile even more onto this poor woman (and family) so he could get elected?

Knowing the reality culture of today's TV, I predict a tearful implosion on TV by Friday. And it all could have, and should have been avoided.

Posted by: Jerome, Brussels | September 1, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson, Once again you have shown your
inability to grasp the situation. Perhaps you have been writing speeches for too long for another man who also never seems to get it.

It's interesting how Evangelicals are always ready to point their finger at someone else, yet, here you have a prime example of not living properly. Yes, it is her daughter who is pregnant, and not married. People are also wondering about the origins of the young boy who may also be the daughters child.

Apparently their daughter does not confide in her parents and feels distanced from them, independently making her decisions some of which have not been too wise. This does bring the daughter attention though, which may be what she needed from her parents all along., but did not receive.

Now, the religious ones minimize it for themselves, but if it had been anyone else it would be a big event. They always put a minimalist spin on things that do not go their way. I haven't read yet that the daughter has repented for her sins. Maybe they don't consider it a sin anymore so long as it is done within a family that belongs to an acceptable church.

What hyprocisy! It's just like what you see with these so-called ministers and their indiscretions.
Give them 30 days counseling and they are "born again".

Posted by: sanity | September 1, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Here is another way that American Women get bashed - that Sarah Palin should not run for VP to take care of a personal family matter. Yet John Edwards did not slow down despite a wife dying with cancer, an affair, and a love child.

American Women need to stand up to the double standards being forced upon all women. We may have different views on many issues - but it is time to unite against the continuing gender bashing by the media and the Democrats.

Vote against the double standard and disrepect by voting for Sarah Palin!

Posted by: Women Stand Up | September 1, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

The hypocrisies are apparent when one considers the implications of Pro-Life without ANY exceptions including survival of mother who planned her pregnancy.

One who is in the position of passing laws in regards to your children's education.e.g. Christian Creationism in Science class as theory. Abstinence in place of planned parenthood. One who's camp harps on Obama's conception to an 18yr adult but fails to see that it's not his mother running for VP one of the most important and highest seats in the land.

Posted by: Nina | September 1, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Gerson talks about hypocrisy??!! If the shoe were on the other foot, I doubt he'd be so sympathetic. You can bet the Repubs would be smirking like mad and feeding the reverse internet feeding frenzy. It sure is hypocrisy for all those Repubs now saying it's a family matter and private. It's hypocrisy for a party that pushed young girls to 'take the pledge' and just say yes to abstinence. It's hypocrisy for people who've spent years on a morality soapbox. Now they expect privacy. Sheesh.

Posted by: Hypocritebuster | September 1, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

By the way Mr. Gerson, didn't the good Christian parents teach their daughter about the benefits of abstinance??

What a joke, let's just brush it all off and go on with the show as usual. The usual GOP circus that is.

Posted by: sanity | September 1, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

After reading the democratic responses here, I finally realize why you do not fear the wrath of God when it comes to abortion: you all believe that you are God.

Posted by: joseph | September 1, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse


Now see? This is fun. I always thought Republicans were inflexible when it came to things like unwed motherhood. Turns out, anything goes as long as it's being done by a Republican! Yippeee!
It's not TOO much of a surprise since we've been witnessing overt criminal activity in a Republican Administration for 8 long years. They sure do know how to turn a blind eye!

I've been glued to lists all day watching the phenomenon of this real and true double standard. And I just want to ask one question:

Why should we take you people seriously about anything?

Posted by: RobinL | September 1, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

The issue is not whether a teen pregnancy is scandalous; it is not. The issue is that this is one of apparently many issues that this VP candidate has and that McCain obviously knew nothing about when he chose her (assuming that he made the pick himself). The issue is McCain's judgement and his recklessness in chosing a candidate that he clearly did not care to vet before making the pick Not a great feat of leadership.

Posted by: Berliner2 | September 1, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

I would ask Gerson at what point were the Palins going to reveal that their eldest daughter pregnant? Were they planning on hiding her in the Governor's mansion until after the election? Why did they chose to release the information about their daughter, and a previous DUI issued to Palin's husband, at the same time Gustav made landfall? And you want to blame it on invasion of privacy? Why are Republicans lawyers up in Alaska now vetting Palin? Why has Palin now lawyered up? Why is the McCain staff NOT saying they knew about Palin's daughter's pregnancy? The bigger issue here is what does this say about McCain and judgment?

Posted by: Scott F. | September 1, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. Palin's decision to persue the vice-presidency knowing that her young daughter was pregnant and would be exposed to the world and ravaged by the media is sickening. The woman should have refused to be McCain's bloody bait and protected and nourished her family.

This incident is one of the most bizarre that I have seen in fifty years of watching politicians. It truly points out the desperation and weakness of the McCain campaign, that they would get themselves involved in such nonsense when they're up against an opponent as strong as Obama.

Posted by: ctmont | September 1, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Dear Women stand up:

Play the martyr as all good Christians do.

To begin with, Palin is clearly NOT QUALIFIED, so getting her out of this position will be a blessing to mankind.

I feel differently about Hillary Clinton however who is well-qualified but unfortunately did not make it onto the Democratic ticket. Perhaps having her there at this point in time is not the best strategy to win the White House.
She will be back and will get this males vote.

There are women and there are women, just as with men, and men are certainly discriminated against although you may fail to admit it.

Posted by: sanity | September 1, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Alright, the worst thing about Gerson's little screed is the double-standard based on race. For decades Republicans have inveighed against black teens having babies out of wedlock. Now that a white teen daughter of a GOP big-wig is in the same pickle, suddenly teen pregnancy is typical, unobjectionable middle class behavior. God the double-standard makes me sick. The worst thing is I seriously doubt that Gerson even realizes how his views are linked to race.

Posted by: Diogenes | September 1, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Between Sarah, her sister Molly, and now daughter Bristol the Palin clan must have about 20 children.

Now we can understand Governor Palin's obsession with "drilling" in the Alaska wilderness.

Posted by: Lindel | September 1, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

The verbal violence directed at people of faith by most of these comments saddens me. It makes me wonder what has happened to these people to engender such hostility toward Christians. I am a member of a Christian community that is so full of love and grace I can't imagine life without them. We stand by each other in good times and bad because we know we are not immune to trouble simply because we are Christians. We also reach out to the hungry and hurting in our community regardless of their religious affiliation because we are called to be a force for good in our community. We feed thousands of hungry families every year, provide free basic auto maintenance to single-parent and financially strapped families, deliver meals and firewood to home-bound seniors, and offer after-school programs to children in our community. Christians are to be known for their humility, love and grace and we strive to live by those principles. Will we fail? Yes, but we're to show the same grace to others that God shows to us because we fail Him time and again. If you've encountered Christians or church communities that are not this way, then I ask for your forgiveness because we all fall short of our ideals. That doesn't make the ideals invalid, however. It just proves why we need a gracious God and the sacrifice of His Son as intercession, because we are all sinners. Our good works in our community are not to earn points with God or man but to show our gratitude to a God who has every right to punish us for our sins but loved us too much to do that and gave us a way out.

Regarding the situation being discussed, I don't think the Christian community will judge Governor Palin or her family because they were candid and contrite about their circumstances and they aren't compounding the problem by refusing to accept full responsibility or killing the baby for their own convenience. I believe they will be blessed for choosing life for Trig and their new grandchild because so many people today do not believe in an unalienable right to life as stated in our Declaration of Independence or if they do, they do everything in their power to dehumanize unborn children, much as we did during the days of slavery, in order to justify treating them as we wish. Clearly, everyone here who is critical of the Palins has never made a mistake in their lives and is therefore qualified to throw stones. A friend of mine always says, "I condemn no man because I know my own sin." Those are wise words that we all should heed.

Posted by: Ron | September 1, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

What a damn hypocrit. If this was the daughter of a Democrat this a--hole would be condemning with Bible in hand and verse to the ready. This Gerson is a jerk of the 1st magnitude. You are the slime ball Gerson.

Posted by: :-) | September 1, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Why is Worm Boy Gerson getting so much ink in the Post?

Isn't it funny how wingnuts become so understanding about teenage pregnancy when one of their own is involved? If this had been Biden's teenage daughter, we'd be hearing idiots like Gerson tut-tutting away about Democrats' lack of morals.

THE REAL ISSUE IS PALIN'S ATTEMPT TO KEEP THIS QUIET- WHEN WAS SHE GOING TO TELL AMERICA?

This from a woman who is against sex eduction, birth control (what a whacko!) and stem cell research.

More GOP hypocrisy... yawn,

Posted by: LH | September 1, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Dear Ron,

"I condemn no man because I know my own sin."
Those are wise words that we all should heed."

Agreed. Unfortunately many Christians do not.

Posted by: sanity | September 1, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't hold Bristol Palin's pregnancy against her -- it happens, even (or maybe especially) in households that expect abstinence of its young people. And even though I'm pro-choice, I think it's great that she's going to have the child (pro-choice is *not* pro-abortion!). I do have a quarrel with Sarah Palin for accepting this VP bid in the face of all the challenges that face her family -- not to mention the political stance of the entire McCain campaign -- but I will not be working against her on the "family values" issue.

On the other hand, I think if it were the daughter of the "liberal" candidate, the religious right would be all over it with condemnation.

And this comment: "Evangelical Christianity (in most modern forms) is not about the achievement of perfection, it is about the acceptance of forgiveness and healing" is patently absurd. Maybe they're all about that stuff within their own ranks, but most definitely NOT when it comes to the other side. Just look at the nasty anti-liberal, anti-Democrat comments in this thread alone! Not a whole lot of forgiveness and healing there at all.

Posted by: Sally | September 1, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

For any mother not running for the Vice President of the United States of America, on a platform that advocates abstinence only sex ed, who should be setting the example for truthfullness (not truthiness) instead of lying about why her daughter was out of school, this would be a private matter. Sarah Palin is NOT that mother.

Posted by: butch | September 1, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

You're right Mr Gerson. I'm sure it was discussed and that Bristol decided she wanted the attention. Just like she was given a CHOICE about keeping the baby (according to McCain's campaign), a choice Palin and McCain would like noone else to have, incidentally. Still, this is making a large election about small things. Fortunately the hypocrisy and pandering it exposes is in abundant display elsewhere.

Posted by: yaniv | September 1, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

I hope Mr. Gerson is not paid in real money. I have some Monopoly cash I can send him.

Posted by: sanity | September 1, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

WHo did the 'lil Palin Palin follow? Diana Ross,"Love Child"; Madonna, "I'm Keeping My Baby" or someone else?

Posted by: tanaS | September 1, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse


Gerson,

Of all the stupid mealey mouthed apologies for the lying mommy Palin,

Yours is the silliest. Not even disgusting, it's so rank.

Teenage pregnancy, unwed, has been named as one of the best things for this country, no problems AT ALL. More, more.

And Palin's lying to letcherous senile McCain is exactly what he deserves as he
flies recklessly off into his fabulous judgement of character. His gut (just like Bush's fine gut instincts are so fine)..

But I love the idea of McCain being made such a fool of. If the vice presidency/presidency
were a joke. Perhaps it is.

And Gerson, you're too silly to be for real.

Posted by: elizabeth | September 1, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

The only reason this pregancy is relevant is because of Ms. Palin's political stance on contraception, abstinence, and abortion. Otherwise, this would be a non-issue.
The hypocrisy astounds me.

Posted by: AS | September 1, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Middle Class? Yes, you’re right Michael.

But, this is rather embarrassing for the John McCain and the Republican Party though.

How could they ever survive it!


Posted by: Hello | September 1, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Teen pregnancy is not scandalous, because teen sex is not. But very scandalous is the Republican insistence that abstinence is the only right means of avoiding pregnancy and sensually-transmitted disease.

Teen hormones demand — even force, irresistibly — teens' engaging in sexual activity. Nature does. It's natural, not bad, or embarrassing or stupid.

Abstinence cannot work because abstinence is impossible. The Republicans' abstinence-campaign is evil, because it pretends to counsel safety by pressing absurd impossibility while discouraging use of condoms and, so, is responsible for many, many unwanted pregnancies and instances of sex-transmitted disease.

Sarah Palin has stood for abstinence and against teen sex had with condoms. So, she is responsible for her daughter's pregnancy -- which, surely, her daughter, like her, did not want but which she, Palin, is foisting on her daughter because she, Palin, opposes even the earliest abortions, not for reason of empathy felt for fetuses, but for reason of political advantage and insane religion.

Palin is a past beauty queen and a twit aligned with the worst anti-environment interests and the worst of Big Money, Big Oil, and the Military Industrial Complex. Already, increasingly day-by-day, her disgusting corruption's effects are spewing into the press.

McCain picked Palin just to try to lure angry Hillary-supporting women away from Obama. Because of that fact, and his utter disregard of Palin's inclinations (even inclinations greatly opposed to his own stated ones), we must apprehend that McCain is utterly untrustworthy and corrupt.

Posted by: Loup-bouc | September 1, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse


{poster 'doug" above,

saw palin recently. rejoyced in her "freshness' and "candor".

Good God, she is very likely to be indicted by her own legislatore (special prosecutor at work). Her family values are, apparently for others. (or else abstince is not what it used to be)

and her husbands DUI does not matter at all. (even Bush hid his1)

Yep, boy is she fresh and candid.

Posted by: funny | September 1, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

"It is personally wrenching for all involved. But, if properly handled by caring parents, it can sometimes result in the arrival of new life and a new family."

How sanctimonious of you. Sure, sometimes it works out. That's not exactly the kind of track record you'd want to base public policy on. The arrival of the new life is unfortunately much more reliable than the arrival of a new family. That is the whole point of preventing unwanted births. What happens to the kid and its parents *after it is born* are more important than what happens to a zygote.

My guess is that if it were a good idea for these two young people to be married, they would already have been married.

Posted by: fzdybel | September 1, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Dear heavens, it was okay with the Palin family to have a 23 year old man dating their 14 year old daughter? I don't care what your political label is, at this point the Palin adults demonstrated very poor judgment.

No 18+ year old man is going to be dating MY 14 year old daughter. If he does, I damn well hope I get the restraining order BEFORE I beat him to death with the brass candlestick, in the library.

Posted by: Miss Scarlet | September 1, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

This is a viable campaign issue to the extent that it 1) calls into question McCain's judgement and basic forethought (like was this really known, how vetted was she, etc.) and 2) Raises issues about sex education and how we deal with it in this country. Beyond that, it's mud slinging. That said, I gotta ask... for all you saying "She was dating him at 14, that doesn't mean they were having sex..." would you really let your 14 year old daughter date a 23 year old??? Even if sex isn't in the picture, that's an inappropriate physical and emotional relationship.

Posted by: Phreejazz | September 1, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I'll be more supportive when Governor Palin retracts her nomination and heads for her home in Wasilla, Alaska and cares for her young infant son, and supports her daughters struggles to be a very young mother rather than pursue her political aspirations.

Where do the needs of her family begin and the needs of John McCain and the Republican Party end?

That's what real Family Values are!


Posted by: Hello | September 1, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

IN MY COMMENT POSTED A FEW MINUTES AGO, MY WORD-PROCESSOR CHANGED "SEXUALLY" TO "SENSUALLY" SO THAT A CERTAIN PHRASE WAS RENDERED WEIRD, OR PERHAPS SEEMINGLY SILLY. BELOW FOLLOWS A CORRECTED COPY OF THE SAME MESSAGE.

Teen pregnancy is not scandalous, because teen sex is not. But very scandalous is the Republican insistence that abstinence is the only right means of avoiding pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease.

Teen hormones demand — even force, irresistibly — teens' engaging in sexual activity. Nature does. It's natural, not bad, or embarrassing or stupid.

Abstinence cannot work because abstinence is impossible. The Republicans' abstinence-campaign is evil, because it pretends to counsel safety by pressing absurd impossibility while discouraging use of condoms and, so, is responsible for many, many unwanted pregnancies and instances of sex-transmitted disease.

Sarah Palin has stood for abstinence and against teen sex had with condoms. So, she is responsible for her daughter's pregnancy -- which, surely, her daughter, like her, did not want but which she, Palin, is foisting on her daughter because she, Palin, opposes even the earliest abortions, not for reason of empathy felt for fetuses, but for reason of political advantage and insane religion.

Palin is a past beauty queen and a twit aligned with the worst anti-environment interests and the worst of Big Money, Big Oil, and the Military Industrial Complex. Already, increasingly day-by-day, her disgusting corruption's effects are spewing into the press.

McCain picked Palin just to try to lure angry Hillary-supporting women away from Obama. Because of that fact, and his utter disregard of Palin's inclinations (even inclinations greatly opposed to his own stated ones), we must apprehend that McCain is utterly untrustworthy and corrupt.

Posted by: Loup-bouc | September 1, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Rebulicanism = hy·poc·ri·sy

1.a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.

2.a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.

Posted by: Terry | September 1, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

HOW DARE PEOPLE JUDGE A MOTHER???!!!!

May I remind all of you you ALL came out of a MOTHER who conceived you during 9 months, and therefore should have ABSOLUTE RESPECT for any mother on earth. More, nobody should ever question a mother's judgment, especially one's own.

"I'm not sure what she brings to the ticket other than she's a woman and a conservative." –Sarah Palin's mother-in-law, Faye Palin, who said she may vote for Obama.

Oh, and, Gerson was former BUSH SPEECHWRITER.

And visibly gets well paid for writing such unjournalistical articles.

I'm amazed when thinking about the Republican readers who feel intellectually challenged and their two or three braincells honored by such sh*tty litterature.

Posted by: GersonIsATool | September 1, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Glad she is pro child, but will she extend that same pro child pro family vision to those who live in the inner city, to families where both parents and grandparents work, where Paid Family Leave would help every family help other family members? OR is she more in favor of more cash govt assistance who are in similar circumstances? OR is she in favor of 17 year old moms living in the streets if they dont have a means of supporting themselves and/or their new family responsibilities.

Its a fascinating topic for a woman republican who claims to be Pro Family - what is the proper role of government in promoting family living? Fund it? Keep govts nose out? Strict Immigration controls and policies that promote childbirth? (Ireland pays 300EU per child per month to restore the population to pre famine levels).

Should be a great debate for all of us to hear.

Posted by: Mike | September 1, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Out of wedlock pregnancies - teenage or otherwise - is older than the hills.

However, the problem that I have with the response of the GOP and the conservatives is the hypocrisy that is now being shown. If this was Chelsea Clinton that had become pregnant during her father's White House years or even now, she would be dragged through the mud as being promiscuous or worse.

Now you have the GOP and conservatives being so supportive of this poor misguided young woman who has made an error in judgment, but is setting an example of keeping the baby and marrying the father.

I feel for the girl. Being pregnant is hard enough. Being from a small town myself, I know how people can be. But she now has the added extra burden of the very public spot light and all of the nastiness that is being said on the internet.

And who put her there? Her mother. I say this shows a complete lack of judgment.

Posted by: returntocommonsense | September 1, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Whatever the Evangelicals are saying now regarding teen pregnancy is a vast departure from their past stance. As the sister of a woman who became pregnant with her first child at 17 in 1984, I witnessed first hand the hatred of "faith-based" citizens toward pregnant teens. My sister was spit on, sworn at, had garbage thrown at her, and was pushed down a set of stairs in church. The pro-life movement wrote letters to the editor, the DA and social services asking that her child be taken from her at birth and given to a "good" family because our community didn't need anymore drug addicts and criminals.
It was the hard work of the pro-choice movement and the Democratic Party that helped to remove the stigma of teen pregnancy by encouraging families to support their pregnant teenage daughters who decided to carry their children to term, created the Wic program, encouraged schools to allows pregnant teens to stay in school. (My sister's high school was picketed by the religious right because she was the first pregnant teen allowed to stay in school throughout her pregnancy).
I am fascinated by McCain's choice. I think he has challenged the religious right to behave more than anything else with this selection, and for that I do applaud him. But he also reminded to vote Democrat so we can continue the progress we've already made in making this country a more moral place to live.

Posted by: Givemeabreak | September 1, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

So Palin says that her daughter is going to grow up sooner that she or her husband expected. Her daughter isn't grown up. She's knocked up. She's 17 today, and she'll be 17 tomorrow. Or does Palin think that pregnancy bestows maturity? With that mindset, she should be encouraging post- pubescent females to get pregnant as soon as they can. Gerson seems to think the same. All new life, he says, is beautiful. So if his 17 year-old daughter (or 14 year-old, for that matter) came to him and said she was trying to get pregnant, he would say it was beautiful. Hipocrisy is much too weak a word.

Posted by: Jerry | September 1, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

The issue here is not the pregnancy of a 17-year-old. It is the judgment and values any parent (mother or father) who would subject a pregnant teenager to this level of public scrutiny, and who would CHOOSE a high-pressure, high-visibility, high-responsibility job and life at the same time they are responsible for the care of a newborn with Down Syndrome and a teenager facing a life-changing pregnancy. I don't blame anybody for the pregnancy, but I blame both parents for not putting their children first at this point in their lives. To call it a "family decision" is ludicrous. What 4-month or 17-year-old is able to say, "I need you here with me now--please don't be the Vice-President." Sarah Palin's ability and her politics are entirely beside the point here. The situation is the point. And somebody is going to get short-changed in this situation--either the children or the country.

Posted by: Susan | September 1, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

This isn't just any teenager getting pregnant! It's the daughter of the VP nomination! What kind of family values are being set in the Palin husehold? Has she just not had the time for her kids & sat them down to have the sex talk? It is clear to me that MS. Palin needs to stay home & raise her own kids properly, especially one that has downs syndrome. McCain claims to have known about this before he nominated her! That's great judgement John! The thought that this is who he chose should make Americans shiver!!!Go home Sarah where you belong! Family first, not Country.

Posted by: jillsadesigner | September 1, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

SO NO WOMAN OF CHILD-BEARING AGE CAN EVER BE VICE PRESIDENT!

News to me. Sarah Palin, according to above comments, must ask to not be nominated as VP, and watch her daughter go through her pregnancy.

If Chelsea Clinton had become pregnant, or one of the Bush girls, etc., should Bill Clinton or George Bush resigned? Just because there was a pregnancy in the family?

Posted by: Hip Ocracy | September 1, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse


By the way, wasn't little Monica a teenager? Were you as forgiving?

Did she get a pass for her 'raging hormones' which are soooo understandable to you. And acting on them.

And Monica aimed higher, so to speak, than just a neighborhood boy.

Have we heard from little Bristol's boyfriend that he wants to marry her? Hasn't yet, I thik. Five months to think about it so far. And in this family!

Posted by: Monica, too | September 1, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Here we have a country full of unwed mothers, single mothers, poorly educated children and adults, yet some of us have an interest in elevating people such as McCain and Palin to positions of leadership for this unfortunate country.

I fully agree with others here that know that Republican conservatives would be like flies on ----- were the candidate and daughter Democrats. There's no doubt about it. And---the Christian WRONG would be ranting and raving, throwing their weird sense of morality all over the place.

Right wing Christians are so full of themselves. There are exceptions, but for the most part they lose sleep selecting scapegoats and castigating them.

If they are soooo "Christian" why did they allow their Christian government to destroy the lives of so many people in both VietNam and Iraq for unnecessary, unjustified wars??

Of course Washington justifies everything to suit themselves, just as the religious right do, whether it be Iraq, VietNam, or Japan (where we, a "Christian" nation dropped massive incindiary ordinance on
Tokyo and then followed up with nuclear weapons on other Japanese cities.

I urge all good Christians to read up on it, the massive loss of life for no good cause. Wars can be avoided or stopped without massive loss of life.

But no, now the religious right is focused on the non-abortion of TWO solitary lives as if these two lives were to compensate for the millions of lives we as a nation have destroyed since WWII.

But as any thinking rational person would agree, there are times when abortion may be necessary. This decision should be made solely by the mother, her doctor and counselors of their choice. Neither the Christian right nor the State or Federal Government have any business in making that determination.

Right-wingers always claim they are for less government. If the government is allowed to decide for a woman, or allowed to enter your home or bedroom, that is not less government, it is WRONG GOVERNING.


Posted by: sanity | September 1, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I guess this whole mess just proves that all the praying in the world doesn't prevent that sperm from reaching the egg. What a sad lesson Palin's daughter has learned, that her mother's beliefs aren't always going to protect her. Welcome to the real world Palin family.

Posted by: AverageJane | September 1, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

What a nasty bunch of people on this forum. Rest assured the conservative base of the Republican party doesn't give a rat's about Bristol Palin's pregnancy. It is wonderful that she is keeping her baby with the help and support of a loving family. McCain/Palin landslide in November.

Posted by: Joanne600 | September 1, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh Gerson-- your morality is so admirably flexible. Will you be as understanding when your own child announces the great event in her teens or confesses to be in love with a member of the same sex?

I doubt it.

Posted by: Mainegirl | September 1, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh Gerson-- your morality is so admirably flexible. Will you be as understanding when your own child announces the great event in her teens or confesses to be in love with a member of the same sex?

I doubt it.

Posted by: Mainegirl | September 1, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Gerson:

What a predicatble phoney you are. First, If this were truly a private matter you would not have written a very public column about it. (Imagine if this had been the daughter of a Democratic nominee--you would have condemned it as reflecting on the parents character). Second, by your logic we should welcome more disclosures of family problems--would it be a plus if we found out that Gov. Palin was a drug addict? She could better relate to family values?

Posted by: DocGreen | September 1, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Gerson has just gone off the deep end. Middle of the road voters won't be turned off by Palin's daughter's pregnancy; rather they will be turned off by her opposition to sex education and contraceptives. This story is a vivid illustration of the fact that abstinence only sex ed does not work.

Posted by: mjames2 | September 1, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

As a liberal, peace-loving, privacy advocating feminist democrat I'd like to join my comrades in heaping unmitigated scorn and derision on 17 year old Bristol Palin simply because like my comrades I'd like to win this election at any cost regardless of any of my stated (or purported) beliefs...

Posted by: deahntay jones | September 1, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

For all the talk from Evangelicals about abstinence and morality according to their definitions, he we are with Palins daughter pregnant and unmarried. And whose child is the boy with Down syndrome?

Of course the Evangelicals will minimize it because it suits them to do so, as they spin everything, including the Bible, to suit themselves.

Posted by: sanity | September 1, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Rest assured the conservative base of the Republican party doesn't give a rat's about anything important or vital to this nation and the people of this nation.

Posted by: sanity | September 1, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

"And a new life is always a good and glorious thing, whatever the circumstances of his or her birth." How about Darfuri women who become pregnant and give birth as a result of having been raped by Janjaweed militiamen. Is that a good and glorious thing? Gerson, the great moralist, has no sense of morality at bottom. Only a set of personal prejudices he calls principles and a serious of superstitious beliefs he calls faith.

Posted by: mnjam | September 1, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

The Palin people said they hoped this would be treated as a family matter. How disingenuous! Obviously, running for VP is more important to Palin than her daughter's privacy.

Posted by: solovoice | September 1, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

No, but I wouldn't call it a "typical" middle class problem.

However, when your mom is governor and preaches abstinence from the political pulpit, it sort of brings home the reality that maybe mom's political positions are out in la-la-land.

Posted by: Carl Lee | September 1, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Gee whiz I'm SO starved for affection and power after having placed second in the beauty contest that I'll abandon my 17-year old pregnant daughter, my special needs baby, my position as chief of the big iglo after having just been promoted from mayor of a hamlet, to run for vice-president so I can stop a woman's right to choose, stop gays from having equal rights, continue tax cuts for the rich, let oil companies rape public lands, and be second in line TO HAVE MY FINGER ON THE BUTTON!! PATHETIC !! The rest of the world is laughing in disgust!

Posted by: Xiao Peng | September 1, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see the Christians coming out here and asking what others are upset about.

I'll speak for myself.

Christ was a pacifist, through and through. The ugliness that American gun-toting false-chrristians cite in the Bible is there...and that is the stuff Christ told Christians to turn their cheek from.

Lovingly turn the cheek.

The US wouldn't exist with this philosophy.

The US does exist.

The US exists precisely because it has been willing to kill enemies such as Hitlers Germans.

American Christians aren't Christian (except for very fer). Christ didn't accept the idea of a just war. Christ said suffer in this life for glory in the next, the eternal life.

I don't want my country to be based on an inherently false notion of supposed Christians bearing arms. If we are to bear arms, so be it, but lets find an honest moral code not drape ourselves in a charade that besmirches Christianity itself.

Bush. Gerson. Charade artists. False Christians.

Posted by: Dwight | September 1, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's not a serious problem, Michael. She's a Republican and so by definition it's not a serious problem. Democrats have scandals and infideliies and irreparable, intolerable moral flaws that make them ineligible to serve. Republicans who do the same or worse have forgivable moral shortcomings that help them better undestand the plights and flaws of average people.

And it's your job, Michael, to make d*amn sure that this isn't regarded as rank hypocrisy, because if you want cash flow and book contracts and some reason to be heard by your devoted audience, your job is to rationalize as fast as you can and make sure they don't figure this all out for themselves.

Posted by: DFC | September 1, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes Xiao Peng, the world is mocking us and with good reason. We the people of the United States have allowed it to materialize. But we can stop it in it's tracks if we become vigilant starting now and vote for positive change, vote people into office who have worked and studied to deserve it, not mediocre people such as McCain and Palin, or others of their type.

The United States needs people now who will create positive change both domestically and in Foreign Affairs.
Domestically the United States is a mess.
Our Foreign policy is a mess.
Two glorious Bush/Cheney terms have accomplished it.

Now is the time to expunge those who want to continue the same destructive path and support those who have a bright future in mind for the horizon.

Posted by: sanity | September 1, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone asked the question of why Sarah Palin covered up her own recent pregnancy until the third trimester? After all, isn't a new life, a pregnancy, the most wonderful and celebrated event in the life of any conservative evangelical? Could it be that Mrs. Palin herself wanted to weigh her own options about continuing her pregnancy right up until the time of her announcement?

Posted by: RK | September 1, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

How nice that Gov. Palin knew about her daughter's pregnancy and decided to accept VP nomination. "Hey, Bristol, you think having a baby at 17 will be hard. How about I turn the entire country's ire on you?" What mother would do that to her daughter. You gotta question Palin's judgment. That is just mean to parade her daughter through the mud for her own opportunity.

A parent’s first responsibility is to protect and raise their children. It is a duty that often requires great personal sacrifice. It is clear that Ms. Palin’s own ambitions are her highest duty. What parent would accept the vice presidential nomination knowing that by doing so his or her 17 year old pregnant daughter would be humiliated in the national press? What parent would put personal ambition over the responsibility that comes with raising a new born special needs child? This is not the character of Christ. This is selfish ambition whitewashed in religious jargon. Anyone who would exploit their own children for personal gain is not worthy of respect. And that Senator McCain would offer the nomination knowing these facts calls his own judgment into question.

Posted by: anne | September 1, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Gerson misses the point, as usual. The constituency that will be alienated by this news isn't the religious right, it's the moderates who are concerned that Sarah Palin is unqualified to be vice president.

All this does is add to the ever-growing pile of reasons why this choice of running mate should cause anyone to question McCain's judgment. Which he appears to be profoundly lacking.

Posted by: micron26 | September 1, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

The cartoonists are gonna have a field day with Palin . . .

Posted by: Li Chi | September 1, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson,

I the early days of this country sinful women were branded (scarlett letter). It was religious conservatives who initiated this practice. You, Mr. Gerson, should be branded with the letter H for hypocrite. If this were Barrack Obama's daughter you would be all over it with all kinds of accusations and statements about Obama's unfitness for office. However, we Democrats are not the judgemental ones. We pray for the young Palin girl that she and the baby will be healthy and that the child will be raised in a loving and supportive home.

Posted by: cdgainesville | September 1, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Dwight:

I read your post with interest. Indeed, Jesus was a pacifist and a radical.

Many American Christians are not Christians, they just think they are.
They do not come close to following the teachings of Jesus yet talk about him by name as though he were living with them, which he is not.

I was raised with a strong Christian background. In re-reading the New Testament
about a year ago I became more acutely aware of Jesus, the man and his message.
Great men, such as Buddha also delivered wonderful life-affirming messages flowing with positivism.

Jesus was definately radical for his time.
He healed the sick on the Sabbath (a major crime at the time) and raised the dead. He related to Mary Magdalene, a woman of the street, in a manner unlike other men.

Jesus, whether he existed or not, was a great teacher and we can all learn from him if we take it upon ourselves to read the New Testament on our own, think about what he did and how he did it in relation to his time, and not allow other people to tell us what the passages mean or should mean. People need to take it upon themselves to interpret it, not have others misinterpret it for them.


Posted by: sanity | September 1, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Probably the only thing I agree with Mr Gerson about is the "issue" of this girl's pregnancy.

No one can know whether another individual knew about or was using contraception when they conceived.

It's silly to "blame" someone else's pregnancy on a mother's view about who educates her kids - I educated mine about birth control and abstinence, but the teachers who supposedly did the same in their public school laughed at my family's desire for the girls not to get pregnant AND not to have sex before they were grown-up.

The child is a new chance for us all - not everyone who plans a pregnancy is a good parent, and not every teen who has a baby ruins her own life or her baby's.

The vituperation of my fellow liberals directed toward someone who made a choice other than those "we" approve of is hypocritical as well as stupid in the extreme. The girl had sex, she didn't have her mother on hand to just say no - and now she is having (as she ought to have expected) a baby.

Honor her choice. I don't like her mother or most of her mother's views - but being as bigoted as one accuses Palin of being is a betrayal of liberal premises.

Posted by: Mom | September 1, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Was Mom too busy with politics to teach abstinence? Is this the Republican example of family values in action?

Posted by: Jay in Pa | September 1, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Hypocritebuster, you miss the point:

The daughter didn't ask to be in the public spotlight.

Have a little honest liberal compassion for a young woman whose parents should have kept silent, since it's none of our damned business what she did with who, how or why.

Bullies come in all partisan shades. Let's leave this young woman who has to live in the world to live - she was too young for intercourse, but we liberals gave her the nod to do so in privacy (privacy, remember that old liberal value?).

Now we ought to adhere to our values and leave her to work out her own life in privacy - she is not just an extension of her mother or her mother's politics. She's a young woman in a difficult situation, doing the best she can.

Stop bullying her to get at her mother!

Posted by: Mom | September 1, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

The Republican Party has a big problem with this one. The last thing in the world they need is all this controversy.

As for the hypocrisy - this is like drawing back another curtain on the evangelicals. And as much as members of that group may say that these are isolated incidents and that evangelicalism is all about love and forgiveness (except for unwed pregnant black and latino teenage girls), the reality is that we have had closet homosexual adulterer male pastors, prostitute chasing adulterer male pastors, thieving pastors, child molesting pastors. Something is wrong here.

Seems to me that these staunch christians need to stop worshiping the members of the Republican Party who pay lipservice to their desire to establish a christian theocracy in the United States, and start paying attention to their own souls.

Posted by: eclectic elder | September 1, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Middle class families do not normally have teenage pregnancy, low class ones do.

Posted by: Andrew | September 1, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Miss Palin's pregnancy is frankly none of the general public's business and is simply not relevant to the presidential campaign at hand. For Sen. Obama himself, this issue is a bit of a sensitive one considering that his mother had him at 18 years of age. At the end of the day, this seems to be more of an indictment of our society's voyeuristic and frankly nastily judgmental tendencies. I feel it would be far better, far more dignified if we, as decent, and kind people, simply wished Miss Palin good health and an uncomplicated pregnancy and moved on to more pressing issues such as foreign issues, the domestic economy, and development of a responsible, sustainible energy policy.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Mom:
If the so-called Christian right stopped pointing fingers at everyone else and cancelled their militant agenda of creating a Christian theocracy in this country, then people might be a little more tolerant in response to them. But when they are so hypercritical of others who do not abide by their beliefs, they cannot expect very friendly responses. I do feel sorry for the daughter however, but apparently her parents musn't be too concerned.

Posted by: sanity | September 1, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Shorter Gerson: Howdy ho! White christians smell just like flowers!

Posted by: npr | September 1, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Yes eclectic elder I agree completely, although I'd add that both Democrats and moderate Republicans failed by not having more directly confronted the conservative evangelical movement's "will to power" during the past several decades.

Posted by: Dorothy | September 1, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

The white wingers RIP the younger sister of Britanny Spears about her out of wedlock pregnancy! Where is the consistency?

Posted by: tallguyinjeans | September 1, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

SURE THERE IS NO SIN UNLESS YOU ARE NOT A REPUBLICAN FARISHEE

Posted by: naty | September 1, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I agree, this should not be made into an issue and I am hoping all Democrats will show compassion.....as I hope too, that one day Republicans will finally show compassion toward all including gays, people with religious beliefs other than Christianity....., etc. Perhaps this issue will finally lead to a mutual understanding of "true family values" of acceptance, tolerance, compassion, understanding and love toward all.

Posted by: M Koebele | September 1, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Knowing all that we know now (over the past 3.5 days), is this really the best / most qualified candidate that John McCain could find in the entire republican party for the office of vice-president of the United States?

Posted by: John in DC | September 1, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Golly Mike, Its awful white of you to say teen age pregnancy is no big deal. And I do mean white... Perhaps your "liberal" views on the subject would be different if the mother were black and unwed?

Posted by: David Strohm | September 1, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

More fake moral outrage from Gerson, one of the Bush administration architects of the Iraq War.

Posted by: JLE | September 1, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

For the record... The bashing appears to be ALSO against "Christians" now... And how many of you are Catholics? C'mon, Dem's, be honest! Fess up to it! And also can any single one of you claim to have read AND undertood the Bible end-to-end more than once? Doubt it... If you did, you'd realize how WRONG you are. YES WAR, YES MURDER, YES RAPE, YES INCEST, and MORE! However, there IS something called the "Ten Commandments" that has the same tenets in ALL religions. Guess you never noticed...

BTW, notice that there are some troller/trawlers in here cut-and-pasting? Sweeeet!!! How much are you getting paid? I want some too!

Obama's mother was ALSO pregnant WITH HIM, UNWED. Is that why you see him as "The Messiah"?

And PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE give us a link to the information that says how old Levi (the boyfriend) is.

Get real! And wipe your a##es, they aren't too clean either!

Posted by: submix8c | September 1, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

It's ok if you're a republican.

If you're a democrat and this happens to you, it's because you lack morals and are just basically indecent. You're too secular and too humanist to follow god's rules.

If you're a republican and this happens to you, it's time to "let's not point fingers" , "it's a family matter" , "she's following her pro-life beliefs" ,

Absurd victorianism is a surprisingly accurate description of the repblican mindset.

We independents can really see what the republicans truly are in this issue, it's blatantly clear. It's truly ugly.

I'm not at all in favor of the democrats taking advantage of this woman's family problems for political gain. The less I see of that the better.
But I can be sure the republicans will be looking for something like this in Obama's family or Biden's family.

Republicans are dirty scum, it didn't used to be that way, but it is true now.

Posted by: sok | September 1, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Well, everybody knows what "Those People" in Alaska are like!

Posted by: tom | September 1, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Palin made this disclosure to dispel rumors that this is her daughter's second child. She treated the first child, Trig, as her own to keep up appearances. Or so the story goes.

But truth is stranger than fiction. Sarah Palin showed an astounding lack of judgement by flying home that day from Dallas to Anchorage, with a layover in Seattle, after her water had broken: http://www.adn.com/front/story/382864.html

To me, the rumor is less damaging than the truth. This is a woman that McCain trusts with the country when he is out of town? Oh, wait, he barely even knows her. I guess she did well in the swimsuit portion of the competition.

Nominating Sarah Palin for VP is an insult to the nation's intelligence.

Posted by: Ansel | September 1, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Next up on the circus: Gerson, the values contortionist.

Posted by: ecor | September 1, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

We independents can really see what the republicans truly are in this issue, it's blatantly clear. It's truly ugly.

I'm not at all in favor of the democrats taking advantage of this woman's family problems for political gain. The less I see of that the better.
(...)
Republicans are dirty scum, it didn't used to be that way, but it is true now.

Posted by: sok | September 1, 2008 10:08 PM
==============================
As an "independent", then you should see how hypocritical the Democrats are as well (see above posts). I had dropped out when Clinton (big hypocrite) was elected... Just saying... (no party affiliations anymore for me; decided to use my noggin)

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

This is, of course, a private matter for the Palins, Gerson and the GOP except they also believe they have license to insert themselves into the delicate matters of everyone else
---------
She's not being hypocritical, though, her daughter is having the baby.

Some are appalled, genuinely, by abortion, I dont agree, but I can respect their point of view, if they're not murdering pro choice supporters.

That's America.

She advocates "family values," and yes, it's specious on her part, and it is, but she's standing by her child, essentially walking the walk.

It's not realistic to expect any parent anywhere to be able to control every minute of their child's life, that would be an abomination.

How can anyone condemn Palin on this issue?

If she had taken her daughter for an abortion after campaigning to take that right away from others, I'd say you have a point, as it is, this tit-for-tat reeks of smug self-righteousness.

Or something.

Why the h$** would anyone rejoice in an-other's familial misfortune?

It's not as if Palin orders Stalinist purges, in Russia.


Her "accomplishments" bespeak her lack of qualification for the job of Vice President, and that's McCain's fault, for not vetting her.

Posted by: Gadansk Tater | September 1, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

my post above about "hypocrites"...

Posted by: submix8c | September 1, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Comes now Goebbels Gerson the darling of neochristians everywhere saying unwed pregnancy is OK (if you're white and Republican, of course) This same clown would have a field day if this were the daughter of a Democrat or Black or Latino politician.

More neocon hypocrisy - Do as we say, not as we do.

Grandpa Simpson needs to pack Annie Oakley's bags for her and ship her back to Alaska were they taught her daughter creationism and abstinence instead of how to show her boyfriend how to use a condom.

Posted by: Roy | September 1, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Michael Gerson, moral relativist.

Posted by: Alan in SF | September 1, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

McCain thought the Palin family said "Juneau" and not "Juno" during the seven-minute conversation when he vetted Sarah Palin as a vice-presidential candidate.

"My Bad!", said Sen. McCain, after it was revealed the Palins were trying to tell him their 17-year-old daughter was pregnant.

It seems McCain uses the phrase weekly since he became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

"Iraq-Pakistan border, Iran-Pakistan border, what's the difference," said McCain

"My bad!"

Posted by: IndependenceDay | September 1, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Teen pregnancy now is a middle-class value, thanks to Bush's former speechwriter. How trite . . . welcome to the 20th century.

Posted by: Helen | September 1, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Teen pregnancy should always be regarded as problematic. Perhaps in earlier times, teen pregnancy would not be an issue, but today teenagers are immature and lack the skills necessary to make a living and support and raise their children. Palin is lucky that she has the backing of her family - most teen parents must resort to welfare and other governmental assistance. Abstinence is not an option.

Posted by: Shirl | September 1, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

McCain miscalculated. A lot of ordinary guys are gonna be turned off by his choice for vice-president and vote for Obama-Biden instead.

Posted by: Jason | September 1, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I finally figured it out, why the republicans are so blind to their own hypocrisy.

You see, saying one thing and doing another, and being aware of it - that's at least three different things you have to hold in your mind at the same time.

It's too complicated.

Posted by: figured | September 1, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

WHY IS THIS EVEN NEWS???? And to whoever said that only the Republicans and conservatives are cruel and judgemental, that is a two way street, my friend, if you know what I mean. For proof, check out some of those always kind liberal blogg sites that posted today.

Let me know if you still think they are nothing but kind.

Posted by: John Bynum | September 1, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Can someone explain why the teenage daughter is always holding the newborn sibling?

It's more scandal to come...Lieberman is looking better every day. His only problem is, he is a liberal but he does want the USA making war in the Middle East.

Posted by: OneFreeMan | September 1, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

The daughter is in the best Reagan tradition, for his and Nancy's first child was a 7-months wonder.

Posted by: Bob | September 1, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Another thing too complicated for the republicans: here today we read them screaming at the top of their lungs about the dirty evil democrats picking on them in their time of trouble, always first the democrats are.

Republicans can't remember much can they? They can't remember the evil they committed. It's either because they choose to forget, or they're just too stupid to be able remember anything for that long.

Then again, it can be explained by the fact that they are just scum.

Posted by: figured | September 1, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Of course this will not alienate the Bible-thumpers. You can do whatever you like, indulge in any sin whatsoever, and be forgiven. So long as you continue to mouth the same born-again banalities, go to some God-awful church with another 20,000 like-minded souls every Sunday and, once every four years, vote for some clown who miraculously never manages to end abortion yet finds plenty of time for cutting taxes and starting wars you can always be forgiven by the "religious" "right."

Posted by: troutcor | September 1, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

From the viewpoint of "Family Values" what Governor Palin needs to do is back out as the Vice Presidential Candidate, go back to Wasilla, Alaska, take care of her 4 month old son with Downs Syndrome, and comfort her 17 year old pregnant daughter.

This suggestion has nothing to do with being chauvanist. How would a father of a 17 year old MINOR daughter who 5 months ago was "RAPED" by a 23 year old man, relate to his daughters condition.

I'm sure his first thought would be to get a gun and think of the multitude of different ways that he could make the 23 year old man who "RAPED" his 17 year old MINOR daughter disappear. That's how most fathers would relate.

Even as a father, with two very important issues that involve the well being of my family, I wouldn't be out campaigning 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the next two months, and then, if elected keep my mind on the second most important job in the world.

At what point does your responsiblity for your family begin, and the responsibility to John McCain and the Republican Party end.


Posted by: Hello | September 1, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

The "Springer-fication" of the nation is almost complete! Thanks for helping build the Idiocracy, Gerson... you chimp!

Posted by: Clint | September 1, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

You "family values" Republicans just don't get it. It's not that she got pregnant or chose to keep it or any of that. It's the fact that abstinence-only quite obviously doesn't work and the hypocrisy of the religious right in general.

Posted by: Susan L. | September 1, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Who would believe all of this BS controversy would exist concerning a nothing of a candidate with a pregnant daughter and sick a boy. What a distraction! Let us all forget about the issues that confront the United States and let's focus instead on maternity issues.
That's really relevant to the real needs of this country.

Posted by: sanity | September 1, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Since when did becoming pregnant at 17 become something worthy of applause just because she has "decided" to keep the child? Since when did a grown man sleeping with a child become anything other than statutory rape? Why is it always a different spin on situations when it is a Repulican? Remember the impeachment of Pres. Bill Clinton? That had NOTHING to do with him running the country either. Remember how vocal Rudy Guliani was about that and then soon afterward he got caught with having his girlfriend stay at the Mayor's Mansion while his wife was there? Nobody is perfect, but when Repulicans have for so long reminded everyone else of their imperfections how on earth can anyone expect for it not to backfire one day. You reap what you sow.

FYI: Be very careful of what you pray for you just might get it. How's that for the power of the tongue James Dobson? You annointed Man of God! And when you pray with the wrong motives what do you expect? Probably not Gustav, Hannah and Ike huh? And by the way I was in Denver and everyday was BEAUTIFUL!
May God bless and protect EVERYONE, and a special prayer for those who are in the path of the hurricanes.

Posted by: Donna H. | September 1, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Post Patisan would not be forgiving of a Democrat, lest we forget.

Posted by: phughez | September 1, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Is there anyone who believes that if Joe Biden had a seventeen-year-old daughter in the same situation, Gerson would have written these same words? I've read much about Gerson's religious beliefs, but it seems his Christian morals are less important to him than this career in the Republican Party. He is a hypocrite defending hypocrisy.

Posted by: estiv | September 1, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

In no way do I wish to attack a 17 year old minor. But I find the calm acceptance of this situation by conservatives remarkable. Is this the same party that railed against Murphy Brown and attacked Hollywood and Democrats for lacking family values in the 90's? The party that has never stopped talking about the black and hispanic illegitamacy rates and lazy welfare mothers? The GOP has finally accepted that there is such a thing as a private family matter. Its about time.

Posted by: donna | September 1, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Gerson wrote: "It immediately struck me that Sarah Palin was chosen as a candidate who understands middle-class family struggles, and this is a pretty typical one."

A "pretty typical one"? Are you an idiot? About 5-10% of teens (13-19 year old girls) gets pregnant. While this is a large number of girls, 5-10% it is not "typical". Having a boyfriend is "typical". Going to the prom is "typical". Even having sex may be "typical" by 19. But calling getting pregnant "typical" ignores reality, which I've found "typical" of your columns.

I'm having a good laugh watching the republican columnists like Gerson try to make this seem like a fender bender, nothing to worry about, all is well. The smiles on TV and the incredible statements that teen pregnancy is typical or normal are just astounding. How can you live with what you say, unless you don't believe it yourself Gerson. And if McCain knew Bristol was pregnant, which I seriously doubt considering how she covered up her belly holding her baby brother at Palin's acceptance speech, then you really should be wondering just how smart McCain is.

The American people can understand this one. They don't need experts and talking heads explaining what a pregnant teen is or how "typical" it is. McCain has just sunk his own election and no amount of writing by you or anyone else will change that. You just look silly trying to make the rare teen pregnancy seem "typical".

Posted by: Fate | September 1, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

this guy gerson is weird. no wonder he qualified as a bush speechwriter. anyone who ever follows national politics know gerson would have been writing a speech excoriating anyone so sinful as to become pregnant out of wedlock. but when it happens to the daughter of a right-wing and he attempts to be so blase' about it, it exposes his blatant hypocrisy.

Posted by: jumpingelephants | September 2, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

First, why would any parent put an unmarried, pregnant teenage daughter through this kind of media circus. I feel sorry for the daughter -- but must question the judgment of Sarah Palin. I think by agreeing to stand as VP candidate under these circumstances was pretty cold.

Second, whatever Sarah Palin's virtues, there is just so much baggage here -- 'troopergate', her daughter, her flip-flopping, her connections to Stevens .. the list goes on. This calls McCain's judgment into question. The choice of VP running mate is supposed to be the first telling decision of a potential President. McCain has chosen very poorly here. I don't see how Palin can stay on the ticket, but McCain is probably stubborn enough to keep with it.

What a mess. So much for a campaign based on the issues. Obama/Biden is beginning to look unbeatable. And that is very good for this country.

Posted by: voreason | September 2, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Spin. Spin. Spin.

Spin it any way you want, but in the end a debacle is still a debacle.

McCain's first presidential decision is a whopper of a mistake. Spinning it otherwise flaunts your idiocy.

Posted by: roflcopter | September 2, 2008 12:09 AM | Report abuse

If the McCain Campaign indeed did know about this yet went forward with this anyway, the RNC should find a new candidate for president as well. What human being in their right mind would subject a 17 year old to this humiliation. Did John sit down with Bristol and say "When this becomes public, the whole world will be digging up dirt on you from when you were 10"? Particularly after the dear Senator ran the Britney Spear/Paris Hilton campaign commercial tying celebrity to Barack Obama. I was actually thinking of voting for McCain- but as a mother of two, his political callousness is sickening.

Posted by: anonymous | September 2, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Gersen:
It's time to start looking for a an honest job, enough with the lies and partisanship.You don't actually think anyone is buying your ...., do you?

Posted by: jaleh | September 2, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

I wish you would all mind your own business so we can get back to the sanctity of life and how Bristol rock her Christian fundamentalist hips to the horn of a rockin' jock studhorse.

Good clean teen orgasms,

that's what the Republican Party stands for.

Vote McClown

Posted by: Karl Rover | September 2, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

This isn't just a private matter. As governor, Sarah Palin has vigorously opposed what she derides as "explicit" sex education in the schools--i.e., any discussion of contraceptive methods other than abstinence. It's perfectly legitimate to ask whether she still favors this dubious and harmful public policy position, given the fact that her daughter is proof that abstinence education doesn't work.

Posted by: Patrick | September 2, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse

You just don't get it. The story is not that a 17 y.o. got pregnant. Rather, the important point is the hubris that the situation illustrates. While Palin approves of her daughter's decision to have the baby, if she and John-boy are elected, that decision will be taken out of the hands of the family and made by the state--at least in my state of Utah. This is of course the right wing modus operandi: everyone must live by their moral standards. This is what needs to be pointed out. At its core, the right wing wants to decide how all of us ought to live. As much as they claim to love American, at their core, they are unAMerican. www.sarahpalinisgeorgebush.com

Posted by: vernezze | September 2, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

So, the Evangelists ask people to pray to God to let it rain on Obama's acceptance speech in an open-air stadium. Lo and behold, there was never a more beautiful day and night during Obama's acceptance speech. Surely the Republicans are God's own. Why else would He let loose biblical scale flooding, a hurricane no less, just when they were to start their convention?
Surely He works in mysterious ways. Gerson?

P.S.
Tell your buddies, the slimy elements over at Fox News to edit their infamous caption so that it can now read as "Levi's Baby Mama" when they flash the image of that girl, Ms Palin. Your ignominy shames us all

Posted by: Noah | September 2, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

You can bet your bottom dollar Gerson would have issues galore if Palin was a Democrat.

Posted by: Santa | September 2, 2008 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Conservatives like Gerson absolutely refuse to see the real issue here. They want to make an issue of the pregnant child. Then they can blame Liberals for lacking compassion and being elitist.

Republicans: the child is not the issue. The issue is that Palin has failed to teach her child proper morals and how to take care of herself. If Palin cannot raise a child properly - an act that God has trained us for - then how can she lead a nation?

Second issue: McCain lacks judgement or he would never have chosen Palin.

Conservatives, please leave the child out of this. Face the real issues. McCain is not fit for office.

Posted by: Martiniano | September 2, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

"Can someone explain why the teenage daughter is always holding the newborn sibling?"

Wouldn't that be a sensation? But if one unwanted baby from a minor child is great than two is even better, right?

However, I grew up as the eldest in a large family, so I can state with some authority that the teenage daughter could very well be holding the newborn sibling simply because Mom needs a hand.

Posted by: fzdybel | September 2, 2008 12:58 AM | Report abuse

This column is not very original, but not entirely without merit if you take some of his points by themselves (I agree that the Palin pick, perhaps even as a result of some of these problems, looks to be working well in connecting with the average conservative voter, and Obama himself made clear today he's not much interested in focusing on the baby stories). However, it is in the way Gerson adds up his facts so selectively that one can tell what he is up to. One week, Gerson will make one tastefully understated point, conveniently posing thoughtful-seeming challenges of someone affiliated with the Democratic Party (Barack Obama or his people, lately) and thoughtful-seeming subtle positives in favor of a Republican (lately, McCain or Palin or their people). The next time, he will take an entirely different tack, usually pretty inconsistent with what he previously said- one week, let's look at Obama's supposed (only by Gerson, that is) retreat from centrism to a "conventional liberal" approach since the primaries, the next week let's just take for granted that Sarah Palin's ultra-right-wing domestic approach and John McCain's ultra-right wing foreign policy approach are unquestionably, some sort of centrism. Magically Gerson always finding it's the Democrat about whom the thorny moral questions must be posed, and the Republican who is exhibiting common-sense nonpartisanship.

Gerson's latest stuff makes it clear: whatever open-minded, centrist, moderate clothing this man tried to wear earlier this year during the primaries- when he routinely made a point of praising Obama and likening him admiringly to Reagan, even at a time when this candidate was speaking in some more "liberal" tones than he dares today- was solely for the purposes of discrediting Hillary Clinton, who Gerson along with George Will and everyone else in the Republican press, was sure would be the ultimate front-runner for the nomination and thus the one in need of knocking down. In early '08, praising that phenom Obama could only help against Hillary, it was no risk against McCain (or whoever these guys wanted for GOP nominee) at the time. Being Barack-friendly earned these syndicated hacks a bit of shallow anti-racist cred, let them latch onto the youthfulness and popularity of Obama, without risking anything.

Yes, perhaps most if not all politicians change as needed with the winds- that goes for both McCain and Obama in some instances- but one would expect an opinion columnist at least, without any risk of losing votes, to have no reason not to be intellectually honest. Yet Gerson is one of the least honest ones out there. He's not Krauthammer or Novak- the right wing heroes/nuts with no pretentions of serving anyone but their base, unafraid to offend. He's a guy who plays it whichever way he can benefit each time.

George F. Will, apparently, was one of the men who originally encouraged Obama to run for Senate, probably not for entirely selfless reasons, if you consider his own antipathy toward Hillary. But at least Will has the decency- along with the genuine thoughtfulness and scary intelligence lacking in Gerson and nearly all columnists today- not to have ever pretended to believe in anything about Obama's candidacy. In fact, Will has cut into President Bush quite often in recent years, but rarely has anything at all positive to say about Democrats, Obama or anyone else (he said one positive thing, actually, though it was only a hope about what Obama might do, but it seemed delivered with some conviction) and that's quite in keeping with his own worldviews, those of a strict constructionist and a legalistic conservative, which readers of his columns can understand and consider because of his clear (if not exactly simple) writing. Will is on the opposite side of pretty much every issue from me, and for that matter, I also think his views are not exactly in the mainstream of most Americans', whether "liberal" or "conservative", because, like an economist, his thinking is just nothing like the average person's, and even if some of his conclusions might be popular among conservatives, he seems to come to them from his own unique place. Anyway, barring the occasional rants outside his area of expertise (i.e. environmental science), he does make anyone look at familiar issues a bit differently, as a result. I think he's one of the few mainstream columnists of any persuasion worth reading, because he is always putting things in a new light that stays true to his OWN convictions, enough that a reader gets something from it, no matter how many or few of them are shared by the reader.

Gerson by contrast, doesn't write what he knows and believes. Aside from the constant subtext "I am some sort of evangelical Christian," he twists words however he needs to denigrate or lift up whoever he needs. There is no internal consistency- it's cynical, and frankly, it's pretty much what you expect from a man whose career high was writing speeches for George W. Bush.

The odd thing is that this year Mike Huckabee, not Mike Gerson, was the real honest observer of this election from the religious right. As hardcore an evangelical candidate as you can get- just remember how many states he successfully challenged McCain in for not being conservative enough- he managed whenever asked to recognize moral merits in the other side, even if he would never allow they were right on the issues he believes in. Huckabee is a person who seems like as exceptional a politician as Obama, Bill Clinton, Reagan (better, perhaps) because he seems genuinely to care more about people than partisanship, or else is great at putting on the act. Interesting that Gerson didn't ever really defend or promote Huckabee, though, the genuine compassionate conservative candidate, when Huckabee's populist, centrist (and ok, a bit cuckoo in *some* ways, but not more so than more Bush tax cuts) economic policies happened to turn off the amoral, areligious GOP lobbyists and Wall Street paymasters (in whose pocket Gerson lives) a bit too much.

Gerson, I feel sure by now, is not a moral person. He resembles the Bush Admin in that he is first and foremost a GOP neocon activist, only secondly (when a passage in the Bible is convenient) a born again Christian, thirdly (when it's election or wartime and a show of patriotism is needed) an American. Gerson has no real morals which ever override politics for him when it comes down to the last push, and he has little connection to Middle America. He's the chief apologist for the neocon worldview. I mean, really, anything that can be said about George W. Bush can be said about Gerson- Bush was an empty suit until Gerson became his Goebbels and defined him as the "war president", that fighter for transcendental "good" against transcendental "evil"- "you're either with us or against us".

Yet somehow, unlike more obvious hacks, Gerson has managed to make people forget his absolutely black-and-white, impeachable legacy, and has found a clever way of posing as a middle of the road religious man just turning over some questions about a big election in his little mind- pretty much like the preachers you'll find in the churches attended by the wealthy and powerful Republicans, for whom God is only worthwhile so long as he can be used to justify endless GOP power and American military might.

Posted by: Ya | September 2, 2008 12:59 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe the raw hate conveyed in so many of the comments. Get over it! It is a private matter. If the media and left wing loonies keep pileling on, middle Americas are not going to like it.

Posted by: Karen H | September 2, 2008 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Watching various Christian Right and GOP representatives attempt to spin this on TV would be laughable, if it weren't so very, very pathetic.

I particularly love the "at least she's having the baby and marrying the father" rationale...conveniently forgetting that Evangelicals condemn pre-marital sex, masking their hypocrisy with an outpouring of "love," a love that's nowhere in sight when the "troubled teen" is gay.

And anyone who questions whether a truly loving parent would choose to expose her 17-year-old daughter to the full scrutiny of the media by pursuing a VP nomination ...is met with melodramatic expressions of outrage. How dare you question this mother of five?!

The self-righteousness is appalling. Of course, this is a valid question.

This debacle has exposed horrible judgment on both McCain and Palin's parts. If either of these "role models" gets anywhere near the Oval Office, this country is doomed.

Posted by: Dale | September 2, 2008 1:07 AM | Report abuse

The daughter isn't a scandal; Gerson's right about that.

The scandal is the selection of the candidate.

Posted by: jazzfan1 | September 2, 2008 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Nice try, Mr. GOP water-boy.

Most "caring middle-class parents", upon hearing their 16-year-old is pregnant, don't parade them in front of the international media's klieg-lights and then pretend she has complete freedom to choose her course while holding her up as a poster-child for "family values."

Posted by: Adam | September 2, 2008 1:14 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't seem as if Sarah Palin would even qualify to be a deacon in the local church:
1 Timothy 3:12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.

As for the McCain campaign being informed: Why didn't he intend to tell the Republican delegates before they nominated her?

Posted by: David Blackburn | September 2, 2008 1:21 AM | Report abuse

I remember an incedent where a woman was caught in adultery and Jesus was put on the spot. His answer was, "Whoever among you is without sin, you cast the first stone." In todays world Jesus would never make that statement or he would hand the woman a hardhat.
I come from the evangelical world and Gerson is right. We are not saying we are perfect or better than averybody else, we want to live the high standards Jesus set for us. We also ask that others do the same. If the Palin's daughter would have practice what she was taught, she would not be pregnant. Imagine that, someone who didn't listen to their parents.
So following the logic of many people on this site, no parent of a wayward child is allowed to have the job they feel called to.
If we only allowed perfect politicians and people to have jobs, then Capitol Hill and every State house would be empty.

Posted by: Pastorized | September 2, 2008 1:29 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Gerson. The radical right lost the moral ground when it took delight in the Clinton family's dirty laundry. Did wingers give a d*mn how they hurt Chelsea? No. Did they think about how the Edwards family felt when they took delight in their family drama? No. Edwards had dropped out the race and yet that afforded their family no measure of privacy. For that matter, you fundies eat your own. You had no problems spreading rumors that John McCain's daughter Bridget was fathered by an extramarital affair with a black woman.

Please spare us all the holier than thou crap.
It comes down to the simple fact that you Matt Drudge reading, Karl Rove worshipping types can dish it out but you can't take it.

Posted by: Julie | September 2, 2008 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Gerson is nuts.

Since when is having a teenage unwed mother in one's family "typical?"

It's not "typical" in my family. Is it in yours?

If a Republican does it, it's "typical". God forbid if a Democract does it.

Now if Pailyn is found to have nude photos of herself on the internet, Gerson, would that be "typical?"

Posted by: santafe2 | September 2, 2008 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Given the spin of the news by the McCain campaign spin doctors and the "family value" parties, maybe it would be a

help to the campaign if the YOUNGER daughter were impregnated forthwith.

Posted by: merhoff | September 2, 2008 1:46 AM | Report abuse

The radical right wouldn't recognize the moral high ground if it was on their lawn. They want their religious agenda crammed down everyone's throat buut sputter about forgiveness and tolerance when they are the perpetrators. They are frauds who believe that their self absorbed salvation from being born 'in Christ" gives them some special insight into what the rest of us need. Can you imagine if this was Obama's daughter who was pregnant? We'd be treated to a litany of liberalism's failures, its loss of moral compass, its destructive influence on families. The right wing bloviation machine would be in high dungeon over sexual licentiousness and speaking of the integrity of the Presidency. The Republicans, as currently constituted and lead by head eel Karl Rove, are the single most hypocricitcal group of unctuous slime to walk the American political landscape since Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrats.

Posted by: bklyndan | September 2, 2008 1:47 AM | Report abuse

We know of Gerson's lack of morals and values from his years of writing lies and misrepresentations for Bush.

Now he has, once again, confirmed his amorality and sleazy personal standards.

In reality, he knows the election is lost to McCain and Palin and is now bleating aimlessly and mindlessly in an attempt to relieve his pain.

BTW, I heard Gerson on NPR the other morning. He sounds like he writes: a talentless wuss.

Posted by: pali2500 | September 2, 2008 1:55 AM | Report abuse

"Just listen to James Dobson's Focus on the Family broadcast, or read one of his books."

___________________________________________

Suggesting that Washington Post readers should look to James Dobson for moral or spiritual guidance is an excellent example of why Gerson should be fired.

Also, since Gerson cites Dobson in his ludicrous defense of the Palin trailer-trash saga, perhaps Gerson would care to comment on Dobson's view that ANY sexual activity outside of marriage deviates from the God-ordained male-female marriage.

Perhaps Gerson would also care to comment on the fact that Dobson was one of 25 evangelicals who called for the ouster of Rev. Richard Cizik from his position at the National Association of Evangelicals because Cizik had taken a stance urging evangelicals to take global warming seriously.

Or perhaps Gerson is unaware of Sarah Palin's position on global warming:

"What is justified is worldwide concern over the proven effects of climate change." ~ Sarah Palin in The New York Times, January 5, 2008.

The dimwitted, faux-religious Bush pimp Gerson is an insult to the WaPo readers' collective and individual intelligence.

Posted by: pali2500 | September 2, 2008 2:23 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Gerson, your side forged many of the weapons of political assassination. Crying foul when your opponents may use them against you does nothing more than expose your hypocrisy (an activity in which you, Mr. Gerson, excel).

Posted by: ExPat2 | September 2, 2008 2:32 AM | Report abuse

Gerson, don't you ever get it right? The scandal isn't Sarah's pregnant teenager. It's John McCain's total lack of thought, time, effort or energy in choosing his v.p.

Posted by: Larryman | September 2, 2008 2:43 AM | Report abuse

"My, how standards change when one's own nominees are caught in lies and evasions."

AMEN. The hypocracy of the right rules again.

Posted by: Sam888 | September 2, 2008 2:44 AM | Report abuse

Within two weeks, Palin will be widely regarded as a joke and a colossal mistake by the McCain campaign. This will result not at all from the pregnant daughter issue, which is very personal and completely indecent to make a campaign issue. Her affiliations with the Alaska Independence Party (and God knows whatever other revelations will emerge); gorging at the trough of pork barrel for Wasilla; and generally out-of-the-mainstream positions are going to sink her.

The nervousness Republicans are feeling is eminently justified. We smell blood in the water.

Posted by: Oomingmak | September 2, 2008 2:48 AM | Report abuse


Of course, there are many parents who have pregnant teenage daughter.... That doesn't justify the decision of Palin to run for VP.

If she is caring, thoughtful mother, I can't imagine that with 4 month DS baby and vulnerable teen age daughter, she can't accept this offer.
That just shows Palin.
Power First, Children Second.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 2:59 AM | Report abuse

This story is news because Gov. Palin is identifies as a moralist in office. This story is news because Americans are being trained in Pavlovian methodology to tolerate disgraceful invasive Police State disclosure of private problems in the corporate media, which becomes fodder for programs enriched by corporate ad dollars. This story is news because US citizens' attention is being directed away from thuggish police state brutality and criminality @RNC perped by MN officers led by FBI & utilizing heinous Patriot Act/Homeland Sec/FISA breaches of Constitutional protections of free speech and political dissent.

Posted by: artforhumans | September 2, 2008 3:06 AM | Report abuse

This is not a scandal. Yet. But it would become one if issues such as teenage pregnancy, teenage weddings and sexual education were banned from the presidential debate because they've become Sarah Palin's "private family matters".

Posted by: Marco | September 2, 2008 3:06 AM | Report abuse

"Those who believe that a family situation of this sort will alienate or anger evangelicals have never actually met an evangelical."

I'm not sure why Mr. Gerson feels so prepared to be dismissive of this concern, but I can say I've known two pastors of evangelical churches who were thrown out by their congregations when it came to light that their daughters were pregnant.

Now, granted, Ms. Palin is a politician, not a pastor, but to summarily conclude that this is a non-issue is to live in a fantasy of what Christians should be like and completely ignore what they are like. Come on Mr. Gerson. I'm almost led to ask if you've ever met an evangelical!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 3:08 AM | Report abuse

This would only really qualify as shocking if McCain were revealed to be the father.

On the other hand, if Obama or Biden had a kid get pregnant at 16, it would be banner headlines on cable news from now until their 2nd term.

I love how they're working to 'package' this... hilarious...

Anyone but me think that if SP was really sch a caring mom she might have chosen not to subject her little girl to this in order to quash an internet rumor?

And anyone really believe that the Christian Right -- to whom anything to do with sex is a heart-stopping calamity -- isn't up in arms about this revelation when the mics are off?

Posted by: dolcex | September 2, 2008 3:34 AM | Report abuse

If they have children one can tell alot about a Christians walk by their children. Now that is not to say that a Christian can control every aspect of the childs life but there seems to be little supervision in her daughters life. Thats troubling.

Posted by: JanD | September 2, 2008 3:37 AM | Report abuse

There is an irony to this story. Not only is Sarah Palin anti-abortion (quite understandable to me, even though I'm not), she's also anti-contraceptive. She believes that nobody should have access to or use any form of contraception in any circumstances. Clearly her daughter was following her mother's belief in this matter. The irony is the sh*tstorm that ensued because those beliefs were followed.

Sarah Palin's attitude about contraception needs to be carefully examined, especially by women, because she would stand just a heartbeat away from the presidency behind an elderly man, and we have seen just how a Democratic Congress stands up to a Republican administration, which is to say, not at all.

Already the Department of Health and Human Services, under George Bush, has quietly defined contraception as abortion. With the next Supreme Court choice by a Republican president, abortion, therefore contraception, will be made illegal. Take a few minutes and think about THAT.

And incidentally, Barack Obama has showed a lot more class in the handling of this matter than the McCain campaign.

Posted by: Nicekid | September 2, 2008 3:38 AM | Report abuse

To all those of you who are gleefully sniping at Palin and her family, the human side of me asks that you stop for the sakes of those involved and for your own sakes. The political side of me, however, wants to encourage you on!

Please, please, put Bristol Palin on the front page every day from now until November. Please keep making vicious, lurid comments about the Palin family. Raise the issue in blogs, in the mainstream media, and everywhere else. Please, Joe Biden, bring up a point about the Palin daughter during the VP debate, just like Edwards did about Cheney's daughter, so that Sarah Palin can answer, "Thank you for your concern for my family."

If you do so, sympathetic parents in America will vote for Sarah Palin no matter who is at the top of the ticket. Why? Because you are attacking a 17-year-old girl. Edwards mentioning Mary Cheney was the most memorable moment from the VP debate in 2004, and doing so gutted his otherwise strong performance. This issue will march Sarah Palin straight to the White House because it is one on which she cannot lose politically, so keep talking about it Democrats, please!

Posted by: blert | September 2, 2008 4:19 AM | Report abuse

Actually it's not the pregnancy which is outrages it is the issue of judgment. If indeed the McCain campaign knew about the issue why wasn't this information provided to the American people at the getgo?

If he didn't know then what does this say about their ability to govern together (VPs shouldn't keep secrets from their boss)?

Despite their claims it appears Palin was not vetted properly, an ominous sign from a potential McCain administration.

Posted by: NS | September 2, 2008 4:39 AM | Report abuse

Babies come early (my husband was 9 pounds and 2 mos. "premature" in 1937). I'm a little surprised that Bristol has gotten to 5 months without marrying the father yet. What has appalled me from the beginning of Palin's nomination is that she is the mother of a 5-month old baby with serious developmental and possible physical problems and is prepared to take on a job that will require her to be away from him most of every day and sometimes for weeks at a time. Maybe Bristol and her husband will raise Trig with their own baby? Palin is not my idea of being a caring, loving parent. What is wrong with Mr. Gerson and the evangelical right that they choose to set her up as some kind of middle-class ideal? I can imagine what he would say if she were a Democratic Vice-Presidental candidate!

Posted by: Sadie Mae | September 2, 2008 4:52 AM | Report abuse

The father isn't going to marry Bristol. This is another amazing Republican lie. He's an ignorant trailer-trash Republican.

Posted by: Bleaux Me | September 2, 2008 5:05 AM | Report abuse

Not only those who believe that a family situation like Palin’s will alienate evangelicals have never met one, they seem to have never met genuine Americans. The distance between Washington, including its vicious press, sclerotic Congress, and hordes of incompetent bureaucrats, and America grows daily. This is a problem far more serious than the war in Iraq or any slowing down of the economy. Unfortunately, no political party can do much about it. We just have to wait for these people to die out.

Posted by: Austin7 | September 2, 2008 5:14 AM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
02 September 2008

Michael Gerson defends Sarah Palin as a non-hypocrite because she did not ask her daughter to resort to abortion; if she had otherwise, Palin would have been a hypocrite, Mr. Gerson says.

Mr. Gerson probably also sees nothing wrong with Mayor Sarah Palin hiring a lobbyist to secure "earmarks" (pork really) for her small Alaskan town of some 7,000 inhabitants.

John McCain apparently sees nothing wrong with "earmarks" now that he is the Republican presumptive presidential nominee; he was vehemently against those when he was still a Senator.

But this is "now" and why should there be anything wrong with flip-flopping as well?
That's a sure sign of character and integrity.

If Mr. McCain sees nothing wrong with all these, why should Michael Gerson who has gratuitously assumed the role of apologist for Palin, for McCain, for Bush, for Cheney, and for the GOP?

Mariano Patalinjug
MarPatalinjug@aol.com

Posted by: Mariano Patalinjug | September 2, 2008 5:29 AM | Report abuse

Let's see Alaska has a population of approx. 600K persons. It is the largest state in the union, the size of Alaska is equal to 23 smallest states.

Okay so her daughter is having a baby. Besides participating in the Iditarod dog-sled race, pointing missiles at Russia, salmon fishing, snow mobile racing, cleaning up from exxon's oil spill, what else can they do in this frozen tundra?

Sounds like she found her own "igloo" in this least densely populated state and figured out a natural way to keep warm and that has resulted in a pre-marital pregnancy.

Kudos to Palin's daughter-Bristol for saving this earth and discovering and using alternative energy.

Posted by: Gladstone-44 | September 2, 2008 5:31 AM | Report abuse

Mr Gerson wrote:
The slimiest elements of the Internet culture will be after them. But Americans, I believe and trust, are more decent than this vileness.
*******************

There it is, all summed up neatly in two simple sentences.

Spot on!

Posted by: socrates3333 | September 2, 2008 5:38 AM | Report abuse

WHAT A CROCK!

Gerson, you're right...Palin is not a scandal, it IS A FAMILY matter.

What IS A SCANDAL is THE DEPTH of MCCAIN'S OUTRIGHT LIES about the whole process!!!

Sure, he wanted Joe, or if not Joe, Ridge. But he should have known that the leaders of the Evangelical community would go ballistic, where has he been the past 30 years?

This is man who used to call his campaign the Straight Talk Express? His reputation is in UTTER SHAMBLES.

How could you ever trust this man again to make important decisions???

And WHAT'S WORSE than this situation is that this kind of editorializing by fanatics has GOT TO END! The polarization is if not tearing this country apart, unquestionably weakening us in confronting our national issues.

NO MORE BLOVIATORS!!!

Posted by: Ethan Q | September 2, 2008 5:54 AM | Report abuse

Bristol Palin's pregnancy is a private, family matter.

And as for us evangelicals being good and pure and simple, wake up buddy.

Ultimately, moderate women will be turned off by Palin's extreme political beliefs, not by personal issues.

In a year when Democrats have a huge registration advantage over Republicans, McCain selected an extreme right winger to energize his party. In doing so, he lost the democrats and the independents.

Game over. That is the story.

Posted by: Deep Blue | September 1, 2008 3:30 PM
+++++++++++++++++

Well said, Deep Blue.

It baffles me why would the Mac chose as VP someone who would alienate the disgruntled democrats. I know he thought that by choosing a woman he was attracting the demo women. BUT WHY HER!!! And yet, The One and Only can't seal the deal, just as he couldn't seal it with Hillary.

But The One's good luck may show up, finally. I think the Mac blew it.

I'm voting for Nader.

NO WAY, NO HOW, NO OBAMA.

Posted by: THE TRUTH | September 2, 2008 5:54 AM | Report abuse

The Brittany's of Hollywood just got a free pass.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 6:00 AM | Report abuse

I do NOT care one bit about Gov. Palin's personal or family matters. What counts is that she is manifestly unqualified for the VP position (and to those who say, "But she isn't running for President," I say "No, she is running to be the president's back-up, and she is unqualified to back up the president"). So McCain is either delusional if he thinks she is qualified, or a hypocrite if he recognizes that she isn't.

As for the comments of Michael Gerson, I sneer at his own hypocritical posturing. I'd like to see him try to keep a straight face while proclaiming that conservatives would NEVER DREAM of ridiculing a Democrat over some family matter such as an unmarried teenager getting pregnant.

Posted by: Steve in Philadelphia | September 2, 2008 6:02 AM | Report abuse

Of course none of this matters. It only matters if you are not running for office and can do nothing for anybody.
All of us, all of us sir, are sick of being preached to by people who fall way short of the shrill they vomit out of their mouths!
Weather it is the blood thirsty patriot neo-cons who never had the guts to serve their country or these good christian republican candidates whose family lives are a mess.
Of course the message dosen't apply to them because THEY are the messengers.
That's their job and they can cut our taxes!!!
Our job is to take their message, measure it against our own lives and live out our lives in guilt.

Posted by: Robert | September 2, 2008 6:32 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if Gerson and Dobson would be so sanguine if it was Barack Obama's (African-American) teenage daughter that was in this situation. Just asking ...

Posted by: Jake | September 2, 2008 6:40 AM | Report abuse

The news that Palin has a pregnant unwed teen-age daughter will cement the support of the poor white Christian trashy families who voted for Bush and all things Republican anyway for one reason. That is exactly how 99% of them got pregnant with their first and how they landed their first husbands (after they got pregnant). The apple falls not far from the tree. There are generations of these white girls and mothers who all claim family values. That the poor white trash "values" have now become mainstream is the cause of the demise of America.

Posted by: Mimi | September 2, 2008 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Shine it all you like. It still looks funny and smells bad.

Posted by: frodot | September 2, 2008 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Oh boy, how much are they paying this hack and all the others that are trying unsuccessfully backtrack this one?

If Sarah Palin were the refreshing blast of fresh air that the GOP keeps spinning her to be, bottom line they wouldn't have concealed Bristol's pregnancy at any point.

Don't give me this crap about how it was an open secret in Wasilla. How dumb do you think people are? If your average American can't even put Wasilla on a map, how are they supposed to have any knowledge of its small town secrets?

Admit it! John McCain thought he had picked out a diamond, but what he picked out for his party is paste. He didn't bother putting Sarah under the microscope like he should have.

The American people are getting more fresh air from Gustav's landing than McCain and Palin. Now that Gustav is a tropical depression, McCain cannot hide behind a storm and Laura and Cindy's skirt on his decision, which is is a TRUE NATURAL DISASTER.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 7:07 AM | Report abuse

P.S. Mr. Gerson - did Bristol confer with her parents before she got pregnant? Don't you think that was rather inconsiderate of her, given her mother's role as Governor of Alaska? And you feel sorry for the daughter if the media gets in her face? Please!

Posted by: Mimi | September 2, 2008 7:09 AM | Report abuse

From:
Head of State
http://headofstate.blogspot.com/2008/09/intrusive-personal-questions-from-palin.html

Monday, September 01, 2008

"Intrusive Personal Questions" from the Palin Vetting Questionnaire

"Mr. McCain’s advisers said repeatedly on Monday that Ms. Palin was 'thoroughly vetted'"- The New York Times

Palin "responded to a 70-question form that included 'intrusive personal questions' a senior campaign aide said today."- The Washington Post


"Intrusive Personal Questions" from the Palin Vetting Questionnaire:

1) Did we forget anything?

2)Why are we choosing you if we discovered all of this?

3) Secession from your own country is

a) Patriotic
b) A qualification to be the potential leader of that country
c) Maverick-y!
d) None of the above

4) Did we forget anything?

5) Moose Burger : Abstinence as Moose Hunting :

a) Brother-in-law
b) 50 state flag
c) Bridge to Nowhere (after it was made impossible)
d) All of the above

6) Three Vice Presidential candidates are moving from three equidistant fixed points towards a podium. One, in his slightly glazed stare and awkwardly quasi-combative speech bears a faint resemblance to Dan Quayle; the next can only assist the ticket as we near closer to Rapture; the third seems to have stumbled out of one of Christopher Buckley's sharper efforts. Which one arrives at the podium first?

7) "Nothing that has come out did not come out in the vet." This sentence actually means:

a) Everything has come out and everything has been vetted
b) Everything that was vetted has come out
c) Everything that has come out was vetted
d) The vet came out and vetted the vets vetter than anything has ever been vetted. Really.

8) You are a right-wing, red-state conservative. During the Clinton Administration, you believed that President Clinton's behavior with Monica Lewinsky disqualified him from the Presidency on moral grounds; you fervently raised the terms "Lincoln Bedroom" and "Johnny Chung" to invoke notions of utter corruption, and regarded the "Travelgate" firings as an abuse of power. In the face of the recent revelations regarding Palin's directorship of Ted Stevens' 527, support of the Bridge to Nowhere, "Troopergate" imbroglio, and illegitimate pregnancy of her 16-year old daughter, you:

a) Blame George Soros
b) Talk about Bill Clinton instead of Palin
c) Hold your hands over your ears and loudly shout "La la la"
d) Try to change the subject

9) "Foreign policy experience" includes:

a) Being near another large nation
b) Seceding from your own country and then taking up residence in the new nation
c) Being close to "Nowhere" in your support for the Bridge to Nowhere, which is different than being "Somewhere"
d) Blame George Soros

10) If you were seeking to choose as your running mate someone who would please Evangelical Conservatives with very traditional values, who would be without taint of corruption or misuse of government power, and someone who, in line with your campaign's own slogan, would put "Country First", after thorough vetting and "intrusive personal questions", you would choose someone who:

a) Supported the Bridge to Nowhere
b) Supported the secession of Alaska from the U.S. (Slogan: "Alaska First!")
c) Was the subject of a state ethics investigation due to allegations that she had tried to have her brother-in-law fired and that she fired the state public safety commissioner due to his unwillingness to fire the brother-in-law
d) Would suffer from allegations that her 16 year old child had become pregnant illegitimately, despite her fervent support for abstinence only sex education
e) None of the above

Cite
Head of State:
http://headofstate.blogspot.com/2008/09/intrusive-personal-questions-from-palin.html

Posted by: Robert Hewson | September 2, 2008 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Just imagine what Gerson would be saying if Palin were on the Democratic ticket! He and the rest of the GOP punditocracy would be positively savage! Her family would be portrayed on Fox News as the very apogee of American moral decadence, and her picture would be splayed across Matt Drudge alongside that of the Clintons.

Posted by: I love the piousness | September 2, 2008 7:09 AM | Report abuse

While the struggles of Ms. Palin's somewhat troubled family are certainly her business, her actions and attitudes display the dangers of the policies that she can be expected to promote in office. Teens who are exposed to "abstinence only" sex "education," as well as those who are exposed to extreme religious stigmatization of sex, are more likely to have unprotected sex. (Only if you admit to yourself that you're going to have intercourse can you plan ahead and use a condom.) If the Palin girl were a teen of color in a higher-risk environment, HIV might be the story now. Palin's announcement that she will be getting married is even more disturbing. Does this child really want to wed the father of her illegitimate child, or is she being strong-armed for her mother's political gain? What are the prospects of a marriage based on the need to retroactively legitimize a baby, not on the enduring love and commitment of two mature adults? At the very least, they should wait a couple of years to see if they want to commit before God to spend the rest of their lives together -- otherwise, Palin is making a mockery of the sacrament of marriage as a piece of political window dressing.

Posted by: Mirabhai | September 2, 2008 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Modern "progressives" claim to be oh-so-tolerant and open-minded, but, alas, as so many of these comments reveal, they are steeped in hate and their own brand of self-righteous (and self-absorbed) smugness.

Posted by: PCB | September 2, 2008 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Gerson still just does not get it. The hypocrisy is not in how the Palins reacted to their daughter's pregnancy. The hypocrisy stems from the fact that the compassion and understanding that the Palins extend to their daughter is exactly what they do not extend to other people who violate their smug definition of what is normal--and, by their lights, "Christian"--behavior.

Let me put it this way: Will Sarah Palin now show similar understanding, forgiveness, and compassion toward the unwed pregnant teenager who decides to get an abortion? The gay couple who want to unite in civil ceremony? Get married? The serviceman who wants to be openly gay and remain in the military? The atheist who want to run for office? The poor Americans who need help in getting medical insurance, a house, or a job?

What we have here is another classic example of how smug evangelical "Christians"--you know, those people who are forever pointing accusing fingers and passing judgment on other people--deal with their own moral lapses. They give themselves a get-out-of-jail pass. They pass judgment on themselves, and find themselves forgiven in every way. They suddenly discover that forgiveness, understanding, and compassion lie at the heart of Jesus' true message.

Until, of course, it's time to resume their critical judgment of anyone outside their own family, church, or religion.

Hmmm. Michael Gerson, Michael Gerson. Didn’t he play a prominent role in bringing George Bush’s climate of corruption to Washington? Isn’t he one of those strange people who call themselves conservatives and told us that if we put them in charge, their primary goal would be fiscal responsibility and cutting the federal government down to size? So we put them in charge, and many years later, the federal budget, debt, and earmarks are out of control and the federal government intrudes into our private lives more than ever.

Since the record clearly shows that Michael Gerson is a liar and a fraud, why should we believe anything he says about anything? And why is such a proven liar and fraud a columnist on a major American newspaper?

IT’S THE LAST EIGHT YEARS, STUPID!

Posted by: GeorgiaSon | September 2, 2008 7:14 AM | Report abuse

you do good work Michael , you serve your masters well , I do admire that , now , how long can you hold your hand over a candle's flame...come on , prove your loyalty

Posted by: long lost home | September 2, 2008 7:17 AM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for the kid..I feel sorry for the boyfriend and I GUESS I feel sorry for the rest of the family with the excepton of maybe Sarah who, God knows why, seems to have let the political stars in her eyes cloud her judgement. For the GOP conservatives and evangelicals though, who are going through their family values hypocrisy all I have is scorn and antipathy. I suspect will be the same for most thinking Americans. Routine Republican politics, hypocrisy and mendacity since Eisenhower.

Posted by: bigustom | September 2, 2008 7:19 AM | Report abuse

So glad to see Gerson bring up James Dobson here. After all, Bristol Palin is kind of an emblem for James Dobson's America. Women don't need to go to college -- their job is to "Focus on the Family" -- i.e. make babies and raise their children and, most importantly, OBEY their husbands. If American girls all follow Bristol Palin's example, then men can run the country without pesky female interference, just as Evangelical ministers have in mind.

Posted by: Dobson | September 2, 2008 7:20 AM | Report abuse

I am stunned by the degree of hypocrisy in the Democratic party. It is the right to choose, not the right to an abortion. And it is about women of all ages.

The number of articles about this today is staggering. The insertion of "high minded" opinion into private matters is profoundly out of proporation to the nature of the issue. And let us not forget the insanity of the claims that Governor Palin's son Trig was Bristol's "love child." The blogs have the power to do good or evil and in the case of Bristol Palin, have served her ill. I hope that someone is making sure that she does not read about this garbage or that she has the sense to see that Barack Obama's supporters wish John McCain's campaign ill and that she is just a cog in the wheel of their amnity.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Gerson: "The slimiest elements of the Internet culture will be after them. But Americans, I believe and trust, are more decent than this vileness."

No Mr. Gerson, using the internet to whitewash deception is what is truly vile.

Americans are eager not to be lied to, the story started in Alaska, and no amount of partisan spin will save Palin's candidacy.

Running around repeating that the "American people too decent" to want to know isn't going to work like the same tired mindtrick. Spinbot Nicole Wallace (McCain campaign) is doing the same thing on the Today show as I type.

I'm going to choke on this "the hope was the news wouldn't pry into politicians' private lives" bull!

An even bigger piece of bull is McCain claiming with a straight face that he knew about Bristol's pregnancy when he picked Palin. Not credible at all!!!

The blather about the pregnancy showing Palin is like the rest of us is also really ridiculous. Most of us, with or without a pregnant daughter, are never going to have be credible in talks with foreign countries as leaders of the free world.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 7:21 AM | Report abuse

"There are only two things that would concern me."

What concerns me is that Sarah Palin, as VP and defacto President of the Senate, is intent on an agenda to strip reproductive rights from every woman in this country. Her only qualification for the office of the Vice Presidency seems to be her strong Christian beliefs. Mr. Gerson, what concerns me is that to you, Christian beliefs alone are somehow sufficient for one of the most difficult legislative jobs in the country. I think Palin's story is a sympathetic one. I don't pretend to be qualified to tell the Palin family what they should do in this difficult--and yes, typical--situation. What I reject, what I think the country will reject, and what we must reject is the suggestion that this woman is at all qualified to mandate her choice as OUR only option.
I don't get to make up her mind, but she gets to make up mine because she's Christian? I hope you'll pardon me if I vote the other way.

Posted by: Patt | September 2, 2008 7:26 AM | Report abuse

"There are only two things that would concern me."

What concerns me is that Sarah Palin, as VP and defacto President of the Senate, is intent on an agenda to strip reproductive rights from every woman in this country. Her only qualification for the office of the Vice Presidency seems to be her strong Christian beliefs. Mr. Gerson, what concerns me is that to you, Christian beliefs alone are somehow sufficient for one of the most difficult legislative jobs in the country. I think Palin's story is a sympathetic one. I don't pretend to be qualified to tell the Palin family what they should do in this difficult--and yes, typical--situation. What I reject, what I think the country will reject, and what we must reject is the suggestion that this woman is at all qualified to mandate her choice as OUR only option.
I don't get to make up her mind, but she gets to make up mine because she's Christian? I hope you'll pardon me if I vote the other way.

Posted by: Patt | September 2, 2008 7:27 AM | Report abuse

"What does all this say about Palin herself? That she is a hypocrite? "

Sorry, But I have a completely different take on this. Perhaps not a hypocrite, but it does say alot about Palin and her "family values" in general. We are all painfully aware that premarital sex is a major taboo amongst the evangelicals. So what does this say about a parent who cannot even instill this fundamental core value into one of her own family members? Does she not teach these values to her family? Then she is a hypocrite. Does she teach them but her family (obviously) does not listen? Then she is a bad teacher and (perhaps) a bad leader. And the last time I checked, that's what she wants to be elected for - a leader.

Posted by: Bud | September 2, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

The issue here is not Palins daughter. The spotlight needs to shift to the evangelical position her mom advocates for - abstinence only education. Teens who are only taught abstinence are 60 times more likely to become pregnant than teenagers who are taught a comprehensive sex education program. The Bush administrations assault on sex education resulted in the first rise in teenage pregnancies in fifteen years. Governor Palin and John McCain support the Bush administrations continuing efforts to teach abstinence only.

Posted by: rgm | September 2, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

"The slimiest elements of the Internet culture will be after them. But Americans, I believe and trust, are more decent than this vileness."


after 8 years of vileness and hatred perpetrated by the Republican Pary, NOW Mr. Gerson finds this behavior vile.

...but he didn't find it vile when he was the perpetrator.

The slime came from Ms. Coulter, Mr. Hannity, and Mr. Limbaugh and Mr. Gerson refused to speak up.

How does it feel to be on the short end of it now?


tooooooooooo bad.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

It is only a private matter if you are republican. If this was Chelsea Clinton the right wing attack machine would have been out in full force. "Look what terrible parents the Clinton's are" would have been the righteous cry from Gerson and Limbaugh. But we really don't have to talk about whether Palin is a good parent. We have her membership in a secessionist group - the AIP. We have Troopergate. We have Dairygate (look it up). We have her being the director of Ted Steven's 527. Palin has so many crazy things in her background that whether her daughter is a pregnant teenager is the least of them.

Posted by: Wake Forest | September 2, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Gerson, this is a scatological piece if I ever read one. Your hypocrisy is underwhelming in that you would not be so gracious to the Obamas had the teen pregnancy involved one of the their daughters. James Dobson and you are full of scat with your brand of cold, Christian charity and hypocrisy. Pharisees, the both of you!

Posted by: Black and Bitter Like Morning Coffee | September 2, 2008 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Interesting how the party of family values grows a bit more tolerant when it's one of their own facing troubles.

And it's interesting how the party of enlightenment and tolerance sets aside it's superior intelligence, knowledge, and acceptance when someone with differing political views faces circumstances that, if faced by one of the enlightened, would be lauded and hailed as a hero.

I guess, in the end, small-mindedness truly knows no party. It really is the great uniter. Who knew??!!!

Posted by: Randy A. | September 2, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Brownie, can't have it both ways. You are either for family values or you are with the terrorists. I think we can see where the Palins stand. Al Quaeda? Yup you betcha!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

caliguy55 - Is this the article you are referring to?

"A report on Monday disclosed that Todd Palin was charged with DWI in 1986. David Brody of CBNnews.com said Palin, who was 22 at the time, was pulled over in a truck in the small Alaska town of Dillingham"

It happened 22 years ago! Big Freaking Deal! Her husband was not that much older than when Obama admits to drink and using cocaine.

Posted by: Alan | September 2, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

"This isn't a scandal".

No, Gerson, YOU are a scandal.

Posted by: wardropper | September 2, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Gerson still just does not get it. The hypocrisy is not in how the Palins reacted to their daughter's pregnancy. The hypocrisy stems from the fact that the compassion and understanding that the Palins extend to their daughter is exactly what they do not extend to other people who violate their smug definition of what is normal--and, by their lights, "Christian"--behavior.

Let me put it this way: Will Sarah Palin now show similar understanding, forgiveness, and compassion toward the unwed pregnant teenager who decides to get an abortion? The gay couple who want to unite in civil ceremony? Get married? The serviceman who wants to be openly gay and remain in the military? The atheist who want to run for office? The poor Americans who need help in getting medical insurance, a house, or a job?

What we have here is another classic example of how smug evangelical "Christians"--you know, those people who are forever pointing accusing fingers and passing judgment on other people--deal with their own moral lapses. They give themselves a get-out-of-jail pass. They pass judgment on themselves, and find themselves forgiven in every way. They suddenly discover that forgiveness, understanding, and compassion lie at the heart of Jesus' true message.

Until, of course, it's time to resume their critical judgment of anyone outside their own family, church, or religion.

Posted by: Georgiason | September 2, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

"It immediately struck me that Sarah Palin was chosen as a candidate who understands middle-class family struggles"

You're out of your mind, Gerson.
Palin may have started out "middle class", but she has clearly set out her goal of never again coming within a billion dollars of middle-classness if she can possibly help it.

Her sights are now set on "super-high upper-classness".
And she doesn't care if we know it.

Posted by: wardropper | September 2, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Sarah quickly married when she discovered she was pregnant. It took just one month. Why is the daughter still unmarried after her 5th month? Perhaps it is because it is unclear who the father is. There will be major pressures (with GOP funds) to get one of the daughter's sex partners to marry her.

Posted by: REM | September 2, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

"What does all this say about Palin herself? That she is a hypocrite?"

ahhhh....yes it does. You have lost your mind Gerson.

Posted by: nowhine | September 2, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson,

With respect, the Palin's could not have handled this much worse. I'm not talking about Bristol's pregnancy, I'm talking about using Bristol's pregnancy as a shield against some stupid internet rumors that Bristol was the mother of Trig and not Sarah. What does it say about Sarah Palin's "family values" that she is willing to throw her daughter under the bus like this for purely political reasons?

The Palin family is entitled to their privacy. What is open to debate is the political judgment of Sarah Palin. I, like many others, find it somewhat lacking.

Posted by: tommyspoon | September 2, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

This is a PERSONAL FAMILY issue. Who cares if Sarah Palin's daughter is pregnant. If that was your child, wouldn't you want to protect your child from all of the media. I DEFINATELY would. Her daughter doesn't need to be in the spotlight. My Mother gave birth to my brother when she was 16. Not a HUGE issue in America. Just be happy that she'll be able to care for the baby.

Posted by: Kevin | September 2, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

[snatched from another thread]:

"But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:

"Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the wh*re in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you."

Deuteronomy 22:20-21 (King James version).


Well? There you go republicans. There is your hypocrisy. It isn't that you spend so much time complaining about the immorality of the democrats while being equally immoral yourselves, it isn't that you serve up as much dirt as possible about your political opponents and claim it to be a valid political tactic - and then whine to the heavens when it's done to you ... no, the hypocrisy is your claim to being biblical literalists and then letting this poor little girl go unstoned.

Posted by: typical | September 2, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Pastorized wrote:
"[Let him who is without sin cast the first stone]
In todays world Jesus would never make that statement or he would hand the woman a hardhat."

How dare you presume to state that Jesus would change His message to suit the fashions of the day!
I'm quite certain that He WOULD make that statement.

He was not interested in the depths to which humanity might sink after 2000 years, although He undoubtedly knew what was coming.
His message was unchanging, unlike our morality, and that is the whole point of His teaching. You don't get to change the rules you don't like in His Kingdom.
Didn't you know that, coming, as you say, "from the evangelical world"?
With evangelists like you on His publicity team, it's a wonder anybody even knows who Jesus is.

Posted by: wardropper | September 2, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

You hear a lot about the pregnancy being a private matter. Well, who was it exactly who brought it out? It was Sarah Palin herself. Remember why she did it? Allegedly to counter all the rumors about her daughter Bristol (and not her) being Trig's real mother.
Now, suppose you wanted to counter such rumors - what is the normal way to do this, the one that maintains your family's privacy? Obvious: publish the medical records with your name on them showing that you are the biological mother.
But what does Palin do? *She* chooses to expose her daughter's pregnancy to the public. So, please, don't talk about privacy any more.
And as for the rumors - these are, of course, not gone (google the relevant words and you will see), because this story does not really refute them.

Posted by: PSD | September 2, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I've been reading all these posting ragging on Sarah Palin for taking on the task of running for the vice presidency as part of the McCain campaign and subjecting her family to the media scruitny, maybe she shoud've stayed home and baked cookies as Hillary would say. You people do realize that Obama the Messiah has two young children right? You also realize that Obama has been in political office or running for political office during his children's entire lives? And I'm sure that you realize that both Obama's have worked througout their children's lives. Michelle Obama has never stayed home with her children. I'm also sure all of have actually reasearched Sarah Palin's record and have found that she not only has advocated for abstinence education by also programs for teenage unwed mothers.

Posted by: RobT | September 2, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

If I remember correctly, the Salem witch-hunts stopped abruptly when the wife of the town's most prominent judge got onto the list of suspects.
Sarah Palin's crusade against under-age sexuality has also come to an abrupt stop right here.
What would it take to make typical GOP human rights violations and attacks on the Constitution come to a stop if this cheerleading Republican woman made it to the White House?

The sight of her kicking a dog, perhaps?

Posted by: wardropper | September 2, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

RobT, so it's the usual republican defense then?

So's the democrats!

Somehow, this is Bill Clinton's fault, right?

Posted by: typical | September 2, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

It strikes me that when Republicans have a difficult situation within one of their families, we are all called on to be sympathetic and respectful. But when a Democrat has a similar difficult or embarrassing situation, the character assassins are let loose with a fury. Just ask Bill and Hillary Clinton. Likewise, it is all right for Republicans to go around telling other people how to live their lives (just ask Gay people how they feel about having their private relationships and families constantly mocked and attacked). But when Democrats express any criticism of Republicans' personal decisions, they are immediately characterized as vicious meanies. A couple of sayings spring to mind: what's good for the goose, is good for the gander... Those who live is glass houses... In other words if Republicans want their families to be respected at difficult times, perhaps the best way to achieve this would be to start showing some respect themselves. This is called the Golden Rule.

Posted by: Stacy | September 2, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

LOL @ the hypocrisy. The point of the matter is, this woman cannot even impart family values on her own daughter, and might be expected to lead a nation? Incredibly nerfarious for the Republican foot soldiers in the media to proclaim the evangelicals support her despite her teen pregnancy. First, there is no such evidence to support that (it's been two days since the news was revealed) and second, how self-serving is that anyway to look past the pre-marital sex issue just for a chance to plug their anti-choice position on abortion. Hypocrisy reveals true motivation - the desire to control a population.

Posted by: WassabiCracker | September 2, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I know my girlfriend's daughter had a child when she was 17 back in 2000. She talked about marring the father and thank God she did not because he has proven himself to be a real winner. All of this was a result of all that good abstinence training down at the Baptist church. Well her daughter is now unmarried and has two more wonderful children and a deadbeat live-in boyfriend (military disability). The daughter works hard and makes about $25k per year yet always desperately needs the tax refund from the earned income credit to catch up her bills every year. The kids only get feed constantly because of the WIC program and my girl friend’s ability to subsidize her by $300-500 per month. If my girl friend was not available to fill in with babysitting on a regular basis her daughter would even be in worse shape. I think it is about time that the Christian conservatives take responsibility for their political actions and support health care for all children and subsidized childcare. It one thing to ask a 17 year old to take responsibility for their actions it another to ask the babies to pay the price.

Posted by: bradcpa | September 2, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Typical? Are you serious? Mike, your ideology is showing.

This is a horrible thing to put a 16 year old girl through. This and the brother in law make me think this is a chaotic family.

Good Lord, will we all be telling our children that this is typical?

The bottom line is that McCain shoots from the hip.

The GOP is a moral and intellectual wreck! We're all looking forward to the convention.


Posted by: jfp | September 2, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

"Those who believe that a family situation of this sort will alienate or anger evangelicals have never actually met an evangelical."

He's right, folks, evangelicals love to talk about values and how they're better than everybody but always find nice excuses like this guy to explain why their nice, white 17 year old daughter is having unprotected premarital sex. You want to know my question? Where was the PTA-leading mother when her daughter was learning about condoms? Oh, RIGHT, but only abstinence works!

Posted by: ep thorn | September 2, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

But so many Republicans operate by the other Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

Their rules are that white 17 year olds who are pregnant are to be celebrated. But if you are not white, 17, and pregnant then you are vile and your parents are failures. Abject failures.

Well, it looks like she has a job now. Continuing to take care of her younger brother, taking care of her new baby-to-be and getting wed.

I still find it strange that Bristol had to take off 5 months from school due to mono. My kid sister had mono at 13 (no, she hadn't kissed anyone) and she didn't miss more than a month. Had to be careful about her physical activities for about a year though. Spleen thing.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what this column whould have said if it were Chelsea Clinton who was pregnant out of wedlock. Two faced conservative clap trap.

Posted by: Steve | September 2, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

jfp, I am serious. This whole biblical literalism crap the republicans claim only works for the parts they want to use to throw at their enemies. They seem blissfully unaware of just how truly ugly their bible can be, and how truly ugly they are themselves.

I agree with the previous poster. Republicans, you stay out of our private lives and we'll stay out of yours. What we the people choose to do is NONE of your business, quit throwing your bible at us when you aren't following it yourselves.

Posted by: typical | September 2, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

ROTFLMAO!!! This news combined with the news of Palin's husband's arrest for D.W.I. should put an end to McSame's campaign.

Posted by: caliguy55 | September 1, 2008 3:29 PM

Oh, but admitting to snorting "blow" whenever he had the money should not put an end to Hussein Obama's campaign?

Posted by: Barno | September 2, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

If it is the family of a Republican candidate or official, the Republicans ooze sympathy. If it were the child of a Democratic candidate, rest assured the right would be singing a different tune. And the gall to blame democrats, or liberals, or whoever, for paying attention to this matter! Again, if the shoe were on the other foot, we'd have non-stop lambasting. I am not in favor of such idiocies, on either side. But the Right is so good at flinging mud, and worse, no wonder they are whining about it. They expect it because THAT'S WHAT THEY DO. And then even mere reporting on an issue becomes mud flinging, in their eyes.

Posted by: lucypdx | September 2, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I agree that if Palin didn't tell vetters about Bristol's pregnancy McCain must bounce her. I also agree that if she didn't discuss her running with Bristol she can't claim to be the good mother with good Republican family values.

I've been a psychotherapist for 37 years, and if Gov. Palin or her daughter were my client I would have been dealing with this in our sessions and probably would have insisted on family therapy. I also would include father-to-be Levi.

We now know (thanks to his MySpace page) how immature and not ready to be a parent he is:

____ "But I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing, shoot some s- - - and just f - - -in' chillin' I guess."

____ "Ya f - - - with me I'll kick [your] ass," he added.

____ He also claims to be "in a relationship," but states, "I don't want kids."


I wrote much more about this here:

http://www.capitolhillblue.com/cont/node/11128

Posted by: Hal Brown | September 2, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Barno, there it is again. So's the democrats!

Somehow your mendacity isn't lies and prevarication, as long as the democrats are doing it too.

There are a lot of us who don't think much of the democrats either, but I don't hear them claiming to be cleaner than the republicans when it comes to drugs and drunkenness, but I do hear the republicans claiming that. Now that it's proven you are not, your defense is So are the democrats?

I guess cleaning up your act would require admitting you need to do it. Instead you attack and divert.

Puh-thetic.

Posted by: Typical | September 2, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

"Evangelical Christianity (in most modern forms) is not about the achievement of perfection, it is about the acceptance of forgiveness and healing." Where is this forgiveness and healing? Not in any agenda of the right wing! Gerson is such a hypocrite....he never once asked for forgiveness and healing when the Republicans were wrecking America.

Abstinence only doesn't work...and we now have the proof. And now she's going to marry the father? A 17-year old? Let's see how long this marriage lasts....probably no longer than McCain's principles, when it came to enlisting the Republicans to get himself elected.

Posted by: Chagasman | September 2, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

One word to describe this whole soap opera.
HIPOCRISY!!

Posted by: Bob Field Toronto | September 2, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

The real scandal is Sen. McCain's complete recklessness in choosing a running mate unprepared to be commander in chief. The scandal is McCain being too afraid to select his own top choice, Lieberman, or his second, Ridge, due to perceived backlass from his right wing. So instead he selects Palin on the fly with less vetting than an assistant bank manger would get. Is this the recklessness Mcain will display in office?

Posted by: Scandal? | September 2, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Palin has a teenage daughter who is pregnant. This is sad, but has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Ms. Palin is the least qualified person to ever be nominated for Vice President.

Posted by: james | September 2, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Gerson isn't just a garden variety hypocrite or liar. He is a super-hypocrite, a super-liar, an intellectual psychopath of sorts. To hear him claim to profess Christianity makes me sick. He is every bit the criminal as the rest of Bush's inner circle. I don't believe in hell, Mr. Gerson, but if it does exist, you are on the short list for admission.

Posted by: Andrew Yeckel | September 2, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson,

You self-righteously claim to speak for all evangelicals. I would say that some evangelicals are forgiving, others not, and though most are republicans, some are democrats, and others are apolitical. They are a diverse group, and it is a bit presumptuous of you to speak for all of them. In fact, you are forgiving when it is politically expedient, as in this case, not so forgiving or tolerant when it comes to Jeremiah Wright, Edwards, or Clinton. Religion also is a contender for "last refuge of a scoundrel".

Posted by: LM | September 2, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Was Palin kidding when she said she had "no idea" what the VP did?

What about when she was (is?) talking about having Alaska secede from the Union?

How about getting on an airplane, 9 months pregnant, with her 5th child? For pity's sake, surely her doctors had told her not to do that with the first FOUR pregnancies, not just the 5th!

All of these cast her judgment into question. Plus her stand on abstinence-only education. T

hat's fine in your own household, but that's not fine when it's applied to an entire nation. Teenage pregnancy is not just an individual issue, it's a health & wealth issue. Getting pregnant young is almost a guarantee of learning about how to get by on WIC, welfare and wants.

It's just harder to get out of the well when you've got a baby on board.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

The only reason you liberals can call us conservatives "hypocrites" is because our standards are so much higher than yours. Just because we don't cater to the lowest common denominators in society like you do.

Posted by: James | September 1, 2008 4:19 PM

Yes, James go on and tell us more about your high moral standards. I'm listening...

Posted by: rlambert12 | September 2, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Indeed but for John Mccain to somehow imply that the rumors and scandel was someone elses fault is down right rediculous. To imply Senators Obama and Sen Joe Biden had anything else but virtue! when they speak of family is John Mccain's politics.

Posted by: Robson | September 2, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

It's not the pregnancy, it's that McCain did not vet her at all. That he would just willy-nilly choose someone who he did not even research.

Besides, she belonged to a party that wanted Alaska to secede. So much for America first.

Oh, and there's that inconvenient ethics probe.

Oh and there's all that pork she snagged for her town.

Oh, and there's that DWI of her husband's.

This is a woman we want in the number 2 spot in the country?

No thanks.

This should be the end of his campaign. She will have to go. All of this comes out within just a few days. What else is under the carpet?

Posted by: Klongloff | September 2, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

James it's not just the liberals calling you hypocrites.

You are called hypocrites because you are hypocrites. You don't cater to the lowest of society because you are the lowest of society.

That you refuse to see your own hypocrisy in these matters shows even the non-liberals that you aren't going to stop being hypocrites.

Why should any thinking human being pay any attention at all to your claims of high moral standards when the only time you use those standards is to throw mud at your opponents?

You certainly aren't applying them to yourselves.

Posted by: a | September 2, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Unbelievable. Spinmeister Gerson concedes that people condemning Ms. Palin for raising a daughter who would get pregnant at 16 are being Victorian. Had she been a Democrat, hse would probably have been labeled as trailer trash.


Let's face it Michael, Sarah was too busy working to make it into the Governor's mansion, instead of passing on those "family values" that your party is so big on.

Hey, if the evangelicals were so into forgiveness, why didn't htey just forgive Bill Clinton of his silly indiscretion instead of wasting $60m dollars in impeachment proceedings.

Go peddle your garbage in the Times Michael.

Posted by: Nick | September 2, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse


Palin to her daughter:

"Thanks for coming to me with your problem. What's going to happen now is that I'm going to run for VP so you can be humiliated nationally."

Also, a "typical middle class problem" this is not. The father is a self-proclaimed red-neck.

This is more of a typical "white trash" problem than a middle class problem.

Posted by: Klongloff | September 2, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Somebody better check her for meth too, another white trash problem.

Posted by: mee | September 2, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

republicans have no values.

Posted by: Tony | September 2, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

"Evangelical Christianity (in most modern forms) is not about the achievement of perfection, it is about the acceptance of forgiveness and healing..."

Unless, of course, you are gay, Black, Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan, Muslim or Latino. Then you are damned to hell.

It's not about Annie Oakley's daughter who is living proof abstinence programs don't work. It's about the hypocrisy of "Orthodox Christian" ignorance and intolerance that this situation highlights.

Posted by: Roy | September 2, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin. What a goof. This would never have happened if Karl Rove was still alive.

Posted by: jdj | September 2, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Hey down there, Care to compare our First Lady "Sarah Barracuda” to your Gov. for the last 2 years? By using offical state sites? :-) Facts not hypocrisy. Care to?

4 questions; Does your state have a pipeline? Is your state building a natural gasline? Does your state have a budget surplus? How can a "dad" maintain a job, a family; but "mom" Sarah can't, clarify that please? Are you saying a man does not have parenting skills? How sexist. Or a woman can't handle a policital office like a man? Some of you really need to use your cognitive skills & research before you look a lil ........
Try using offical sites, follow "rumors" first, most that I've read on here reminds me of jr. high school hall rumor mill.
Alaska State Trooper Wooten was charged by his CO for DUI in his state leo car, poor attendence, excessive force, illegal hunting, using a police taser on his 10 years old honor student step son till he fell to ground in spasms, to show the boy how much it hurts, threatened Gov. Palin's young daughter using a police taser, threatened to kill Gov. Palin's father if her sister left him, among other crimes. Do your research.
Former Commissioner Monegan was given a timeline to hire 70 more State Troopers; he didn't. The department now has 44 officers and a population of 31,182 residents. Former Commissioner Monegan was offered a 2nd position; Commissioner of a program he wrote and designed & developed, over saw, but he turned that down. He did not get fired, he resigned. Do your research.

Posted by: 1200.Ak.fuel.rebate | September 2, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Unrelated to the pregnancy issue, but related to the NRA and all the advocates of gun ownership:

.... was carrying five handguns with laser sights and 400 rounds of ammunition when officers took him into custody near UCLA Medical Center.

Investigators say they later found 10,000 rounds of ammunition in his van and storage locker.


Nothing like having a Conservative gun-toting America! While Brazil is pulling in their handguns, our country is making them readily available to just about anyone.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

The only reason you liberals can call us conservatives "hypocrites" is because our standards are so much higher than yours. Just because we don't cater to the lowest common denominators in society like you do.

Posted by: James | September 1, 2008 4:19 PM

Yes, James go on and tell us more about your high moral standards. I'm listening...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8cNtH1mULo

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

James,
You poor thing, you're so misguided.
I'll pray for you.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson, you're missing the point. McCain has voted against teen pregnancy prevention. Palin has pushed for abstinence-only education. Her teen daughter's pregnancy provides an irresistible example of how these programs "work" - they work to get young women pregnant and married too soon, without the chance for education or a career.

Palin should be held accountable for letting down the teens of Alaska no matter what; her daughter's pregnancy just makes the story more timely.

Posted by: Ann Khorite | September 2, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Don't piss on our heads and tell us it's raining, Gerson. McCain knew about the pregnancy and went with his decision anyway. Don't feel sorry for Palin. She and McCain went into this with eyes open.

Posted by: Dan from Austin | September 2, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

"Evangelical Christianity (in most modern forms) is not about the achievement of perfection, it is about the acceptance of forgiveness and healing."

Tell that to the millions of gay Americans that Evangelical Christians have denied health care, visitation rights, survivorship benefits, and hundreds of other basic survivorship tools to.

Evangelical Christianity, in modernI day America, has a huge stain of hate about it.

This girl shouldn't have to go through this. But her mother made the decision to hide her pregnancy, then launch a campaign for VP. Her mother made this an issue. And it's her mother's judgement that is the issue here.

Leave the daughter alone.

But ask the mother why she mislead everyone, claiming the daughter had mono for five months.

That's the real issue here. Why is it ok for Governor Palin to lie to voters that way?

Posted by: Hillman | September 2, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Let's look at the tactics here.

First thing the republicans do is claim they are right, therefore they win the argument.

After a while they turn this around. They attempt to win the argument in order to prove the are right. That's what they're really doing, only they seem to be unaware of this, they think they are still doing the former.

This is why they can't see their hypocrisy. This would be admitting to losing the argument, given the tactics they are now using this would prove them WRONG. They can't handle that.

So all that you hear from them in this thread are tactics attempting to deny the opponent a "win" in an argument. They don't even try to win themselves anymore, they just want to keep the hated opponent from thinking they have one.

Puh-Thetic.

Posted by: typical | September 2, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

The amazing aspect of this article is Gerson himself. Here we have a personal family tragedy in a family for which such tragedies should never ever, according to the right, occur. Here we have a woman has used the office of the governor for a personal attack against a family member, has seemingly a number unresolved family problems like her husband's drinking, first made her mark as a campaign manager for the now indicted Ted Stevens, got through Stevens tons of earmark money, has absolutely no national and international experience, and seems to know so little about US history that she doesn't know when the Pledge of Allegiance was written (not by the Founding Fathers, by the way).
Yet through it all Gerson claims to hold the upper hand. Gerson, the strongest proponent of Saddam had WMD canard, is like his mentor George Bush never able, willing, or perhaps even capable of recognizing that he is wrong. Wrong is so many ways. Unfortunately, all of us including the Palins suffer from the likes of a Gerson.

Posted by: jreed11665 | September 2, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Gerson:
I expect the President and VP to be better. Two Americans who want to rule the nation and world should be the smartest people in the room. I don't want my Pres and VP to be just ordinary people with ordinary problems. To be CEO of the nation, you should know more than anyone else--not perfect but winning at home and at work. Dear Christians, this is also a biblical principle.

Posted by: A Higher Standard | September 2, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

"a pregnant teen marrying her boyfriend is hardly shocking... if properly handled by caring parents, it can sometimes result in the arrival of new life and a new family."

If you need your parents to handle your marriage, you're too young to get married.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

What is so amazing to many readers here, is your lack of perspective of the big picture.

There is a double standard here big time which mystifies many and somehow you simply justify it... maybe because you also practice it for selfish reasons or simply look the other way.

And that is exactly what is wrong with our current government leaders and what many Americans deeply resent - double standards and selfishness harmful to others.
There are NOT many faster ways to diminish one's credibility than to apply a double standard.

For example: a man who believes it is his right to have extramarital affairs19, but that his wife does not have such a right holds a double standard. A man who publicly condemns extramarital affairs while maintaining his mistress is a hypocrite...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_standard

This is NOT the role model example (McCain-Palin's hypocritical double standard), the American People deserve or expect from their leaders.

Why or how should the American people expect great things (which this country so desperately needs today), from McCain-Palin, when they are NOT even able to produce satisfactory results within their personal lives without spin, luck or both.

Posted by: Father | September 2, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

It looks like Palin may be even more hypocritical regarding abstinence-only sex education than was first apparent. Her first child, Track, was born less than eight months after her hurried "elopement" with her husband.

Posted by: arthur | September 2, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

"Why? Because you are attacking a 17-year-old girl."

No. We are questioning Governor Palin, who lied, saying the girl had 'mono' for five months. And we are questioning Governor Palin's decision to handle this so poorly, and Senator McCain's decision to allow this whole mess.

Posted by: Hillman | September 2, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

If the Palin family were Democrats I sincerely doubt that you would see any restraint on the part of our oh so holy and morally upright Republican Party. Remember, the GOP are the worst abusers of the three non-issues that could be best described as the politicians friends. Those are, 1)patriotism,2)morality, and 3)God. According to the Republicans they are more patriotic, moral and God-fearing than the cowardly, immoral and pagan Democrats. The truth of the matter is, the Republicans use these three areas to get elected, not to govern. Does anyone really believe that Bush has used his power to serve his God? That, like Oliver North, he walked on the Constitution for "patriotic reasons?" That he condones torture because it's the "moral" thing to do? If you believe these things, head straight to rehab and try to cure yourself of your FOX addiction. Once you start to see the sun again, you'll be glad you did.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Conservative Republicans in this day and age are dangerous. Republicans are usually dangerous because they fear everything and everyone around them. They have a short-fuse and are intolerant. That is just their nature because they have allowed themselves to become that way. I'm not sure that they are aware of their disfuction.

In contrast, there have been more sensible Republicans in the past although I certainly did not agree with them on all issues. Two I regard well are Gerald Ford
and Christie-Todd_Whitman (N.J.)

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Forget about the family V...etc.

McCain blew it with his biggest decision to date.... PERIOD!

His decision making process is very questionable for presidential material.

Forget about Palin and her issues. It is McCain that should be answering!

Posted by: kfors | September 2, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Despots almost always invoke the name of God. Read some of "you know who's" speeches in Germany and you will clearly see that God was on his side.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

You've totally missed the point, Mr. Gerson. Obviously, for a mother to support her daughter when that daughter makes a mistake is humanity, not hypocrisy.

The hypocrisy here is on your part, and that of others like you. Your party has several very clear position that are relevant here:
1. Premarital sex is morally wrong.
2. Teen premarital sex is the result of bad family values and moral laxity.
3. The government and the public have a legitimate interest in private morality.

Consistency with these positions would suggest that we are talking about an immoral act that deserves public stigmatization.

It's nice to see you responding like a human being rather than a moralist attack dog. But when the topic turns to, say, policies on unwed African-American mothers in inner city schools, what happens to all that empathetic language about "typical middle-class family struggles"? It is replaced with the language of shame and sin. That's the hypocrisy issue here. YOU are the hypocrite, not Sarah Palin or her unfortunate daughter.

Posted by: G. Collins | September 2, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

It's fun to watch the last conservative rats on the sinking ship defending their party ... how much longer will it be before they abandon the ship?

Then again, there's no place for them to go. They've spent the last 20-30 years spewing so much hatred, hypocrisy and duplicity that nobody else wants them. These losers need a corporate whole to belong to since they don't exist as distinctive selves.

So I guess they'll defend their Republican Ship Of Hypocrisy until it goes down and drowns us all.

Posted by: rats | September 2, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Really, I do not trust anything McCain's campaign claims re Palin's "vetting." Advisers to McCain actually told this paper that the FBI conducted a background check on her.

Reporters at another paper (apparently one with journalistic standards higher than Gerson's "hey, let's just trust what politicians say"), asked the FBI about that and, of course, the FBI had never checked Palin's background. Such a thing, after all, is not their job. This is one of the reasons hundreds of thousands of people have donated to the McCain campaign: for him to vet a VP.

EVERYTHING McCain claims about this pick needs to be checked into. If his advisers are willing to lie about something so easy to confirm -- whether the FBI helped -- what other lies are they getting away with?

Posted by: pgbsan | September 2, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Hey DEMOCRATS!!! Why don't don't you listen to your supposed Messiah, Barak Hussein Obama, about the whole pregnancy issue. Here's a quote from him:

"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."

Time to step back and discuss and gripe about the REAL issues.

Posted by: Kevin | September 2, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

For people asking the question if this would be brought up if she were a man, the answer is yes. You're forgetting that people doubted John Edwards ability when he wife had cancer. Now that there's another politician with several more ethical issues on their plate, we have a right to ask the same question.

Posted by: rosidae | September 2, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

This situation with the Palin family calls for love and compassion and I will give it unconditionally to the Palins. However, it's unfortunate that the GOP and evangelicals did not employ the same love and compassion over 8 years ago to Chelsea Clinton when her family was dealing with a very private matter publicly. Wake up America, if we do not cease with our hypocritical behavior, we will destroy each other from within. We won't have to worry about the terriorist.

Posted by: Political Terrorism | September 2, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Well said. Thanks for your clear and logical perspective. I am especially concerned about those that are saying this proves abstinence education doesn't work. That is absurd. This argument would be based on this one example and not the millions of couples it does work for. It certainly worked just fine for me and my now husband who dated throughout college, and I would say that it worked for the majority of our evangelical friends--not to mention the success that abstinence-based education has had when it has been implemented internationally. Just go look up the stats those of you who are skeptical.

Posted by: Adrienne | September 2, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Kevin gives us another tactic used by the republicans. When the opponent is trying to be decent about it, claim the opponents followers are being indecent. Insist that the followers be decent.

It still doesn't look at how the republicans have done this very same thing to every democrat they could get dirt on ... whether it was real dirt or not.

you republicans are indecent people from the start. You have no right whatsoever to claim your opponents must be decent when you never are.

Still another republican hypocrisy.

Posted by: Typical | September 2, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Mr. Gerson, for once again missing the issue entirely. Abstinence only education does not work and leads to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. The policies that you and your fellow ultra-conservatives are preaching way out there in right field are ill-conceived at best, and are more accurately described as extremely dangerous.

I still can't figure out why a major newspaper provides you space to print this nonsense.

Posted by: paulj | September 2, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Palins daughter is a good distraction tactic for the GOP. It helps them avoid discussing the real issues that should be a priority for American citizens:

affordable health care for all

strengthening Social Security not privatizing it

rebuilding our infrastructure

resolving ways to deal with nuclear waste in order to recycle it. Then, building more and safer nuclear plants.

changing oour priorities from a strictly capatilistic system to a more and better social system

changing oour mindset so we can break away from the tube and video games and educate ourselves and our children

In our current mode, we are fast becoming a Conservative third-world country and we will be eclipsed by China and Russia.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Adrienne:

I don't believe you, sorry. Nice try!

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson writes: "Evangelical Christianity (in most modern forms) is not about the achievement of perfection, it is about the acceptance of forgiveness and healing. Nearly every evangelical knows and respects someone who has dealt with this kind of situation with dignity and with God's constant help."

I guess this only applies for unwanted pregnancies. If Ms. Palin's daughter or God forbid, her soldier son had come out as gay, I doubt that those Evangelicals Mr. Gerson writes so approvingly of would be as supportive.

Posted by: Concerned | September 2, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

We all know how the religious right "Evangelicals" contort facts and figures to suit themselves. As I said before, they don't realize their disfuction.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

concerned:

You know it!

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Adrienne, have you actually looked up the statistics? The highest rates of unwed teenage pregnancy, stds, and drug use takes place in the bible belt.

http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/shn/2008/sn510b.htm

http://womensissues.about.com/od/datingandsex/a/TeenPregStates.htm

Of course this does not prove that being a conservative christian means that you have lower morals, what it does prove is that conservative christians are hypocrites when they claim to have superior morals.

If you want the rest of us to pay attention to you, you're going to have to stop lying. You're going to have to notice how little your own lives resembles that which you hold to be good, and stop spending so much time turning this into an effort to gain political points on your enemies.

Fatuous mendacity.

Posted by: tr | September 2, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Typical, your name says it all and YOU my friend are ridiculous!!!! I just wished people would listen to what Obama has to say and stick with the real issues, other than griping about someone else's moral and personal issues. VOTE MCCAIN/PALIN!!!

Posted by: Kevin | September 2, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

It is a shame this girl has to have this splashed all over the world.

The reason this is a news story is because it points out the hypocrisy of Gov Palin's support of abstinence-only sex education vs. (as she calls it) excplicit sex education. Sad that she has a demonstration of that policy in her own home.

The evangelical reaction was quite different regarding Jamie Lynn Spears, whose situation seems similar. This is from the Evangelical Outpost:

"The Spears sisters, Britney and Jamie Lynn, have mutated from wholesome pop tarts to whacked-out baby factories."

Posted by: Sandy | September 2, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson appears to be a nice-enough guy and I hate to see him being picked-on so often, although I can understand the reasons why.

His biggest mistakes were being a Republican, and being a speechwriter for Bush. Other than that, I think he's probably ok.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

If Obama or Biden had a pregnant daughter, would it be any different? Would you Democrats be against your candidate?

Posted by: Kevin | September 2, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Of course there is trash in the air over Palin's nomination. Sure, we should keep her family out of it. Just like the Republicans said all those nice things about Obama's dead mother. What? You don't remember?

We learned how to do this from Karl Rove.

Thanks, Karl!


PS: Can anyone tell me why out-of-wedlock teen pregnancies are so popular with the Christian Right?

Are you thinking this is how the Second Coming will happen?

If so, it is putting a strain on our communities, all these doggone knocked up teens with no husbands, no jobs and options pushed farther and farther away.

I have a 17 year old daughter and it would upset and anger me if she was so careless with her body. But then in our house "abstinence only" is not her only option. I always meet her dates and male friends. I always take them aside, stand close, squeeze that boy's young shoulder a little harder than I should and I say--"you guys have a good time and be careful." That's what fathers do. This cult of fatherlessness is pushing all my buttons, to say the least.

I'm not judging the young people who make mistakes, but this choice of Palin to run for VP is kind of an insult to those of us --Democrat or Republican-- who are trying to do everything right to make sure our young people behave responsibly and have good futures.

Posted by: tony the pitiful copywriter | September 2, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Question:

Has anyone other than myself ever noticed how infactuated the so-called religious right seems to be with sexuality?
There seems to be a preponderance of material from them in this regard.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

It's not a scandal per se--but it does make you question the value of abstinence-only education. Teenagers have sex, no shocker, but if they aren't taught about protection, teen parents typically result. The research has already been done on the number of kids who break their abstinence vows and have sex without protection--this just highlights the incompleteness of abstinence education on a national level.

Bristol is lucky to have such a supportive family in such a situation; many young women forced-fed abstinence education or given no sex education at all are not nearly as blessed.

Posted by: gavin d | September 2, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

ah yes, more lessons in morals from the man void of morals who wrote the lies that were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innnocent people in iraqi.

Posted by: anybodybutbush | September 2, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Wow Kevin, there goes the diversion again.

I don't hear the democrats saying that she shouldn't be VP because her kid is having a kid. In fact this teenage pregnancy in and of itself has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

They're saying she is a lying hypocrite for demanding others follow her religious demands while she is not following them herself.

It's the double standard Kevin, you're claiming the democrats are using one is diversion, not identification.

Posted by: Typical | September 2, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Gerson should feel even more sorry for the "poor guy" Bristol intends to marry if he ever decides to get a divorce.

Posted by: mcstowy | September 2, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse


P.U.M.A.? What's that stand for? People Up McCain's @ss? Tell ya what, I think that having McCain cynically pick a woman, apparently any woman would do, sends an unintended message from the GOP. "You want a woman in the White House, Sweeties? Here ya go. Here's a woman. She can be the vice president, and be in charge of Family Values and the White House kitchens. Vote for us now?" Nice try.

Posted by: TheAnti-Gerson | September 2, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

kevin:

You Republicans never stick to the "real issues" as you call them. And when you occasionally do address them, you are so off-the-wall it's sad.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Lefties just don't get it. They never will. The Democrats and the liberal media are super sexist.

Posted by: Jane | September 2, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

no one seems to see that Palin seems to have thrown her daughter under the bus here. Rumors were circulating regarding Trig. Instead of addressing those specific rumors, they outed her daughter's pregnancy. She couldn't have just found out. Who doesn't tell their mom until month 5. And if the kid wanted to get married she could have already done so. If Palin wanted this to be a Private matter, she could have resolved this privately before issuing a press release. We didn't bring this issue to the spotlight. She did, and I believe it's irresponsible to thrust your kid into the limelight in this way.

Posted by: anonymous | September 2, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

The Netroots are slimy and indecent. You slandered and demonized Hillary, but we won't allow you to to the same thing to Palin. She is a decent human being.

Posted by: Mary | September 2, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

This is exactly what you guys did to Hillary. It ain't gonna work this time around.

Posted by: Isabel | September 2, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"Those who believe that a family situation of this sort will alienate or anger evangelicals have never actually met an evangelical. Just listen to James Dobson's Focus on the Family broadcast, or read one of his books." ~ Goofball Gerson

_____________________________________


1. Dobson views ANY sexual activity outside of marriage as a "deviation from the God-ordained male-female marriage."

2. Dobson called for the ouster of Rev. Richard Cizik from his position at the National Association of Evangelicals because Cizik urged evangelicals to take global warming seriously.

"What is justified is worldwide concern over the proven effects of climate change." ~ Sarah Palin in The New York Times, January 5, 2008.

So tell us again, Gerson, who it is who needs to "listen to James Dobson's Focus on the Family broadcast, or read one of his books"?

Posted by: pali2500 | September 2, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Mary, Palin is just a human being, unlikely to be any better or worse than any of us.

As soon as she stops claiming she's better, then she'll become a decent human being.

Posted by: am | September 2, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I found the wording in the announcement of Palin's daughter's pregnancy interesting:

"We’re proud of Bristol’s decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents."

First, I wouldn't have thought there was any decision to be made given the Palins' strong right-to-life views.

Second, it was Roe v. Wade that gave Bristol the ability to make a decision.

Third, if Gov. Palin, John McCain, and the rest of the religious right have their way none of us will have a decision.

Posted by: Sandy | September 2, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

To all you pseudo moralists .... the only thing that Ms. Palin's pregancy shows is that, unlike her contemporaries, she did not take contraceptives and refused to have an abortion.

Posted by: HaveItYourWay | September 2, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Where in Ms. Palin's religious beliefs is the apporval of premarital sex? How does she condone such behavior?

Posted by: mow | September 2, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

To all you pseudo moralists .... the only thing that Ms. Palin's pregancy shows is that, unlike her contemporaries, she did not take contraceptives and refused to have an abortion.

Posted by: HaveItYourWay | September 2, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

A parent who virtually abandons a newborn with special needs and a pregnant teenager in order to pursue a pie-in-the-sky political office is disgusting, regardless of party.

Posted by: Dawny Chambers | September 1, 2008 3:58 PM
/////
My sentiments exactly!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

We didn't do anything to Hillary. You seem to forget how the conservatives vilified Hillary for years. Rush Limbaugh was the leader of that wolf pack.

The big difference between Hillary and Palin is that Hillary is qualified to be President and Palin is not. When you have to cite PTA experience and say she has foreign policy experience because Alaska is so close to Russia, you have put the country in jeopardy.

She may be a great person and loving mom but she does not belong on the republican ticket.

I think McCain picked her in a snit because Rove & Co. wouldn't let him have his BFF Lieberman so he said "I'll show you!" He even had to read her name when he introduced her.

Posted by: Susan | September 2, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

This is disgusting. I'm an independent leaning toward Obama, but the Democratic Party has turned into a bunch of sickos.

Posted by: JoyLE | September 2, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Goofball Gerfson: "... middle-class family struggles, and this is a pretty typical one."

______________________________________

So Goofball Gerson believes that pregnancies among unwed, middle-class, seventeen-year-olds are "pretty typical"?

Even if we accept that ridiculous statement to be true, do we need a more blatant admission that the evangelical dictate of "Abstinence" does not work?

Or is it simply yet another example of the lengths to which Gerson, a man without morals or ethics, will go to justify the unjustifiable?

Posted by: pali2500 | September 2, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Agree with you JoyLE, only a bit more: the democrats have become a bunch of sickos and the republicans have become a bunch of perverts.

Posted by: ag | September 2, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Such absolute hypocrisy, Michael.

The fact of the matter is that this is what abstinence only gets you: teen pregnancies. Q.E.D. It directly undermines the utility of this policy, a policy which is advocated strongly by this particular candidate. Therefore, it's relevant -- not as a "moral issue", but as a political one. It's politically relevant as to the efficacy of a policy she supports when such policy was obviously ineffective even within her own family. That's obvious to all but the most partisan, jaundiced eye.

But I wouldn't have expected any less from such a hypocrite as Michael Gerson. My only hope is that the Gersons and Palins finally run the GOP so far down into the gutter that the party leadership has the sense in the future to leave you religious whackos behind once and for all. Until then, full blast attacks on the hypocrisy -- it's extremely well deserved when aimed at the white-gloved, finger-wagging evangelical set.

Posted by: Brendan | September 2, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

This is a woman who preaches abstinence yet lets her 14-year-old daughter date a 23-year-old man and get pregnant by him. She preaches family values, yet seems to place the VP job above the wellbeing of her family. She pats herself on the back for going through with a Downs pregnancy, but then instead of caring for the baby, she takes off on a presidential campaign.

She has chosen to subject Bristol to national publicity for her pregnancy, her shotgun wedding, and everything else. And yet this woman has the nerve to put herself forward as a model mother, lecturing other people about how to live? Of course she's a hypocrite.

Her hypocrisy is merely the annoying kind, not the truly disgusting kind like we see in Larry Craig, Ralph Reed and other Republicans. But it fits perfectly in the GOP tradition. This is the party of torture and Abu Ghraib that poses as the party of family values, the party of summary detention and illegal snooping that poses as the party of freedom, the party that starts wars and bombs villages then talks about the Culture of Life, the party where Mark Foley lectured us about keeping kids safe from predators .... to be a Republican is to be a hypocrite.

Posted by: Tom S. | September 2, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

All of these Conservatives so full of themselves!

Liberal Democrats are not at all sexist.
That's nonsense. The DNC like the RNC are out to win an election.

The various shades of feminists appear desperate at this point to have ANY WOMAN in Washington as President or Vice-President.

Their desperation is appaling! Who is to say a woman is going to be a better leader than a man? These feminists are themselves so sexist it's disgusting.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Tom S wrote: "This is a woman who preaches abstinence yet lets her 14-year-old daughter date a 23-year-old man and get pregnant by him."

That's a lie. He's 17 years old.

Like I said, disgusting and sick.

Posted by: JoyLE | September 2, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"This news combined with the news of Palin's husband's arrest for D.W.I. should put an end to McSame's campaign. Mrs. "Family Values" seems to be awash in sin, and yet she has the nerve to pretend to be righteous and right."

------------------------------------

Caliguy55, what you write is nonesense. If that's the case, then Obama/Biden were history long ago for their personal involvement with corrupt figures like Rezko and Auchi, and Biden's millionaire lobbyist son's suspicious involvement with a hedge fund. The mention of the DWI arrest is particularly laughable, considering that Obama is an admitted former cocaine user. Don't even mention the theme of "hypocrisy" until you can find a pair of candidates who are as clean as they pretend to be.

Posted by: ttj | September 2, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

What the republican response to this out of wedlock pregnancy says to me is how hypocritical and stupid these "base" republicans are. Does anyone of them have a spine to admit that McCain's judgment is out of whack? Palin may be a wonderful woman, but her mothering skills are lacking when it came to persuading her daughter to keep her dress down and her drawers up.

The boyfriend said on his my space page(which has since been taken down) that he didn't want kids. Now what? He also said that he was a "red neck".
John McCain is McClueless--he has done a number 2 and is now stepping in it but good.

Personally, as a black person, I do not want obvious white trash representing the vice presidency.
And no Mccain didn't know the daugher was pregnant--why do you think they were almost an hour late coming out on stage to announce his pick? It was the shock of seeing Bristol's big belly. Palin needs to stay in Alaska and govern the state and her family.

Posted by: Callie | September 2, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I agree that this is not a scandal and does not deserve the media attention it is getting and going to get further. However, had this been a Democrat, the GOP would make a big deal about it. In the same way, the GOP wanted to hammer at Clinton for his affair while Newt Gingrich got a free ride for his 3 affairs. The Liberal media indeed.

Posted by: chopin224 | September 2, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

As we all know, McCain had NO intentions of choosing Palin. He was forced to cave-in so that the GOP would have a better chance of winning in November. He had two or three MEN in mind. How about those apples!!!

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Gerson FINALLY exposes himself. To get to know evangelicals better,he writes "...just listen to James Dobsons Focus on the Family broadcasts or read one of his books...

How about this instead. Stick a piece of sausage in your left ear, stuff a chili pepper into your right, and do a huge bong-hit of some good weed and hold it for one minute. The little bright lights you'll soon see is actually James Dobson doing research on his new book "How to pull the wool over peoples eyes and call yourself a GOP man of faith."

Gerson touting Dobson as a person of reference to get to know Evangelicals. If I were evangelical, I think I'd jump headfirst off the Reagan building hearing this. See what happens when you believe in the tooth fairy?

Posted by: Just listen... | September 2, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Callie wrote: Personally, as a black person, I do not want obvious white trash representing the vice presidency.
And no Mccain didn't know the daugher was pregnant--why do you think they were almost an hour late coming out on stage to announce his pick? It was the shock of seeing Bristol's big belly. Palin needs to stay in Alaska and govern the state and her family."

Like I said: sick and disgusting. And you can add "racist" to that.

Posted by: JoyLE | September 2, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I wish the press will stop talking about this little tramp Bristol.

Has anyone taken a gander at Todd? That guy is a hot sexy hunk of MAN MEAT! I want him to ride me bareback!

Hey Todd - you can find me at the convention with Karl "Hot Karl" Rove in the men's restroom/toilet facilities at the Minneapolis Airport. Tap your toe three times if you're ready for some hot man to man action GOPStyle™.

Posted by: Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) | September 2, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Let's look at the flipside of the coin. Imagine, if you will, that this was Obama or Biden's (hypothetically speaking) teenage daughter who was pregnant. Can you picture the fast traveling steam locomotive in the Republican railroading of either Democratic candidate? What comes to light here is that the GOP has become a party of double standards and spin no different than how they try to pain the Democrats. They need to start acting like the Christians they TALK so much about emulating; they quite often cast the first stone, but perhaps it's their own closests they could clean some skeletons out of.

That said, this is a private matter for the Palins, especially her daughter and the father of the child; however, it does call into question her ability to raise her kids right and further equivocates the point that abstinence-only sex education just breeds more ignorance.

Posted by: NCVoter | September 2, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

As a white person I don't want to see white trash in the Presidency or Vice-Presidency either.
Let them go back to their moose-hunting.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The issue is not about Palin's daughter's pregnacy.The issue is that a a man who would be President of the mighty US is a senile old man, suffering from skin cancer and having 19th Century Gunboat ideas, has ferocious temper of a street fighter, has no grace or speaking power, inspires nothing and nobody, who makes silly statements like "I will never surrender in Iraq" has finally been exposed as a gambler, who will play wtih the destiny of American people by choosing Palin as his VP. This woman is not fit to be any country's leader, let alone US.

My Freinds ("McCainism"), there is more than meets the eye in the elevation of this man to the nominee of a Presisential candidate.

Posted by: Elias Balagam | September 2, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Despots almost always invoke the name of God. Read some of "you know who's" speeches in Germany and you will clearly see that God was on his side.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

JoyLE, I couldn't have said it any better. Pretty sad huh? I guess my mother was white-trash; giving birth to a child at 16, back in 1959. Oh the HORROR!!!

Posted by: Kevin | September 2, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

The issue is not about Palin's daughter's pregnacy.The issue is that a a man who would be President of the mighty US is a senile old man, suffering from skin cancer and having 19th Century Gunboat ideas, has ferocious temper of a street fighter, has no grace or speaking power, inspires nothing and nobody, who makes silly statements like "I will never surrender in Iraq" has finally been exposed as a gambler, who will play wtih the destiny of American people by choosing Palin as his VP. This woman is not fit to be any country's leader, let alone US.

My Freinds ("McCainism"), there is more than meets the eye in the elevation of this man to the nominee of a Presisential candidate.

Posted by: Elias Balagam | September 2, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

you are a hypocrite

Posted by: muslit | September 2, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

In our system, the vice-president is chosen by one person, the presidential nominee. No matter how reckless and impetuous a nominee might be, he must be careful to choose running mate up to the job of president, since no one else gets a voice. The scandal here is that John McCain was reckless and impetuous with his choice for the Vice President of the United States. What is reveals about his temperment and judgment what we should be shocked about. Your entry is little maore than an attempt to change the subject, I'm afraid.

Posted by: Paul in Texas | September 2, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Shotgun weddings are so romantic!

Posted by: FoolintheHoller | September 2, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

One really is compelled to wonder whether the McCain camp truly overlooked the potential political liabilities of Palin's history or whether the choice was a Roveian calculation in order to castrate the opposition's ability to attack the VP nominee.
In this campaign marred with accusations of sexism and elitism Palin's nomination may be an attempt to lure the Democrats into personal attacks that will be branded as both sexist and heartless. This accords with the McCain campaign's utter disregard for the issues in this election. How else might one perceive Palin's nomination as a response to Joe Biden's, who is indisputedly one of the more qualified VP nominees in history?

Posted by: Philip | September 2, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

She wanted Alaska to secede? We really need to learn more about her support for Pat Buchanan and, most importantly, her activities in this bizarro group that pushed for Alaska to secede from the union! I guess I need to rethink my support based on all that is coming out--and it has nothing to do with her daughter. It has everything to do with a lack of vetting and judgment by McCain.

We already know she isn't the reformer they claimed. All those earmarks, pounding the drum for the bridge to nowhere.

And now, all these ethics charges dating back to 1996.

SEN. MCCAIN: WHY DIDN'T YOU VET HER????? Your first executive decision, and you did a George Bush. At least, we have a good alternative.

Posted by: rick | September 2, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Michael Gerson's doesn't get it. We're not judging Bristol Palin for getting pregnant. We questioning McCain judgment.

Posted by: Ohio Voter | September 2, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Note the contrast:

Sen. Biden gets elected to the Senate. His wife and daughter are killed in an auto accident. He offers to resign to be with his family, and then, when talked into staying, he takes the train home every night.

Sarah Palin: gives birth to a baby with special needs, has a 17-year old daughter with special needs now, but decides to seek the vice-presidency. Where are her family values?

Posted by: stay-at-home dad | September 2, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Kevin and Joyle:

There's nothing sick and disgusting about not wanting white trash in the White House.
And it is not a racist remark by a black person to say it.

Since it is individuals with your mindset that are leading the march to decay for this country, you should think twice and resolve your disfunctions.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The guy is not going to marry Palin's daughter. Trust me on this. The daughter will have her child and if McCain wins they'll all move in at Blair House.

Won't that be nice situation? Won't that prig Gerson be having a fit, trying to somehow or another, justify the situation.

Going to be a fun show.....

Posted by: Carl W. Goss | September 2, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

It's not Palin per se who's the hypocrite. It's the party she represents. Also, Gerson himself is a bit of a hypocrite for trying to absolve the GOP of their blatant, institutional hypocrisy. But then, consider the source.

Posted by: laboo | September 2, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

This wouldn't and shouldn't be a scandal except that Sarah Palin's EXTREME right wing concepts of WOMEN'S rights are FRONT PAGE HERE!

It has nothing to do about her daughter's situation. It has all to do with her political stance!

Like her, Sen. McCain and his stance is similar. 7 houses and $5m is the rich!

Posted by: jerry rubin | September 2, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

What concerns me is not the hypocracy. It's the blind adhearence to failed policies. On the one hand, the conservative Republicans insist that abstenance only teaching is the only 100% effective policy and is the only policy that should be taught and be available. Then, in the same breath when Palin is invovled, they say that teenage pregancy happens; it's not something that should be held against Palin. If it is just something that happens, despite the presumable capable teaching of Palin in her middle-American home, then that policy doesn't work. Do we really want people in the White House, or even close to the White House, who insist on continuing with a policy that clearly doesn't work setting all of our national policy?

Posted by: DC | September 2, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Does America want the trailer-trash lifestyle of the Palins a heartbeat away from the Presidency?

In just three days, we have discovered:

Drunk driving,

An ugly divorce,

A bitter, long-running, family feud (one with possible legal consequences for Sarah Palin),

A long-term relationship with a U.S Senator currently facing six counts of criminality,

A pregnant,unmarried daughter.

A future son-in-law who declares himself to be a "f****n' redneck" and says "I don't want kids" (in spite of knocking up the Palin's daughter).

And that's in just three days.

Put the Palins on Jerry Springer. Or Maury Povich. Or Dr. Phil.

But for heaven's sake keep this trash away from the White House.

Posted by: pali2500 | September 2, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

They are all hypocrites! Always preaching to others, especially people they dislike for one reason or another. THEY set the standards, THEY are closest to God.

And when one of them goes astray, they are sooooo ready to forgive and forget quickly.
But when others who do not share their religion or ideology goes astray, or lives differently than they do, they are the most critical and unforgiving people in the world.

Almost reminds you of certain Muslims, The Sharia for example.
All of these so-called Evangelicals may feel more comfortable in Iran where they can rule as a male-dominated Theocracy, which is their goal for the United States.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

What is a scandal?

War in Iraq (billions going to non-bid contracts), people out of work (too many winers), health insurance problems, energy problems (cost of oil, no comprehensive energy policies), education taking a nosedive, Constitution and Bill or Rights being shredded.

No scandal here, just grim reality!

Posted by: jerry rubin | September 2, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Despots almost always invoke the name of God. Read some of "you know who's" speeches in Germany and you will clearly see that God was on his side.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

It seems that Abe Lincoln of the Republican Party set free the slaves, and John McCain of the Republican Party set the conditions for the election of the first black person in the USA.

Posted by: Eugene | September 2, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I have been a registered independent for more than 10 years. On Labor Day, I stopped at a McCain booth at a street fair and re-registered as a Republican. Why did I re-register? Because I have seen the face of the future of the Republican Party, and that face belongs to Sarah Palin. I am EXCITED by the nomination of a person who is a reformer, a mom, and who respects life. It is UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE that either John McCain or Sarah Palin would ever say that an important public policy is "above my pay grade"!!

Posted by: ERISAMAVEN | September 2, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The daughters pregnancy is a highly political one. What this info teaches is up to the receiver. I would call it reality.

Posted by: Fisch, BN, Germany | September 2, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I see alot of whining, but nothing constructive on here. A woman that can go from hometown hero high school basketball player, mayor of a small town, Governor of Alaska, AND having her husband help raise five children during her term in office as Governor, I see all of the experience of being able to run a country. She should be a hero/idol to women all across the U.S. I see nothing negative about her.

Posted by: Kevin | September 2, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I will respects Gov.Palin's daughter's privacy, if she respect my daughter's privacy and her right to choose.

Posted by: srikanth | September 2, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

By jumping into this VP malestrom on the heels of giving birth to a special needs child and her teenage daughter's pregnancy, Sarah Palin and her husband have given us one more example of how sacrifice their family on the cross of their own personal, selfish ambition. Take a look again at the photo of Bristol holding her 4 month old brother, like the nanny she probably is reduced to at home, while Mom and Dad bask in the spotlights of their own selfish ambition. Yup, they are true Republicans for sure and family values for them don't extend much further into their lives than the adhesive power of the latest right wing bumper sticker.

Posted by: Todd | September 2, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

No real scandel here but it calls into question her judgdement. What did she teach her daughter about sex? What about responsibility? Is it really being personally responsible if Mommy and Daddy have to now hire sitters and day care so you can pretend it didn't happen and continue your schooling? What if your too poor to afford that? What kind of responsibility is that? Responsibility without consequences are for the rich only? The poor are condemned by a single mistake according to Mrs. Palin to a lifetime of poverty. Mrs. palin's daughter will be fine but only because her pareents have the resources to make it so. What about the rest of us?

Posted by: kchses | September 2, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Gerson's article: always a laugher!

For people other than Gerson who actually have a brain, here's why Palin is a hypocrite:

Her daughter gets knocked up, out of wedlock, at 17 years old. What's Palin's stance on Sex-education? She's against ANY sex education except for abstinence education - which has been proven NOT to work in countless studies. Even her own daughter evidently thinks abstinence is absurd.

Then Palin applauds her daughter's "decision" to have the baby. Ok Palin, get this straight: a "decision" implies CHOICE - you are ANTI-CHOICE and virulently pro-life - Palin wants to overturn Roe versus Wade. Now all of a sudden her daughter has a "choice" to make? Once again, the laws Palin supports don't seem to apply to her own daughter.

If Gerson wasn't such a partisan chump, he'd see how ridiculous Palin's political stances are in light of her own screwed up family situation. That he doesn't is an indictment of the the veracity of the articles her writes....

Posted by: chop1 | September 2, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

After 8 years of rule by president supported by the evangelicals and who gained control of all three branches, is American culture more moral?
The Palin family says no.

Posted by: Bill | September 2, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

This isn't a typical middle class struggle. I am middle class. Actually, I'm lower middle class. We in the lower classes don't typically pump out babies when we're 17 while simultaneously wagging our fingers at the morality of others. And I'd like to add that this happens quite often in the upper classes as well. The difference is that those with money keep it quiet and send their daughters to Canada for the abortion.

Posted by: Tom | September 2, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Abstinence works.

Posted by: Fake-Name-Guy | September 2, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

As a mom, I just can't fathom knowingly putting my teen daughter in the spotlight when she is going through an already difficult time.

Posted by: Stacy | September 2, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm not slimy and I'm not vile, but I am appalled at the double standard the wingnuts, including you, are using to excuse Ms. Palin's "family values." Can you all really look at yourselves in the mirror in the morning without bursting out laughing at your own hypocrisy?

Posted by: Stephen | September 2, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

There is no controversy regarding what you've discussed. The controversy is in what you glossed over. Did McCain know? Did he think it was OK for a 17 year old to be put in this situation? And the same questions for Palin. THOSE are the issues. There's either poor jugdement all the way around, or a little lying and cover up. THAT is what you need to writing about and looking into. Palin's personal family perfection is a red herring and, as Obama says, "Off Limits."

Posted by: Sam | September 2, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

The scandel is that Gerson thinks he's a journalist. Notice to Rove, Gerson, and all the other loyal Bushies, being a sycophant and a liar for the criminals in this administration is not a journalism degree.

Posted by: ca-jac | September 2, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"Country First"

Posted by: David | September 2, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Sure glad I'm neither a hetersexual nor promiscuos. I can spell though.

Posted by: heh | September 2, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. Palin's daughter is a minor, has barely graduated from high school and is pregnant. Her plans to marry the 17 year old father is a relief to many and perhaps the end of the story. But not for sara palin. Perhaps her daughter will require her parents assistance with the baby. Afterall, she's just a child herself. Is Sara Palin fit to continue being a mother of 5, a grandmother of one and quite possibly the leader of the free world, should Jon Mccain, 72, become incapacitated and unable to carry out his duties as president? No matter where you stand on the issues, you would have to doubt it. Why would a woman be somehow more capable than a man of raising five kids and running the free world? Or, as vice president would she still be fit to be a mother of five, one of whom is having a baby and another who has special needs? No man who has ever occupied the presidency has ever shouldered that much responsibility to his family while at the same leading the United States. As the leader of the free world, you're first responsibility is to your country. That's tough, but that's the job. Why should it be different for sara palin? It's just madness what Mccain has done picking this person as his veep choice. I like Mccain as a person. But this reminds me of what his enemies have always said--He's crazy and unfit to lead. I remember in 2000 liking him and ignoring the fact that once he broke thru in the race, he seemed to have no plan, no strategy except to punt and see where he landed. He's doing the same thing now only we can't ignore it.

Posted by: g. pike. | September 2, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

She should have never accepted the nomination knowing that her family is in crisis.

Can you imagine the bravery the young girl had to muster when telling her parents that she was knocked up and then the horror of having it spread all over the front pages of every major newspaper in the country?

A good mother would have kept this private matter private by taking a pass on the nomination.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

stacy wrote:

"As a mom, I just can't fathom knowingly putting my teen daughter in the spotlight when she is going through an already difficult time."

It would be worse if the daughter understood that the reason her mother couldn't be vice-president is because she,the daughter, screwed up. That she cost her mother a career in national politics at the very pinnacle of power. Would you rather live with that, or with the contrived and temporary firestorm this non-event has created?

Posted by: JoyLE | September 2, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

We're all missing the point. The point that the daughter could not seek birth control because of her mother's positions as governor and against birth control. Even if she wanted birth control, she couldn't apply for it in "small town" alaska - for everyone to know that she seek birth control. Nor could she run to another state. Think about it.

Posted by: Jayson | September 2, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Nice try, Mr. Gershon.
No question that, "family decision" or not, it is a hell of a thing to do to a 17-year-old daughter. But how about this: can you really argue to the American people that this woman is the best choice McCain could have made if he was really putting "country first?" In the end that is the question that matters and McCain's poor judgment is too glaring to ignore or obscure.

Posted by: sms | September 2, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

anonymous wrote:
"She should have never accepted the nomination knowing that her family is in crisis."

The family is not in crisis. The family is having a baby. This was once known as a "blessed event." Children born this way were once considered "illegitimate." No longer. I haven't seen the statistics lately, but if less than a third of all babies born were born out of wedlock, I'd be surprised.

Posted by: JoyLE | September 2, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Every parent will relate and hopefully empathize with the Palins. ON the other hand, sarah Palin wants to offer Abstinence-only Education program. This is not a Mainstream position of the Middle class or Any class. She risk seeming out of touch. I have teen sons. I want them to abstain but if they have sex---use contraception and go to Alaska and meet a hot Republican teen babe!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

jayson wrote: "We're all missing the point. The point that the daughter could not seek birth control because of her mother's positions as governor and against birth control."

This is silly.

As if teen-agers can't get condoms in Alaska.

And then there is the rousing success of sex education programs. NOT!

Posted by: JoyLE | September 2, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

This McCain and Palin mess is almost like one of those pictures in the Bible where the man has the woman's hand and they are running from the wrath of GOD. Well, run on, yo'll can't run that fast.

If McCain knew about this mess, and got her anyway, not only was this not smart, it did not show good judgment.

If Palin knew about this mess and didn't tell it, she's an ambitious, dangerous person (watch out McCain, she might really wanna be president!) And if she didn't know and just found out, she's still a ambitious, dangerous person who's willing to throw her own flesh under the bus (you better really watch out McCain, you might be next!!)

Posted by: JustAThought | September 2, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Over the past day, I have read a number of conservative commentators, who all describe this situation as fairly "normal." Mr. Gerson says "a pregnant teen marrying her boyfriend is hardly shocking." I am a 47 year-old upper middle class executive with a 19 year-old son and a 16 year-old daughter. My wife and I have many friends and our children are in public schools. We know of not a single pregnant teenage girl who has married her boyfriend while/because she is pregnant.

I'd like to know just how common this situation is for middle class families. Conservative commentators are portraying it as just another day in the life, which it is not. It is a very big deal and highly unusual. Show me data before you make such claims.

Posted by: Ready Reader | September 2, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

My sympathy to the loving Palin family who have to endure slings and arrows while experiencing a normal event known to thousands of teenagers and their families. I would love to have them as next-door neighbors, and I sure will vote for her this November. We all know the democrats never have sex so they feel free to throw stones and make comments about their purity.

Posted by: zaney8 | September 2, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

zaney8:

Please, please move to Alaska.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

If parents want their children to have access to birth control, they can provide it for them. School districts have no business providing birth control education and measures to children behind the parent's back or against the parent's wishes. The success of sex education programs in preventing unwanted pregnancies is pathetic.

Sex education programs do little more than get kids thinking about sex more than they should. Birth control devices only encourage children to have sex more than they should without the emotional ability to conduct themselves in a mature and loving way. They are a failure and are simply an insult to parents whose children are not at risk for this kind of behavior.

Posted by: JoyLE | September 2, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse


Is there no limit to Gerson's hypocrisy? At least that other piece of reich wing caca, David Brooks, tries to seem normal. Gerson? He lets it ALL hang out.

Posted by: Parakeeta Byrd | September 2, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Anybody that would accept Bill Clinton's cigar action in the White House itself as "okay" because Monica (who was over 21)was all for it and then say that Palin is "sinful" because her teenage daughter made a mistake is the true hypocrite.

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | September 2, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey Michael, how about we take the Palin pregnancy out of the mix and focus on what this controversy does say about Palin? That her faith in abstinence-only education is fundamentally flawed. The scandal which has become Troopergate. The flip-flop on the Bridge To Nowhere. The involvement with a group that wants Alaska to secede from the US? The massive earmarks for a town with a population smaller than my neighborhood. Her husband being in bed with Big Oil? Get back to me on those, would you?

Posted by: shadowgovernment | September 2, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

God, but Gerson and the rest of the "moral authority" GOP are a bunch of hypocrites.

Time for them to go off into the wilderness for forty years, IMHO.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | September 2, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

The problem is that the Republicans want to impose abstinence education instead of good sex ed.

BUT they can't even keep their own houses in order.

They should be judged for that: living in a glass house, and throwing stones.

Posted by: lark | September 2, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Why are you writing about this non-sense, Gerson? Typical to focus on the least important issue w/r/t the future of our nation. It's a private matter -- of great importance to the young woman involved and the Guv but of relatively little importance to the nation.

Why aren't you talking about the fact that Mayor Palin hired Ted Steven's Chief of Staff to bring $27 million in pork to her little town of 6,700? This is the same Gov. Palin who now has the nerve to call herself an anti-pork reformer! What about the fact that campaigned for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it? Or how she kept the money for the Bridge to Nowhere even after cancelling the project and used part of the money to build a road to the non-existent bridge?

I smell hypocracy.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Another bunch of GOP talking points from Bushs' ex#1 scriptwriter.

Posted by: Justin G | September 2, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

"Evangelical Christianity (in most modern forms) is not about the achievement of perfection, it is about the acceptance of forgiveness and healing."

Yeah? You should tell that to the evangelical Christians then. I don't think most of them got that memo.

Posted by: Wang Bang | September 2, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

So let me see if I understand this correctly:

1. Bristol Palin is now five months pregnant.
2. The father has now been identified as Levi Johnston, a young aspiring hockey star.
3. The two make quite a photogenic couple, and have been identified by locals as high school sweethearts.
4. Along with announcing the pregnancy, the Palins’ announced that Bristol intends to wed the father. No time frame is given.

So, my question is, what the hell is taking them so long? Pure speculation, sure, but could it be that Levi (self-proclaimed redneck though he is) is holding out for a paternity test? Could there be a role for Maury Povich in the McCain administration?

Posted by: Bill B. | September 2, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

What does this story say about Palin, you ask? To me it is not really about her parenting -- although one might inquire why she has spoken out for abstinence education in her state's public schools but now seems almost to be congratulating her own daughter for having premarital sex.

To me this story is about right-wingers like Palin (and like you, Mr. Gerson) who insist on making people's personal lives into political issues to get votes.

Like the stories about David Vitter and Larry Craig, this story is about how making the personal into the political can come back to bite you. If you and Palin want the rest of us to leave her personal life alone, why don't you and she set a good example by keeping your mouths shut about other people's personal issues? That means no more speeches about same-sex marriage or abstinence, Mr. G. If you're going to yell at others about their personal lives, don't complain when others do the same to you. No one likes a hypocrite.

Posted by: simon | September 2, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

PLEASE vote for Obama! We in Delaware need to GET RID of BIDEN!

Posted by: Delaware Dad | September 2, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Man, you have to be shameless to even turn around this pathetic piece of news into something glorifying. The logic, it seems, is someone from the gutter is needed to clean up the gutter. Whatever happened to leading by example ? Can we now say the Lewinsky scandal was Clinton's way of associating with the commoners ? The Republicans should have precious little to complain about him otherwise.

Posted by: AG | September 2, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

here's to all the losers who think their views on here actually matter! go do something else that matters rather than displaying your moronic views for all to see!

Posted by: jonathan | September 2, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

If this situation were reversed and the candidate in question were Democrat, you could bet your bottom dollar the right-wing sleaze mongers would be on this like flies on you-know-what.
Looks like another election lost by Democrats' display that morality doesn't end at being straight & keeping one's pants up.

Posted by: paulF | September 2, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

It appears that Mrs. Palin and her husband were members of the Alaska Independence Party which puts Alaska's sovereignty above that of the United States.
If they had been successful would she have revoked her US citizenship for the nation-state of Alaska?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/johnmccain/2667214/John-McCains-running-mate-Sarah-Palin-was-in-Alaskan-independence-party.html

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin should have ignored the bloggers and left them to their own speculations. That's what Barack does, and in result, everybody thinks he's a saint.

Posted by: dcp | September 2, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

caliguy stated, "ROTFLMAO!!! This news combined with the news of Palin's husband's arrest for D.W.I. should put an end to McSame's campaign."

I must have missed where you said Obama's campaign is over due to crimminal matters in Joe Biden's family. I understand Biden's brother and son have been indicted. Oops I guess family matters only taint Republicans.

Posted by: hypocracy at its worst | September 2, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

It's not a "scandal" or outright hypocritical, but Palin is against contraception and abortion. It just shows the world how ridiculous her position on this is. Yes, deny teenagers contraception education, deny women abortions, and you too can have a pregnant 17 year-old at home. This put her position on these matters in a good light.

Posted by: Lauren | September 2, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm! "The slimiest elements of the Internet culture will be after them. "

So, when the people speak, unless they are vetted national media reporters with degrees in journalism, their opinions are not worthy of newsprint?

Too many of you "professional" journalists have sold your souls to the devil of corporate advertisers and conglomerate communications media - and have conveniently forgotten that your readers hunger for all the facts. . . not just the facts that you want us to hear.

Posted by: David in Dallas | September 2, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

What this does say about Palin is that abstinence ONLY education does not work. Just ask her daughter she didn't abstain.

I don't care how the Republicans try to spin it because she's marrying her boyfriend. She was not planning to marry him until they got pregnant.

Abstinence education ONLY DOES NOT WORK!!!

Posted by: Abstinence | September 2, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Remember, all this is in reaction to a bogus, vile charge of faking the identity of the mother of a child with Down Syndrome.

Apparently Democrats don't like to listen to Barack Obama. Obama has spent 19 months complaining about gutter politics in general and has cited this non-issue in particular. Yet Obama supporters are clogging the ether with filth, instigated by arguably the most reprehensible attack ever.

I've voted in seven presidential elections -- all for a Democrat. I voted in a Democratic primary this year.

I am thoroughly turned off by Obama mania. I can't vote for the creeps sliming Palin as they did Hillary. Sorry Hillary, hope to be back in the fold in 2012.

Posted by: bri | September 2, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gersen- an unsually sensitive column that .I can agree with most of it because I'm white and midlle class and this is the group you are addressing. But you should readMr. Colbert's post for the other side of this question.

Also you comments about Mr. Dobson are purely the assessment of a fellow traveler.

And yes I have met many evangelics-some of whom are relatives. Just like Mr. Dobson they are kind and forgiving to their own, but have nothing but contempt and ridicule for those have different beliefs.

Posted by: toldyouso | September 2, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Bring it on!

The more you idiots screech about Sarah, the better.

Thank You!

Posted by: viejo1 | September 2, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

So now we have the geezer / trailer trash ticket. Look who will be a heartbeat away from the red button. Our politics just get better and better -- we can still aspire to be the laughingstock of the world.

Posted by: opinionated4 | September 2, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Shelia, for this observation:

"Not scandalous. Please. Republicans have been blaming out of wedlock births for the destruction of America for decades. Now that it's one of their own it doesn't undermine the american family."

This is exactly why Palin's daughter;s pregnancy is scandalous, and why the republicans should have left her family out of it from the beginning. I seem to remember McCain campaign statements to the effect of, "her story is so compelling." Very.

Posted by: J | September 2, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

No Democrats of any national standing or connection to Obama's campaign have attempted to or are going to attempt to take political advantage of Palin's minor daughter. They should, however, address the absysmal failure of "abstinence only" education to address the problem of teenage pregnancies. That's the issue here of national relevance.

I can't help but think, though, that if this "family values" issue were in the other political camp, Gerson et al. would be trumpeting it as a failure of liberal values to protect children.

Posted by: MultiplePOV | September 2, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

My understanding is the Todd Palin works for BP and is also involved in commercial fishing. Who will be caring for their infant child with special needs and providing support for their pregnant teenaged daughter or their three other children while Gov. Palin is campaining and running the State of Alaska? I fail to see a family first mentality or strong family values. It is very hard to reconcile the demands of the Vice Presidency and demands of speacial needs infant and teenage pregancy at home.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

This appalling VP choice showcases the bad judgement of the McCain campaign. And that SHOULD be an issue in this election.

Posted by: J Hall | September 2, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of crap. If it was one of Obama's daughters that got knocked up Gerson and the rest of the right wing nut jobs would be thumping their bibles and screaming at any microphone within a ten mile radius. Hypocrites....

Posted by: DirtyHarry | September 2, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, in Mr. Gerson's narrow little world, it's only a scandal when a 17-year-old Black girl is pregnant out of wedlock. There, it's a case of low morality. In Gerson's view, there is something almost virtuous about a pregnant white girl in the loving embrace of her family and church, because, after all, God has a plan for each and every one of us.

Posted by: Mike S. | September 2, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"I am thoroughly turned off by Obama mania. I can't vote for the creeps sliming Palin as they did Hillary. Sorry Hillary, hope to be back in the fold in 2012." bri

Dear bri, there's a very good chance that after President McSame appoints 2 to 3 justices to the Supreme Court you won't have a right to vote by 2012. You're being insanely short-sighted.


Posted by: Dan Smith | September 2, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

So, this is a private family matter. Fine. But Republicans have conveniently developed amnesia. Eleven years ago, they seemed to think it was just fine to invade the privacy of the Clintons' marriage and make their problems national and international news. And to politicize these personal issues by impeaching the President.

Give me a break.

Posted by: magpie | September 2, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"Unfortunately, in Mr. Gerson's narrow little world, it's only a scandal when a 17-year-old Black girl is pregnant out of wedlock. There, it's a case of low morality. In Gerson's view, there is something almost virtuous about a pregnant white girl in the loving embrace of her family and church, because, after all, God has a plan for each and every one of us."


MikeS: You said a mouthful here!
These Rupublican Evangelical hypocrites will have more to say in the future, you can be sure. They can never mind their own business or keep their mouths shut.

God has a plan for each and every one OF THEM, NOT US.


Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Watch for the spin on Michael Gerson's next article here!! Stay tuned!!

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Didn't the repulicans rejoice when the black "man" boy who was 18 got put in jail for statutory rape with his 17 year old gilfriend.

Posted by: Tom | September 2, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

The important thing to keep in mind here is Miss Congeniality's gravitas.

Posted by: vinylgirl | September 2, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Who took care of Chelsea Clinton back in 1992, when Bill and Hillary were campaigning all over the country?

Posted by: aaron87 | September 2, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Let's talk about Sarah "Barbie" Palin's familiarity with problems American families face.
She has a special needs infant, a child with Down's Syndrome. This in no way affects her career because she's got access to the kind of child care and health care a special needs child requires. Many, many people don't have such choices. Barbie's problem is not that she isn't the norm, but that she thinks she is.

Posted by: Relevant | September 2, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

The only reason you liberals can call us conservatives "hypocrites" is because our standards are so much higher than yours. Just because we don't cater to the lowest common denominators in society like you do.

Posted by: James | September 1, 2008 4:19 PM

*******************
This is the definition of hypocrisy you clown. If she had a (D) next to her name she'd be the mother of the spawn of secular Satan. She'd be just another contributor to the decline of western civilization and a poster for ambition over family and sensible parenting.

Would you care to say how this rhythm method white trash almost beauty queen is not the lowest common denominator??? This is a story right out of Appalachia, but instead it's the creepy rejects of the lower 48 who hide in the woods and suck at big oil's teet. These creeps enjoy longer winter months and more hours of darkness than you.....the good Christian.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I can just about hear Rev Mike's pontificating on the vile dangers of liberal life styles if this was an Obama daughter we were talking about here.

Republican hypocrisy and spin is almost as disgusting as their policies.

140 days till the end of the Bush administrations.

Posted by: CardFan | September 2, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson,

Everyone is fine for the daughter.

The issue you ignore is that Ms. Palin is OPPOSED to sex education in the classroom. Once her abstinence only beliefs FAILED on her eldest daughter she puts out a publicity statement with big grins and smiles that all is well.

Such HYPOCRISY. Reminds me of Dick Cheney. It's ok for the Republicans to put out platforms that discriminate against gays and suggest liberals are immoral for acknowledging then. Point out that Republican families have gays and they become ENRAGED that this wasn't kept in the closet.

Ms. Palin wants her little secrets to be left in the closet. Well then she needs to back off her MORALITY SNIT BETTER THAN THOU pedestal.

It's the HYPOCRISY that is the issue. Right Wingo wish to pretend it is something else!

Posted by: What? | September 2, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's not about scandal...it's about Republican hypocrisy. The party of family values looks more and more like something out of a Tennessee Williams play...and take a good look at the kind of shoot-from-the-hip decisions McSame is likely to come up with were he to get anywhere near the nuclear button. Puddinhead was a disaster but this guy is several orders of magnitude worse.

Posted by: nighthawksoars | September 2, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

And Im sure Gerson would say the same thing if this were Biden or Obama's family.......NOT!
Mr. Gerson, it was Senator McCain who came out and told the world about the pregnancy of the 17 year old girl. Supposedly he was trying to end a "FALSE RUMOR", but if the rumor was false, why do anything? Why take it our on a minor?
Having read about the "father", a boy who describes himself as a "f***ing Redneck" who "doesn't want kids" (his words) I wonder at the parents for pushing marriage to this scumbag.

How long before Palin drops out? This week or next?

Posted by: Marc Edward | September 2, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

submixc: "Obama's mother was ALSO pregnant WITH HIM, UNWED"

The parallel would be to ask whether Obama's mother or grandmother would have made a good political candidate for President/V. President at the time.

ESPECIALLY IF THEY WERE PROMOTING **ABSTINENCE ONLY** PROGRAMS INSTEAD OF SEX EDUCATION PROGRAMS...

else they would appear VERY HYPOCRITICAL.
(just like Governor Palin.)

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Gerson,

If you are pro-life, might I suggest you stop advocating a rampaging foreign policy that leaves hundreds of thousands of innocent people slaughtered at our hands.

That's being consistent and avoiding hypocrisy.

Otherwise, you are not pro-life. Simply pro-birth.

Posted by: Beezer | September 2, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I love how all the Mainstream Media and their Republican owners tell us how none of this is an issue that should concern us.

Well, guess what? This DOES concern us! Just look at this massive outpouring of outrage over McCane's flippant pick of this crazy lady to be his running mate and, quite possibly, our president!

Her family life is a mess! Why are we supposed to suppress our gut response to that simple fact? She's supposed to be there to take control on Day One? She has no control!

Oh, she can identify with the "average American family." So can my sister, but I don't think I want her running the country!

Stop with the crap, this is serious business!!!

Posted by: TerryOakland | September 2, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

You're a slime ball political hack Gerson just like the party you represent. It amazes how the Repuglicans think the general population are completely morons. Obama will win in Nov because he talks to the little people as if we're no so little and insignificant.

Posted by: Ryan | September 2, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Having read a few of the above comments it is clear that the Obamatons are scared. They feel it in their bones. And the more shrill they become the stronger the conservative response will be. Haven't they learned anything?

Posted by: indypol | September 2, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

And by the way, how nice is Gerson's pious urging for voters' forgiveness and acceptance of the out of wedlock pregnancy, of her husband's DWI, of the investigation of Sarah P. for using the governor's office to intervene in the Palin family feuds? But where was that sense of forgive & forget when it was Bill Clinton's troubles the Republican werewolves were attacking in full cry? Hypocrites. Sanctimonious hypocrites. Get ready, Republicans...the chickens are indeed heading home to roost.

Posted by: nighthawksoars | September 2, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Gerson is a total tool.

Posted by: Frank | September 2, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't think this woman's a hypocrite, I think her own family is living, breathing evidence that her policies don't work. Sure she's consistent -- her daughter isn't having an abortion, she keeps advocating abstinence, she's a family values candidate -- unfortunately, America has to look no further than her family to see that her approach to integrating the beliefs of the moral majority with politics doesn't work. She's one more reminder that the path the Republicans have taken this country down for the last 8 years is the WRONG PATH. She's one more reminder that screaming about family values is distracting from the real issues that face this country -- the economy, the war and healthcare and education. If you ask me, this is one more desperate attempt to make the issues of the election about abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research and prayer in school. The only issues Repulicans these days know how to win on...

She's worse than a hypocrite, she remains blissfully happy to ignore the fact that 70 percent of America thinks the policies of GW are the wrong policies -- which after the mess of this administration, leaves me thinking she's possibly an idiot.

Not exactly the pick-me up needed by the campaign of a 72-year old cancer survivor.

Posted by: Colleen | September 2, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Everyone leave this beauty queen alone. Hillary didn't get the nomination so I'm voting for vagina no matter what!!

Posted by: Sarah | September 2, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

The time is now for a woman in the White House; even if it sets women's rights back 60 years to be subservient to a womanizing hack.

Vote VAG in '08

Posted by: Mary | September 2, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Sarah and Mary:

Two birds sitting in a tree.
Desperate to get a woman out of the tree.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Move along folks. In some states the sex police arrest minors engaging in consensual sex and imprison them for lengthy jail terms and Ken Starr would have been describing to us whether we wanted to hear or not what position the deed was done in, but these are Republicans, therefore, by definition, not scandals. Kind of like torture. Nothing to see here.

Posted by: Sara B. | September 2, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

What's next on the Jerry Springer show???

Posted by: punxnbutter | September 2, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

What a spineless scumbag Gerson is, utterly vile and cowardly. Palin is an American version of the Taliban.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson, as much as you want to spin the story, she is hypocritical.

She introduces herself to the country as a women, mother, regular person. She publicly discusses her newborn with Down Syndrome and her son, who is going off to Iraq (which I think most any parent would be proud of).

However, what bothers me is her policies of abstinence only education, and beyond that her Pro Life views that she wants to push on all of the American people.

Can we honestly believe Bristol had a choice if she was going to keep her baby? I think how they are handling the situation is admirable, but I don't like the disconnect between real life situations and public policy.

This is why Ms. Palin is getting slammed on this issue.

FURTHERMORE, if it were a democratic candidate's kid, it would just be another story in the fodder to decry us liberals and godless satanists. Ann Coulter would show off a few more inches of her legs she would be so gleeful.

There's enough hypocrisy to go around, but I'm honestly sick to death of the Christian right and evangelical christians. It's on thing to espouse morals and forgive those who stray, but they show no respect for people with different opinions and lifestyles. God forbid gay couples want to get married. These groups want to control all our lives and have too much power in politics.

American was better off before the rise of the Christian right and other moral superiors. Every time their hypocrisy can be exposed the better for this country.

Posted by: ATacoma | September 2, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Give me a BREAK!!! Where have you been Mr. Gerson with the VILE, DISGUSTING things that the Right Wingnuts have been spewing against the Obamas for months now.

GIVE ME A BREAK!

Posted by: MK | September 2, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Ok, here is my thinking about Mrs Palin and her family.
1. Pregnant child--support and love her. Stand by her. Millions of American families go through this each year. No big deal.
2. Husband's DUI--That was 20 years ago. Has he had one since then? If that answer is no, get over it.
3. We had a MARRIED president who was receiving sexual favors from a woman (at least one that we can prove) while he was in the White House. We have had many other Presidents who were adulterers before, during, and after their White House days. So, who can honestly and effectively speak on morals and issues? None of them. As a mother of 2 young children, I was very upset that I had to explain what oral sex was to my 4th grade daughter when the President made it headline news.
I am sure Sen. McCain knew all about the personal goings on of the Palin family before he even approached her.
Give me a break!

Posted by: blackeyedsusan39 | September 2, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Hey RON
Keep your F-ing sermons to yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

You are right. This is not a scandal. Just another piece of evidence that the Republicans will not face reality.

Since she promotes abstinence only in public policy, I would assume that she has an abstinence only policy in her household. And do you think she learned what the rest of us already know; that abstinence only does NOT work.

Again, no scandal here. Just more evidence that Republicans choose ideology over reality.

Posted by: ejwenger | September 2, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately for Bristol, the pregnancy is absolutely fair game in her mother's campaign when her mother is stridently anti-abortion, but won't recognize that abortion rates will continue to soar if we don't pay attention to preventing teen pregnancy. Fine, her daughter didn't choose an abortion, but she got pregnant in the first place mostly as a result of right-wing prudism in the form of abstinence-only principles. Abstinence-only leads to poor judgment, poor judgment leads to teen pregnancy, teen pregnancy leads to abortion. Republicans inability to recognize this is another expression of poor judgment.

Posted by: Jennifer | September 2, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Why do politicians have to cater to crazed evangelicals? Anyone who tries to push his or her religious beliefs on someone else is a nut bag and its really too bad that these whackos get a vote.

If I believe that through my prayer and meditation that God is speaking to me, I will listen and (hopefully) act accordingly. If, however, you tell me that God told YOU to tell ME something, I will run for the hills.

Gerson I'd love to have heard your thoughts if this (hypothetically) had been Obama's teenage daughter. I can only imagine what you'd have written.


Posted by: John | September 2, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

blackeyedsusan39
You are an idiot if you think you have to explain to a 4th grader (10?). What happened to a childhood?
Palin's family issues are her own. Her inexperience and the 72-year-old's lack of judment is our problem.

Posted by: NoloC | September 2, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is running for VP not President. How come NO ONE is on OBAMA for HIS PAST DRUG USE????? That concerns me more than a preg. daughter of the future VP! No fair & balanced in the media, DNC or the american people! Or should I say Obama's OBOTS!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: CBH | September 2, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

WAAAAAA!!!! Boy, I don't know which is funnier - the stuff comin' out on Palin - or the losers tryin' to spin it.

Man, this is hilarious!!

Meanwhile...steadily moving...Obama Biden quietly going about their work.

You know, Obama/Biden are looking stronger every day.

Posted by: JDB | September 2, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Hypocrites... all of them. If this had been one of Obama's kids the religious right would have been all over this saying how it shows the promiscuity and the results of liberal, elitist teachings. I'm sorry for the young girl, but I am overjoyed at the republicans having to eat some of the c*** they've been shoveling for years.

So... lets leave the children out of this. But let's ask Sarah a few questions.

Question 1: Where does she stand on universal health care?

Question 2: Who's paying for the exorbitant health care costs associated with a Downe's Syndrome baby? Gubenatorial health insurance?

Question 3: Who will be paying for the health insurance costs of Sarah's daughter's illegitemate baby? Gubenatorial health insurance?

Question 4: Do all the other people of Alaska have health insurance as good as the Governor of Alaska?

Democrats should take all Palin's negatives and package them into the health insurance issue. Point out the hypocracy there...

Posted by: Rocketjs | September 2, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans know they are losing and rightly so. These screwed-up Evangelicals and Neocons don't know left from right, up from down. They have NEVER seriously addressed the issues facing this country and the world because they are INCAPABLE of doing so.

They are all a confused bunch of nitwits who are more than ready to attack the Eastern educated liberals who are attempting to fix some of the damage they have caused since Bush was elected. They don't have a brain in their collective heads and are more than happy to sacrifice individual freedoms for their crazed ideology.

What a joke McCain and Palin are, as well as Rick Davis. They will crash and burn along with George, Dick, Condi, Gonzales and all the others who crashed and burned before this.

McCain is a do-do bird. And his running mate belongs in the outback.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Do you all know where your state's electricity comes from? How about where your water comes from? How about the methods used to treat and dispose of your sewage? Do you know how much or how little your city recycles glass, plastics and paper and where the recycled material ends up? Where does your garbage go? How much of your food supply does your state produce and is it sustainable? Is your state a leader in these areas or a follower?

Why does everyone focus on the same things in political candidates that we see the media focus on with respect to TV celebrities? There are bigger fish to fry here folks.

For what its worth, I will be teaching my kids about birth control and safe sex, even if a McCain/Palin administration refuses to.

Posted by: Ted | September 2, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

caliguy55 wrote some very disturbing and stupid words.

Having had a child out of wedlock, I understand the pain this girl is going through, but she comes from good stock and this is NOT the end of the world. She is surrounded by lots of loving family and friends. It is too bad that the media has refused to pay as much attention to this topic than to the Obama's - Ayers connection.

Some of you with your comments are patently inaccurate. Do you not care to be credible at all? No, wait a minute, you're liberals. Liberals don't care much for facts.

Posted by: Adrian: | September 2, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Bristol's pregnancy is definitely her own business. If only the Republican party would recognize that there IS a zone of privacy for all citizens (among the unenumerated rights mentioned in the ninth and tenth amendments, since Scalia etc. can't find it there). Then we could end the war on drugs and other big-government idiocies.
The real issue is whether McCain made a hasty shoot-from-the-hip choice, and what it says about his management style and judgment.
I also find interesting the $26 million in earmarks Palin got for her little town as its part-time mayor, the big debt for the sports stadium she pushed (allegedly $6 million), her apparent lie about not supporting the bridge to nowhere, her support for creationism . . .Does she really believe the earth was created six thousand years ago and do we really want someone like that a heartbeat away at a time when we need to IMPROVE our science education?

Posted by: scientist1 | September 2, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate Mr. Gerson's view, but I do not think he has fleshed out the "family decision" nearly well enough. Was it a family decision to accept the VP position in light of the daughter's pregnancy?
If I am a 17 yr old teenager, who has already deeply disappointed my parent(s), am I really in a neutral position when Mom asks everyone if it is OK if she runs for VP? How will a 17 yr old really react in this situation? Tell mom that her chance at the highest political office will just have to wait? I can't imagine things went down that way, if they went down at all. There is nothing to suggest in any of the reporting to date that this family had the time to have any meaningful discussion about accepting this role in the campaign. Nor has there been any discussion on the underlying issue, which is this: If Gov Palin is strongly pro-family, why on earth would she willingly expose her 17 yr old daughter to this? Regardless of whether the young woman, under unimaginable pressure, "agrees" in some far-fetched sense of the word to move ahead with it? When it came down to career or protecting her daughter from this, Gov Palin chose career advancement. To me, that does not indicate a person who gets "pro-family" at all.

Posted by: Joseph W | September 2, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

For born-again, you sure know how not to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ when it comes to your party. Tell me how many times have we heard republicans beating their chests about unwed mothers and teenage pregnancies? And now, Mr. Bible says it is not a scandal, thank you for defining scandal as a democratic party thing. Impeach a president for lies about sexual relationship with an adult whom you all called a child at that time though she was over 23. We are in two wars, one of them did not meet the threshold but I did not hear Mr. Gerson calling the thunder to strike.

Posted by: dentalwellness | September 2, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Amen ATacoma!!!!! Well said!!!!

Posted by: Bill | September 2, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Palin is a disgrace. What kind of message is she sending to our young women? It's okay to get pregnant at 16? Most families do not have the means that the Palins do, and therefore teenage pregnancy means a life of hardship and often poverty.

Shame on Palin! Shame on the author of this article!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Funny then, all the outrage from the right about the movie "Juno" (dealing with a 17-year old who gets knocked up out of wedlock).

The Republicans could have gone after a governor with a sterling record who would have had mass appeal to the base (Governor Huckabee from Arkansas), but no.

Posted by: Patrick | September 2, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

It would be fun to fact-check all of the previous comments, but:

1) Limbaugh did not call Chelsea a dog - google 'Limbaugh lies chelsea dog'- Along the same lines as Obama doesn't believe that there are 57 states (google 'obama 57 states').

2) Regarding "abstinence only", Palin was given a choice between a hard-left and a radical-right solution on sex-education. I agree with her position that parents should be notified when their children have any major proceedure (including abortion).

3) Many Democrats of a national standing (including 'independent' media) are blantantly punishing the 17-yr old because of having chosen to bear a child. This would not be a national story if (a) her mother was a Democrat and (b) she publically admitted she had an abortion.

Posted by: Truth? | September 2, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The minimum she could have done as a parent is not ask her child to choose between her privacy and her parent's ambition. Regardless of whether we are talking about a mother or a father, this is a time that the Palins should have been looking inward to care and strengthen their wonderful family. You don't choose ambition over your children. This truly doesn't resonate with my values.

Posted by: Bryce | September 2, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Gerson's column amuses. "Nothin' to see here folks -- keep moving . . . "

Posted by: Cheeze | September 2, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

GERSON!!!

Forget about the daughter. Lets focus on Sarah and her absolute LACK of qualifications.

Have you SEEN THIS VIDEO?? This is Sarah less than 2 months ago. I have not heard ONE person try to defend it, because it is INDEFENSIBLE!!

For McCain to try to convince us that this is the BEST candidate they could find for VP in this Country is INSANE, no matter what your party or gender.

Wouldnt the most basic qualification be knowing what the job entails on the most basic level....THINK ABOUT IT!

End of Story!!

Posted by: Peg | September 2, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

What a crock, Gerson!

The Fire and Brimstone."family values"/abstinence/sin crowd is utterly intolerant.

They are against sex ed, HPV vaccine (to prevent girls from contracting a disease linked to cancer!), for impeaching a President for sex but not war, against talking about guns (hiphop) but for wide distribution of them, etc, etc.

Loyalty to team has replaced principle. they routinely cut slack and look the other way for their own.

Just ask yourself this: if Chelsea Clinton had fornicated and become pregnant as a teen, what would Limbaugh, Dobson, Coulter, Malkin, Hannity and O'Reilly have said about HER and the Clintons?

Tell the truth! I rest my case.

Posted by: Robert | September 2, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I love how suddenly the Republican party thinks issues involving politician's sex lives, or the sex lives of their family members are "private". Isn't this the same party that impeached Bill Clinton over an affair with Monica Lewinsky?

Posted by: Wow | September 2, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

McCain Campaign, 2008: Children of the candidates are OFF LIMITS!

McCain Campaign, 1998: Quote" Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.”

– Sen. John McCain, speaking to a Republican dinner, June 1998.

Posted by: 10YearsSureMakesADiff | September 2, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

scientist1 says "The real issue is whether McCain made a hasty shoot-from-the-hip choice, and what it says about his management style and judgment.
I also find interesting the $26 million in earmarks Palin got for her little town as its part-time mayor, the big debt for the sports stadium she pushed (allegedly $6 million), her apparent lie about not supporting the bridge to nowhere, her support for creationism . . .Does she really believe the earth was created six thousand years ago and do we really want someone like that a heartbeat away at a time when we need to IMPROVE our science education"

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Yes. Palin is SCARY. Reminds me of Phillis Shlafly.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin: "We are very proud of our daughter, proud to become grandparents and [they] will have the love and support of our entire family."

Barack Obama: "I don't want my daughters punished with a child."

Check and mate in favor of Sarah Palin.

Posted by: ep | September 2, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Would have been a sound argument except for the fact that Palin doesn't want sex education taught in school.

Hmmm, how many mothers are dumb enough not to tell their kids about the birds and the bees? Did she do right by her pregnant unwed daughter in trying to shield her from sex?

Is it right to establish a policy that could lead to more unwed teens? That doesn't sound very conservative does it?

Posted by: No logic | September 2, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"Wow" wrote:
"I love how suddenly the Republican party thinks issues involving politician's sex lives, or the sex lives of their family members are "private". Isn't this the same party that impeached Bill Clinton over an affair with Monica Lewinsky?"

This is the moron mentality that's destroying America. Bristol's pregnancy has nothing to do with the actions of John McCain, and you're a total fool to think it does.

Slick Willy Clinton was the president, and he betrayed the Democrats' trust in him (the wiser Americans never trusted him!) when he cheated on Hillary. He was in a position of the utmost trust in American, and he blew it. ..er, SHE did...oh, never mind... He "didn't have sex with that woman." I'd like to know how she did a solo on that one! He lied to his wife, and then he lied to his country! McCain chose in Palin a person who deals with the typical heartaches of an American family. They DIDN'T hide anything; they DID publicize it; they DID take accountability for these actions. They should be commended for being honest and forthright about this whole thing. The average Democrat nominee would have disavowed the whole thing, and history proves this without doubt.

I wish those trying to stink-up the McCain "tribe" would find something besides BS if they're going to accuse at all; I'm getting tire of the smell... Isn't there a Democrat ANYWHERE who can admit that McCain is trying to gain the trust of his country...and Palin is doing the same thing?

Obama abandoned Wright to save his own hide, yet the Dems "trust" him..."trust" him to do WHAT? NOT run the country effectively! Biden is so worthless the Republicans don't cast dispersions upon him; they think his political career speaks for itself without mudslinging.

If you don't want to vote for McCain, then DON'T. Just shut up if you can't substantiate your vain accusations. Your trying to find dirt against him and his crew is only revealing a lot of morons among you.

Posted by: Chuckie | September 2, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Is the baby's father really willing to marry her, or is he being strong-armed just like the former brother-in-law? Another troopergate?

Posted by: zerafah749 | September 2, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr Gerson

Keep up the good work.

Two quotes

"Consistency, thou art a pasty jewel"

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds"

Posted by: Anne Mansfield | September 2, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Kids may be off limits. But they had the young woman at the press conference, and they covered up the baby bump with Palin's infant son's blanket. This is just sneaky. And it is surely apropos and appropriate to ask candidate Palin what her views are on sex education in school.

Posted by: private matters public | September 2, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson, with this kind of incisive writing you can expect that the Republican Ministry of Propaganda will award you a Medal of Freedom.

Posted by: Patriot3 | September 2, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

It's the hypocrisy, stupid!

Posted by: The Wolf | September 2, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Stuff happens. Girls get pregnant. Husbands cheat on their wives. These are family matters that aren't really the business of people who aren't directly involved.

Except, Republicans don't get to say "this is a family matter, nothing to see here". They gave up that right when they went after Bill Clinton in the 1990s. It is a grotesque display of hypocrisy for Republicans to attempt to not reap what they have sown. Notwithstanding Gerson's blather, the so-called Christian conservatives would not be offering the same consideration to the family of a Democratic politician that they are demanding for one of their own, because clearly that's not what they did the last time.

Plus, the whole question of health education and reproductive rights comes up. It is clear that teaching "abstinence" does not prevent teenage pregnancy at all, it merely prevents contraception. The question is, has this young woman been given all the legal alternatives, or is she being coerced to give up her right to choose to suit her mother's political ambition?

Posted by: Lart from Above | September 2, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

evangelicals are all about telling OTHER people how to live, period. if this was a democrat, you right wing evangelical nuts would be demonizing her all over your fake fair & balanced news.

Posted by: sick of fake "family" values | September 2, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Abstinence only is a joke. Teach your children abstinence but teach them also to use protection for those moments when the brain just won't listen. Both Ms. Palins are suffering from the consequences of bad judgment.

Posted by: M. Drake | September 2, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

I had a complete scientific sex education and still got a woman pregnant (who also had a scientific sex education) "in the heat of the moment". She had an abortion. We both regret it. It was not an informed choice as all the advice we got from Planned Parenthood directed us toward having the abortion. We take full responsibility for it but the group's name is a misnomer.

Trying to politicize this personal situation and use it to attack both the Palin family is classless. It is not about sex education or her faith and does not belong in the campaign.

I am an independent because of these types of attacks. Neither party has a monopoly on it but I expected more from the party that claims that they will bring CHANGE!

Posted by: Anon | September 2, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Gerson states in his article:
"That she is a hypocrite? Absurd. She seems to have acted in a manner entirely consistent with her religious beliefs."

No. This proves that she is a hypcrite! Whatever happened to sex AFTER marriage. Can she not even teach her own daughter that? If this is acting 'in a manner entirely consisten with her religious beliefs' then every teenage unwed daughter in her church should go out and get pregnant.

Posted by: Mental | September 2, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Dawn: Have you noticed that abstinence has a 100% success rate among those who decide to follow it? I guess not; you're too busy parroting the sorry idea that unprotected sex is normal and desirable among teens and "'tweens." You've been had.

Sure there will always be people who engage in unprotected pre-marital sex. (My own g-grandparents did in 1894!) What's changed since then is a media continually reinforcing the idea that this is acceptible behavior, while simultaneously reporting on the "shocking" rise of divorce and single-parenthood. Gee, could there possibly be a connection?

Of oourse pre-marital sex is not hip; it's morally and ethically reprehensible, not to mention dangerous, and the sooner everyone accepts that universal truth, the sooner we can eliminate AIDS and HIV from the Earth.

Condoms and IUD's for pre-teens have done nothing to slow the scourge for a quarter-century. It's time to go back to what works.

Posted by: Mike | September 2, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

private matters public writes:
"And it is surely apropos and appropriate to ask candidate Palin what her views are on sex education in school. "

She doesn't have a view on sex education in school because she's a staunch supporter of intelligent design. Only Immaculate Conceptions occurs. Don't you know?

Posted by: RepPukes | September 2, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse


THE teenager expecting a baby with the 17-year-old daughter of vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin declared himself a "f ***in' redneck" on his MySpace page.

As Republican hopeful John McCain today insisted he was "excited" to be running with Alaska governor Mrs Palin, her daughter Bristol's beau was making worldwide headlines of his own.

High-school hockey player Levi Johnston, 18, also used his MySpace page to declare "I don't want kids" according to Britain's Daily Mail.

"But I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing, shoot some s*** and just chillin' I guess," he is quoted as saying.

"Ya f *** with me I'll kick ass."

What a champ Mr. Levi Johnson is. If he does not want kids perhaps he should be a non-f***ing redneck. I would suggest if Ms Palin plans on having this redneck over to the VP house that she teach him a few new adjectives so he can lay off f***ing.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Mr gerson probably believes in intelligent design in schools also. He must have been created by the immaculate conception or asexual reproduction.

Posted by: laffatyou | September 2, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

When Carter was in the White House, daughter Amy Carter was off limits for the press corps. The Clinton’s were adamant that Chelsea should be left alone.

Compare that to hordes of Demo-Nazi reporters snapping photos of everything the Bush twins did at college and on vacation.

Now these same low-life crumbs can’t leave Palin’s daughter alone.

The Democrat Party and their running dog lackeys in the press are slime who should be ashamed of themselves—but that would require a soul.

Obama, of course won’t dirty his hands criticizing Palin or her daughter. He has people to handle that for him.

Posted by: Fergie | September 2, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

You Palin supporters are telling me that there was nobody else better to choose for VP than her???????
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!???
Ridge? Romney? Huckabee? Rice? Powell? Lieberman? Jeb? Anybody else????? There HAS to be somebody better than her!
The best he could do after winning the nomination 5 months ago (strange how thats how long her daughter's been pregnant) was to pick HER?!?!?!??
Can someone explain this INSANITY?!??!!?

Posted by: Palinpuke | September 2, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I am sure that the writers of all the attacks on Palin have two things in common. First, they apparently have never made a mistake in their lives. Second, their goal is simple. How to destroy Palin, therefore McCain, so that the Democratic Party wins. Duh!

Posted by: rljmsilver | September 2, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

" It immediately struck me that Sarah Palin was chosen as a candidate who understands middle-class family struggles, and this is a pretty typical one."

You are kidding right?

There are 50 Govenors, most with families, but kindy explain how they are typical middle-class families?

Posted by: Mike | September 2, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Fergie writes:
"... The Clinton’s were adamant that Chelsea should be left alone.
Compare that to hordes of Demo-Nazi reporters snapping photos of everything the Bush twins did at college and on vacation. Now these same low-life crumbs can’t leave Palin’s daughter alone."

Did Chelsea did something to warrant such scrutiny? I don't think she was caught drinking under age as ONE of the Bush daughters did. How come we never heard about the other daughter? Maybe because she kept out of trouble. And now you complain about Palin's daughter being under scrutiny because she's a teenager, unwed, pregnant and her mom wants to become VP while preaching about family values and the importance of sex AFTER marriage. LMAO! You are a riot!

Posted by: Ferbie | September 2, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

I am thoroughly disgusted with the news media and the attention that they are giving this 17 year-old girl, and I am a democrat. It is a private matter people, you can't judge Sarah Palin by her daughter's pregnancy. You can try to be the best parent in the world and your son or daughter will still make serious mistakes. This is issue is absolutely ugly as are those in the news media who are trying to sell a few rags and minutes of air time at a young woman's expense

Posted by: Mary | September 2, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

moron writes:
"I am sure that the writers of all the attacks on Palin have two things in common. First, they apparently have never made a mistake in their lives.!"

Nobody ever said they never made a mistake. It's that they don't want to tell YOU or anybody else how to live your life while doing exactly the opposite.
Duh!

Posted by: Duh | September 2, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

The hypocrisy stems not from the fact that she acted, as you correctly point out in a manner consistent with her beliefs, but from pursuing policies that prevent others from doing the same. Why does her underage daughter get a choice while millions of other adult women in this country would not, had she her way?

Posted by: Bucinka8 | September 2, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Everyone needs to breathe and try to smile!

I pray that Sarah Palin's daughter has a healthy wonderful baby.

I also agree with Obama, Sarah Palin and everyone else that this should be a private family matter.

Though, I want to be perfectly clear with this statement: No respectful Democrat, or Republican, or conservative, or liberal will EVER go after and attack this 17 year old girl and her predicament. Having sisters and cousins who were teenage moms, I personally feel sorry for what she is going through, and I definitely hope her the best.

What I believe the main reason for the outcry over this issue is the hypocrisy that the Republicans and conservatives have demonstrated towards teenage moms in the years prior to Palin's situation. Republicans want to say NOW it is a PRIVATE family matter? Please do not preach this to the Democratic party who have been saying the same thing for decades now.

These same republicans have in the past consider and judged women such as my sisters and cousins as morally-laxed, promiscuous, and deviant. Republicans and conservatives are the ones who made this a political, public issue with their notions of morality, propriety and integrity (e.g. their very public involvement with the Terry Schivo case). But now these same beliefs get thrown out when one of their own goes through the same dilemma that those same "morally-laxed" girls have been struggling with and pleading for understanding for years? Unbelievable.

This situation should demonstrate that teenage moms should not be judged or put down, but guided and supported with love and respect from their families, community and country.

Jesus said, "you cannot remove the bean from your brother's eye until you have removed the bean from your own eye". This is a philosophy that many Democrats understand and uphold to. This is also why many Democrats understand what Palin's daughter is going through and will NEVER trash, attack or put down her character. We sympathize with her situation because millions of girls are going through the same thing.

If what the Republican party and supporters are voicing in regards to demanding the public KEEP OUT of this private family matter is not hypocrisy in light of their stance on out-of-wedlock pregnancies, then I guess I got the meaning of hypocrisy wrong.

If anything, it looks like Republicans are finally getting the whole PRIVACY and RIGHT TO CHOOSE issue. Thank goodness, there is definitely hope for this wonderful, yet divided country.

Posted by: anna | September 2, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

For all those people who complain about leaving the 17 year old teenager alone and how this is a private matter, you're all hypocrites. Don't tell me you never read about the Lohans, the Spears, Paris, Cyrus, Duff, etc...at the local supermarket or on TV. You people probably watch the reality shows to boot.
The Palins are no different. Wait for the Palins to be on their own reality TV show.
"Passing time with the Palins" on FOX.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

The gays are coming out and supporting McCain. All you right wing conservative nazi evangelicals should be disgusted with that endorsement and denounce it. You don't believe in gays, don't want to give them specific liberties as gays, and want to cast them aside onto an isolated island so why would you want their support? I hope you go out and renounce their support.

Posted by: gaysupport | September 2, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

What an eye-opener. All these years I thought the Democrats were all in favor of women being able to succeed in the workforce, even when pregnant or having young kids. Suddenly they are all in favor of keeping women at home and letting the men run the country. And they dare to charge everyone else as being hypocrites.

So, the new rule is this. If pregnant, or you have a young child, or you plan on getting pregnant, or you occasionally have sex but won't consider an abortion you must never run for public office. If your daughter ever had sex before marriage, but doesn't run to planned parenthood, you can't be elected.

A week ago they were talking about shattering the glass ceiling. Now they are rebuilding it with plexiglas. Good job Democrats.

Posted by: homesower | September 2, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

i see ms palin advocated abstintence only instead of detailed sex education for alaskan teenagers

so, how's that working out up there?

btw gerson is a deceitful little hack who would steal a blind man's pencils

Posted by: fcalaja@mindspring.com | September 2, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

The replies to this blog = more proof that the only people who comment on internet news stories are Moveon.org nutjobs and people like me who are dumb enough to respond to them. Palin's "problems" are nothing compared to Obama's relationship with Rezko, Ayers, and Rev. Wright. But I guess voting for Ted Kennedy in black-face makes you "open-minded."

Posted by: WBFIII | September 2, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson:

You wrote:

"It would also disturb me if Palin had not fully discussed her decision to run for vice president with her pregnant daughter, who will now be exposed to a lot of vicious ridicule. In light of this family struggle, I hope Palin's decision to join the Republican ticket was a family decision."

Apparently, according to the McCain campaign official I just heard speak on television, as well as other published reports from the AP, the Palin children went to Dayton under the impression that they were going there to celebrate their parent's 20th wedding anniversary. It was not until they were on their way to Dayton that they were told by their parents that, in fact, they were going to Dayton for their mother to be introduced as the VP nominee. Obviously, if this is true, there was no "full discussion" with her pregnant daughter.
As a parent of a seventeen year-old, I cannnot imagine making such a decision to possibly change jobs and move and as part of that possibility spend two months away from my family, without having a "full discussion" with my child. That Sarah Pallin did not appear to have done this concerns me greatly, just as you wrote it would concern you. I look forward to hearing your comment on this.

I would have preferred to email you about this, but could not find an address to which to write.

Posted by: concerned | September 2, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson:

You wrote:

"It would also disturb me if Palin had not fully discussed her decision to run for vice president with her pregnant daughter, who will now be exposed to a lot of vicious ridicule. In light of this family struggle, I hope Palin's decision to join the Republican ticket was a family decision."

Apparently, according to the McCain campaign official I just heard speak on television, as well as other published reports from the AP, the Palin children went to Dayton under the impression that they were going there to celebrate their parent's 20th wedding anniversary. It was not until they were on their way to Dayton that they were told by their parents that, in fact, they were going to Dayton for their mother to be introduced as the VP nominee. Obviously, if this is true, there was no "full discussion" with her pregnant daughter.
As a parent of a seventeen year-old, I cannnot imagine making such a decision to possibly change jobs and move and as part of that possibility spend two months away from my family, without having a "full discussion" with my child. That Sarah Pallin did not appear to have done this concerns me greatly, just as you wrote it would concern you. I look forward to hearing your comment on this.

I would have preferred to email you about this, but could not find an address to which to write.

Posted by: concerned in northern virginia | September 2, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

With few exceptions, the pro-Obama press corps has turned this election into the Jerry Springer show. This is the same nasty group of misogynist woman haters that torpedoed the Hillary campaign.

Women are always judged by different standards than men - especially by the media. The media has no shame or decency.

Posted by: alance | September 2, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

among religous extremists, hypocrisy & self-righteousness is standard operating procedure. it's quite ok to flaunt one's family as a paragon of moral rectitude & then be automatically forgiven for all family flaws - as long as you are one of THEM. that's what the "born again" deal is really all about - it's a "get of of hell free" card... & who wouldn't want that?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

This episode does show that Palin is not a hypocrite. What it also shows is that she made the decision to put her daughter in an horrible position, at the center of a media firestorm. No one in their right mind could think that this story would not make the news, yet the governess chose to press forward, no matter how much stress it brought on her child. 'Country First' has been taken to a new level in the Palin household.

Posted by: david | September 2, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Is this teen pregnancy another abstinence-only "education" success? I don't care enough to find out, it's just a rhetorical point. We will all forget the name "Sarah Palin" after November 4th.

Posted by: Stuart | September 2, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

The pregnancy of Sarah Palin's underage daughter is a HUGE scandal embracing inbred moral turpitude, criminally inept parenting and sheer hypocrisy.

FREE AMERICA

REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRACY

Posted by: Marc Schlee | September 2, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Good god, more hypocritical BS from Worm Boy? The Post sure is giving this cheap GOP hack a lot of space! If it had been a Democrat's daughter, we would have heard nothing but sanctimonious tut-tutting from Nematode Gerson about their lack of morals.

The issue is not Palin's daughter getting pregnant, it's that her mother kept it secret until the blogs forced her hand, that she's a liar, a hypocrite, and extremist nitwit. it's that Mc Cain met her ONE TIME, and did NOT vet her. That she is utterly unqualified.

Gerson, you really are pathetic.

Posted by: LH | September 2, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

"This isn't a scandal"
"This election isn't about issues"

Typical evasive statements from Republicans in denial.
Of course this campaign is about issues, important ones that the Republicans have failed to properly address and continue to do so.

To all the bitter women out there, it would be nice if you started acting and speaking like ladies for a change.

Posted by: sanity | September 2, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

The question is not the actions of the daughter but the hypocracy of Sarah Palin and the Republican social agenda she espouses. If its her daughter's teenage pregnancy its American family values. If its other's child its the degeneration of values

Posted by: Roy | September 2, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Hypocrisy lives! Praise the Lord. Abstinence only, no sex education.
Yup! Yup!

Posted by: NancieLea | September 2, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Will we ever learn ? We are the laughing stock of the world !

Posted by: nemesis | September 2, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Palin is a hypocrite! Her statement: "We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents."

'Decision' to have her baby? Did Bristol REALLY have a choice? The same choice that Palin now wants to deny all Americans?

Palin would not be a hypocrite if she said "We forced Bristol keep her baby and are proud to become grandparents."

Posted by: Buddydog | September 2, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

So, what if the guy won't marry her (or she doesn't want to marry him)? Does the whole situation change, then? Bristol Palin is supposed to be 5 months pregnant. Hasn't there been enough time to get married yet?

Posted by: bj | September 2, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Teen pregnancy is a scandal. It seems everyone has lowered their standards.

Posted by: Shari | September 2, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I don't know whether you and Richard Cohen got together on this one and agreed that he would write the piece shooting Palin to shreds, and you would do the one which would satisfy the hordes of the unwashed believers in flying pigs.
But I do wish you could have just breathed deeply enough to have a second or two to reflect upon what you were writing.
We might then have had a believable article here, instead of this balderdash pretending to persuade us that there is no reason to think that this woman is not ready to be President of our nation.

I think she has her sights set on achieving executive privilege - for EVERYTHING.
Just like Bush.
Now THERE'S a qualification, if ever there was one.

Posted by: wardropper | September 2, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

This really has nothing to do with Palin's daughter! It has to do with Palin and her hypocritical posturing of being somewhat holier than thou and holding other families to standards and values unattainable in her life.

If she presented herself as someone other than a social Christian conservative, this would not have been an issue…

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Was the boyfriend 18 when she became pregnant? Surely statutory rape is scandalous.

Posted by: Alicia | September 2, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Dawny Chambers- the only one who is for abandoning newborns is Barack. Oh, didn't you hear about his opposition to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act when he was in Illinois?

Posted by: ej | September 2, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

alance,
Please tell me you don't think that Gerson is taking part in an Obama-backed campaign to sink this woman.

If anybody else had written this article, I might, conceivably, have understood you, but Gerson would never do what you suggest.

You picked the wrong blog here, pal.

Posted by: wardropper | September 2, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

This might play well on Jerry Springer or Maury Povich's shows but not in the second highest seat in our government.

Now the plan is to parade the teenage boyfriend/father, Levi Johnston before the world.

This is wrong. It makes us look like fools around the world. The selfserving Republicans are doing what they always do. Look you right in the face and say the earth is flat.

We are trying to elevate our country at home and around the world and the Republicans are allowing their lowest common denominator to set the tone and agenda.

Posted by: JacklynD | September 2, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Yes... this is a scandle...

Its a scandle that this family could not handle their special needs kid and their daugter's special needs right now in privacy as all other families do.

Now the kid that got her preggers is to show up at the convention tomorrow like some sort of special guest...

tacky tacky tacky

Posted by: dutchess2 | September 2, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

This slander campaign, conducted over the holiday and during the focus on Gustav is a deliberate attempt by Obama and his lackey's in the MSM (including WaPo) to define Palin from the start and knock her back on her heels.

It will blow-back on them. The public already distrusts the dinosaur media for being biased. They are rapidly losing readers. People will soon see the over-the-top, hysterical reporting on Palin for what it is, and voice their disgust, as we saw six months ago with Hillary.

Posted by: pgr88 | September 2, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

The reason this is a relevant issue for every American is because Palin believes the gov't should have the right to force women to carry all pregnancies full-term, to force unwanted pregnancies and babies, even when they are the result of rape. The government has no right telling women what they must do with their bodies. I have the choice of what I want to do with my body and no government will ever tell me otherwise. Teenage pregnancy is a very real problem that continues to get worse. Abstinence does not work. Palin's own daughter is a glaring example of that. Another very real problem is all the newborn babies that are found in dumpsters or dropped off on hospital doorsteps. What about the countless children that are neglected and abused because they were the result of unwanted pregnancies. I wonder if all the anti-abortion zealots would take care of all of them.

Posted by: Karen | September 2, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

the slimiest elements around are the Swift Boat people. Let's not forget that Republicans have specialized in slime and low blows -- the South Carolina primary attacks on John McCain's daughter, etc.

It's amazing that there was no outrage then, it was all seen as ends justifying the means.

What hypocrisy.

Posted by: somerseten | September 2, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Palin is middle class? She makes 5M a year?
Thats how McCain defines middle class right?

Posted by: middleclass | September 2, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I wish it were so that people would realize how damaging the dem-blog people are. I'm a Democrat - but I am disgusted by the wretched nastiness that Sarah Palin is facing. I don't agree with her views but I do want to hear them as an adult. Stop patronizing me with this viciousness and the utter irrelevance of the poor girl's predicament. I'm sick of the implicit and explicit sexism I have read from Democrats of all people. The party of change, of hope...aren't you listening to Obama??? Swing voters will move to McCain/Palin because of this vitriol. It is beneath you all. Please think about this. Bill was the last to win on a message of Hope. Enough.

Posted by: Danni | September 2, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

This story is a distraction from the real scandals and contradictions, Gov. Palin's involvement in:
* Sen. Steven's corrupt funding machine, reported at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/02/AR2008090200260.html?nav=hcmodule
* The active solicitation of Federal pork for the Bridge to Nowhere and other state and local projects
* the secessionist Alaska Independence Party, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Re0vmbtHK8

Posted by: JohnD | September 2, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Governor Palin is an irresponsible mother. With her pro life belief, she knowingly conceived a child at age 44, taking on the high risk of a child birth complication. Unfortunately, the dice was cast and the family now has a Down syndrome baby. Not only that, apparently governor Palin's family value is not well established in her household, as her teenage child is now pregnant. The mother and father are totally accountable in both instances. Senator McCain needs to select a VP that can practice family value, not just to preach it. We deserve someone better.

Posted by: Virginian | September 2, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

http://theocracywatch.org/taking_over.htm

I do not care at all about this woman's family, I don't even care if they continue to breathe
tomorrow, I certainly don't care what they do.

What I do care about is that she is a dominionist, part of the religious cabal put together by the fallwells and robertsons and dobsons during the 90's to take over the republican party from the bottom up.

I used to be a republican until I saw this happening.

You republicans here today, the non-fanatics, this isn't a sporting event where you can feel you aren't losing if you can keep throwing boogers at the democrats. Your party has been stolen from you while they have you and the democrats sniping over petty little crap like this.

If you care about your country, find out who these people are, why they chose the republicans instead of the democrats, what their intentions are, what their final goal is.

It's nothing less than the destruction of our country.

Posted by: nope | September 2, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

This was suppose to be the United States of America. An example of what a Democracy government should be like for all the world to see.
Unfortunately, it's just another example of a Hypocrisy government.

Posted by: Santa | September 2, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

When Carter was in the White House, daughter Amy Carter was off limits for the press corps. The Clinton’s were adamant that Chelsea should be left alone.

Compare that to hordes of Demo-Nazi reporters snapping photos of everything the Bush twins did at college and on vacation.

Now these same low-life crumbs can’t leave Palin’s daughter alone.

The Democrat Party and their running dog lackeys in the press are slime who should be ashamed of themselves—but that would require a soul.

Obama, of course won’t dirty his hands criticizing Palin or her daughter. He has people to handle that for him.

Posted by: Fergie | September 2, 2008 6:19 PM

########################################

What a rant from a total hypocrit - I might mention that Carter's daughter was a young girl when she entered the White House. The Bush twins were both over 18 and in college.

Should I also mention the mountain of mud and slime that conservatives have been throwing at Obama's family since his nomination. Of course that is OK in your wretched little book.

Posted by: maggots | September 2, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson,
I realize you were a speechwriter for Pres. Bush (#43) so you are not exactly unbiased in your reporting/opinion/analysis. You also seem fairly smart so let's get to the main reason people are frothing at the mouth over the young lady's pre-wedding teenage pregnancy: the stance her mother is supposed to have taken regarding sex education for teenagers. If it is indeed true that Gov. Palin was very much against sex-ed and talking about/giving out condoms to teenagers then it is highly ironic that her own daughter (who could have used sex- ed other than abstinence education) is now pregnant. If it had been Senator Obama's 17 year old (if his daughter was that age) I cannot begin to imagine the opprobrium that would be heaped on that family and all the insinuations about black children being born out of wedlock, democrats and their weak family values blah, blah blah. As a former Sen. McCain supporter, I think Sen. Obama has shown class and grace in not piling on. However, it does bring up the issue of judgment on Sen. McCain's part. How on earth could he have picked Gov. Palin over Govs. Romney or Pawlenty? I do not expect to hear back from you but it all goes back to "let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Posted by: Cindy C. | September 2, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

If it was just one thing, it wouldn't be such a big deal. I mean, everybody has something, so a few "skeletons in the closet" are no big deal. But, first it's the investigation for allegedly improper firing of a relative, then it's hubby's DUI, then it's her kids pregnancy. So, where does it stop? And, what's next, that's the problem.

Posted by: Truthteller | September 2, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Of course its in with the familys religous beliefs Mikey,,the pact with the church and her father to observe abstinance fits right in there somewhere,,and the self proclaimed 17 year old "redneck who doesnt want kids" is right in there with the average family on Jerry springer,,the spin you guys talk up is priceless,stay tuned for a resignation.

Posted by: Mcnertny | September 2, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

IF Palin isnt SCANDAL enough--- John's disrespect for his own wife is LEGENDARY--

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/07/report-mccains-profane-ti_n_95429.html

Is this PRESIDENTIAL??

Posted by: jack | September 2, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

NO SELF RESPECTING WOMAN WOULD EVER IN A MILLION YEARS VOTE FOR THIS JOKE OF A TICKET!


SARAH PALIN IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS RIGHT WING NUT CASE THAT WOULD DESTROY EVERY BIT OF PROGRESS WOMEN HAVE WORKED SO HARD FOR IN THIS COUNTRY....


WATCH FOR MORE SHOES TO DROP----

VETTED MY ASSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!

Posted by: Nora | September 2, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about Sarah Palin's daughter and how old she was when she got pregnant or who the father is?

I don't care.

Here's what I care about. John McCain is 72 years old. If he catches pneumonia at the inauguration and dies, Palin is president.

18 months ago she was the mayor of a town of 6,500 people. Why should I elect her to preside over this whole nation of 50 states and territories?

Posted by: ProfWrightBSU | September 2, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

It seems the Republican talking point on this issue is that the behavior of the Gov. Palin's "juvenile" 17-year-old is not the mother's responsibility. And this is the party of family values and personal responsibility?

The correct and appropriate answer is that this is a private family matter and, other than a debate over sex education, this should not be part of the political debate. Just like Sen. Obama said.

Move along.

Posted by: JohnD | September 2, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

One could no doubt make a fortune peedling THE WHITE TRASH COOKBOOK in Alaska.

Just imagine if this was a Democratic women governor and how the pundits including you Mr. Gerson would be raging about the decline of morals in America.

What hypocrites you Republicans are !!

I feel so sorry for the poor kid, what was her mother thinking?

Posted by: Richard | September 2, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Is there anyone out there who recalls the indignation of the self righeous right & their croonies in the pulpits who rose up at the announcement of Brittany Spears 16 yr old sister being pregnant & intending to marry. Am I wrong or was damnation visited upon this child for her lustful ways?? Of course, we deal with thousands of teenage moms & dads in the courts every day; but why does the proposed VEEP have to add to the problem. How about the teenage girls in Mass. who bonded together to have babies? The hypocracy is stunning.Personally,I see no problem in sending the Palins back to the frozen tundra.I do have a real problem exposing these children & this nation to this idiotic mess brought about because the republican money folk did not want Joe Liberman as McC running mate.It's about control & patronizing the religious unrighteous who would put our freedoms under the same type controls as the Tailiban. THINK ON THAT NOVEMBER 4. Do we want Sarah Palin a heartbeat from the POTUS. She, along with the nutcase in Iran, believes in the imminence of the"RAPTURE".

Posted by: tlrasnic, sw virginia | September 2, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Bristol's pregnancy is not a scandal. the way Palin handled it is. She banished her to her aunt's house in ankorage. She told the school she had mono. She is forcing her to marry the poor 18 year old boy--who will appear at convention with the nra fans clapping and aiming? at him. The shot gun wedding. That's the scandal.

Posted by: corky | September 2, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if Palin is a hypocrite -- most Bible-thumping politicians are, simply because the lies and scams they perpetrate to rise in their profession are totally at odds with the values they claim to honor. That certainly describes both Bush and McCain -- a pair of slimy hypocrites if ever there was one.

But you, Mr. Gerson, are definitely a twenty-four-carat hypocrite. How many speeches did you pen for your right-wing masters bashing gays and others because you believe their personal lives are immoral? And now you have the nerve to complain because one of your pols is getting the same nasty treatment your side has repeatedly given others. Yes, you are a hypocrite and you richly deserve the contempt and hatred many on this message board have hurled at you. I hope you choke on it. :)

Posted by: simon | September 2, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Wow the group here is quite a bit over the top on the outrage scale. Geesh the poor girl is having a baby, under the same circumstances and age that BO's mom and JC's mom went through. Folks here are making Gerson's case and the flood the zone stuff... well I just think there are some paid pro's hanging out here.

Some diversity training is also in order. Evangelicals do not consider themselves at all perfect, but rather in a constant and difficult struggle to conform to god's will. Struggle... Fail... Struggle... Disapoint... Struggle... Forgiveness... Salvation. I'm not one of them but I think the caricature in these posts is way off base and parochial leftism.

Posted by: Jillian | September 2, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse


Right, it's not a scandal, it's merely a disaster, and don't trust me, the poll numbers are telling the story.

Big jumps for obama.

Posted by: sjk | September 2, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I am an Obama supporter I am ashamed at those criticizing Sarah Palin and her family. The point is well made here - she has not been hypocritical and therefore this whole episode only goes to reinforce the fact that she practices what she preaches - unlike so many others.

This is a very well written post and I hope it makes the small minded people passing judgement on this matter reassess their comments.

Posted by: Johnny Mac | September 2, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Palin says her daughter and family "decided" to keep the child.

To decide implies a choice. Palin is anti choice and she would deny choice for all other women.

She opposes birth control information and availability to teenagers and adult women. She opposes the same in international efforts in countries where over population exacerbates poverty and the ability to survive.

The pregnancy of the Palin daughter IS a private matter with the family. But Saraj Palin's policys MUST be the basis upon which voters decide.

McCain/Palin are dangerous for America.

Posted by: RAMnyc | September 2, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh I feel SO starved for affection and power after having placed second in the beauty contest that I'll abandon my pregnant 17 year-old daughter, my special needs baby, the new job I just got as Chief of the Big Igloo after being promoted from mayor of a small hamlet, so I can reverse a woman's right to choose, deny equal rights to gays, cut more taxes for the rich, enable oil companies to rape public lands, and be second in line to have my finger on the button! HOW PATHETIC!! The rest of the world is laughing in disgust!

Posted by: Xiao Peng | September 2, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

No one had serious objections to Palin's serving as governor of a tiny state with a population of 700,000 while taking care of an infant with special needs. But now that it turns out she couldn't take care of her teenage daughter and handle THAT less demanding job, it seems entirely inappropriate for her to take on a campaign for the vice-presidency.

Posted by: NMAIF | September 2, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

If it's a private matter for the Palins then why isn't it a private matter for all women?

Posted by: TC | September 2, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Re-read Gerson's last two paragraphs:

"And I can't imagine why Palin's family situation would alienate middle-ground women voters either. Is it really the expectation of modern women that their leaders and role models have perfect, perpetually cheerful families?

All this said, I still feel terrible for the Palins and their daughter (and the poor guy she intends to marry). The slimiest elements of the Internet culture will be after them. But Americans, I believe and trust, are more decent than this vileness."

Gerson's writing was posted at 3 PM. And - wow - it only took 29 minutes for caliguy to prove correct what Gerson says in his last paragraph of this article.

Posted by: Frank from Maryland | September 2, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Jillian wrote:
"Geesh the poor girl is having a baby, under the same circumstances and age that BO's mom and JC's mom went through."

No. It is NOT the same circumstances. BO's mom didn't have a mother running for VP. She didn't have 4 other siblings, 1 with Down Syndrome. She didn't get pregnant by someone who calls himself 'f*ckn redneck' who will 'kick your a**'. She struggled alone while Bristol will most likely be pampered and showered with support after the attention she is getting.
They are NOT the same circumstances. In face, this has NOTHING to do with Bristol at all but of her mom Sarah. So stop with the ridiculous analogies.

Posted by: anybody | September 2, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I have more concern that 12 years ago at the age of 32, Ms. Palin belonged to the Alaskan Independence Party that wanted to secede from the United States. I can deal with her daughter being pregnant, since hypocrisy is nothing new to politics. But when an adult in her early 30s views seceding from her country, that implies the denial of her national citizenship. Now that's scary to have her a heartbeat from the Presidency!

Posted by: adirondacker | September 2, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Did Bristol Palin have a choice?

I think the American people deserve to know whether or not Bristol was given a choice of what to do with the baby, or whether her parents forced her to carry it.

This is at the heart of a crucial public policy issue. Republicans believe that we shouldn't have the choice of whether to terminate a pregnancy or carry it to term. Presumably, Bristol therefore was not given that choice, given her mother's proclamations. Is this true?

Family privacy aside, this is an important policy question. I think we deserve to know exactly what Sarah Palin believes when philosophy confronts reality.

Posted by: InWash | September 2, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

True, it's not a scandal if you're white, privileged, evangelical, rich, conservative, republican and powerful.

You can bet your sweet bible it would be were Bristol Palin black or latina or democrat -- the repugneocon hypocrites starting with the party of rove bush gerson mccain delay gingrich abramoff cheney limbaugh hannity o'reilly and faux news would make d@mn sure it would be a national public scandal.

.....


Posted by: No more Rightwing republican hypocrites in office! | September 2, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

again, i don't care about Palin's daughter or whether their family made a choice to keep the baby or whether the babies father is being paid to marry her.

Here's what I care about:

For the past year, all I've been hearing from McCain is that Obama lacks the experience to be President. Well McCain is 72. Who should I trust? A well traveled, Harvard educated, lawyer who taught Constitutional Law, and has been a politician at the state and national level for more than decade, or a Governor of a state with a population smaller than DC that has been on the job for 18 months?

DC Mayor Adrian Fenty is more qualified than Palin to be President. He'll be right down the street to offer Palin advice if McCain dies and she becomes President.

Posted by: ProfWrightBSU | September 2, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

HERE IS YOUR VP CANDIDATE IN ALL HER GLORY!

From the NYT:
"Shortly after becoming mayor, former city officials and Wasilla residents said, Ms. Palin approached the town librarian about the possibility of banning some books, though she never followed through and it was unclear which books or passages were in question.
Ann Kilkenny, a Democrat who said she attended every City Council meeting in Ms. Palin’s first year in office, said Ms. Palin brought up the idea of banning some books at one meeting. “They were somehow morally or socially objectionable to her,” Ms. Kilkenny said.
The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, pledged to “resist all efforts at censorship,” Ms. Kilkenny recalled. Ms. Palin fired Ms. Emmons shortly after taking office but changed course after residents made a strong show of support. Ms. Emmons, who left her job and Wasilla a couple of years later, declined to comment for this article."


Sorry. This will probably be censored and banned for reading soon.
I meant the New York Times.
LOL!

Posted by: LMFAO! | September 2, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Palin is dragging this piece of trash baby daddy to the convention as if it the kids' coming of age party and everyone is suppose to play a role and be fine with it; at the same time Palin wants America and the media to give them privacy. Huh? Governor, respectfully ma'am, you cannot have it both ways. I suspect McCain will try to use this trying and disastrous set of events for political gain. That's McCain the (dis)honorable man that he is. And Gerson is nothing more than a right-wing shill selling their snake-oil!

Posted by: Black and Bitter Like Morning Coffee | September 2, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

And you can forget FREEDOM OF PRESS!
NYT:
"Ms. Palin also upended the town’s traditional ways with a surprise edict: No employee was to talk to the news media without her permission."

LMAO!
Welcome to the New World Order!
Whats next? Camps for pro-choice people and Democrats?
LOL!

Posted by: LMFAO AGAIN! | September 2, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

A single incident like this proves nothing about what kind of sex education works and what doesn't, so people should stop trying to use this as their "proof" of anything. There is plenty of information out there to suggest that people who have had comprehensive sex education can still find themselves with unwanted pregnancies. Why should this be? For starters, few contraceptives out there are as close to 100 percent effective as we'd like to imagine. Just accept it. M. Drake provided another possible cause: "Teach your children abstinence but teach them also to use protection for those moments when the brain just won't listen." Brain won't listen, huh? And might that be the same brain responsible for ensuring consistent and proper use of contraceptives?
When it comes to teens and dangerous driving habits, we've heard so much about research showing that the teen brain does not process risk in the same way that the adult brain does. Apply this to the sexual arena. For all their education and parental guidance, some kids are going to engage in risky behavior regardless. I'm not saying to do nothing to educate kids, but just that knowledge by itself isn't the be all and end all. Ever watched teens on the street being interviewed about texting and driving after a crash killed someone their age and a few are like "Yeah, it's really sad and I probably shouldn't, but I'll probably still do it. My friends do, so whatever." Sheesh.
As for the immediate issue at hand, yeah this is a strange pick for a running mate. But judging by the wild responses here, including my own, it's mission accomplished, probably.

Posted by: hd | September 2, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

gee, a popular movie was about this very issue--Juno! That was pretty amusing, especially the fact that she didn't get married to the adolescent involved. As soon as Ms. Palin accepted the offer to be on the ticket, she signed up for a rigorous examination of her qualifications, her values, and her view of policy. It is hardly Victorian to have some moral suasion within one's own family when you make a big Evangelical deal out of the whole thing. She should resign.

Posted by: cb | September 2, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Dude,
You're tryin' too hard on this one. You're asking questions and answering them yourself.
You really need to chill on this one.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

It's finally time for Democrats to confront conservative evangelicals, after three decades of wishing they'd just chill out! From Milbank's column:

A group associated with Focus on the Family's James Dobson had posted a video asking people to pray for "rain of biblical proportions" to wash out Democrat Barack Obama's open-air speech in Denver last week.

Republicans have a history of such practices. The late Rev. Jerry Falwell blamed 9/11 on "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays." The Rev. John Hagee said Hurricane Katrina was "the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans."

And the Rev. Pat Robertson threatened Orlando with "earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor" for displaying gay-pride flags.

The majority must confront this continuing, misguided "will to power" to establish an American theocracy!

Posted by: Li Chi | September 2, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have been blaming out of wedlock births for the destruction of America for decades. Now that it's one of their own it doesn't undermine the American family.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

A good leader leads by example. How can i tell my daughter to practise abstinence when the future vice-president [who vociferously promotes it] cannot make her daughter do it?

When do we get a republican leader who has the strength to enforce values in their family?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

This little family matter has nothing to do with the election. On that Obama was right. But to have a small-town Christian zealot as No 2 to the oldest presidential candidate in history gives one pause. That she was his third choice because McCain couldn't stand up to Rush and the Republican God Squad just shows what an impulsive and weak guy he is. This whole thing is starting to look like a bad movie -- Ms Deeds Goes to Washington, crossed with Legally Blonde II and maybe Juno.

Posted by: geoffrey james | September 2, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Wow McCain really miscalculated. Lots of ordinary guys are gonna be really turned off by Palin. He lost my vote that's for sure.

Posted by: John | September 2, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse


Gerson, how much do you get paid to regurgitate the Republican talking points? Or do they just post for you?

Posted by: Armstrong | September 2, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Whoa...is it true that Palin forbade state employees from speaking with the press without her 'okay'?

That's scary! As is her attempts to ban books and firing the librarian for having the temerity to stand up to her.

If true, that makes me mistrust McCain and Palin's judgment more than ever.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 3, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

The whole daughter scandal is a diversion from more alarming facts about Ms. Palin.

She was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party in 2000. She basically wanted Alaska to become a separate and independent nation from the United States so its resources could be exploited.

Whatever her daughter is doing is the least of our worries.

Posted by: Thetruth | September 3, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Why hasn't Mr. Gerson come up with a new article to apply his Evangelical Republican spin to?? I'm waiting!!

I want to ridicule not Mr. Gerson PER SE, but the hypocritical gun-toting, meth using "religious right", you know, the people of this earth that are closest to God and believe in "His judgment" for people who have not followed his word.

The same ones who believe in separatism for the State of Alaska, you know what I mean! The same people who invoke the name of God, over and over, in public speeches and elsewhere, just as Adolph Hitler did in Germany before he began exterminating human beings.

Posted by: sanity | September 3, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

She's a fake selling snake oil with John McCain. Just wait and see if they manage to get elected!

Posted by: sanity | September 3, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

In defense of Sarah Palin, the leaders of
the Christian right have made it clear about how they define a Christian.

We don't care if you sin.
We are not bothered if you put your ambition ahead of the needs of your children. If you have lied or broken the law, we will look the other way. It all comes down to your stand on guns and fetuses. Vote the right way, and you have our blessing.

They are not concerned about actual issues, other than their issue, the establishment of a Christian Theocracy in the United States.

Posted by: sanity | September 3, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Just watched the Wash Post vid of Ron Reagan. All I can say is WOW!!!

Definately worth a few minutes of your time.

Posted by: sanity | September 3, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

How nice and white? Almost spotlessly so.
I thought about bleach all the way through.

Now I definately know who I want as President and Vice President:

a man who is disorented on stage,

and a woman who pees in the words, then puts on lipstick and goes out to dinner.

I'm so impressed by the United States!

God bless America!

Posted by: sanity | September 4, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

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