Pregnancy and the Presidency

September 1, 2008

Sarah Palin’s daughter is pregnant. She’s 17 years old and is probably having a difficult time being a teenager, being the daughter of a vice-presidential candidate, and being the focus of such intense public attention.

Too bad.

When a person runs for office they are making a choice to open themselves up to scrutiny. Their past foibles and the foibles of those around them are treated as fair game. You know why? It’s because we’re curious about the people who will lead us and we have a right to know what weaknesses they might have and what character traits they possess.

Palin has campaigned against sex education. She has a fairly straight-laced woman who is trying to raise a family. She’s also unskilled at handling the level of scrutiny she’s about to face as the race heats up.

But are we, as voters, smart enough to make a decision based on merit and not on sensationalism? Do we have the chutzpah to say, “I don’t care if her kid got knocked up, how good a VP will she be?”

Sadly, I think it goes far BELOW that. We’re a nation that has a majority of very stupid people in it. I call them stupid because they vote based on intuition guided by what they see in advertising.

This is the same reason we’re a fat nation. People believe that McDonald’s is our kind of place, so they eat all their meals there.

Perhaps this bun in the oven will just be a flash in the pan topic and people will get on with evaluating Biden, Obama, McCain and Palin as possible leaders.

The first big step toward this higher ground was taken by Barack Obama when he stated that anyone on his campaign staff who was found to use the Bristol Palin pregnancy as a hot-button would be fired. But it might be too late.

The social media crowd is already buzzing about the issue. Barbs are being thrown back and forth across the electronic aisle. And even the joke writers for people like Letterman and the Daily Show are salivating. Not since Bill Clinton’s activities have they had such a prominent target in such a compromising position.

The GOP has called Jamie Lynn Spears trashy for becoming an unwed mother at age 16. I wonder if the bed that Bristol Palin laid in will get her the same treatment from her mother’s political party.

Will it change the way Palin or McCain feels about abortion, family values and sex education? Will it affect the thousands of other teens thinking about how great it would be to emulate Jamie Lynn and Bristol? Will the media look the other way or will hungry reporters want to hunt this story down to find out the W’s (who, what, when, where and how)?

The convention hasn’t even started and the hottest buttons are the ones that somebody pushed on Bristol Palin. Let’s see the Grand Ole Party reconcile this story in the making.

**As an aside, I thoroughly dislike Hillary Clinton. But wouldn’t it have been amazing for the country and the presidential race if McCain had chosen her as a running mate?**

Leave me your thoughts in the comments.

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