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In which I take a few minutes to imagine being Sarah Palin and making a historic decision for my country, my party, my state, my family and myself.

I'm tired of hearing the Republican narrative that the Media have dug up dirt on Sarah Palin's family.  The Media did not issue a press release saying that Sarah's daughter was pregnant by Levi.  The McCain campaign did.  The Media did not choose Sarah Palin as the Republican Vice Presidential nominee.  The McCain Campaign did.  The Media didn't know that Sarah's daughter was pregnant before she was nominated.  The McCain Campaign did.  To be fair it wouldn't be right for the national media or anyone to go after her daughter if she were to become pregnant after the nominee was chosen.  That's not fair.  The press isn't always fair and I submit that the McCain campaign knew that the media would go after the daughter's pregnancy and they served her up for their own reasons.  Sarah Palin made a choice to put this spotlight on her daughter and the father of her daughter's baby.  That's unacceptable.  Did she call his family and ask, "Do you mind if I drag your son around by his penis for getting my daughter pregnant?"  I'm betting not.  

I'm still struck by this.  I can't imagine what it must be like to be offered the chance of a lifetime to be the Vice Presidential nominee of my party.  That's a pretty rarified group of people who have that experience.  I'm trying to imagine that I'm in her shoes.  

Swirly, misty, fade in:

I'm sitting in the Governor's Mansion in Anchorage.  I've only been governor for a year or so.  I've got a brand new baby with health issues and developmental issues.  There are probably a lot of people questioning why I'm not home with him.  But I have a job and my husband is taking the reins.  That works for us.  I'm comfortable with that.  I've got 4 other kids and one of them is about to leave for a war zone as a soldier.  That's scary to all mothers and I'm going to have to put on a brave face because people will be watching me and how I handle this.  He's a grown up now and this is his dream and I won't spoil it.  

Fade back to me sitting here typing here in Michigan:

Note how I'm giving the best benefit of the doubt I can here, folks, I'm just trying to be fair.  These are not my thoughts on these things but I'm assuming these were her thoughts on these things.

Fade to imaginary me as Governor:

There is a hot presidential race coming up and I get mentioned as a possible VP candidate.  I'm flattered.  Holy Crap imagine that!  Sometime the week before the RNC convention I get asked to fill out a quiz to see if I'm qualified to be on the short list of candidates.  At this point so other things have happened in my family.  My eldest daughter who is only 17 has announced that she is pregnant.  

Fade back to me:  

I have a 14 year old daughter so I'm not claiming any knowledge of raising 17 year olds, but I do remember being a 17 year old and thinking my mom totally didn't get it.

Fade to Gov. Mansion:

I'm angry with the situation.  This is a huge opportunity for me and my state, frankly.  I get to stand up and say see it wasn't a fluke that I was elected.  You weren't just tired of the status quo you picked someone who could do us proud.  On the other hand my daughter is going to get drug through the ringer.  I've got some serious parenting issues coming up in the next few months with her, with my son's deployment and with my youngest son's health and developmental issues.  But it's the Vice Presidency... It's an offer you can't refuse, right?  

Fade back to my laptop:

Here's where she loses me.  I can't follow this logic.  I could get here with her.  I could imagine her making quite an impassioned amazing speech as the up and coming Governor of Alaska at the RNC and being a future force to reckon with.  I could imagine saying "this is the hardest thing I've ever had to say no to, but I can't do this to my family right now."  I can imagine being pissed off at my daughter and her boyfriend, but I cannot imagine deciding that their lives were worth less than my political career.  Let's face it, if she says no and just gives a barn burner, red meat speech she's got the whole world looking at her as possible presidential material in a few years.  If she accepts the nomination, she has the press tearing apart her daughter and presumptive son-in-law whether it's fair or not.  That daughter is fairly far along in her teen pregnancy which are high risk and there will be hormones galore for the next long while.  I'm going to need all sorts of help getting her through this without having her do something to hurt herself further.  The other child (he's 18, but he's still somebody's little boy, I suspect) is going to be drug through this and though I'm pissed that he participated in the current predicament, that doesn't mean he needs to have his life drug through the mud.  

How dare she stand up there and tell us about being a pit bull hockey mom?  I know hockey mom's, they drive kids to 5 am practices and travel ungodly distances for games where they sit in cold rinks with other mom's.  How dare she make this claim to motherhood without showing the compassion that a pit bull would show to it's young?  A pit bull would protect it's young and so would a hockey mom.  

Stepping down from soap box:

Whew, see I'm still worked up.  And this doesn't even cross the threshold of what I think about her actual qualifications for the job.  This is just about John McCain's decision to offer this to her and her decision to take it.  I'm a mom and I've dealt with my own issues on the mom front that are different and yet no less important or gut wrenching as hers.  I can sit here as an equal on this one front.  And I'm not the only mom talking about this.  It's been quite a topic of discussion amongst my friends and family.  There isn't much to know about her actual qualifications so this has been the first thing to come up in every discussion.  It's a decision she made that crosses all political boundaries.  I don't have to agree with the other mom I'm talking to about energy policy or health care, dem or repub, we all feel appalled by her choice to put her daughter through this.  

Ok, so she made a bad decision.  Now, I could sit here and try to imagine myself in one of the McMansions and try to follow the logic of how you decide that she's going to be fine even though she's light on experience and we're going to have to throw some young kids under the bus.  To give him the best possible shake, I'd guess that he didn't really know about that.  Maybe he thought that being elected governor of Alaska would have been enough vetting - Jesse Ventura anyone?  But I think it's more likely that he didn't think.  He was running scared from a DNC convention that looked like one he'd like to have been part of and wasn't.  He wanted to capture some youth and enthusiasm.  He didn't put his country first.  

Originally posted to stas61690 on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 06:44 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Here's the thing: she doesn't do that driving to (8+ / 0-)

    hockey practice; she has others do it.  She has her kids "farmed out" (her associates' way of describing it) all over the state to relatives.  She is on the road traveling, occupied with meetings, getting prepped by handlers, on the phone.  She is not really "there" with her family, even if they are trotted out on the stage with her and dragged all over to her appearances.  

  •  Who I am (16+ / 0-)

    I'm 42. I live in Michigan.  I have a 14 year old daughter and I had a 10 year old son who died of AML Leukemia in 2007.  I lived and breathed his illness for 4 and half years from the time he was 5 until he died at age 10.  I was ready to go back to work when he was diagnosed.  You have to have one parent that can be with a cancer patient 24/7 while they are in patient, which we were for long stretches during the original treatment phase of 5 months and then for long stretches during relapse and bone marrow transplant.  It's not an option to have child care.  It has to be a parent.  My husband had the best job with good insurance so I was that parent.  I was really good at it too.  I've had some difficulty getting back into work and I'm doing some other things now which give me the flexibility to read Kos and watch tv more than is probably healthy.

    I'm an American I can handle the truth!

    by stas61690 on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 06:52:09 AM PDT

  •  Well, if you want to help (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This really isn't the way to go.  It's too easy for them to create backlash about hitting her on the personal stuff, which was the point of putting her in there.  

    There is just too much to point out about her.  Let the damn tabloids go after the soap opera stuff.  A site like dk should be raising awareness of her political 'legacy.'  The fact that they call her a reformer when she's done nothing but flip on her own position on the bridge to nowhere.  There are dozens of other things but that's the one that's going to stick with people.  

    She's the candidate to nowhere.  

    Don't give them reasons to cry victim on this.  Backlash does work.  It was the one thing that threatened Obama in the primaries once he had taken a lead so that's what they're going for.  Don't help em.  

    Maybe other people feel differently but that's what makes sense to me.

    Bob Barr for President(ial candidate)!

    by Sun dog on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 06:52:45 AM PDT

    •  It is so obvious that they are trying (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sun dog

      to provoke Obama into some politically inappropriate remark about her. Judging by the banter between Obama's press guy and McCain's this morning on the Scarborough show, they get it. They are not going to help the Repubs with their attempts to create false outrage against the Democrats, and the media, for "picking" on Palin.

      "though we rush ahead to save our time- we are only what we feel" Neil Young- 1968

      by blindyone on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 07:01:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They should trust voters (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blindyone, Sun dog, princss6

        I think restraint is best because the arguments make themselves in the minds of voters.  People get it.

      •  They need to make up their minds, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stas61690, blindyone, princss6

        Is Sarah Palin a victim or a hero? They can not say she is a strong governor,a fighter an a maverick and in the next breath cry victimization.
        Sarah Palin is not ready for the national stage, for God's sake she has not been properly vetted. That is the reason we have campaigns in this country, we start with many, many candidates, and whittle it down to two people, that is the American people doing the vetting process. The position of V.P. is a position where it is even more important for that person to be properly vetted. This person is chosen, not voted into office. The person that holds that position is literally a heartbeat away from being President and leader of the free world. The person should not be chosen for political expediency. I am sorry folks, like every other decison in his life, John McCain has failed on this one too. We can not take the chance with this loose cannon in the White House, there is much too much at stake right now. We need a calm steady hand at the tiller, not an impulsive self obessed, do anything to win lunatic.

    •  Sorry, I agree that her positions are (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peggy, timewarp, Sun dog, NCrissieB

      her weak point.  But I don't have any foreign policy experience unless you call a trip to the USSR in 89 experience.  I don't have vast energy experience unless filling my car up counts. I'm guessing that RNC might just take those experiences as expert given the Palin is an expert on Russia from osmosis.  I'm just addressing the issue that I can comment on from experience and noting that others who don't agree on those issues seem to be agreeing on this one.  

      I'm letting the people with the right background make those calls.  Not saying that Kos shouldn't be a serious site, but the media is going to pick up on Soccer Mom dissatisfaction too.  

      I'm an American I can handle the truth!

      by stas61690 on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 07:01:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not just that it's her weak point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's that they picked a character like her to try to create a folk hero for the righties.  

        They want the argument to be about her personal life so the 'libruls' will attack her.  It's bait, basically.  

        Don't forget that their great hero, Ron Reagan came to power spouting Family Values with his second wife in tow and estranged kids from his first marriage who talked about what a terrible dad he was.  

        The facts don't matter at all to these people.  They just tend to benefit when the argument is about social issues and personal garbage.  

        They make a big election into an election about little things, as Obama pointed out.  That way, they get people to vote against their own interests, over and over.  

        Bob Barr for President(ial candidate)!

        by Sun dog on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 07:13:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Disagree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn, stas61690, NCrissieB

      This is all relevant because she is Miss Family Values.  And they keep stoking what a great Mom she is.  They put it on the table.  It's appalling that they think they can continue to stump on family values and virtue and morality when their candidates are no paragons.

      Cokie Roberts was smirking about feminists being silent on these attacks on her.     This is not a typical "working mom" just trying to get ahead.  This is a red-meat slinging social conservative who is not living what she advocates.

      •  This is also the only thing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        some people will see and vote on or stay home on.  I'm not saying it's right or good or smart, I'm saying it's true.  I don't think people should make the call based on this, but I'm saying I couldn't do what this woman has done to her children and that's going to ring true with other moms.  

        I'm an American I can handle the truth!

        by stas61690 on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 07:09:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm torn on this (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stas61690, profmom, Sun dog, NCrissieB

      I very much sympathize with the diarist's point of view. But I also realize that every situation is unique. I would hate to be judged for road  I took. For ex: "she is stay at home mom. She probably can't do anything else".

      Sort of only tangentially related, but I just wanted to toss this out there FWIW (I read this on another blog, so it is not an original thought):

      Why do we never use the term "working father" when we discuss these issues? Are the men just expected to go out there and earn a living and be good fathers? Whereas when a woman does this, she is doing something extra-- going the extra mile. Hence she gets a little extra pat on the back. The man is just expected to do it.

      So, IMO, sexism is a burden on both genders.

      •  This stay at home dad (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        knows what you're talking about.  

        In a conversation recently about my baby daughter, my preschool age daughter and my wife who is working 70 hour weeks, I was asked, "Well, what are you doing?"

        Not a question a woman would have been asked in that situation.  

        It doesn't really bother me because I'm a lucky dog and I don't consider myself a victim of anything.  But it does provide me with interesting perspective on these issues and the way we're still stuck in a lot of expectations that create double standards.

        Bob Barr for President(ial candidate)!

        by Sun dog on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 07:19:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My husband was stay at home (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sun dog, NCrissieB

          when my daughter was born he was working on his dissertation and worked nights while I worked days and provided the insurance and main income source. It was a wonderful thing for his relationship with our children that he had that experience with them.  When he got a better job than I had I got to stay home with then two children.  He was really good at taking care of our home - much better than I am.  I think we were about equal on the kids with each of us bringing different skills and perspectives to that task.

          I love that I had a choice and I think all choices are valid if they work for the family in question.  I don't want anyone taking those choices away.  

          As a stay-at-home mom, I have always hated being asked what I do.  It's even worse when you are in an over educated town like Ann Arbor where a lot of women stay home with young children and then it's a question of what were you before you were a mom.  Oh, a lawyer or an engineer... I was putting my husband through college by working for the University as an administrator.  Not glam and not really a career for me...  

          I'm an American I can handle the truth!

          by stas61690 on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 07:30:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's kind of sick (0+ / 0-)

            that people don't understand this is an insult.

            As a stay-at-home mom, I have always hated being asked what I do.

            As though raising our young kids ourselves is 'doing nothing.'  It's weird, the things we value and what becomes expected.  

            It is, of course, acceptable for both parents to work and put the kids in daycare.  But the fact that it's now EXPECTED is just kind of bizarre.  Meanwhile in other circles, it's still expected that mom is the one who deals with all the kid stuff.  Everyone has these different ideas of 'normal' and they lean on that instead of just looking at things for their inherrent value.  

            I guess it's annoying sometimes for me.  But I get to be really close with my kids, like very few dads get to be.  And I feel like I have a lot of insight into what my mom's life was like, as well as my dad's.  Another thing most men never get to see.  

            Bob Barr for President(ial candidate)!

            by Sun dog on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 07:43:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I'd be all over this if it were Todd Palin too. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        This isn't a mom issue.  This is a parent issue.  Bristol Palin needs and deserves both parents' unconditional, undivided love and support right now.  This is a terribly stressful situation for her and for the family.  I hope and pray that she gets that from both her mom and dad, despite her mom's campaign schedule.

        This is about valuing families.

  •  After the speech last night, my girlfriend was (8+ / 0-)

    Highly insulted at dirty old men prancing Sarah Palin out there. When Debra Wasserman Schultz spoke in the rebuttal time on Larry King, my GF was passionately supportive of her points.

    When DWS made mention of the buttons that GOPers were wearing that said "hottest VP from the coolest state" that infuriated her even more.

    We clearly do not have a women's candidate on our hands.

  •  Sorry, but I agree with the diarist on this (5+ / 0-)

    Sarah Palin is in it for Sarah Palin, she doesn't care whom she drags down as long as it is for Sarah Palin.  I repeat Sarah Palin.  

    The Republicans did this to get Hillary voters, this is an insult to Hillary voters, just as it is to Hillary.  Hillary and her followers have intelligence and Hillary worked her butt off for women in Sarah Palin's postition, except one small factor.  Sarah Palin had the means, Hillary fought for the women that didn't.

  •  You read my mind! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Standing in line for coffee this morning, I saw the headlines of one CA newspaper, "Hockey Mom Punch"

    Yeah that ‘bout describes her speech, "[Moose] HOCKEY" [no puck intented].

    I think she's playing the field, [she’s thinking further down the line], if she looses this time, so what, this is the best opportunity to introduce herself to the America public, and NEXT time, she'll be seen as a [more] serious contender for ‘maybe’ maybe it balances out in her mind...
    In the past she's said positive things about both Obama & Jmac, so even along those lines, I'm thinking she would have accepted the nod to become Obamas VP too...
    ...She put herself on the national stage, so as far as I'm concerned, there will never be too much exposure of her political reasoning...however, I do wonder where her heart is when it comes to her family...

    Haven't you noticed suddenly I'm bright and breezy? Because of all the beautiful and new info I'm learning about Palin day by day.

    by tealwomin on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 07:23:48 AM PDT

  •  I agree and have said so. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stas61690, winterbanyan

    I'm a 47-year-old mom, lesbian, living with Herself.  We're both novelists, which means we can work at home.  That gives us a lot of flexibility in managing family crises.  And we get our share of them, with five kids between us, ranging from 16 to 36 in age.

    My oldest son just got off active duty in the Navy, after three Persian Gulf tours.  My younger son volunteered for the Marine Corps, but - and I say this sincerely - thankfully was injured in basic training, twice, so badly that they couldn't keep him.  He can't play basketball or soccer with me anymore, but he can still walk and jog (with pain), and he's alive and with his soul intact.

    My youngest daughter had a real crisis three years ago.  I won't discuss the details of it here, and please don't ask.  But it was a kind of crisis any parent dreads.  And we put everything on hold for her.  Vacation, cancelled.  Writing schedules, rearranged.  Eeadlines, renegotiated.  Our home, reconfigured.  We weren't "heroes."  Just moms being moms ... parents being parents.

    Parents do those things because, when you decide to have a child, you take a silent oath, even if you don't realize it.  You take an oath to accept being second place in your own life.  You take an oath to bend over backwards, twice, and then again, to be there for your kids when they need you most.  You take an oath to give up your own dreams, ambitions, plans, goals, and needs - in times of crisis - to focus on the life you've brought into this world.  You take an oath to fit yourself in around the edges of your life ... and be grateful when life gives you those edges.

    Parents do these things because our kids deserve no less from us.  They didn't sit up in Heaven, vying for the chance to come into some womb and be born.  We chose to conceive and bear them.  They are our responsibility.  We owe them that.

    Parents do these things because love is a verb, not a noun.  It's something you do, not something you feel.  And it's something you do, even - indeed especially! - when you don't feel like it.  That's what real love is.

    This isn't about "mommy wars," as some in the media have so sneeringly described it.  It's about being a parent - mom or dad.  I would make this exact same argument were Todd Palin the GOP nominee for Vice President.  It's not about sexism.  It's not about religion, abstinence-only sex ed, ideology, politics.  It's not about "family values."

    It's about valuing families.

    The Republicans love to describe us as being out of touch with American morals and values.  Elitist, effete.  Liberal, live and let live.  Secular, selfish.  We're the ones real Americans shouldn't entrust their children's lives to.

    We should see this as an opportunity to prove that narrative wrong.  But not by demonizing Bristol, or Levi, or even their parents.  We are not that.  And we mustn't let ourselves become that.

    But we can and should talk about choices.  We can and should talk about valuing families.  We can and should publicly hope and pray that Bristol Palin - and every other Bristol Palin in America - gets all of the love, encouragement, and support she needs in this difficult time.  Because, to paraphrase our candidate's "quiet storms" speech: Bristol Palin is my child too.  And yours.

    When Barack Obama's grandparents learned their 17-year-old daughter was pregnant, they put everything else in their lives on hold.  Their dreams, hopes, plans, ambitions ... all of it went on the far back shelf.  They turned their lives inside out to help their daughter raise the baby who is now standing at the doorway of history.  They were parents being parents.  They valued their family above their own lives.  And that love shows in their grandson.

    I do hope that the Palins are able to give Bristol the love, encouragement, and support she needs now, despite Sarah Palin's choice to accept the VP nod.  I hope their family meets these challenges with love and grace, strength and dignity ... and with courage.  They'll need a lot of that.  Becoming a mother at 17 is very daunting.  I pray for her and them, every night.

    But we Democrats can and should discuss families, and choices, and how we value families.  Not as political barbs used to draw enemy flesh, but as real issues that matter deeply to us.  I have no scorn for Bristol Palin, nor for her parents.  I hope they can make this work.

    But I think Sarah Palin made an irresponsible choice - as a parent - when she said decided to campaign for the Vice Presidency at this critical moment in her family's life.  Whatever we think of her qualifications, whatever anyone thinks she may or may not do for America as Vice President ... her daughter needs her more than we do.

    And deserves no less than her full support.

    •  Wow, just Wow (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      winterbanyan, NCrissieB

      Well said!

      As I noted above I have a 14 year old and I've decided that given our family situation and the losses she has gone through -the loss of her brother and the loss of our attention while we battled disease, I should be there for her when she gets home from school.  I drive her to and from even though she definitely could walk it.  But that time in the car with her and sometimes her friends as I'm known to give lifts to all and sundry, that is priceless for us these days.  She tells me stuff that wouldn't come out otherwise.  She shares her life with me in ways that she couldn't or wouldn't when her brother was sick.  We made a conscious decision when we knew that her brother was dying to change our focus from battle to journey.  We knew that we were going to parent the end of life and the loss of sibling and that would be the defining element of our lives.  At some level there is a choice to see the remaining sibling as the focus, so many lose one child to death and the other child or children to that loss.  

      I'm an American I can handle the truth!

      by stas61690 on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 07:50:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can't begin to imagine your courage. (0+ / 0-)

        There's a saying that burying a child upsets the natural order of the universe.  Children are supposed to bury their parents, not vice-versa.  But even that quasi-cosmic comment cannot possibly describe the agony and the courage you've spoken about here today.

        My daughter will doubtless be forever scarred by what happened to her.  I was when it happened to me.  But she, and I, are at least alive.  And week by week, month by month, year by year, I see the sparks of the loving, trusting, joyous, courageous little girl she once was begin to glow anew.

        You don't get to see that for your son.  You don't get to see him free of pain.  I hope and pray that, at least, from time to time, in quiet moments, you can feel his soul caress yours, hear him whisper: "I'm okay, mom."

        These are the parts of parenting that you don't hear about at baby showers, or read about in how-to books by glib TV celebrities.  They're the aching, searing moments when we realize - or I do at least - why marriage is a sacrament, a grace-filled model of God's love.  They're the times when we could be our worst, and must somehow find the best that lies within us ... or act as if, even if we can't.

        As a Democrat, as a lesbian, as a liberal, as a mother, I welcome any discussion of family values, because I welcome any opportunity to value families.

        •  I do get to see my daughter (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          bloom.  My mother is a militant optimist a fearless miner of silver linings and she noted that we might now know a daughter who might never have been known to us.  This is an experience that sets you apart and pulls you together in ways that are difficult to achieve in a fast paced family life.  Just as my son was never the child he could have been without cancer, he was undoubtedly closer to me and my most intimate connection in this life.  

          I'm working hard to live up to my mom's example.  

          Thanks for this discussion, that's exactly what I wanted from this diary.

          I'm an American I can handle the truth!

          by stas61690 on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 08:17:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Final thought (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Jon Soltz had a diary.
    It said that publicizing when her eldest son will deploy to Iraq violates security. This kid is now a marked man & is at risk for kidnapping, bombing, etc.
    This publicity also puts his whole company in danger.

    Palin sure is a loving mother, isn't she.

  •  Plus getting on a plane (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to fly from Dallas to Alaska after her water broke for the Down's baby.

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