September 2, 2008

Take The Cue

Most people thought it was a good thing that Bill and Hillary Clinton made their daughter off-limits for political purposes during their campaigns and their tenures in office. That was true across partisan lines and it should be true now, too.

If you've been following politics, you've seen the ugly rumors floating around about Gov. Palin and her recent pregnancy -- and that of her daughter's recently-announced pregnancy. I'll not repeat them here. Instead, I'll provide a link to a Time report about how Bristol Palin's pregnancy was not much of a secret in her small town, and how the people of Wasilla, Alaska have quietly demonstrated values and behavior of a far more admirable water than either journalists or partisan hacks of varying pay grades.

The other link is to a CNN story relating Barack Obama's response to the shitstorm -- according to the Democratic Party's nominee, Sarah Palin's family is off limits. You can criticize Governor Palin, you can question whether she has sufficient knowledge or experience to serve in a high office, you can take issue with her policy positions. That's a pretty broad field of attack for Democrats, liberals, progressives, and anyone else dismayed with the choice of Sarah Palin to be John McCain's running mate. But no personal attacks on her family. That seems like good behavior, and good politics, to me.


Thomas said...

I agree that Ms. Palin's family should be off limits, but not the related issues.

I think it is perfectly fine for the campaigns to debate abstinence-only programs, abortion, adoption, and even family values (since Republicans seem so concerned about this).

I think it is perfectly fine to discuss Palin's comment that she would not support abortion even if her own daughter had been raped.

Questions: In Palin's official statement concerning her daughter's pregnancy, Palin said she was proud of her daughter's decision to have the baby. How is it a choice or decision to have a baby when someone would never (under any circumstances) consider abortion? And is it moral to keep others from making their own decisions concerning abortion?

I believe these are legitimate questions for McCain/Palin and anyone who supports McCain/Palin.

Burt Likko said...

I agree that abortion and questions related to policies that affect issues related to it are well within acceptable limits for political discourse. The questions you suggest are fair and deserve a response.

My guess is that Gov. Palin would offer a fairly traditional right-to-life argument in response to your questions; she would likely claim that the fetus is a person and therefore has a right to not be killed. The rest of what you would query her about would be permutations of that principle, and it does seem that she is applying it consistently. That, and parsing out the difference between a "decision" and "choice" in this context. FWIW, I disagree with this vision of the issue, but I'm not the one running for national office.