Why the Palin Baby Story Matters
What it means to evangelical voters
At 6:30 Monday morning, at a hotel here in St. Paul, a team of senior McCain staffers got word from even more senior staffers that there was news about vice-presidential pick Sarah Palin.... a story would be breaking on the wires in a few hours reporting that Palin's daughter, Bristol, is, in fact, pregnant now. The father is Bristol's boyfriend, the staffers were told, and she intends to marry him.
The McCain aides' assignment was to call a list of about 40 top evangelical and other cultural conservative leaders. Each one would get a personal explanation of the story, and each was asked for his or her reaction. The McCain people reached nearly everyone before the story broke, and the verdict was unanimous - all the leaders supported Palin and her place on the McCain ticket.
When the day's business was over, I drifted around the Colorado and Ohio delegations - two critical swing states - to get a feel for the delegates' reaction. In the Colorado section, I ran into Sue Sharkey, from Windsor. When I asked what she thought, her reaction was not about Palin but herself:
"For me personally, it hit my heart this morning," Sharkey told me, "because I was a 17 year-old girl, just like Sarah Palin's daughter, and I had - I was in those shoes. And my son is with me, who will be 35 years old next week, and so I know what a difficult road there is for her." "I chose to have my son, and from that point I realized that I was a very strong right-to-life advocate," Sharkey continued, her voice wavering ever so slightly. Roe v. Wade had been passed just the year before, and I already knew girls who were going through abortions. It wasn't a choice for me; it wasn't in my heart to do that. So when I heard the news this morning, it struck close to home for me."
A few feet away, members of the Ohio delegation were finishing up business, and I asked Patricia Murray, a delegate from Cincinnati, what she thought. "I don't even think this is an issue," she told me. "It's a family issue. It's a personal issue. The only reason it was made public was because of her mother." Nearby, Ben Rose, a delegate from Lima, said that, "In every case where I heard delegates talk about this, the first thought was to the human nature of it."
Earlier in the day, just after I heard the news, I called Marlys Popma, the well-known Iowa evangelical leader who is now the head of evangelical outreach for the McCain campaign. Like Sue Sharkey from Colorado, Popma had a story to tell. It turns out she had had a child out of wedlock nearly 30 years ago, and it changed her life. "It was my crisis pregnancy that brought me into the movement," Popma told me. "My reaction is that this shows that the governor's family is just like so many families. That's how my first child came into the world, and I'm just thrilled that [Bristol Palin] is choosing to give this child life."
I asked Popma what she thought the larger reaction among evangelicals will be. "Their reaction is going to be exactly as mine," she told me. "There hasn't been one evangelical family that hasn't gone through some sort of situation. Many of us are in this movement because of something that has happened in our lives."
As for now, at least, evangelicals seem to be completely on Palin's side. And McCain's. This is a group that has been skeptical of McCain in the past. Now, it's probably fair to say that he has never been more popular among evangelicals than he is at this moment. Whether that will last, or whether Palin will cost McCain support among other voters, is not yet clear. But within the confines of the Republican Convention, McCain's surprising choice of Palin - and the equally surprising news about her family - is paying off.
Palin consistency: "Sarah Palin has handed down her pro-life beliefs to her young daughter, Bristol who, at the age of 17 and unmarried, has decided to give her unborn child the gift of life. In their official statement on the matter, the Palins seemed far from the "rigid" label attributed to Sarah Palin by liberal critics, but instead assured their young daughter that she had their "unconditional love and support."
A good comment on the Palin family support for their daughter: "Quite a contrast with Barack Obama, who in March said he wouldn't want his daughters "punished with a baby." Congratulations to Bristol, her fiance and the grandparents-to-be."
A fun comment: "I think we can all agree that Palin's pick of an experienced statesman like John McCain to head her ticket shows that she is much better prepared to be VP than Biden who is trying to thrust an unqualified youngster who was a do-nothing state legislator before being elected to the Senate where he put in a few months of attendance before going AWOL to run for president."
'Stop! Or We'll Say Stop Again!': "With apologies to comedian Robin Williams, that's the line that comes to mind when weighing the European Union's declaration Monday on Russia's continued occupation of Georgia. At a special meeting in Brussels, EU national leaders told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to abide by the terms of a French-brokered cease-fire, including a pullback of Russian troops to their preconflict positions. If he doesn't do so, they warned they will hold another meeting."
British Government Chooses Hitler-Loving Abortion Movement Pioneer for Stamps: "Marie Stopes, the notorious early 20th century contraception campaigner, eugenicist and anti-Semite, did for Britain what Margaret Sanger did for the US: preached the doctrines of eugenics and promoted contraception and sterilisation to achieve "racial hygiene." So successful was she at altering British society in favour of her eugenics doctrines, the British government has chosen her to be included in a "Women of Distinction" line of stamps. The Royal Mail announced this weekend that the face of Marie Stopes, who advocated the sterilisation of poor women to promote the "welfare of the race", will feature on the 50p stamp. The stamps will be available beginning 14 October 2008."
Obamanut Predicts Race War If McCain Wins: "Fatimah Ali, who is described as "a regular contributor" to the Philadelphia Daily News, writes today that, "if McCain wins, look for a full-fledged race and class war, fueled by a deflated and depressed country, soaring crime, homelessness - and hopelessness!" I would like to see this column distributed widely, since I believe it would impel many voters to support McCain just to deflate such pompous offensiveness."
For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)