Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 1, 2008

A MEANINGLESS DISTRACTION.... Good lord, what a mess.

Top McCain aide Steve Schmidt is surrounded by press asking about Bristol Palin's pregnancy as he enters the GOP convention site.

Sarah Palin apparently lied about abusing her powers as governor, firing a capable Public Safety Commissioner without cause. Campaign reporters find that mildly interesting, but during a lengthy interview between John McCain and Chris Wallace yesterday, the subject didn't even come up.

But now that John McCain's running mate's teenage daughter is having a baby, now reporters are swarming around Steve Schmidt, demanding answers.

I suppose news outlets might justify their prurient interests, arguing that Palin's family may have a Jerry Springer-like quality, but as the day as unfolded, I can't help but find the whole thing ridiculous. Bristol Palin is not a candidate for public office. Her pregnancy is none of the political world's business.

The McCain campaign, as part of its pushback, had an anonymous aide tell Reuters that the Obama campaign has been behind the rumor mongering on Palin's family life, and for reasons that defy comprehension, Reuters ran the allegation without support or evidence.

This afternoon, Obama hosted a press conference in which he hoped to talk about the federal response to Hurricane Gustav. Following the McCain campaign's sleazy tactics today, reporters had other issues on their minds.

Barack Obama told reporters firmly that families are off-limits in this campaign, reacting to news that Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter is five months pregnant.

"Let me be as clear as possible," said Obama, "I think people's families are off-limits 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 governor, or her potential performance as a vice president."

Obama said reporters should "back off these kinds of stories."

As for the McCain's campaign's assertion that the Obama team played a role in going after Palin's family, Obama didn't even let the reporter finish asking the question: "I am offended by that statement.... "We don't go after people's families. We don't get them involved in the politics. It's not appropriate and it's not relevant. Our people were not involved in any way in this and they will not be."

Here's hoping the political world can find something else interesting tomorrow.

Steve Benen 4:31 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (93)

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Comments

Most MSM reporter brains function on a reptilian level. You can't get them interested unless it's about sex or fear.

Posted by: anon on September 1, 2008 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Here's hoping the political world can find something else interesting tomorrow.

I'd rather they didn't, if their criteria for "interesting" includes the kid's pregnancy.

Posted by: Cervantes on September 1, 2008 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Bristol can not be 5 months pregnant. She already had a baby in April of this year. See
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/8/30/121350/137/486/580223

I'm not sure what they have in mind. After the election announce that Trig is really Bristol's child? Hope that because the "new baby" isn't due till after the election that no one will ask? This story is only important because it shows that Sarah Palin is a liar and one with poor judgment. Didn't she think this through? Did she think that no one would call her on it? Did she think about her daughter? The first lie was understandable from a fundamentalist. This second fish story is just nuts.

Posted by: CH on September 1, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Should it REALLY be off limits though? We are talking about a minor under Sarah's guardianship. A woman who preaches abstinence only sex-education, and then allows her underage daughter to participate in pre-marital sex without contraception, and now is presumably marrying her off to the father.

Combine this with the lack of experience, and the abuse of powers, and this lady represents everything that is wrong with republican policies and style of governing.

Posted by: kis on September 1, 2008 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats think that elections and politics is about policy and governance. That is why Democrats lose.

Posted by: John McCain: Worse than Bush on September 1, 2008 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Good for Obama !!

I just made a donation to the Red Cross for the victims of Gustav.

I urge all of you to do the same. You can make it an "in honor" donation by checking the tribute box and then typing in Obama's name. They then ask you to fill in a recipient's name and address (?), I just put Gustav in all the areas.

Let's support our candidate's good sense to stay the hell away from that area so that no one was distracted.

Posted by: Coral on September 1, 2008 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Good for Obama !!

I just made a donation to the Red Cross for the victims of Gustav.

I urge all of you to do the same. You can make it an "in honor" donation by checking the tribute box and then typing in Obama's name. They then ask you to fill in a recipient's name and address (?), I just put Gustav in all the areas.

Let's support our candidate's good sense to stay the hell away from that area so that no one was distracted.

Posted by: Coral on September 1, 2008 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

God what passes for journalism these days is infuriating.

Then again, we get the media that we deserve. A few of us may really mean it when we say that Palin's daughter's pregnancy has zero relevance to the question of which team should be elected in November, but most of us lap this shit up like candy.

Sorry Obama, looks like your plea to not make "a big election about small things" won't be heeded.

Of course, it's a laudable idea that never stood a chance to begin with. Partisans on both sides are utterly convinced that the politics of personal destruction works. Maybe that's because there's a lot of empirical evidence supporting their theory.

Can America really do better?

Sometimes I wonder.

Idiocracy here we come!

Posted by: lobbygow on September 1, 2008 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Please stop obsessing over this story. Let the scum press deal with this story and any other rumors.

I agree that this should not be a story.

Also, Obama should simply state again what he stated above and that if ANYONE representing his campaign has been found to spread any stories or rumors related to this he will personally terminate their relationship with the campaign.

The biggest concern I have regarding Ms. Palin is that she is in no way qualified to be President of the United States AND she is EXTREMELY right wing - to the right of both GW and Cheney. Focusing on her daughter will take the heat off her record - and her daughter should be OFF LIMITS!!

Posted by: Brian on September 1, 2008 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

This is a very important story because it demonstrates the power of victimhood in elections with universal suffrage. The competition is for the woman vote. Women have evolved to have nurturing emotions more so than men.

The nurturing vote will determine this election. Obama is an unattractive victim (he’s not even really a victim, he has benefited from the color of his skin). Palin, and especially her daughter, are charming victims.

Obama is panicking because he now realizes that he has just been out-victimed. I think it is wonderful.

Posted by: Brick Oven Bill on September 1, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, Steve, Steve... while I'm sympathetic, I don't accept that this news isn't "relevant." In a world in which a fair number of people make voting decisions based upon issues of "character" and personality ("I'd like to have a beer with him!" "That's one MILF!"), these revelations *are* relevant, irrespective of whether or not they *should be*.
Moreover, given Gov. Palin's right-wing political beliefs (politics that appear to be the sole reason for her being named McLingLing's* VP in the first place), her daughter's present situation serves as something of an object lesson regarding the efficacy of "abstinence only" preaching in lieu of sex education. Gov. Palin hopes to foist her PollyAnna-ish parenting style on the rest of the country by government fiat. It's entirely relevant to ask, "Hmm... and how has that worked out for you?"
More-moreover, the question remains: Why didn't McLingLing know about this? What does this say about the man's judgment and fitness to be in office? How/when/why--given all of the obvious problems with a Palin nomination that present themselves *at first blush*, and the steady stench of moose sh!t that we keep stepping into as her background is explored--was this governor even nominated??

*McLingLing, because he's such a pander bear.

Posted by: Jabari on September 1, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, I agree with you and with Senator Obama.

However, I do think this situation would not be so news-relevant if Gov. Palin was not brought into the campaign as a hard-right, family-values magnet. Her christianist cred is a major reason she is where she is right now. I do not think there is any way around that, and unfortunately, Bristol Palin will pay at least some of the price.

I wish the younger Ms. Palin as safe pregnancy and a safe delivery. I also hope that she gets through the next two months with a minimum of aggrevation from a nation of scum.

Posted by: Andrew on September 1, 2008 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

he has benefited from the color of his skin

Like the excellent benefit of having jealous white males dismiss his accomplishments as the mere result of affirmative action.

If Obama is so unattractive as a victim, just how has his "victim" status helped him over the years?

Schmuck.

Posted by: lobbygow on September 1, 2008 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

The real news story is that Obama is once again taking the high road. I want to hear more about Governor Palin's connections to Senator Ted Stevens and the Bridge to Nowhere.

Posted by: Cindy McCant on September 1, 2008 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Obama lives in a $1.9 million dollar mansion lobbygow. That is pretty good for a guy who can’t speak without a teleprompter.

Posted by: Brick Oven Bill on September 1, 2008 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that the pregnancy of Palin's daughter should have no place in the campaign, and Obama has come out with a forthright statement saying just that.

What does have a place though, is Palin's apparent previous membership in the Alaska Independent Party, a group that is explicitly dedicated to Alaska's secession from the Union. Palin delivered a cheery, encouraging message to the AIP party faithful at the start of its convention recently, with a youtube of her statement available on Kos. Some "journalist" who actually understands what that job should entail needs to ask her straight out if she supports any effort by Alaskans to secede from the United States, which by the way, Rev. Jeremiah Wright fought in uniform to protect.

Posted by: bluestatedon on September 1, 2008 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

You know, that abstinence thing works really, really good.

Abstinence-only education? Not so much.

Posted by: Zeno on September 1, 2008 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

"That is pretty good for a guy who can’t speak without a teleprompter."

Yes, Obama is well know for his limited speaking abilities. Oh, and that Phelps -- talk about a shitty swimmer!

Posted by: Kenji on September 1, 2008 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, Steve, Steve... while I'm sympathetic, I don't accept that this news isn't "relevant." In a world in which a fair number of people make voting decisions based upon issues of "character" and personality

This is precisely the problem. For the most part, a single fact does not adequately inform anyone about someone's character (with the possible exception of the fact of a freezer full of human body parts). A fact about another sentient, accountable human being that just happens to be related to the candidate is even less relevant if understanding character is the issue.

But it's not about character. It's about image. Our candidates are marketed as product to consumers who have neither the time or inclination to read labels. "Low Information Voter" might as well be as synonym for American voter, regardless of party affiliation. Most people aren't political junkies. They don't read platforms or the Economist or several blogs and news websites.

They watch ads and listen to their neighbors.

I'm betting that you can detect with better than 80% accuracy who someone voted for base on who their neighbor voted for. Most people don't want to be the only Red Sox fan in room full of Yankees. They like to think they are "independent," but the reality is that they really don't put much though into their selection.

So, yes, if you want to continue the cynical system of marketing people as product, policy and competence be damned, then by all means treat this sleaze as relevant.

Posted by: lobbygow on September 1, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Obama didn't even let the reporter finish asking the question: "I am offended by that statement...

Wonderful. Moral. Leadership.

Barack is looking more and more presidential with every passing second.


Posted by: koreyel on September 1, 2008 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, getting a toot from a consenting adult is enough to IMPEACH a duly elected, sitting president, dragging HIS family and the entire nation through the mud -- not to mention interfering with the normal functioning of the legislative and executive branches. (It's not like Clinton favored legislation denying others from engaging in such activity).

Posted by: beep52 on September 1, 2008 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Better trolls, please.

Back on topic, this is yet another attempt to make a big election about small things.

However, the liars staffing the McBush campaign and their sleazy supporters (the Corp Media) are no small thing if they get to monopolize the coverage.

Posted by: BuzzMon on September 1, 2008 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Obama lives in a $1.9 million dollar mansion lobbygow. That is pretty good for a guy who can’t speak without a teleprompter.

Actually speaking with a teleprompter is quite difficult if you ever tried it Al.


Posted by: lobbygow on September 1, 2008 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

To an outsider, three things come to mind

1) What the teenage daughter of a candidate gets up to should be a private matter

2) Inevitably, some on the left will disagree

3) Whenever any Republican, or surrogate in the media, attempts to criticise the left for remarks about Sarah Palin's daughter, John McCain's "joke" of June 1998 should be brought front and centre (as we spell it over here):

Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
Because Janet Reno is her mother

http://www.salon.com/news/1998/06/25newsb.html

Posted by: Philip C London on September 1, 2008 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

I agree this should be off limits and I wish this hadn't come out. But, as a parent, I can't imagine putting my daughter in this position. I would have said I can't run for Vice President because of what it will do to my child. There is no way she could have expected this not to come out.

Posted by: map on September 1, 2008 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Someone please tell me Brick is a parody. Every time I read him I think I've seen the stupidest statement ever made on the entire Internet, and voila! next column, he sinks even lower.

Posted by: MsMuddler on September 1, 2008 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

I wouldn’t know lobbygow. I, like Sarah Palin, speak without a teleprompter. Obama is not good with the teleprompter by the way. He stares at it. It is creepy.

Posted by: Brick Oven Bill on September 1, 2008 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

In regards to the teleprompter-I'm-so-jealous-snark up above:

We haven't talked much of that magnificent Thursday speech. But I found writer, scientist, futurist and public speaker David Brin's comments on Barack's high oratorial art the most insightful analysis to date:

The Speech

Posted by: koreyel on September 1, 2008 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

. "I, like Sarah Palin, speak without a teleprompter."

Yeah, I suppose they wouldn't need such sophisticated tech at a KKK rally.

Posted by: on September 1, 2008 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

I think any VP candidate's 17 year old daughter having an unwed pregnancy would be a legit news story, this situation has a couple of intensifiers: First, Sarah Palin's high-profile family-values positioning, and second, the way the story came out (as a set of rumors followed by a forced disclosure).

This second is probably the more important of the two. If the McCain campaign had done a judicious voluntary disclosure at the time they announced Palin's name, this would be much less of a big deal. Now this, on top of all the other indications that little or no vetting was done on Palin, becomes a raging fire.

Obama's campaign isn't pushing this story, because there's no need, and it'd be sleazy to do it anyway. But day by day, Palin's negatives are piling up. I'd give less than 50% odds that her name will be on the November ballot. McCain will be forced by party bigwigs to dump her, or will impulsively throw her under the bus at some point.

Posted by: jimBOB on September 1, 2008 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

The evangelicals promote a set of solutions to America's problems.

These solutions include abstinence-only education, banning contraception and abortion, and a return to traditional values for women.

The inevitable result of these "solutions" is women giving birth in their teens and early twenties. The inevitable result of THAT is a drastic decline in women pursuing higher education, careers outside the home, or public office.

These evangelical "solutions" lead inevitably to the subjugation of women.

That is why this Palin kid's plight needs to be worked over fully. Note that the pushback in Time and other MSM outlets against the notion that this kid's life is over...

What they are worried about is this:

1) Normally the right wing blames the victim for social failures (think right wing radio on the african american victims of Katrina).

2) Bristol's life choices have been severely curtailed. Any other child and they'd call her a slut and say she deserved it.

3) But they can't this time. Because it's the friggin daughter of the vice presidential candidate.

4) So the Right is in danger of being drawn into a debate on how to prevent teen pregnancy (an issue with a lot of resonance) in which they will not be able to blame the victims.

So hit them on this! Express sympathy for Bristol (I feel sorry for her- and the boyfriend - his life is over too). Then pivot onto a general discussion of how to prevent teen pregnancy. Don't even mention Palin any further.

But this issue plays up the social issue negatives of Palin and the Left has a lot of hard science validating its position. It also pushes the rift between fiscal conservative who don't support government money for ineffectual abstinence-only education programs and are appalled by teen pregnancy and the social issue conservatives who only care about teen pregnancy if the teen in question is not white and protestant.

Posted by: Adam on September 1, 2008 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, this matters profoundly. If Sara Palin can't even teach her own daughter the family values she wishes to impose on the rest of us, why should we trust her with the vice-presidency?

Posted by: formerly undecided on September 1, 2008 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Although who was it who put bristol in the spotlight? Who paraded her up on the platform? And who just threw her daughter to the lions in order to quell rumors about her son, when all she had to do to quell the rumors was display the birth certificate?

Now THAT is a character problem

Interestingly, the hospital where Trig was born does not have a publi record of his borth on its web ste

http://www.matsuregional.com/nursery/show_day.php?month=04&year=2008&day=18

Posted by: H C Carey on September 1, 2008 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK
This is a very important story because it demonstrates the power of victimhood in elections with universal suffrage. The competition is for the woman vote. Women have evolved to have nurturing emotions more so than men.

Yeah, why did the United States ever let women have the vote anyway? We could have kept electing geniuses like Millard Fillmore and Warren G. Harding forever if not for those damn women voters?

Oh, and Bill, the fact that you yourself lack any nurturing emotions puts you in the minority when it comes to men. Sorry, but it turns out that men have the same full range of emotions that women do, what with men and women both being human and all.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on September 1, 2008 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

RE: "...It has no relevance to Gov. Palin's performance as governor, or her potential performance as a vice president."

I mostly agree, but the fly in the ointment is the fact that Palin evidently wants to legislate what I can and should do with my own body, as does St. McSame. I don't care what these wingnuts believe and do on their own time, but it scares me when I hear that they want to legislate what I believe and do on my own time.

It confuses me that Palin wants to keep the consequences of her own situation to herself, but would not allow me the same option.

Posted by: smike on September 1, 2008 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is so good about taking hot button issues and turning them into ways to educate people. Ex: Rev. Wright's (taken out of context) statements turns into an Obama speech on race and race relations in America.

After a while, NOT NOW, I can see Obama making a speech about science and ethics, about abortion (keeping it rare and legal), sex ed, etc. He has a way of pointing out the hypocrisy of the Rs without making it too obvious, just a little jab. Much like Obama's statement today about visiting areas affected by Gustav: he's not going because he doesn't want to get in the way. It's fine is McCain goes and Obama assumes that where McCain's going he won't be in the way. (Hint, hint: press, if McCain does disrupt relief efforts, please call him on it.)

Posted by: Hannah on September 1, 2008 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

CH: "Bristol can not be 5 months pregnant. She already had a baby in April of this year. See
http://www.dailykos.com/story..."

The hell? The only question for DailyKos now is how they let their website become a spawning ground for nonsense. Was it some jerk PowerLining the kerning on Trig's birth certificate? Or was it (put on your conspiracy hats) a McCain troll ginning up a phony rumor so that the inevitable revelation of Bristol's pregnancy could be blamed on those nasty Democrats?

HC: "who just threw her daughter to the lions in order to quell rumors about her son...?"

The news about Bristol was going to come out eventually. A week ago, it would've been of little interest to anyone outside of Alaska. For that matter, if Bristol was one year older or married, it would be a non-story.

Posted by: Grumpy on September 1, 2008 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

msmuddler, i used to know someone a little bit (we've drifted apart, for what will be obvious reasons) who was a pure product of the young gop propaganda machine.

although an intelligent person in the overall, when it came to politics, he quite clearly didn't have a clue beyond the slogans (classic example: during the 2001 tax cut bill debate, he said "tax cuts always increase revenues." i said "fine, why don't we cut taxes to .000001%? revenues should explode!"

his response: "i never thought about that."

that, msmuddler, is brick oven bill: for all i know, he's a credit to his family, a good neighbor, well-read, and a boon companion, but when it comes to politics, sadly, he's just another moronic propaganda robot who will say literally anything they feed him from central command.

Posted by: howard on September 1, 2008 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

I agree:
"I wish the younger Ms. Palin as safe pregnancy and a safe delivery."
I just wish I believed that she really is pregnant. Unfortunately, that's why I think this story is news worthy.

Posted by: Fuzzykisser on September 1, 2008 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

All McCain probably cares about is 1) he chose her and 2) he just got 47 million from his choice. Doubt he'll jettison her if she's pulling in those funds. Very sad commentary on the American public's intelligence. Not that there ever much doubt lately after voting in Bush twice.

Posted by: klin on September 1, 2008 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

All McCain probably cares about is 1) he chose her and 2) he just got 47 million from his choice. Doubt he'll jettison her if she's pulling in those funds. Very sad commentary on the American public's intelligence. Not that there ever much doubt lately after voting in Bush twice.

Posted by: klin on September 1, 2008 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK
On the other hand, getting a toot from a consenting adult is enough to IMPEACH a duly elected, sitting president, dragging HIS family and the entire nation through the mud -- not to mention interfering with the normal functioning of the legislative and executive branches.

Exactly. The Republicans pushed the notion that sex scandals say something vitally important about a politician, and now they have to try and claim that this sex scandal is a private family matter and shouldn't be discussed by the media.

Sorry, guys, once you let that genie out of the bottle, it was out in the wild and available to be applied against anyone. You set up the formula and now you're vaguely beginning to understand why declaring candidates' families fair game might not have been such a great idea.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on September 1, 2008 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Here's hoping the political world can find something else interesting tomorrow."

And let's hope your comments thread can find something else interesting. The dirty secret here is that it's been the left blogosphere [not you, Steve] that's been flogging this--because nothing--poverty, inequality, war--gets the netroots more passionate than sex. The MSM is just picking up the cue.

Posted by: David in Nashville on September 1, 2008 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't the distraction caused by a lack of medical records from Sarah Palin?

A statement about how long her daughter has been pregnant isn't how you answer the question about Trig.

Period.

Hell, how long would it take to make a phone call and get the delivery doctor to issue a brief statement so the MSM, at the very least, could ignore the issue.

BTW: none of the rumors suggested that Bristol was currently pregnant. Why release a statement about it?

Posted by: tomj on September 1, 2008 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

there ever WAS much doubt...
Sorry for posting twice.
Also agree with previous poster: poor Bristol. What politicians put their families through is unreal. And the responsibility IS at least 50% theirs: everyone knows the press/bloggers love a scandal and any sex-related issue in this country. No way Sarah Palin didn't know what was going to happen when this inevitably leaked on a VP candidate.

Posted by: klin on September 1, 2008 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Who vetted her, Michael Brown?

Posted by: kranko on September 1, 2008 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

A blowjob in the WH made headlines for 2 full years.

The 2000 election was handed to Bush by the Supreme Court, despite the populist vote in favor Gore.

An immense trail of lies and deceit precipitated a war that has killed over 4000 Americans and countless innocent Iraqi citizens.

Swiftboat lies burned the airwaves and quite likely dealt a decisive blow in the 2004 elections.

With such a fine record, one has to wonder why the media suddenly decided to grow a conscience. Is the media going to perform any due dilligence on the candidate for the second highest office in the free world?

I just don't get it, and I guess I will never understand this fickle media. Although I have always been an independent, about 10 years ago I was considered a conservative my most people I knew. Today, with the steady shift rightwards I'm sure most Repubs think I'm liberal. Either way, I can't fathom why the media has been so kind to this President, and why the scrutiny on Obama seems so much deeper than McCain's. I guess if you're a Repub it would be pretty hard to argue the media is not favoring the right.

Posted by: Norm Alnot on September 1, 2008 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that Palin's family is off limits-- we don't need to do the tabloid's work for them. We can talk about her stance on abstinence-only education but leave her daughter out of it. We don't need to point to the blantant hypocrisy, it's there for everyone to see.

O/T-- it's weird that the right-winger trolls around these parts didn't follow Drum to his new blog-- to make matters worse they aren't univerally ignored by the other commenters. The problem is that nicknames come after posts, not before. With a pretty simple format change we could all get in the habit of just ignoring Al/Bill/bocadave if names came first.

Seriously, everyone knows better-- DON'T FEED THE TROLLS.

Posted by: zoe from pittsburgh on September 1, 2008 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

It gets better! It appears she is a member of a political party that wants to secede from the United States! That is treason.

http://www.akip.org/faqs.html

Canada my ass, it's Alaska's Gas!"

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT ALASKAN INDEPENDENCE
Q: What is the Alaskan Independence Party?

A: An Alaskan political party whose members advocate a range of solutions to the conflicts between federal and local authority; from advocacy for state's rights, through a return to territorial status, all the way to complete independence and nationhood status for Alaska.

Q: Aren't most Alaskan Independence Party members a bunch of radicals and Kooks?

A: The party has its share of individualists, in the grand Alaskan tradition. No longer a fringe party, the A.I.P. is a viable third party with a serious mission and qualified candidates for elected offices.

Q: If Alaska became independent, wouldn't we lose a lot of federal money?

A: No. If Alaska returned to territorial status, most federal money would still be available. If Alaska were to attain complete independence, its revenues from oil and other natural resources would far exceed the amounts currently received from the federal government, at our current level of resource utilization.

Q: If Alaska were independent, what would happen to my social security check, federal pension, or military retirement?

A: People receive these checks around the world, regardless of their place of residence. In most cases eligibility for such checks would not be effected by Alaskan independence.

Q: If Alaska became independent, would U.S. military bases leave?

A: The strategic location of Alaska would indicate that it would serve U.S. interests to maintain a presence in Alaska. The military are good neighbors. There would be no compelling reason for the military to leave Alaska.

Q: Didn't we vote for statehood already?

A: The vote for statehood was invalid because the people were not presented with the range of options available to them. Further, the federal government has since breached the contract for statehood on numerous occasions in over a dozen serious and substantial instances.

Q: Under independence, what would happen to all the federal controls and regulations?

A: We believe that controls should be exerted by the lowest possible governmental unit. The people of Alaska can better decide what controls need to be in place than can bureaucrats in Washington. Specific local regulation might be either more or less restrictive than current federal regulation. The point is that it will be our regulation, not Washington's.

Q: Would I lose my U.S. citizenship?

A: Depending on the form of independence, several forms of citizenship would be possible, including the retention of U.S. citizenship or dual citizenship. However, considering the moral, educational, and economic decay of the U.S., Alaskans' who hold themselves to a higher standard might very well decide to at least maintain an arm's length distance from a country in decline.

Q: What will happen to major U.S. stores such as Sears, Safeway, and McDonald's?

A: Any company which found it profitable to sell in Alaska would remain. Without the constraints of the deteriorating U.S. economy, and with the enormous wealth of Alaska, international as well as local companies will prosper.

Posted by: FAT KARL on September 1, 2008 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Mnemosyne claims I lack nurturing emotions. This is false. Both men and women have nurturing emotions, they are slightly different however.

Women are designed to nurture families. I could explain the physical differences, if that is necessary. But their minds are different also; you can observe this by comparing advertising on daytime TV with advertising on something like a football game.

The New Deal was introduced only a couple of election cycles after the Nineteenth Amendment.

Men are designed to nurture organizations and nations. The reasons the male electorate did not introduce the New Deal is because they recognized that dependence on government in a democracy first leads to personal failure, and then to the failure of the society, through bankruptcy.

Both political parties have used the female nurturing mechanism since women were first allowed to vote. The thing that happened with Palin is that the leaders of the Democratic Party have gotten to the point where they believe their own lies and do not recognize the difference between male and female brains.

Thus the personal attack on Palin and her daughter which will backfire. Obama is trying to backtrack and compartmentalize, but it is too late. Palin’s daughter will be the focus of nurture now, not Obama.

Posted by: Brick Oven Bill on September 1, 2008 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

when this was kevin drum's space, he had an idiot commenter named "a," whom i regarded as the stupidest commenter ever.

but brick oven bill's brilliant 6:01 makes me reconsider: keep it up, pal! it's always an honor to be in the presence of a master....

Posted by: howard on September 1, 2008 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

If Bristol Palin wants to keep her child and get married, fine, I'm happy for her and her family and hope it works out. If some of my tax money would go to help her or people in similar situations by funding parenting classes or prenatal and neonatal care or national health insurance, well, that's money spent in a fine cause. I have little interest in tut-tutting over people's morals, and I wish our media would concentrate on substance rather than gossip and fluff.

That being said, there is significant relevance to Bristol Palin's pregnancy and also to her mother supposedly flying from Texas to Alaska after her water broke. The second clearly gets into issues of judgement, and probably also questions concerning rules for regular folk (about not flying late in pregnancy) versus special treatment for VIPs. The pregnancy would be of little business to anyone except the family, except for two points. First, Sarah Palin wants the government to dictate a very limited set of theologically approved options to anyone in her daughter's situation, regardless of complications, family circumstances, context, ability to care for the child, up to and including endangerment of the health of the mother. Second, someone really sould ask her whether she still thinks keeping kids ignorant about contraception is a good idea. Abstinence-only education, which she reportedly favors, is not "Don't have sex, but here's what you need to know about preventing some of the consequences if you slip up", it's just "don't have sex". If she still favors that, in my books, she's either got terrible judgement, is ruled by her religion, or she can't learn from experience (or all three).

Posted by: N.Wells on September 1, 2008 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Partisans on both sides are utterly convinced that the politics of personal destruction works. Maybe that's because there's a lot of empirical evidence supporting their theory.

The politics of personal destruction works beautifully. Lee Atwater knew it and every Republican campaign manager since know it as well.

The basic teachings of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, was that blacks are not human? Wonder if Mitt agrees with that.

I'm wondering if the troll Daveinboca thinks Mitt Romney went to a "hate church", not just for 20-years but his whole life? He also hauled his children to that church.

Posted by: Pug on September 1, 2008 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, conseidering Palin's support of abstinence only sex education, her daughter's pregnancy is relevant.

Posted by: (((Billy))) The Atheist on September 1, 2008 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

This kind of coverage of Palin is just going to go on and on and it's only going to get more absurd. This is McCain's fault for not vetting her and letting the press do his job for him. Can you picture the following future scenarios:
-Cameramen and reporters following Palin to the location of her deposition in the "Troopergate" investigation
-Supermarket tabloids featuring headlines reading "Bristol's Baby - Who is the Real Father?" or more likely "Alien Impregnated Bristol"
-Reporters, cameramen, and helicopters trying to get the scoop on Bristol's shotgun wedding

It's going to get worse and worse; we all know the media is going to eat this up. And all those voters will stand in line at the supermarket and see the headlines screaming from The National Enquirer and will sit at home and listen to the breathless stories on E!

The Obama camp won't have to do a thing but sit back and enjoy the contrasts of his serious look at the issues versus the McCain "Campaign Girls Gone Wild."

Posted by: SMN on September 1, 2008 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Palin in her own words re speaking in Texas after her water broke...

"I said I am going to stay for the day. I have a speech I was determined to give," Palin said."

So, Brick Oven Bob, take that nurturing crap and put it where the sun don't shine.

Posted by: beep52 on September 1, 2008 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

If Palin quits or is dismissed,she will be portrayed as a victim of lefty smears. That is the kind of 'issue' that could elect McCain. The scenario is so rosy for the thugs, you almost have to wonder...

Posted by: Michael7843853 on September 1, 2008 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Please, moderators, never, ever ban Brick Oven Bill. I don't think I've ever laughed as hard as I did when I read his reply.

I especially love that apparently Franklin Roosevelt was a woman, as was his entire cabinet (with the exception of Frances Perkins, I assume), so therefore they passed the New Deal. Because the only people who would want to stop their fellow Americans from starving in the streets are women -- men would just step over the bodies of the nation's citizens as they head off to nurture the Nation.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on September 1, 2008 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

The issue of education and availability of both prophylactics and contraceptives for young persons sexually mature but not legally adults are all of the world's business. Anyone's pregnancy could be of choice and not unplanned or unwanted, but if pregnancy is unplanned or unwanted, only the political world can allow solutions to be available for other young adults to avoid this situation if they should so choose.

Posted by: Brojo on September 1, 2008 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

2 words:

thomas eagleton

Posted by: navarro on September 1, 2008 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

If the story wasn't relevant, Rove would not be pushing back and inoculating the Hell out Palin.
This is a story from the right, about the right, for the right wing. This may be a civil war. McCain was not popular to begin with. What a fiasco. Conservatives were correct in predicting he could come unraveled. I am frankly surprised at how much he has unraveled.

Palin is a bald-faced liar. She has no experience, and is a sociopath. That is not our fault . . .

Posted by: Sparko on September 1, 2008 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

All I can say is that I hope she at least makes it to Wednesday and accepts the nomination. After that it would be pretty difficult to replace her.

She is an utter trainwreck.

Posted by: Piper on September 1, 2008 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

If Palin quits or is dismissed,she will be portrayed as a victim of lefty smears.

Portrayed by who? The christian right, no doubt. So what.

And if she doesn't quit, she'll still be portrayed as a victim of lefty smears by the same people. Who cares. The xianist right always portray themselves as victims, that's their bread and butter. They're never at fault for their own troubles. These are the same people who beat you over the head with their "95% of all people believe in God" shtick in one breath, and then tell you that the secular humanists are taking over the world in the next breath. Without that phony qualifier, their attempt at a persecution complex would be exposed as the fraud that it is.

Stop wringing your hands over what they think of themselves - it's utterly irrelevant.

Posted by: Bob Loblaw on September 1, 2008 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

the personal attack on Palin and her daughter which will backfire.

Meaning that the rightie finger-waggers will finally get repudiated? I doubt that.

Posted by: Bob Loblaw on September 1, 2008 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Two things come to mind about the whole pregnancy controversy:

1.) Obama always does the morally right thing. The man takes a very disciplined approach to morality that the choice to do the right thing starts with him. He's a good man.

2.) The thing that resonates about the teen pregnancy in the Palin family is it represents the outcome of policies that define the right wing of American politics on procreation. Abstinence only education, denying access to contraception for sexually active teens, blaming the rest of society for any social ills and other right wing diatribes have been espoused by the political framework that's advancing the McCain/ Palin ticket. The daughter should be left alone, but the candidates should be questioned about whether their own policies are contributing to the broader societal concerns about teen pregnancy.

Posted by: petorado on September 1, 2008 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Bob, it doesn’t matter who attacks Palin. Women voters will feel empathy for her daughter, who the tabloids will now feature. Haven’t you ever seen a very intelligent looking woman, found yourself admiring her, and then notice that she is reading People Magazine?

These women will show their support for Palin’s daughter by voting for her mom.

Posted by: Brick Oven Bill on September 1, 2008 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

"BTW: none of the rumors suggested that Bristol was currently pregnant. Why release a statement about it?" - Posted by: tomj

How old is Trig? Wouldn't Bristol being five months pregnant prevent her being the mother? (Not that I'd trust Sarah Palin to tell the truth about how late the pregnancy is.)

This is so amusing. It's like Larry Craig and the 'conservatives' whining about the police setting up sting operations in a men's room rather than going after 'real crooks'. Now the Procreation Police are watching one of their own twist in the wind.

Sorry Bristol, but as you sow, so shall you reap.

Posted by: Lance on September 1, 2008 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

The press has gone all National Enquirer on his running mate’s pregnant teenage daughter, Bristol. Is there no shame? This is not even an 18 year old we are talking either, here. A little common decency, people? Can someone call a moratorium?


Posted by: thetownliar on September 1, 2008 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

This issue raises more questions about Sarah Palin. With her responsibilities as governor, a recently born Down syndrome child, a daughter she knew was pregnant out of wedlock and an ongoing legal investigation why would someone agree to be even more inaccessable to her family for the next four years?

I think it's part ignorance ("Would someone tell me just what a vice president does every day?"), professional ambition and ego. She is clearly an over-achiever, but why would she bring all this extra pressure on her family? She knew the exposure was coming.

There are limits to what one person and one set of parents can handle. Most people would prefer to handle these kinds of issues out of the spotlight. Without getting overly personal these are legitimate reasons to question Palin's judgment and decision-making.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 1, 2008 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

The Bristol issue is here to stay, and it's just going to get worse. Obama made the right call on it, but that's him. He's running a campaign. We, on the other hand, are trying to figure out who would be best to get our country out of the Bush mess.

The guy who calls for common decency in a press feeding frenzy?

Or the guy who picks the unvetted, scandal-plagued unknown as his VP?

Posted by: Herb on September 1, 2008 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum, you are as good as the comments you refuse to delete.

Uh, Kevin Drum doesn't live here anymore. You should probably address your complaint to the new blog owners.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on September 1, 2008 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Heh.

This is not about a 17 y.o. girl.

This is about a woman who lied about her role in a political firing, lied about her role in getting federal funds, who is the mother of a 4 month-old Downs child and of a pregnant daughter living at home.

Man or woman, this parent has no business running for VP of the United States of America. To continue on this campaign is irresponsible of her. To encourage her is irresponsible. To encourage her to withdraw is the only kind, decent, and humane thing to do.

Posted by: Joel on September 1, 2008 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, fer Christ's sake... c'mon!

She doesn't tell anyone that she's pregnant until her 7th month? She doesn't tell McCain's vetting team that her underage daughter is 5 months pregnant?

I mean, f*cking c'mon! This is beyond stupid...

Y'know what? I've officially had enuff. I'm shutting down my internet connnection & watching nothing but Bugs Bunny cartoons on the TV for the remainder of my holiday weekend.

Fuck this shit. Just fuck it.

Posted by: raff on September 1, 2008 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

As we can tell from this piece just like a prescription drug, Re-electing Bush/McCain has some serious side effects for America.

So I put it in a video:
THE SIDE EFFECTS OF JOHN MCCAIN
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBqs26mpg8o

Posted by: reelbusy on September 1, 2008 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

I figured out why the Republicans are all distancing from Palin. When they finally got around to vetting her they found out she's actually a closet Muslim fundamentalist. If you rearrange the letters in "Sarah Palin" you get "Sharia Plan"

Posted by: radial on September 1, 2008 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Pj in jesusland - very well said.

A point needs to be made that the Sarah Palin family story was an integral part of reeling-in the religious right for McCain. Using the Down Syndrome child as proof of Palin's commitment to being against abortion as an option was a key part of bringing the key demographic of the Dobsonites into the McCain corner. And the McCain team exploited the family angle to the hilt. They just didn't figure it would turn out this way.

Knowing now what Sarah Palin knew when she agreed to be McCain's veep, you have to question why she would put her family through the election cycle wringer. Taking grave decisions seriously doesn't seem to be an asset for the right.

Posted by: petorado on September 1, 2008 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

What's really unfortunate for Obama is that he didn't need this.

Palin lied to the national media in her first address! (Bridge to Nowhere)

McCain's brash and brazen pandering has fallen flat for most Americans (the Talk Radio Republicans (TRRs), notwithstanding).

But the TRRs should be happy, now they have a reason to whine for the next 8 years during the Obama presidency. And whining is what they do best.

Posted by: jvoe on September 1, 2008 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

Watching conservatives ask for compassion for the Palin family, when you know if this was a democratic family they'd be launching grenades has been hilarious to say the least.

Posted by: aline on September 1, 2008 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Radical at 8:35
"If you rearrange the letters in "Sarah Palin" you get "Sharia Plan"

Me likey.

Posted by: smike on September 1, 2008 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

The news about Bristol was going to come out eventually. A week ago, it would've been of little interest to anyone outside of Alaska. For that matter, if Bristol was one year older or married, it would be a non-story. -- Grumpy, @ 17:32.

Indeed. In fact, if the wedding is in the works as advertised, then, in 4 months, when she gave birth, it would *still* be a non-story. A (late) teen had slipped, but the parents saw to it that both "perpetrators" were punished/rewarded equally. They're no longer straying teens; they're now a respectable couple, blessed with a child and adult responsibilities.

It's not as if she were 14 or 15 when giving birth (which would require that the happy father be carted off to jail, rather than the altar, immediately). No story.

*Why*, then, bring it up at all and why bring it up *now*? It is only a story now, because of the circumstances (the flotsam and jetsam about Trig's parentage); in another couple of months, it wouldn't have been a story at all.

Then, *WHY* go to the trouble of announcing "my daughter is pregnant but about to atone for her misbehaviour", instead of announcing -- in a couple of weeks -- "my daughter has just got married; they expect a package from the stork in another 3 months", when all of us would nod our heads, and say, wearily, "teens, teens, damned teens..."?

The whole story is so improbable and so screwed up, it *begs* attention.

Posted by: exlibra on September 1, 2008 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

jimBob upthread gets it exactly right. On what planet would a VP candidate's teenage daughter having a baby NOT be a major news story? And on what even more remote planet could that fact have been kept hidden? Ship her off to Dick Cheney's Undisclosed Location Motel for the duration? Come up with repeated explanations why she's not showing up with the rest of the family at big media-political events?

Either 1) they didn't do a thorough, prudent job of vetting Sarah Palin so they didn't even know about this; 2) they did know but were too stupid to think through the inevitable ramifications of what would happen if they tried to keep it secret; or 3) they figured they could handle it this way and make it reflect badly on their opponents by accusing them of being the disgusting meanies who made a young girl's difficult life decision into a media circus.

I suspect it was actually 1, but 3 I certainly wouldn't put past them. 2 is just about unimaginable.

Posted by: DrBB on September 1, 2008 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

If John McCain can't spot trouble when it's coming from Alaska, then how in god's name can he protect America?

Posted by: bob5540 on September 1, 2008 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

I agree completely that Bristol Palin's personal life is irrelevant. I wish America could get past this infatuation we have with the private lives of people in the public eye. Life is not "Leave it to Beaver." And we are electing people to do a JOB, not to be our national patron saint.

BUT...having said that, as a gay man who feels victimized and scapegoated by the political religious right, the situation with Gov. Palin's daughter makes me angry. As an activist, I have followed closely the court cases relating to same-sex marriage and have read repeatedly the charge that legal recognition for committed same-sex couples weakens the traditional, historic institution of marriage and that, as a matter of heightened scrutiny, the government has a compelling interest in promoting procreation (sometimes even phrased as the survival of the human species) and the stability of marriage. It makes me angry that the far right scores political points off a gay straw-bogeyman and yet they produce scandal after scandal after scandal. Family life is hard. People make mistakes. Even straight people (and yes, certainly gay folks, too).

I was so proud of Obama's forceful statement on this issue today. Bristol Palin is not seeking the candidacy and has had her personal life thrust into the spotlight against her will. I agree that it should be absolutely off-limits. Now, let's have James Dobson agree that mine is off-limits, as well.

Posted by: Andy on September 1, 2008 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

What do they call the daughters of women who support abstenance only? Pregant!!

Posted by: fafner1 on September 2, 2008 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

OF COURSE it is important that Palin's daughter is pregnant, and is being forced to get married by her mom's monstrous ambition.

Why is this not just prurient scandal-mongering?

Well, it's really simple. Only a total idiot would 1) know that their unmarried kid was pregnant 2) conceal it from McCain and 3) still agree to be VP.

You say McCain knew? OK, now we have BOTH MCCAIN AND PALIN with monstrously incompetent judgements. If McCain knew, and selected Palin anyway, he is not only an idiot, he is a monstrously stupid one.

Why does this matter? It matters due to the recklisness of both McCain and Palin and the monstrous callousness of both - they are crucifying the kid on the alter of their monstrous lust for power.

Posted by: POed Lib on September 2, 2008 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

What do they call the daughters of women who support abstinence only? Pregnant!!

Posted by: fafner1 on September 2, 2008 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Poor Bristol Palin. Maybe she can relate a little to Chelsea Clinton (on other than being named for a quaint English town) on the savaging she got from the press and her parents' political enemies.

Posted by: SteveB on September 2, 2008 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

Great point by Andy upthread and another reason this issue has legitimate reasons to be discussed openly, while respecting the Palin family's personal privacy.

If Sarah Palin can argue that Bristol Palin's personal life is off limits for public discussion why doesn't she believe the same for gay couples?

Sarah Palin, and the entire religious right, have no business poking their noses in our bedrooms. Period. Our sex lives are our private business, just like Bristol's.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 2, 2008 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

Ordinarily I’d agree with the proposition that a candidate's children matters should be generally off limits. But in this case the McCain/Palin campaign has made this absolutely relevant by trumpeting Palin’s family life and “authenticity” as some sort of qualification to the vice-presidency, and thus the presidency. Palin rides shotgun on the fundie’s wet dreams of banning abortion and punishing premarital sex. So when her own teenage daughter has an unplanned pregnancy, and “chooses” to keep the baby (a choice that Palin would deny MY daughter), it is not inappropriate to point out the hypocrisy and arrogance on display there.

To an extent, your parenting skills reflect your general integrity and ability as a leader. If your family is as screwed up as Palin’s seems to be, unmarried pregnant teenage daughters, sister with nine children and no live-in dad, etc., I’d want to see some reason to believe that the country you run won’t end up looking like your family.

Posted by: Reality-based on September 2, 2008 at 3:59 AM | PERMALINK

"Oh wow, you are going DIRECTLY after a 17yo girl? So classy. Kevin Drum, you are as good as the comments you refuse to delete." - Posted by: Crusader

Actually, the predicate for the You in my statement would be her Theocratic Wingnut Mother Sarah (who did the sowing), and not Bristol. But as you say, it's pretty nasty either way. Then again I usually find the children of Theocratic Wingnuts to be pretty sad characters. She doesn't deserve it, but then, her mother knew about this and thought so little of her daughter's feelings that she accepted the VP nod anyway.

And as for John "Zinger", well, others here have dealt with that.

Posted by: Lance on September 2, 2008 at 6:14 AM | PERMALINK

At first blush, I would have agreed that the story of Bristol Palin's pregnancy is none of the public's business. However, the primary selling point of Sarah Palin's candidacy has been, by near-universal agreement of McCain's surrogates, her "story", and we've been told over and over that 'once the public hears Sarah Palin's story they'll fall in love with her'. Well, having a teenage daughter who's knocked up is part of Sarah Palin's story. Unfortunately when they open the door to the candidate's personal life, they can't pick and choose which pieces to sell to the press.

I feel sorry for that kid... I really do. I seriously doubt she'd be forced into a shotgun marriage if her mother hadn't just been named McCain's running mate.

Posted by: don on September 2, 2008 at 7:08 AM | PERMALINK

At first blush, I would have agreed that the story of Bristol Palin's pregnancy is none of the public's business. However, the primary selling point of Sarah Palin's candidacy has been, by near-universal agreement of McCain's surrogates, her "story", and we've been told over and over that 'once the public hears Sarah Palin's story they'll fall in love with her'. Well, having a teenage daughter who's knocked up is part of Sarah Palin's story. Unfortunately when they open the door to the candidate's personal life, they can't pick and choose which pieces to sell to the press.

I feel sorry for that kid... I really do. I seriously doubt she'd be forced into a shotgun marriage if her mother hadn't just been named McCain's running mate.

Posted by: don on September 2, 2008 at 7:09 AM | PERMALINK

I would love to see families brought into this race, and show Obama dragging his daughters to hear a racist hate "preacher" like Rev. Wright every Sunday.

The Dems are so clueless that they forget that every skeleton in the Repub closet matches an even dozen or more in their own.

Posted by: daveinboca on September 2, 2008 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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