Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The wrong line of attack

The hostile reactions to McCain's pick of Sarah Palin as VP candidate have focused on the vetting process, with people quick to see gaffes everywhere. However, the main angle seems to be her daughter's pregnancy. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who lost their virginity at 17 (or even 18) has no right at all to be casting stones here. In any event, anyone who was ever a teenager knows that the culpability of the parents is limited at best.

There is one particular line of attack that the Democrats should be very wary of. It's expressed here by Jonathan Wynne-Jones:

Furthermore has the Christian right forgotten its claim that someone's private life is a telling indication of how they will behave in public office?

When Bill Clinton was discovered to have had an affair with Monica Lewinsky, there were widespread calls for his resignation.

He was even impeached following the Starr report, which concluded the president had committed perjury in denying his sexual relations with his intern.

Well, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that Bristol Palin isn't running for anything - let alone President of the United States. Nor has she lied about this pregnancy, least of all under oath. So there's a kite that won't fly.

More generally, the smears and allegations flying about Sarah Palin are appealing only to the pre-converted - those that actively want the rumours to be true, for Sarah Palin to be a disaster. For the true believers, there is probably nothing that could emerge that would change ther minds that Sarah Palin is the right choice, and a 'good ol' conservative'. It's the neutrals and independents that need to be persuaded, and hysterical attacks on a woman for the behaviour of her daughter, or as Alice Miles apparently does here, her having a job at all when she ought to be looking after her children are really not going to cut it.

Incidentally, I was amazed at Miles's article - read this, and then consider whether it was actually written by Simon Heffer:

Call her a “mom”? The mother of a pregnant, unmarried 17-year-old daughter, presumably going through one of the tougher periods of her life, who decides at that point to run for president and make the teenager vulnerable to the scrutiny of the entire world? Gee, mom, thanks.

There you have it - a woman's place is in the home, courtesy of the Times.

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