Ok, the Kos kiddies went on the slander dis tip over the weekend accusing Sarah Palin of covering up her daughter’s pregnancy by claiming that baby Trig was actually hers. Offered some pretty convincing circumstantial evidence. The conservative commentators went apeshit — after all, disgusting slander-mongering is usually reserved to them (vis the Swiftboaters, or the Obama-is-a-Muslim meme).
Lo and behold, Palin then comes out and reveals that her 17 year old daughter is preggers, with a convenient time line that “proves” the Kos meme was a lie. Well, not so fast, says my wife. She thinks that we will see a fake miscarriage in the next couple of months …
There are actually two legitimate issues here. First, McCain’s judgment. Either he didn’t do any vetting at all, or he did, and he went with her anyway. Either way, it’s a total “fuck you” pick. Like I said in my Six Reasons
post, he’s not a leader, he’s an antagonist. That’s what the Palin pick is, pure and simple.
Sure, it’s cynical and pure identity politics, but that’s just par for the political course. Can’t really fault him for doing what every pol does when given half a chance. What it really gives lie to is the “put the country first” bullshit he’s been spewing all summer. He just revealed he’s willing to fuck the country — leaving it in the hands of the most unserious neophyte in American political history — to further his own political advantage.
The second issue is more subtle, but, in my mind, equally meaningful. And, I hate to say it, but it’s a class thing. That is, are the Palin’s the kind of people we really want in the White House, at the core of our political tradition?
I mean, this family is really a half step removed from what they’d call white trash in my old neighborhood in south Florida. Knocked up 17 year old daughter. Creationist evangelicals. Mom got knocked up herself at 23 by her high school boyfriend. Shotgun marriage. Bounces around five schools in four years before graduating college in Idaho. Works as a part-time sportscaster, goes on the pageant circuit. Husband is a commercial fisherman, snowmobile enthusiast. Has a DUI. Sarah’s sister, the locus of “Troopergate,” has nine kids from multiple husbands. I mean, do we really want a political version of Brittany Spears’ family in the Oval Office?
Most importantly, where is their aspiration to excellence? Are their dreams for their children so limited that they are happy their 17 year old is going to marry some high school hockey player who proudly refers to himself as a “fuckin’ redneck.” I mean, I’m all for class identity, but isn’t part of our duty as parents to protect our children from this sort of result in their lives?
You can call the Obama’s “elitist” if you want, but Barry overcame his poor, dysfunctional background to attend Columbia, Harvard Law School, win a US Senate seat and run for President. Michele Obama and her brother Craig rose from their working-class origins to both attend Princeton; she went to HLS as well and became a lawyer at a white shoe firm in Chicago. Craig excelled in the basketball world as a player and coach, worked for a decade at well-known investment banks, and is currently the popular head coach of the Pac 10 Oregon State men’s team. These stories are the essence of the American dream — work hard and rise up.
I know the Republicans think that a large part of the conservative constituency will see the Palin’s as “keeping it real” — with the hunting and snowmobiling, the hockey, the fucked up family issues, the older son skipping college to go to Iraq — but I think we want for better in our political life than these people.