01 September 2008


Remember the past few days, political heads, because they aren't likely to happen again anytime soon.

It all started last Friday, when John McCain tapped Alaska governor Sarah Palin to be his vice-presidential nominee. A bright-green rookie whose CV makes Barack Obama look like an elder statesman, Palin's claim to fame before being the half-term governor of the fourth-least populated state in the country was being the mayor of Wasila, Alaska, population 5,469. And, although she has the reputation for being a clean whistle in the mdst of Alaska's notoriously corrupt Republican party, Palin brings along a cloud of suspicion concerning the mysterious sacking of a public safety commissioner after he refused to fire Palin's brother-in-law, a state trooper locked in a custody battle with Palin's sister.

Over the weekend, a rumor began percolating on the internet when a few bloggers, using some circumstantial oddities and photographs as evidence, began questioning whether Palin's fifth child--a four-month old son with Down's syndrome--was actually born to her 17-year old daughtor Bristol. The rumor had all the credulity of a 9/11 Troofer convention, but the McCain campaign panicked, and on Monday issued a press statement admitting that Bristol Palin was five months pregnant and was not only keeping the baby but also marrying the father, who was not identified.

Palin remains a largely mysterious figure. Little is known about her except for her Christian fundamentalist beliefs (anti-abortion, pro-creationism in schools, etc.), which likely explains her presence on the ticket and why she was not vetted by the McCain campaign, which has reportedly sent a clean-up crew to Wasila to shore up any more leaks. Palin represents a new link in the pact between the Roveites and the Christocrats, who naturally adore her, and McCain, who reportedly wanted Lieberman, was overruled by other forces in his party. It raises the question of how much Bombin' Johnny McPOW is running his own show.

As for Bristol Palin and her shotgun wedding, the release had this to say:

Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby, McCain aides said. 'We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us,' the Palins' statement said. 'Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support,' the Palins said."
As someone who's seen a few shotgun weddings in my day, I can assure you that the participants only have a choice insofar as they care about seeing their family again. But fundie Christians do have very peculiar interpretations of the idea of "choice."

It's hard to say what the political fallout will be here, and everything is complicated by the involvement of a minor who's entirely an innocent bystander here. I'm inclined to draw a parallel to the very familiar public anti-gay crusader who's dipping his toes in the pool on the side. Sarah Palin thinks it's great for her own daughter to choose bringing her pregnancy to term in an affluent, supportive family, but doesn't think kids in less fortunate situations should be given the same choice. Then there is the travesty of abstinence-only sex "education," which Palin also supports despite its actual counter-productive effect on teen pregnancy.

And the convention! And a hurricane! And fascist cops pre-emptively raiding the houses of suspected protestors! What story will the media choose to cover? (Uh, don't bet on the last one...)