I was driving my baby daughter Eden to her four-month doctor appointment this morning, when I heard reporter Anne Korblut of the Washington Post on The Diane Rehm show defending the media's coverage of Sarah Palin and her family. She said something along the lines of, "If Barack Obama had a four-month-old special needs baby, and a seventeen year-old pregnant daughter, I'd be the first to ask whether this is the right time for him to be running for president."
Balderdash! Obama has two daughters, one born in 1998, the other in 2001. Even if we acknowledge that mommies tend to do more of the parenting than daddies, can we all agree that little girls need their daddies, and that fathering little girls creates some moral obligation to spend time with them? Good.
Since January 2005, Obama's family has lived in Chicago, while he initially spent much of his time in D.C. working as a Senator, and then, since last Spring, he has spent almost all of his time on the road campaigning. I'd be surprised if he's seen his kids more than once a month during campaign season.
Does this make Obama a less-than-ideal father? You bet it does. But he's not running for Father of the Year, he's running for president. So it's entirely proper that this has NOT been a political issue.
Enter Sarah Palin. If any reporter, Anne Kornblut or otherwise, has asked Obama how he feels about not participating in the raising of his children on a day-to-day basis, or what will happen when he's president if one his girls is sick in the middle of the night and is calling for daddy (as people have asked about Palin), I've missed it.
I agree that it's hypocritical of the "traditional values" crowd to suddenly lionize Palin, when they've been arguing for years that a mother's place is with her small children. (Dr. Laura, to her credit, has been consistent on this, and is duly critical of the Palin pick.)
But for the media to claim that there's no double-standard in how they treat Palin's family obligations and how they treat Obama's (or other male politicians, for that matter) just can't withstand scrutiny. Either it's okay to delegate one's parenting responsibilities to pursue political ambitions, or it's not.