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Daddies, Mommies, Politicians and Double Standards:

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.

Bill Harshaw (mail) (www):
FWIW, my impression is that the White House, and probably the Vice Presidential residence, are reasonably good environments for child-rearing--you're living over the office. I agree with you that running for office, and being away from home for weeks on end, is hard on a marriage, and child rearing. True for Obama, true for Palin. Of course, our men and women in the military make equivalent choices. We praise their choice as "sacrificing for the country" or some such phrase; we denigrate the politicians because it's still wrong to be ambitious.
9.5.2008 2:33pm
Crust (mail):
Either it's okay to delegate one's parenting responsibilities to pursue political ambitions, or it's not.

Why? Why can't it be OK in some situations and not in others?

Palin has five children versus Obama's two. Palin has a special needs baby and a daughter who is pregnant, Obama has neither. Alaska is much further from DC than is Illinois. I don't think it's crazy or hypocritical or whatever for someone to argue that some combination of these facts makes the two situations different even if one is committed to a gender-neutral view of such questions.

That said, I'm personally uncomfortable as a general matter with judging the personal lives of politicians. So I wouldn't pursue this line of criticism against Palin (or Obama) myself. But if you are comfortable judging the personal lives of politicians, I don't see the double standard from Dr. Laura or anyone else in criticizing Palin but not Obama on this score.
9.5.2008 2:40pm
Nunzio:
From a lifestyle standpoint, I'd love to be VP. Dan Quayle was a great golfer who actually lowered his handicap while serving as Vice President.

I think one thing is clear. Being a political pundit is not a very demanding job. Plenty of time to spend with the kids, golf, surf, learn another language.
9.5.2008 2:41pm
taney71:
Bingo! Great points.
9.5.2008 2:43pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
I can argue it the other way: Palin will be away from her kids on a daily basis for the next two months. Obama has been primarily away from his kids for the last two and a half years. You can weight these things as you will, but the telling point is not that people have in fact weighed these things and come to a debatable conclusion, but that no one has even thought to ask whether Obama is neglecting his kids, but they are all over Palin about it.
9.5.2008 2:43pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Make that "three and a half years." And as president, he'll be more distracted than Palin is likely to be as VP.
9.5.2008 2:44pm
KWC (mail):
I think this is (mostly) right. It is sexist to say she needs to stay at home to raise her kids.

But I think the unwed pregnant minor daughter is a huge affront to everything that Palin (and the Christian right) allegedly stands for. That's fair game as a point of hypocrisy.
9.5.2008 2:47pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Of Palin's five kids, one is going to leave home shortly. One is almost eighteen. That leaves three needing "parenting". I know, I know, under certain circumstances, eighteen year olds need parenting. Mostly when the parent not doing it is running against your guy.
But Dr. Laura is big on throwing the kid out at eighteen, unless there's college involved. So that seems to be a magic number, leaving three.
Which is less than five.
9.5.2008 2:47pm
RSF677:
Also, although I heard some discussion of whether John Edwards should continue running while his wife was dying, I don't remember anyone ever bringing up the fact that we would have a widower president with a nine year old son. I think that might be problematic, but I don't remember it being discussed in any detail.
9.5.2008 2:51pm
RAH (mail):
Amazing how many men and women are afraid of the challenge Sarah Palin poses. She does not need anyones elses approval of her parenting. She has managed to be a political mom since her first child. She knows how to do it. Just because the rest of you people can not handle it does not mean she cannot. Talk about projecting.

Women used to have large families 5-12 and they managed by apportioning chores to the childdren. Older responsible for younger.

By this arguement no President or VP should have children.

It is none of our business about her parenting so this is SEXIST!! We can challenge her ideas and policies but not her parenting.
9.5.2008 2:52pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
RSF, since I didn't know that Edwards even had a young son, my guess is that this was not a topic of much discussion.
9.5.2008 2:52pm
Crust (mail):
DavidBernstein:
[T]he telling point is not that people have in fact weighed these things and come to a debatable conclusion, but that no one has even thought to ask whether Obama is neglecting his kids, but they are all over Palin about it.


I don't find that contrast telling. For better or for worse, Obama's situation is a very common one for pols; there's nothing unusual about his situation. It would be very strange to debate Obama's situation other than as a contrast to Palin. Palin's situation (special needs baby, pregnant daughter, etc.) is unusual. Debating it is to be expected in our political culture.

Look, there's no question that for many folks there's a gender double standard at play here. For many people the fact that Palin is a woman is important, especially given that there is a baby involved. If that's your main point, you're right, I agree. But like I said it's an arguable point even from a gender-neutral point of view.
9.5.2008 2:54pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Jon Carroll asks us to imagine, in his SF Chronicle column today, that Barack Obama's daughter was 17 and pregnant. He believes the pundits would go crazy, talking about the crumbling of the black family, absent fathers, the culture of irresponsibility, the role of the churches, etc.

But, he points out, Bristol's pregnancy has not sparked talk of the crumbling of the white family. It has not been blamed on father Todd's absences for work or for snowmobile races. It has not been tied to any failure of the Wasilla Assembly of God. So a double standard seems evident.
9.5.2008 2:55pm
RSF677:
I guess Edwards also has a new born, but that's a little off topic.
9.5.2008 2:57pm
wm13:
Gee, Crust, Edwards's situation was pretty unusual (I mean, the fact that his wife is seriously ill, not the fact that he was cheating on her), yet I don't recall anyone discussing whether his children were being neglected or how they would fare if he were elected.
9.5.2008 2:58pm
smitty1e:
I would have liked to have seen Condi Rice on the ticket, but then the hue and cry would have been: "Oh, she's never married and had a family, how can she relate to the people?".
Paraphrasing Rumsfeld: You go to the election with the candidates you have, not the candidates you might want or wish to have at a later time.
9.5.2008 3:01pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
But I think the unwed pregnant minor daughter is a huge affront to everything that Palin (and the Christian right) allegedly stands for. That's fair game as a point of hypocrisy.
Uh, no, it isn't. Not unless Palin personally arranged to have the daughter impregnated, it isn't. There's not even a little bit of hypocrisy.

And she's not going to be unwed or a minor, is she?
9.5.2008 3:02pm
Alex Wilson (mail):
TT,

A double standard isn't evident just because real events with Palin are different that what Jon Carroll imagines would happen with Obama.

And just to nitpick, if Obama's daughter was 17, pregnant and engaged to the father, I doubt that we'd hear much about "absent fathers" given that the father would in fact be "present."
9.5.2008 3:04pm
Crust (mail):
Gee, wm13, I recall e.g. Jay Carney of Time questioning Edwards' decision to stay on. (I mostly remember because of Carney's use of the archaic word "discomfitted" to express his reaction.)
9.5.2008 3:05pm
The Ace (mail):
Palin has five children versus Obama's two

And one is going to Iraq and the other is getting married.

Try again.
9.5.2008 3:06pm
PC:
And just to nitpick, if Obama's daughter was 17, pregnant and engaged to the father, I doubt that we'd hear much about "absent fathers" given that the father would in fact be "present."


What we would hear about is the crisis of teen pregnancy thanks to liberal "values" and how this is just more evidence of the evil influence of liberals. Seriously, just go look at the 80s and 90s.
9.5.2008 3:07pm
titus32:
So a double standard seems evident.

How can a double standard based on sheer speculation be "evident"? Besides, given Obama's (and his wife's) sterling credentials and wealth, it's very difficult to imagine pundits going crazy re the crumbling of the black family.
9.5.2008 3:07pm
postroad (mail) (www):
I don't give a hoot about the hypocrys of a party that preaches abstinence, then has a daughter 5 months preganat at 17--when did she conceive? Buyt if you are going to talk about frontier nonsense, then try this and let us hear all about indi.ducalism

http://www.abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=5734511&page=1
9.5.2008 3:10pm
Inspector Callahan (mail):
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

I'd like to see some proof of this, because just about EVERY evangelical person I know has a working spouse.

David -- it looks like you are contradicting your own post about evangelicals not being against women in the workplace. Or am I misunderstanding the prior post, or this one?

Harry
9.5.2008 3:11pm
Michael Kessler:
How can you begin to conjecture about his schedule and how much he's seen his kids? I was flying back and forth from DC to Chicago and 3 different times saw him on the Monday evening flight to DC and the Wednesday and Thursday night flight back to Chicago.

This cuts both ways--Palin's daughter's pregnancy doesn't mean she's a bad mother; her being a governor doesn't either. Same for Obama.
9.5.2008 3:12pm
MadHatChemist:
A few things:

1. If Palin wins, her kids will likely have a full time stay at home Dad.

2. During a '06 debate she was asked what she would do if her daugheter got pregnant. The answer was exactly that same as how she handled her daughter's actual pregnancy. That's not hypocarcy, that's consistancy.

3. The "special needs" agrument is bogus. My mother raised three kids (on of whom has Down's Syndrome) while working. She is pissed at the attacks on Palin and is personally offended. She didn't care much for McCain but she's gung ho for the ticket now.
9.5.2008 3:12pm
Crust (mail):
Ace:
Palin has five children versus Obama's two

And one is going to Iraq and the other is getting married.

Try again.


Right. Because if there's one thing that doesn't require parental attention, it's planning your daughter's wedding. Ditto for when your teenager has a kid.
9.5.2008 3:15pm
Dave564 (mail):
"Jon Carroll asks us to imagine, in his SF Chronicle column today, that Barack Obama's daughter was 17 and pregnant. He believes the pundits would go crazy, talking about the crumbling of the black family, absent fathers, the culture of irresponsibility, the role of the churches, etc.

But, he points out, Bristol's pregnancy has not sparked talk of the crumbling of the white family. It has not been blamed on father Todd's absences for work or for snowmobile races. It has not been tied to any failure of the Wasilla Assembly of God. So a double standard seems evident."

A double standard can't reasonably be based on something a SF columnist imagines in his head.
9.5.2008 3:15pm
K-ZOOMI (mail):
It is quite a shame that in the year 2008, there still exist tons of sexist people in this nation. Since when is being a man more qualified then being a woman? Neanderthals in the media need to grow up.
9.5.2008 3:15pm
Inspector Callahan (mail):
But I think the unwed pregnant minor daughter is a huge affront to everything that Palin (and the Christian right) allegedly stands for. That's fair game as a point of hypocrisy.

No, it isn't.

People are imperfect - they do things that they shouldn't. That doesn't take ANYTHING away from the validity of the virtue itself.

An example of hypocrisy would be if Palin took the job, then completely neglected her kids and went out boozing it up every night, continuing to preach the goodness of close family life. Or if a certain ex vice-president flew around the world on a private jet that wasted tons of jet fuel, and excoriated people in those countries about how they're increasing global warning.

What's happened here doesn't even get close to hypocrisy.

Harry
9.5.2008 3:18pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
David -- it looks like you are contradicting your own post about evangelicals not being against women in the workplace. Or am I misunderstanding the prior post, or this one?
I don't know which prior post you're referring to.
9.5.2008 3:18pm
Miss Universe:
"Daddies, Mommies, Politicians and Double Standards"

There is something to match that, David:


Miss Conceptions
The invisible pregnancies of presidential daughters.
9.5.2008 3:18pm
JK:
There seems to be a lot of hakery on both sides here:

1. Yes, there is a double standard, it's unlikely that a Male in Sarah Palin's position would receive as much criticism.
2. No, the Obama vs. Palin comparison does not illustrate this double standard terribly well. Two healthy daughters aged 10 and 7 (or whatever) is materially different than five children, one special needs and one pregnant.

Also, while I've seen this criticism objected to by many Republicans, I haven't actually seen it raised by a Dem. I'm sure it has been, but the reaction is certainly greater than the initial complaint.
9.5.2008 3:18pm
titus32:
If Palin wins, her kids will likely have a full time stay at home Dad.

Could you imagine if he continued his career as a professional snowmobiler?
9.5.2008 3:19pm
The General:
The "traditional values" crowd isn't being hypocritical at all and they aren't lionizing her for neglecting her children. While many believe it is ideal for a mother to stay home and raise their children, they do recognize that is not always possible and they don't look down on women who work and have small children.

Liberals do look down on women who choose to stay home as if they're not fulfilling their mandatory obligations to the sisterhood to push the cause. Now they're ripping Palin for working and being a mother. They're the hypocrites.

It is also hypocritical for the elites in media and politics to suddenly start bashing Sarah Palin for NOT staying home with her children when the people doing the bashing are/were working mothers themselves, like Sally Quinn for example. It's ok for liberal women to work and have children, but not conservative women because it violates some caricatured version of "traditional values"? that's a textbook definition of hypocrisy.

It is also hypocritical to argue that "traditional values" crowd (whoever that is, but they aren't neanderthals and trailer trash, if you haven't bothered to notice) are out of touch and then bash them when they come around to your preferred "enlightened" position.
9.5.2008 3:19pm
Toby:

Because if there's one thing that doesn't require parental attention, it's planning your daughter's wedding.

LOL

Because traditional morality, as practiced by a woman who eloped so her parents would not spend money they didn't have, requires the obssessive narcissim of the modern mother at a wedding...
9.5.2008 3:28pm
Redlands (mail):

But I think the unwed pregnant minor daughter is a huge affront to everything that Palin (and the Christian right) allegedly stands for. That's fair game as a point of hypocrisy.


KWC, why is it an affront and why hypocritical? I don't know if being Catholic makes me part of the "Christian right," but as a parent I try to impart certain moral values to my daughters, but I don't think they, like me, are free from making a mistake. I know, like me, they are not perfect. Does the "Christian right" maintain a more rigid outlook?
If a Christian's daughter were to become pregnant where would the hypocracy come into play? I don't get it. Could you explain your view more thoroughly? We, meaning Christians, all of them I hope, understand fallibility. Heck, it's partly why we Catholics go to mass every week, to try to understand and overcome our failures - we expect it to happen. When it does, we try to understand it, learn a little about ourselves, then deal with it, but most of all we forgive, and then support, as we're taught. I'm sure some parents handle a situation like this better than others, but I don't see how having parented a daughter who has had a child out of wedlock is hypocritical.
9.5.2008 3:31pm
PC:
It is also hypocritical for the elites in media and politics to suddenly start bashing Sarah Palin for NOT staying home with her children


Cites? I've seen Dr. Laura do some bashing, but I'm looking for the elites in the media and politics that are doing it. The most I've seen is a weird meta discussion and a bunch of wingers pushing the idea that Gov. Palin is being attacked (without providing sources outside of...blogs).
9.5.2008 3:34pm
ReaderY:
I consider myself something of a cynic at times, and I still find myself incredulous that liberals would argue that Sarah Palin should stay home with the kids and leave running for Vice President to the men.

The idea astounds me. It clearly indicates that those who are saying this don't believe a word they are saying, they say anything just to produce a specific result. Perhaps I should not be so shocked. It is a statistically reasonable tactic: their own constitutuency probably will vote the other way anyway, and they are hoping to persuade a few conservatives not to vote for a woman. And perhaps words are indeed nothing more than tactics to produce a specific result and ones word is nothing but a few breaths of air intended to produce a specific result in a specific moment.

But no country in which political discourse has reached such a level has long endured. Indeed, once people become sufficiently dissensitized to each other and sufficiently objectify each other that they use words solely as levers to manipulate without regard to their having a meaning, it isn't long before bribery, violence, and coups become acceptable tactics to reach results as well.

Morals matter. A fundamental element of moral teachings is to convey that human beings are not mere objects to manipulate to achieve ones desires, but are creatures whose existence requires an independent respect. One can debate the boundaries of what moral principles and customs should be in place to communicate and remind people of these principles, but without them no government by or for the people can long endure. They are the canary in the fragile construction that is a republican form of government.

Tactics like repudiating what one has long claimed to be core principles for a short-term tactical advantage threaten the foundation of civil society, and the fact that one can probably get away with it and the advantage may be real does nothing to mitigate the damage done to society's foundations, or the hazard further impairing its future.
9.5.2008 3:34pm
boqueronman (mail):
1. "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."

2. "But I think the unwed pregnant minor daughter is a huge affront to everything that Palin (and the Christian right) allegedly stands for. That's fair game as a point of hypocrisy."

Observations on 1 and 2 above:

1. This is from a quick search on the Focus on the Family (James Dobson) site: "The Lord provides for some to serve Him both at home and in the workplace. How do they manage?" Or is Dobson not part of the pejorative "family values crowd?" They clearly seek to support BOTH those women who choose to be stay-at-home moms and to provide guidance for working moms. But I saw no evidence of hypocrisy. Where did you get such an idea?


2. Here is the definition of affront: "To offend by some manifestation of disrespect; to insult to the face by demeanor or language; to treat with marked incivility. (Webster's). Who is "affronting" whom? Palin's daughter is affronting Palin. But, clearly, Palin's family is dealing with it in a supportive and constructive way. Her daughter's actions have nothing to do with a public policy position - not Palin's and much less any "Christian right." Sheesh!
9.5.2008 3:36pm
titus32:
Cites?

The one in the post is a good candidate (Korblut of the Post). Other than that, I don't know of any.
9.5.2008 3:37pm
rarango (mail):
Lots of folks clearly misunderstand "special needs." The Down Syndrome child requires no more care than any infant that age. The child can be reared normally--just like any other child. So spare the special needs crap.
9.5.2008 3:44pm
runape (mail):
Bernstein, you attempted to defend this position in an earlier post, but failed to reply to the criticism. You are doing so again.

First, the defense that it's OK for vice presidents to be distracted because their job is unimportant is inane. Talk about low expectations. Stop making bad excuses: both the presidency and the vice presidency are important jobs, and no one in either office should be distracted. If they are going to be distracted, that is a legitimate political issue. If they plan on ignoring small children, that is unfortunate, but is not a political issue.

Second, you either did no research, or your research sucks. Obama has frequently commented on the difficulties of raising his children while campaigning, and has been subjected to criticism. You might have thought an objective observer would look to the front page of the Times on August 26 of last year, when they ran a lengthy story on the impact of the campaign on the Democratic candidates' families, with particular reference to the Obamas, and with a clear implication that Obama was sacrificing the welfare of his children. Then again, you made no pretense at being objective, so I suppose you haven't gotten to it yet, have you?

Incidentally, had you done your homework, you would know that Obama tries to see his kids twice a week at minimum, and does seem them at least once a week. That would be 400% as often as you guessed. Then again, it's not so hard to be off by that much when you have no evidence, is it?
9.5.2008 3:45pm
JK:
Redlands,
According catholic doctrine (and I believe most conservative Christian churches have similar theology), sex out of marriage is a moral sin on par with murder. Now I've always bee highly skeptical that religious people actually believe all the crazy shit they claim to believe, but if you take conservative Christian theology seriously, I'd think you would treat a sin that the word of god has proclaimed of deserving an eternity in hell a bit more seriously than, "forgive and forget."
9.5.2008 3:45pm
Meade:
The job of President of the United States is too singularly huge for either parent. Both Obama and Palin need to withdraw from the race and dedicate themselves to their primary jobs of rearing their children. Each can come back in 10 or 20 years and reapply. Don't want to make parenting your most important job? Don't have procreative sex.
9.5.2008 3:48pm
Bill Quick (mail) (www):
He believes the pundits would go crazy.

As a San Francisco resident for 25 years, let me assure you that Jon Carrol's beliefs and reality do not align with any regularity.
9.5.2008 3:48pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

How can a double standard based on sheer speculation be "evident"?


Such themes are common in the media -- I figured everyone knew this. Here's a few examples from teh Google:

O Father, Where Art Thou?

Statistics show disturbing rates of absent black fathers, but a new book depicts the nuance behind the numbers.

BLACK FATHERHOOD / WHITE FATHERHOOD:
IMPLICATIONS OF THE MOREHOUSE STATEMENT FOR MAINLINE CHURCHES
Nov. 7, 1999

Fatherhood is in trouble in the black community, and throughout American society. That is the message issued recently by the Morehouse Conference on African American Fathers, which released a report titled "Turning the Corner on Father Absence in Black America."


Family Secrets


The black illegitimacy rate is close to 70 percent. Less than 40 percent of black children live in two-parent families. This produces devastating socioeconomic consequences, but is it caused by racial discrimination? Or, might it be a legacy of slavery? In the early 1900s, black illegitimacy was a tiny fraction of today's. Roughly 75 percent, and in New York city 85 percent, of black children lived in two-parent households.

Walter E. Williams
c48-02
November 4, 2002
9.5.2008 3:49pm
Crust (mail):
Touche, Toby, touche.

Still my impression (perhaps mistaken) of Palin is that she is the type to be inclined to "the [obsessive] [narcissism] of the modern mother at a wedding". See e.g. here and scroll down to "Alaskans Line Up For a Whiff of Ivana".
9.5.2008 3:50pm
serius business:
Just curious: was Bristol's sperm donor (tha one hauled by private jet) sleeping in separate hotel room?
9.5.2008 3:53pm
DavidBernsten (mail):
Essence:

I've just asked them how their lives have changed since he won the Democratic presidential nomination. There have definitely been changes, especially for Michelle Obama, who used to pride herself on campaigning by day and rushing home to her daughters each night. Now she is spending more of her days and nights on the road, but seldom in the same place as her husband. And when their daughters‹Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7 get to see their dad, they likely have to share him with thousands of adoring strangers. "Daddy's gone a lot," Sasha notes. "We don't see him that much."
9.5.2008 3:58pm
TerrencePhilip:
MadHatChemist wrote: The "special needs" agrument is bogus. My mother raised three kids (on of whom has Down's Syndrome) while working.

Which leads to something interesting: I haven't seen news stories exploring the reactions of parents with Down's Syndrome or other special-needs children. I would be very curious what they thought about Palin's campaign, and about the media reaction.
9.5.2008 3:58pm
titus32:
Such themes are common in the media -- I figured everyone knew this.

As I mentioned in my earlier comment, using this "theme" on Obama just wouldn't work. How would that story work? From the outset, you have the fact that Obama is not your every day "African-American" -- he was raised by his white mother. But more importantly, he and his wife both graduated from HLS, he taught at Chicago law, is a U.S. Senator, his wife had a six-figure job at an elite hospital, he's made millions of dollars off of two books that he authored, he was a weekly churchgoer and apparently a good husband, etc. Engaging in your columnist's speculative exercise, and imagining that one of his daughter's gave birth at 17, how is it plausible that anyone (much less numerous pundits) would even attempt fit the pregnancy into the troubled black family theme?
9.5.2008 3:59pm
Jack Okie (mail):
PC, you are full of it!

I was listening to Dr. Laura while driving home one day - a 15 yr old girl called in, asking for advice. She was afraid of her mother's reaction to finding out the girl is pregnant. Dr. Laura first asked the girl why she particularly called Dr. Laura. The girl answered "Because I knew you'd give me a straight answer". Dr Laura comforted the girl, assured her that her mother wouldn't really throw her out of the house but would support her, encouraged her to tell her mother, and had her stay on the line off-air to make arrangements to follow up with the mother if necessary. Compassionate, caring and loving.

You libs run like hell to avoid being held to any standard or expectations.
9.5.2008 4:00pm
DavidBernsten (mail):
Wall Street Journal:
WSJ: With Mr. Obama traveling almost nonstop, are you doing anything differently with your daughters?

Michelle Obama: Without Barack there in the morning, the girls and I have "snuggle time" in my bed. I turn on the lights and we stay there cuddling … have deep conversations and talk about what it would be like if we could stay in bed all day but that wouldn't be realistic, we wouldn't learn to read…
9.5.2008 4:01pm
Mad Max:
was Bristol's sperm donor (tha one hauled by private jet) sleeping in separate hotel room?

Bit late to worry about that... the bun is already in the oven.
9.5.2008 4:01pm
Loren (mail):
But I think the unwed pregnant minor daughter is a huge affront to everything that Palin (and the Christian right) allegedly stands for. That's fair game as a point of hypocrisy.


How can the actions of another make someone a hypocrite? As far as I know, hypocrisy is dependent on the individual acting in a way contrary to the ideals espoused by the individual.

Palin's daughter is not Palin. Now perhaps the daughter is a hypocrite. Not knowing any of the public statements of the daughter, I don't know one way or the other. But the actions of the daughter can not make the mother a hypocrite.

Certainly the mother may be disappointed in the daughter for having sex prior to marriage, but the daughter's actions do not create hypocrisy of the mother.
9.5.2008 4:02pm
PC:
PC, you are full of it!


I...yeah. I can't tell what is parody and what is not anymore. Here's Dr. Laura on the Palin VP pick.
9.5.2008 4:04pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
JK. Wrong. Sins are forgiven, the mechanism varying by denomination.
And the Christians are commended to hate the sin, love the sinner.
The Palin kid got pregnant. That's not a sin. Screwing outside of marriage is a sin. That means all the candidates' kids over the years who screwed outside of marriage committed the same sin. How many? You want to go for zero?
9.5.2008 4:07pm
klee12:
I would like to comment on how much of a conflict there is between being Vice President of the United States and being a good mother.

In some situations, there would be a confict between career and being a good mother. If the career required long hours away from family, if the mother had to do the cooking, cleaning, etc., if the husband was not supportive there would be a conflict. If the mother could work at home (e.g. she was a fiction writer), if she could hire someone to do the housework, there would, IMHO, be no conflict.

What are the duties of a Vice President. I would expect in the first year or so, she would attend numerous meetinigs, do a lot of reading, and so on. I expect that she would not be have any operational duties (unless she requested some) that required immediate and prolonged attention. She would of course not have to do any cooking, cleaning, etc. I assume her husband would be supportive. IMHO, I do not see much of a confict between being the Vice President and a good mother.

Just my 2 cents

klee12

klee12
9.5.2008 4:11pm
maki (mail):
"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."

I don't understand how honest critics can make mistakes like this. For at least twenty years in this country it has been the norm for moms to work also. Most young people today have two working parents. Except for a fringe element, no average Christian is being "hypocritical" on this issue. Life's too expensive, too hard, too complicated for families to rely on one wage earner. Christians are being consistent on the desire for Bristol to keep her child. Do critics really believe that even conservative Christians treat pre-marital sex as being somehow a career-killer, a red letter, a criminal action, that should preclude people from living a normal life? We may sometimes seem "puritanical" in our morals and are critical of outlandish immorality, but permit me to remind such critics that it is the left that is totalitarian and who in the past put millions of people into death camps and who will do it again in the future, circumstances permitting.
9.5.2008 4:21pm
Inspector Callahan (mail):
I don't know which prior post you're referring to.

Sorry - I was referring to a post elsewhere. I'm trying to remember where it was.

Anyway - the post referred to poll numbers asking Evangelicals whether they think women should stay home were only slightly higher than the rest of America (32 to 22%, I think).

Link forthcoming (if I can find it!!).

Harry
9.5.2008 4:25pm
Retarded poitician:
There ya go again. More Christian values from Palin.
She pulls a Rove
9.5.2008 4:25pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I don't understand why Bristol and Levi haven't gotten married already. They're obviously in love, Levi's an adult, and Bristol's parents can consent for her. Are they going to wait till after the baby comes?

Flagrantly having a child out of wedlock is something a celebrity would do.
9.5.2008 4:29pm
David Warner:
JK,

"if you take conservative Christian theology seriously, I'd think you would treat a sin that the word of god has proclaimed of deserving an eternity in hell a bit more seriously than, "forgive and forget."

And if you took it seriously enough to learn literally the first thing about it, the very central tenet, you would know that Christians believe that Jesus Christ died for the forgiveness of sins that those who believe in Him might have everlasting life.

He took the bullet for us.

That's it in a nutshell.

Same thing Jonathan Edwards preached Awakening an American Revolution.

Same thing Henry Ward Beecher preached to end slavery.

Same thing Martin Luther King Jr. preached to put Jim Crow in the grave.

I don't quite think you understand just what you're messing with....
9.5.2008 4:49pm
Meade:
Klee12: The conflict of the job of parenting young children with the job of being VP only occurs when VP becomes P. That's why both Obama and Palin should withdraw from the race and reapply after their respective first jobs - rearing their young children - are complete.
9.5.2008 5:03pm
Richard Souther:
"Alaska is much further from DC than is Illinois."

Why do you expect either the family of the President or Vice President to not live in DC when the President or Vice President assume their respective offices in January 2009?

By the way, while the two candidates are campaigning for their respective offices, neither will be in the same place for more than three hours at a time. So, comparisons of the distances between "some place" and either Alaska or Illinois is pointless.
9.5.2008 5:03pm
Floridan:
"...no one has even thought to ask whether Obama is neglecting his kids, but they are all over Palin about it."

Who's all over Palin about whether or not she can be a good mother and run for the Vice Presidency? I haven't seen this as a major topic in the so-called MSM.

I think it is natural to wonder how Gov. Palin is going to handle some aspects of dealing with an infant that are quite different than those of a child just a few years older. For instance, does she breast feed? Obviously it's her business, but the facts are there are some accomodations that may have to be made.
9.5.2008 5:05pm
Dan Weber (www):
In the past 20 years, Michigan Governor John Engler became the parent to triplets. Massachusetts (acting) Governor Jane Swift became the parent to twins.

You might wish to compare the number of news stories about it. Quick, someone to Lexis-Nexis!
9.5.2008 5:15pm
Inkling (www):
This debate is pointless. Sarah Palin has already demonstrated that she is not deterred by job conventions that insist that women behave like men at work. As governor, she often has her kids in the office with her. They're reared well enough to know when to be quiet. And someone has already noted that she nurses her latest "discretely" at meetings.

Moving to DC from small town/Juneau and raising her pay means they'll be able to get top notch help with their latest baby. Also look for her to shape the VP job to her role as a wife and mother.

This illustrates something I noted long ago. The Old School Feminists that loath Palin tend to be people with limited abilities and little power skills. That's why they're so bitter, that's why they wall themselves off in Women's Studies programs at universities, and it's why supposed 'tough' Hillary can't get her hubby to keep his pants on, something millions of women do with ease. On the other hand, the most capable, take charge women I've known have no need for feminist whining. They make there own way in life, making the roles of mother, wife and employed person work together.

In short, don't confuse Sarah Palin with feminists who want the state to subside the warehousing of their children, while they engage in rather pitiful attempts to act like men. Their failures as mothers aren't her failures.

--Michael W. Perry, editor of Lady Eugenist and Free Lover, both collections of the writings of Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President.
9.5.2008 5:16pm
JK:

And if you took it seriously enough to learn literally the first thing about it, the very central tenet, you would know that Christians believe that Jesus Christ died for the forgiveness of sins that those who believe in Him might have everlasting life.

He took the bullet for us.

I thought Jesus' martyrdom just made of for original sin, not sins that we might commit over the course of life? I know that churches often say that you can be forgiven if "believe," and ask for forgiveness either through a priest (Catholic), or directly through prayer (protestant), but that just seems so obviously a racket it's hard to even say with a straight face. It's ok to sin so long as you tithe?!

So, serial child rapist who asks Jesus for forgiveness: eternal life. If Gandi had sex before marriage: burn in hell.

I guess the moral here is that Sarah Palin isn't particularly hypocritical, but rather that conservative Christianity is a patently ridiculous scam.
9.5.2008 5:48pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
FWIW, my impression is that the White House, and probably the Vice Presidential residence, are reasonably good environments for child-rearing--you're living over the office. I agree with you that running for office, and being away from home for weeks on end, is hard on a marriage, and child rearing. True for Obama, true for Palin. Of course, our men and women in the military make equivalent choices. We praise their choice as "sacrificing for the country" or some such phrase; we denigrate the politicians because it's still wrong to be ambitious.
Let me note that under Dick Cheney, or rather his wife, the VP's office was apparently quite child friendly. Not only were their grandchildren around there a lot, but apparently a lot of the other women working there (and there was apparently a high percentage) were able to take their kids to work with them. I seem to remember some day care on the premises too.

My guess is that for both Palin and Obama, child care is built into the job. The First Lady has traditionally traveled, and likely w/o children on many occasions. I don't remember that much about prior 2nd Ladies, but Lynne Cheney seems to travel a bit "on the job" too.

Would it be better for the kids if their parents did not have to be away as much? Probably. But that applies as strongly for Obama as it does for Palin. It is not clear which position would require the more traveling - but both clearly require quite a bit of it, and not like Obama does now, popping to Chicago as often as his busy schedule allows, but rather week or more international travel.

But if we are talking quasi-perks of the job, how are the Secret Service going to handle protecting McCain's two and Palin's one sons in the military (Biden's would likely be less of a problem than at least the younger McCain and Palin, since he is JAG and not infantry).
9.5.2008 5:49pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Dayum.

Things are getting Friday-afternoon slow here. The women are talking. Palin is GOOD. The media are lying sacks. Leave the kid alone.
Everybody knows the media are leftwing and don't tell the truth.

Wow.
9.5.2008 5:58pm
ejo:
jk on religion sounds like jbg on child rearing and obstetrics. not an ounce of knowledge to deter the statements made.
9.5.2008 6:18pm
Dan M.:
I think it's ridiculous to say "Palin has 5 children and Obama has 2."

Palin has 2 young children, and so does Obama. Palin also has a 14-year-old and a 17-year-old, and the 19-year-old is A.) No longer a child and B.) Not going to be living at home after next week.

When you have older children, they help out with the raising of the younger children. Since Bristol will have her own baby to take care of soon, she'll probably also be spending considerable time taking care of her little brother.

Sarah Palin's parents and Todd Palin's mother (or both parents, not sure) all live in Wasilla. I don't think it's incredibly difficult to bring up children when your parents and in-laws are available to help out. They are probably going to be working overtime while she's campaigning. Then if she wins, they probably won't move to D.C., but then her husband probably won't be working anymore (he quit when she became governor, but then went back to work to support the family financially despite the perceived conflict of interest).

I think that Sarah Palin's family will be fine while she's campaigning and will continue to be fine if she becomes vice president.

Another thing that I don't like are the criticisms that the conservative right are only holding back criticism of her daughter's pregnancy because she's a republican. I think anyone who has this view hasn't been going to church regularly in the last several years. There are a lot of young, unmarried parents that go to church and aren't roundly condemned. I did laugh once in high school when a local church I was visiting gave out a "Youngest father" award on Father's Day to a high school kid.
9.5.2008 6:33pm
ejo:
Dan M-you are wrong on that. just ask JK. if an unmarried church member becomes pregnant, they are hounded from the place on fear of being burned at the stake.

I heard a group of old ladies (50ish to 70ish) yesterday at a doughnut shop in Morris, Illinois discussing these "revelations". Suffice it to say, none were shocked about someone getting pregnant in their teens nor did the 22 year old DUI of Todd get much traction (one commented along the lines of "only one"). obviously, these judgmental conservatives have been around the block and don't live in their parent's basements.
9.5.2008 6:42pm
runape (mail):
To get back to the point, the original post is partisan speculation that is, in fact, wrong. Bernstein has, apparently, "missed" any number of reports on Obama and his views on being absent from his family. He should issue a correction, though of course he won't, because that would require him to admit he was wrong. And so we wait.
9.5.2008 6:50pm
Whadonna More:
OMG. No one has mentioned the one reason Mommy proximity matters more that Daddy proximity to an infant. I guess Downs' syndrome kids don't deserve breast milk.

[I suspect DB will strongly defend his baby-mama's failure to properly feed his offspring next.]
9.5.2008 6:51pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Runape, what I actually wrote was, "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."

In fact, you haven't identified a single, much less "any number," or articles showing that reporters asked the questions I raised. But, even if you could find a few, "I've missed it" suggests that at best, such reports have been very few and far between. Put another way, you can find more stories and blog posts in the last week on how Palin is to deal with her children then you can find for the entire Obama campaign.
9.5.2008 7:06pm
Proud to be a liberal :
As a feminist who supports Obama, I think that Palin's nomination and her support from right-wing America shows that the feminist revolution has prevailed and that the culture war is no longer being fought over whether women should work or stay home. Many women work demanding jobs and have children. Whether a woman works or not is up to her and her family.

As for her daughter's pregnancy, I think that it is great that her daughter has a choice about whether to continue the pregnancy or not. The baby will always know that he was wanted. Many unplanned pregnancies result in much loved and wanted to children.

I support legal abortion, but I also support a woman's choice to give birth.

The only thing I find troubling (thus far) about Sarah Palin's work/life balance is that she fired the chef at the Governor's mansion. What working mom wouldn't appreciate a personal chef? I do think that some paid help can be useful and that relying on older siblings to take care of the younger children is not always an ideal arrangement.

I do think that while marriage may be an appropriate solutation for Bristol Palin, it is often not the best solution to teen-age pregnancy. A pro-life Catholic family I know decided that it would be a mistake for the teen-age mother to marry the father, given the Catholic position on divorce, and that single motherhood was a better choice.
9.5.2008 7:10pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
S

ince 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.


Yet I heard people criticizing him for taking a vacation with his family a few weeks ago. I hope he took a week off in that month-long gap before that last flurry of primaries.
9.5.2008 7:14pm
runape (mail):
"In fact, you haven't identified a single, much less "any number," or articles showing that reporters asked the questions I raised. But, even if you could find a few, "I've missed it" suggests that at best, such reports have been very few and far between. Put another way, you can find more stories and blog posts in the last week on how Palin is to deal with her children then you can find for the entire Obama campaign."

That is incorrect; I did identify a front page story on the NY Times, in an earlier post, that asked precisely such questions. There was a similar piece in the Boston Globe; the People feature touched on like issues; and the local press, including the Trib and the Sun-Times, have run pieces.

Of course, you can fall back on the number of pieces as evidence of sexism, and I'm less critical of you there; certainly the sheer volume of it was unseemly. But it's not an entirely illegitimate inquiry to ask whether either candidate would be distracted from their work.

In any case, you were incorrect, and now that you have learned as much you should post a correction to your suggestion. "I've missed it" smacks of sarcasm, the implication being that the press has not, in fact, asked these questions. And by virtue of your pulpit on a popular blog, your misstatements are easily turned into accepted truths in the minds of uncritical readers. I've demonstrated that the implication of your post is incorrect; and you should own up to it in a more public way than in a well-buried comment.
9.5.2008 7:22pm
Dan M.:
I certainly don't approve of shotgun weddings (I am strongly of the opinion that being a single mother is better than having a terrible marriage), but young family-oriented conservatives (probably plenty of liberals, too) are eager to get married. I wouldn't be surprised if Bristol Palin and Levi hadn't already been wanting to get married, or at least if they hadn't already discussed marriage after finding out that she was pregnant but before telling their parents. My wife and I were eager to get married when she was 16, but waited until she was 19 only because there was no way her mom would approve of her getting engaged before finishing high school.

Women with infants who still have to work often use breast pumps so I don't see how campaigning would deprive Trig of his mother's milk. I also don't know what extra care an infant with Down's syndrome needs. Isn't he for the time being not much different than the average baby?
9.5.2008 7:33pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Runape, telling me you've seen such stories doesn't really help, because I still haven't seen them. Second, the few stories I've seen about Obama and his kids have focused on the effect of the campaign; none has questioned whether he can be president while raising small children, as with Palin and the vice-presidency. If you can point me to an article that did indeed, pre-Palin, raise the issue of whether it's irresponsible of Obama to want to be president when he has small children who need their father's attention, I'd be glad to link to it.
9.5.2008 7:37pm
Rod Blaine (mail):
> "Sarah Palin should stay home with the kids and leave running for Vice President to the men"

Not sure if you intended to, but you have just jogged my memory as to yet another fictitious character that SP resembles.
9.5.2008 7:39pm
Dan M.:
runape you may be right but I'd still be interested in links to demonstrate whether or not those questions were asked as the entire basis of a story or if they were simply questions that were put forth in the course of an interview.

I certainly think that parental concerns about mothers and fathers not being with their children is an issue. I don't think it's necessarily appropriate for the New York Times, but it's definitely appropriate for discussion. My wife's cousin has 3 children under 4 years old and he has to travel a lot for work and often has to spend the night away from home. It's hard on his wife and his parents who babysit all the time and if he had much of a choice in the matter we'd probably be more critical than we sometimes already are.
9.5.2008 7:43pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
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.


Can you give an example of someone from the "traditional values" crowd who actually argued that a mother's (as opposed to at least one parent's) place is with her small children and how now lionizes Palin?
9.5.2008 7:57pm
Mark Field (mail):

Can you give an example of someone from the "traditional values" crowd who actually argued that a mother's (as opposed to at least one parent's) place is with her small children and how now lionizes Palin?


Purely off the top of my head, Phyllis Schlafly would be a good guess.
9.5.2008 9:24pm
Uthaw:
[I suspect DB will strongly defend his baby-mama's failure to properly feed his offspring next.]

Uh, breast feeding is not the only "proper" way to feed a baby...
9.5.2008 10:20pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

But I think the unwed pregnant minor daughter is a huge affront to everything that Palin (and the Christian right) allegedly stands for. That's fair game as a point of hypocrisy.
You might want to actually find out what the Christian right stands for before making this claim about hypocrisy. If Palin had encouraged her daughter to have premarital sex, you would have a valid criticism. But there's no evidence of this. So much for claim of "hypocrisy."

Now, if she had pressured her daughter into having an abortion--THAT would be hypocrisy. But she didn't do so.
9.5.2008 11:26pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I don't think it's crazy or hypocritical or whatever for someone to argue that some combination of these facts makes the two situations different even if one is committed to a gender-neutral view of such questions.
So Democrats agree that a woman with five kids should stay home and raise them, not put them in day care and go to work?

You know, if conservatives were criticizing Palin for being a working mother, there would at least be some consistency on this. But for Democrats to be whining about this--the party of subsidized day care and punishment for employers that don't go out of their way to encourage mothers to be working full-time--this is the rankest hypocrisy.
9.5.2008 11:29pm
Pug (mail):

Can you give an example of someone from the "traditional values" crowd who actually argued that a mother's (as opposed to at least one parent's) place is with her small children and how now lionizes Palin?


Sure, James Dobson.



It is sexist to say she needs to stay at home to raise her kids.


Funny, but I hadn't noticed this kind of reaction from social conservatives before. James Dobson, Dr. Laura and many other Republican social conservatives have been the ones aruging for decades that mothers with small children should be home caring for their children.
9.6.2008 1:08am
omarbradley:
also, was anyone concerned in 1968 when Bobby Kennedy ran while he had 10 kids and EThel was pregnant with #11?

The guy had 4 kids under 5

anyone ask how he was going to be able to be President and daddy at the same time?

anyone ask whether he was exposing his kids to danger by putting himself out there on the trail, especilaly given his family history? I'm sure his kids are thankful that they all grew up without a father.

of coures not. no one asked him anything like that.

no one's asked Obama anything like that other than in off the cuff or in passing remarks. it's never been raised as a serious issue. and he's runnig for the top job. Imagine if Palin was running for President. You'd have loads of media caliming she wasn't fit for office.

In fact, as VP, Palin will actually probably be able to be a BETTER mother. She'll live in a bigger house, have better servants, better help, better staff, access to better childcare and medical facilities and professionals, living among the best and brightest of the nation as opposed to out in the sticks in the land of the midnight sun. so if they really care, they should hope she wins.
9.6.2008 1:27am
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
Clayton Cramer wrote:
You know, if conservatives were criticizing Palin for being a working mother, there would at least be some consistency on this. But for Democrats to be whining about this — the party of subsidized day care and punishment for employers that don't go out of their way to encourage mothers to be working full-time — this is the rankest hypocrisy.

Precisely. And if the partisans on the left here can't see or admit their own sexism in this regard (why is sexism still so much more acceptable than racism anyway?), lots of Democratic women (and some men) — many of whom have been among Hillary Clinton's strongest supporters — absolutely do.

These folks were shocked to their core by the sexist attacks on Hillary from the left during the primaries, and now — sensitized and eyes opened to the issue — they can see very clearly that the same kind of savage slime blast (though generally far worse in vitriol) has been hurled against Sarah Palin. The question of whether the woman (but not a man) is “properly” caring for the kids is among the milder of these attacks, but it's still extremely sexist from a feminist point of view.

To perceive the depth of the feeling in all this, I suggest people check out some of the (non official) Hillary Clinton supporter sites such as HillaryClintonForum.net, for instance. It's quite illuminating in this regard.

Appalled by the venom spewed forth by Obama's wingnut base in his campaign against their hero Hill and now Sarah too, these Clinton women are now enthusiastic Palin — and hence McCain — supporters, though they're by no means “ex-Hillaryites.” They're still, almost uniformly, very much for Hillary Clinton — but Sarah Palin is now their acclaimed means for supporting women in general and Hillary in particular as they see it, whilst contemptuously rejecting the Obamaites (and Obama himself) root and branch due to their baldly sexist and amoral “burn down everybody and everything to win the election” methodology.

I must say that I've enjoyed few things more, just this afternoon, than reading through all 900+ comments by the Hillary women in response to their initially encountering Palin's speech a couple days ago. Folks might like to glance through that long thread, which can be found here.

It's fascinating that the Hillary fans were almost uniformly extremely excited by Sarah's speech — the real-time blogger-posters laughing and crying and high-fiving as she spoke, and I could hardly not feel likewise as one was washed over by their emotional enthusiasm. Hardly a negative comment about her or even the Republicans can be found.

Many proclaimed they were ready to go right out and work and sweat blood for McCain-Palin — expressing astonishment and bemusement all the while that they were actually watching the Republican National Convention, enjoying it immensely, and fully in support of while intending to vote for the Republican national ticket! Meanwhile, those former Democrats still look forward to another try by Hillary in 2012 (possibly against Sarah; a battle royale they called it) — whilst others advocated a Hillary-Palin ticket for 2012; unlikely though that may seem to us, somehow it doesn't to them.

One of the more amusing exchanges on the thread:

“Republicans are the new Progressive Party!” one person wrote.
“How the hell did that happen!?” another asked back.

Thus, rather than spending all your time trying to shock us oh-so fundamentalist conservatives (hah!) with Palin's daughter's “sin” and her mother's (nonexistent) “hypocrisy,” you radical liberals might wish to try to beat your own women back into line. Good luck with that.
9.6.2008 2:31am
klee12:
Meade wrote "The conflict of the job of parenting young children with the job of being VP only occurs when VP becomes P" Quite correct. Hopefully Ms. Palin will not become P when the children most need her care. But if it does happen, at least we can hope she has a supportive husband and lots of help.

One additional comment on how Christains might view this situation.First adultery is considered a sin, but adultery involves a married party. Christains may recoginze that Bristol made a mistake, but IMHO, she did not commit adultery as defined in the dictionary. Of course there may be some Christains who disagree with the definition, but I think they are in error. Second, some of my devout (not sure if they are Fundalmentalists) Christains friends worried about their daughters getting pregnant but would act as the Palin family did if she got in trouble. I see nothing hypercritical about the Palins.

Just my 2 cents

klee12
9.6.2008 3:31am
Rhymes With Right (mail) (www):
If you believe Sarah Palin is a bad mother because she is running for VP while she has kids under 18, what would you say about a candidate with 10 kids under 18 and one on the way? You know -- Bobby Kennedy.
9.6.2008 10:12am
njones (mail):

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.


I agree with Inspector Callahan above: Prof. Bernstein, I think you are mistaken here. I was looking at polling data the other day (from Pew I think, I can go find it if you want) and only a minority (around 30%) of evangelicals agreed with the statement that 'a woman should stay at home.'

As a former evangelical, I know many evangelical families and very few of them had stay-at-home moms. In most cases the wives worked. The survey I am thinking of also asked evangelical women what their goals were after college and only a small number (I think <10%) said "raising children" most mentioned "getting a good job" or "making money."
9.6.2008 11:20am
njones (mail):
Sorry to double-post but I think it is instructive to look at James Dobson to think about the charge that it is hypocritical for traditional-values conservatives to now support Palin.

In the link above Dobson does say that he thinks women should stay home. But it is important to note that he starts by saying that "Many will not agree with my opinion..." and he ends by writing "Whether or not you agree with my advice at this point is your business... Admittedly, many women are able to maintain a busy career and keep the home fires burning... Each family must decide for itself how best to deal with life's pressure points and opportunities."

So Dobson does give the "traditional" advice but, in giving it, he also admits that many (presumably within the evangelical crowd to which he is writing) will disagree with him and that alternative family models (i.e. working-mother) in many cases work just as well.

I think one of the things at play here is the divide between new Evangelical leaders (Rick Warren) and the old guard (James Dobson). The old guard, having come of age in the 50s, were much more liekly to defend the woman-stay-at-home model of marriage. The new guard is far less likely to do so. So before we level the charge of 'hypocracy' we should note that there are a diversity of opinions within the evangelical crowd on this issue and this is reflected in surveys, as I noted above.
9.6.2008 11:32am
David Warner:
JK,

"It's ok to sin so long as you tithe?!

So, serial child rapist who asks Jesus for forgiveness: eternal life. If Gandi had sex before marriage: burn in hell.

I guess the moral here is that Sarah Palin isn't particularly hypocritical, but rather that conservative Christianity is a patently ridiculous scam."

Tithing is something people freely choose to do. It follows from salvation, it is not a precondition. Are you thinking of the medieval Catholic Church? There was this thing called the Reformation, which hinged on this very question.

And the belief that salvation covers all sin, past and future, is consistent across all Christian creeds, left, right, and center.

The defensible argument that Christianity is a patently ridiculous scam goes back to the early days of Christianity itself. In Romans 6, St. Paul gives an answer to your question.

The salvation of Gandhi and friends is also a question as old as Christianity itself. I'd imagine that you believe that when I die, worms will eat my flesh. Some conservative Christians believe that Gandhi will burn in Hell, some that he will be separated from God, most Christians, as I do, have no idea. So what?

As C.S. Lewis said, the doors to Hell are locked from the inside.

I guess the point of this is that Palin is not part of some wacky cult but a tradition that runs deep in Western, and especially American, History.
9.6.2008 2:10pm
njones (mail):

The salvation of Gandhi and friends is also a question as old as Christianity itself.


Somehow I doubt this.
9.6.2008 3:33pm
Mom2Es:
klee12:

I'm not sure what your point is about whether Bristol committed adultery. Bristol's sin(s?) in this instance would be lewdness and fornication, not adultery.
9.6.2008 11:51pm
Dan M.:
I also agree that the judgment of non-Christians is not unambiguous, but I could be mistaken. I haven't read the New Testament for probably 10 years, but I seem to recall passages in some of the epistles the hinted at a path to salvation for those that didn't know Christ.
9.7.2008 7:40am