Mojo - September 2008

Might Palin Pull a Harriet Miers?

| Mon Sep. 1, 2008 11:34 PM PDT

So it's only been a few days that Sarah Palin's been on the ticket. But for chrissakes, it's only been a few days that she's been on the ticket! This much drama, this soon? At this rate, I half-expect Maury Povich to nab her first interview. And I actually felt kinda dirty watching the networks tonight, they went all Inside Edition on us, like CBS interviewing teens on a New York City stoop, asking what they think of Palin's daughter being a mama (they were teenagers, blunt and unforgiving). With only a Category 1 storm to cover and no Bush/Cheney duo-of-evil to broadcast, the nets needed the drama to fill that gaping news vacuum. But, did they, really?

Weirdly, this confluence of events, the surprise out-of-nowhere pick of Palin, the stall of the convention, Gustav being less than a catastrophe, and Palin's family drama, all of these factors have come together to magnify the absurdity of a) the VP pick, and b) the saturation of punditry (of which I am a part, I know). It's like the entire world started to care about one woman four days ago and now her life is laid bare, boom.

Which of course, is your fault, McLame. We care, and we go on and on because there's a chance she'll be our president in a matter of months. Of course everyone is on the detail hunt, that's why candidates are "thoroughly vetted." The ol' straight talker has got to know this isn't going well. So does he back up slowly and flip on the hazards? Does Palin resign a la Miers and take one for the team? Joe Lieberman, Tom Ridge, Mitt, any of you guys game for a do-over?

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Barack Obama Likes Beer, Okay??

| Mon Sep. 1, 2008 4:24 PM PDT

From a 60 Minutes interview with Obama and Biden:

"But you tried really hard to reach these people,'' [Steve] Kroft pressed. "You went and sipped beer, which I know you don't particularly like — I mean you even..."
"Steve, I had a beer last night,'' Obama interjected. "I mean, where do these stories come from, man?"
"I'm the one... [that] doesn't drink," Biden added.
"Where does the story come from that...I don't like beer?'' Obama asked. "C'mon, man."

He probably had a Stella Artois. With a bowl of granola instead of beer nuts. Because that's what fancy-pants liberal elitists do.

Update: Obama has a beer named after him in Kenya. And John McCain hates beer.

Sarah Palin Deals with Babygate with Babygate II?

| Mon Sep. 1, 2008 4:01 PM PDT

Okay, which obvious point do you want regarding Babygate? Or is it Babygate II? As you probably know, on Labor Day, the McCain campaign released this statement from Sarah Palin, McCain's running-mate, and her husband Todd:

We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us. 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. We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support.
Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media to respect our daughter and Levi's privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates.

The Palins sacrificed their 17-year-old daughter's privacy themselves in order to smother a fast-spreading rumor (or conspiracy theory) that Sarah Palin's fifth child, born this past April, was really Bristol's child. So how to process all this...bizarreness?

First, isn't it curious that a rumor about a secret pregnancy was squelched by the disclosure of a real pregnancy? What are the odds? I'm not suggesting the above statement from the Palins is a lie. This could well be a case of reality being far more strange than fiction. But it is darn weird. At a luncheon for journalists and politicos on Monday afternoon, several prominent journalists were shaking their heads in disbelief that the first day of the convention was being dominated not by Gustav and the cancellation of the nighttime program but by the Palin family soap opera.

Second, imagine if any thing of this sort had happened on the Democratic side. Wouldn't social conservatives be expressing frothy outrage? Or at least implying outrage? I'm reminded of how Newt Gingrich used to try to exploit whatever was in the news to depict the Democrats as the party of family and societal dysfunction. During the 1992 convention, he said, "Woody Allen having nonincest with a nondaughter to whom he was a nonfather because they were a nonfamily fits the Democratic platform perfectly." And then there's the time in 1991, after a South Carolina woman named Susan Smith killed her two daughters, that Gingrich said, "I think that the mother killing the two children in South Carolina vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting and how much we need to change things. The only way you get change is to vote Republican."

An out-of-wedlock birth ain't murder; still, it does not take much imagination to conceive how right-wingers would use such a family matter should it happen to a Democrat.

Third, bloggers and webbies will, no doubt, continue to pursue the original rumor. Fine. But they ought not dump unproved allegations onto the Internet. There is a place for decency on the Internet--even if the overall mission is aimed at undoing the work of an administration that misled the nation into war. Meanwhile, reporters and political ops sitting around doing nothing in St. Paul, realizing that the Palin family is also embroiled in another dicey matter (an investigation into whether Sarah Palin applied pressure to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from his job as an Alaskan state trooper), are wondering what else might come out about Palin and her family. After all, the convention has three more days to go.