By Alan Caruba
Let’s face it. A lot of born-again Christians are going to have to swallow hard to find any good news in the report that Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old unmarried daughter is five months pregnant.
This is not the kind of news that can be “spun” for much other than Bristol Palin’s intention to marry the baby’s father. It will be hard to count how many shotguns there will be at that marriage ceremony! There’s the bride’s family, possibly the groom’s, and an entire contingent of Secret Service agents.
This is such a common scenario for families around the nation that one wonders if it will be greeted with more than a shrug, depending on the mood of voters. I am old enough not to care that much, but there is a vast age group, married, raising teenage children, who might not be so inclined. No doubt many single mothers and their families will see it as a reflection of their own lives.
Reportedly, too, McCain was aware of Bristol’s forthcoming bundle of joy and signed off on Palin anyway. I can’t say why, but I rather like that. A President capable of such understanding of human failings is quite appealing. It suggests a tough, but compassionate man.
All things considered, though, I think Americans in general would prefer not to have this soap opera element added to the national campaign.
What this does, of course, is raise the issue of abortion to a new level for the campaign and the general national debate about the right to life of all unborn babies. Both GOP candidates are pro-life. Voters may conclude that a President McCain would be inclined to appoint pro-life judges to the Supreme Court. For many, that would be a good thing. For many others it would not.
Poor John McCain, not only did Hurricane Gustav rearrange the Republican Convention schedule, but now he will have address the private life of the teenage daughter of his choice for Vice President. Given the way religion intertwines with politics in America, it adds an unneeded element to the campaign.
Sen. Obama, to his credit, declared the story "off limits." Earlier, during the primaries, he said he would not want either of his daughter’s “punished” if they became pregnant outside of marriage.
My guess is that McCain will make a single statement and refuse to say more. The press, largely devoted to electing Obama, is probably drooling over the prospect of using this to denigrate the McCain campaign. That is likely to blow up in their faces.
There isn’t a single parent of a teenaged girl (or boy) who doesn’t lose sleep over the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy. All the church attendance in the world rarely affects the weakness of the flesh.
It is the unpredictability of politics that makes it so interesting. The baby won’t care. Maybe we shouldn’t either?