Parenting

Fine, I’ll say it then…

Sarah Palin has been John McCain’s running mate for less than a week now and I’m already so sick of her I want to punch my TV. I feel like I know more about her and her family than I do about my own family.  I certainly know more about her than I do about any of my neighbors.  What I find most annoying though, is how much coverage is being given to a question that no one even asked:

How can Sarah Palin shirk her womanly mommy duties to run for VP?

Seems to me that we have a bunch of newscasters who are offended that the question was even asked… when they were the ones bringing it up in the first place.  I guess they had to, though.  I mean, they can’t point out that “no one would ask that question of a man” if no one asked it of Palin.

Sarah Palin has a 5-month-old with downs syndrome and a pregnant 17-year-old daughter at home.  Rather than ignoring the question of whether she’s being a crappy mom and instead pointing out some gender bias, maybe we should be talking about how she’s a crappy mom for abandoning and exploiting her family for political gain.  Why are we pretending that the question is irrelevant because we don’t ask men that question?  Why don’t we ask that question and agree that it’s just as wrong for a man to abandon his wife, disabled newborn, pregnant teen daughter and his three other children to run for office?  Why not just say, “You know, we should be asking men this question, too.” Instead of, “How dare you ask her! she’s a woman!”

So, while everyone else is mad that anyone dare point out the flaws of a working mother/saint, I guess I’ll be the one to say it:  Sarah Palin is a selfish, shitty mom.  She needs to be at home with her family.  Not “at home” in a pearls-and-heels-while-vacuuming kind of way.  Not “at home” in a that’s-where-women-belong kind of way.  She needs to be “at home” in a not-on-the-other-side-of-the-continent kind of way.  She needs to be “at home” in an emotionally-available-for-her-family-in-crisis kind of way.

You’d think that a woman with 5 kids, a woman who was pregnant just a few months ago, would be empathetic to her daughter’s situation as a first-time expectant mom.  Pregnancy is scary. It’s terrifying when you’re 30 and married with two incomes and you’re a homeowner.  It’s terrifying when it’s planned.  It’s terrifying when you’ve been waiting for the “just right” time to start a family.  Sarah should know that.  She’s been pregnant 5 times.

I won’t pretend to know what her daughter needs right now, but what her daughter doesn’t need right now is to be put on display, against her will, for the entire nation to judge her. She does not need to be the headline of every major newspaper. She does not need to be scapegoated for possible downfall of the G.O.P and her mother’s political career.

What she probably needs right now is her mom nearby offering her guidance and emotional support; away from cameras, away from Washington, away from opinion polls.

Why are the media talking about Palin like she’s some kind of superhero mom?  She’s in the PTA.  She’s governor of Alaska.  She carpools to hockey practice. She cooks moose burgers for her family.  She flew home from Texas to Alaska while she was in labor… on the back of a pegasus… unicorns were waiting for her at the airport to whisk her away to the hospital… she was throwing gold coins at homeless eskimos between contractions… Jesus was her midwife and when the baby crowned, a chorus of five thousand Boticelli angels erupted in chorus, singing a song penned by the Almighty himself about how Sarah Palin is the greatest mother ever to grace His 6,000 year-old universe.

It’s just a shame her job as supermom kept her too busy to talk to her teenage daughter about condoms.  Or to be around to help her other 3 kids cope with having to share a house with a hormonal pregnant bitch sister and a retarded baby.  Or to help her husband manage 5 kids, two of whom need more attention than most kids their age.

I’m putting politics completely aside here.  I don’t care what party she belongs to or what office she’s running for or where she stands on what issues.  She’s a shitty mom.  And if she were a man, she’d be a shitty dad.  She has no business running for VP right now.

It’s not anti-woman.  It’s not anti-working mom.  It’s demanding that parents be around to care for their children.

Once you decide to become a parent, you don’t get to fly around the country campaigning for your dream job if it’s going to take away from your family when they need you.  That’s the sacrifice you make for your kids.

Too bad Bristol Palin isn’t going learn that from her mom.

Elyse

Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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128 Comments

  1. @Sean:

    True, but Palin believes in abstinence-only education.

    Also, I’m not saying she’s a shitty mom because her daughter got pregnant. Good moms can have pregnant daughters, no question. I’m saying she’s a shitty mom because she’s putting herself, her career and politics before her family.

  2. Devils advocate: the daughter is at five months. So the initial shock is over for her. And I’m sure that the state of Alaska is helping out with the Down’s kid. Most states have good resources for that.

    There’s situational irony there, probably.

  3. Stereotypes are as follows:

    Men are known for being shitty fathers, despite the fact that there are plenty of great fathers out there.

    Women, on the other hand, are known for being great mothers, despite the fact that there are plenty of shitty mothers out there.

  4. Yep, of course they can!
    So when they don’t listen, you still need to be around for them. Kids do stupid things… that’s what they’re there for. (well, not really, but it seems that way at times)

    At the least Sarah Palin should be calling for her daughter to be left out of her political life, acknowledging that pregnancy is scary enough without it being in the public eye.

    Sarah has duties. Not all of them are to her family. But she has chosen to accept these duties which remove her from her family mentally and physically for large chunks of time. That is a shirking of duty. Elyse is right. the issue shouldn’t be “Don’t ask a woman that, we wouldn’t ask a man!” but “Why don’t we ask a man that question?

  5. Just to be perfectly clear, let me begin by saying that I think Sarah Palin is a shitty mom, and would stand a frighteningly good chance of causing the end of human civilization were she to be elected in November.

    Seriously, she scares the living crap out of me! She makes Huckabee seem like an atheist in comparison!

    But I would ask whether you also therefore think that Obama is a shitty dad for the same reasons as you state above. Granted, the situations are not identical, but there is still a fair amount of symmetry in this one regard.

  6. I hate making these sorts of statements, because they’re so easily misinterpreted. So, before I go on, I believe in the equality of all people, genders, etc.
    The current climate with regard to women seems to have gotten to the point that women are put on pedestals, must not be criticised solely because they’re women. The more minorities you add to the equation, the less criticism. People don’t want to be seen as anti-woman, and so avoid making critical statements about people who might otherwise deserve it.
    We see a similar situation with gays, (I’m gay, before we start in on that) except that I’ve seen a lot of gay guys use “because I’m gay” as a reason they didn’t get through. Most hilarious was when this was uttered by a failed applicant on Australian Idol. Um, hello?
    I don’t know, this seemed relevant at the time. The more I type, the less relevant it seems… I’ll stop now.

  7. Then surely Sen. Biden is equally a shitty father, Period. When he first became a senator, in fact just before he was sworn in, his wife was killed in a car accident and his young children were injured and in the hospital for an extended period of time. Joe was even sworn in at his child’s bed side at the hospital. No one asked Joe to resign or not become a senator nor did he suggest the idea. The Obama children are and have been primarily raised by Michelle’s mother. So what, that’s what the powerful and elite leader types (cooperate and political) have always done. I don’t like any of my choices this time around, so I’m going to throw shit in both directions.

  8. I don’t think being in office is fair on any family. Obama’s not being a great dad either, but he has put some privacy protections in place for his daughters, which would seem to be basic duty-of-care for a P/VP’s children.
    He is not leaving his family at a time of excessive stress (well, you know what I mean) neither of his children have the demands of a Downs Syndrome child, none of them are 5 months old, and none of his children are pregnant. He’s also not commencing his new appointment around the time that the baby will be born.
    James, yes, Biden and Palin equally crappy parents. I see this post as saying “wait, we have this huge thing about how wonderful Palin is, but actually, she’s not.” I suspect if they were saying “Oh wow, Biden/Obama’s a fantastic dad” Elyse would be saying something pretty much the same about them.

  9. Elyse-

    Should she have refused VP spot and resign the Governorship.

    One could make a very good argument that staying governor of Alaska would be a tougher more consuming job. She essentially has to ride out the next two months and then the only strenuous thing she will have to do is pick out her staff and what drapes she wants at the VP’s residence.

  10. I completely agree with your post. As a parent, I have had to make changes, just as my wife has, for the benefit of our children. It is our responsibility, as it is for any parent, including public figures.

  11. I could only listen to about 5 minutes of her speech tonight. My head would have exploded otherwise.

    The thing that really gets me, though, is that in her position, she is able to afford help with her infant special-needs kid (is the dad a stay at home? just wondering. 5 kids is a whole hell of a lot to be taking care of) and the others. Those fucking wedge issues dupe the morons every time. These people don’t really give a crap about “teh bebehs!”, especially if they’re teh economically disadvantaged bebehs.

    They care about tax cuts for their rich selves and their cronies (and other shit like that) and the only way they can get poor dumbasses in Jeebus land to vote for them is to beat the abortion/gay rights/MUSLIMS!!1!!! drum.

    Did anyone hear Giuliani’s absolutely sickening speech tonight? He said that since the Dems didn’t mention 9/11 amillion times, that they were DENYING it, and denying terrorism means the terrorists win!!!!!(to much applause)

    I am going to go drink about 5 bottles of wine now.

  12. Quite frankly, I don’t really care if Sara Palin is a good mom or not, just like I didn’t care if Bill Clinton was a good husband or not.

    I want a president / vice president that can deal with the very serious issues this country needs to deal with.

    Her kids will get great care and will go to the best schools and have opportunities 99% of the rest children in the world couldn’t dream of.

    I support Obama but, I thought she did a great job tonight and will really fire up the base. She is going to end up helping McCain a lot more than hurting him.

  13. Just to add a little confusion on the abstinence v. sex ed debate I found this quote from the Alaska Daily News:

    “Palin said last month that no woman should have to choose between her career, education and her child. She is pro-contraception and said she’s a member of a pro-woman but anti-abortion group called Feminists for Life.”

    (Full article found here: http://tinyurl.com/6xnvek)

    Now granted these answers given as political answers. Which brings me to my point that it is not known what exactly was taught to Palin’s daughter. For all we know she could have used protection and it failed.

    Before we start drawing conclusions we have to make damn sure we have the facts.

  14. I support Obama but, I thought she did a great job tonight and will really fire up the base. She is going to end up helping McCain a lot more than hurting him.

    ——————

    Actually, I was really wavering in my support of Obama before her speech. Now I’m fired up again, because pretty much everything she said about him was completely untrue. I was reminded strongly, when she did her “waters” bit, of Hillary’s “skies will open” moment, which pretty much killed her campaign.

  15. I think I’m just going to base my judgment of Palin’s competance on the names she chose for her two boys.

    For not realizing that Track and Trig aren’t names but rather, respectively, an athletic extra-curricular activity and a branch of mathematics…she fails :-P

    As for the rest…I’m too tired to think about whether or not I’m a good mother (PS I’m a dude) let alone whether the governor of a state I’ve never been to is a good mother…perhaps another time.

  16. Just watched the speeches. What kind of people “mock” community organizing? If you want to attack someone’s policies, go for it. But, to ridicule someone for serving poor and disadvantaged people and then receive a standing ovation for it, is beyond me.

    Having said that, when our kids were pre-teens, I was much quicker to render judgements on other people’s parenting. We thought we had this parenting thing smoked. I had no earthly idea what was coming in the teen years which would conclusively prove that I am the Worst Father Ever to walk this planet. Now that they are 19 and 21, I tell them that they are lucky they are breathing and have all their important parts. I’m just amazed and thankful that we are all still speaking (and kinda like hanging out together). So, that’s my new standard. A for me and anybody else who gets them to adulthood in one piece. A+ if they do something worthwhile.

    Now if you want to talk policies, how about “Drill Baby Drill” for your energy policy?!? They were CHANTING it! Good gawd, even Paris Hilton had a better thought through and adult sounding energy plan. Policy Grade: F, Parenting Grade: A for the oldest one and too early to tell for the others.

  17. Just a quick note of historical reference here, I’m just old enough to remember when George H.W. Bush selected possibly worst running mate in modern American history, Dan Quayle, as his running mate and was heavily mocked for it. Pundits were all but writing Bush’s political epitaph. Luckily for him, Dukkakis rode in a tank making himself look like a wind-up toy.

    And I too saw the “drill-baby-drill” chant. I don’t care how this makes me come off here, but that display of jovial igorance was sickening: I’m not saying that all Republicans are stupid, but at the very least, the Republicans who make decisions (ie: the delegates who chose McCain at the convention) are stupid-stupid-stupid.

  18. Elyse: This woman has obviously gotten under your skin! I hate to tell you though, she’s not such a bad mother. Lots of parents are high-fliers in their chosen careers and hold firm ideas on things you do not agree with. I don’t know if you’re blinded by your dislike of what this woman stands for, or you’re just sheltered from what kinds of parents really are out there in the world, but I’ll break it to ya: There are worse parents – far, far worse. Just because you don’t happen to agree with what she did or didn’t teach her daughter about sex doesn’t make her any less of a good mother.

    In this modern age of sexual freedom and female independence, a pregnant 17 year old is not a family crisis any more than a pregnant 27 year old is (unless you’re a conservative Christian family). And while we’re on that: quit dramatizing pregnancy! Having babies is not particle physics, humans are very good at it, we do it every day. In fact, people are knocking each other up right now, all around the world, and will successfully give birth to those children. It is no… big… miracle. Palin knows it – she has, as you pointed out, done it 5 times. It’s not climbing mount everest.

    Palin will do more good for her daughter praying for her from the campaign trail than giving up her political career to come home and breathe down her neck and hold her hand for the next 4 months.

    Anyway, who said the family has been “abandoned”? (to use your emotional language) Do they not have a father? Can he not hold the fort? Why is having children a sentence to house detention with no prospects of a political career? Men do it all the time. Why can’t women? Are there ‘mommy-duties’ only a mommy can do? If so, what does that say for single fathers, or for families with — omigosh! — two daddies?

    Look, I don’t like what Palin and her crew stand for any more than the rest of us here, but leave her fucking family out of it and quit calling her a ‘shitty’ mother! It’s not a good colour on you, Elyse.

    Skepchick? Not this time.

  19. I’d like to nominate Expatria for COTW:
    “For not realizing that Track and Trig aren’t names but rather, respectively, an athletic extra-curricular activity and a branch of mathematics…she fails”
    Precious.

  20. I’m gonna have to toss in my no vote on this one. There are a few dozen reasons I don’t care for Palin-the fact that her YEC and post hoc reasoning essentially disqualifies her in my mind from sensibly evaluating any empirical that crosses her desk, her lack of understanding of the function of offshore drilling, the nature of pregnancy and abortion, the fetishization of her small town nature in a country and world not defined by that dynamic…the list goes on. But I find nothing particularly disreputable in continuing to, in essence, show up for work. She has been with her daughter for the first five months, and will be with her for the last two, and in the meantime is likely providing her with some much needed airspace. Presumably her father, siblings, and fiance are about, and mom is never more than a phone call away? Sure, being a parent does involve keeping the red phone with you for the rest of your life-but every time it rings it isn’t necessary to roll out the big guns.

  21. Unless there is some glaring example of neglect, any politicians abilities as a parent are far down my list of qualifications.

    More telling to me is that the media had to ask the question to create the controversy over asking the question. They are addicted to controversy like it’s Heroin laced LSD rolled in a dusting of crystal meth. It’s not anything new by a long shot.

  22. I’m going to agree with Anyvainlegend…….. I don’t think Palin is a crappy mom. She is a working mother like most woman. Has her kids been involved in gangs? Have they killed anyone? The kids could do a lot worse than get pregnant at a early age.
    I am a democrat — I believe in abortion, gay rights, all that but I want a president/vice president that has had experience and knowledge of being in charge of people.
    Obama can’t make up his mind on anything.
    I want a president who will protect us and to be a good leader and to make his/her own decisions.

  23. @anyvainlegend:

    This has nothing to do with her politics and everything to do with responsibility as a parent.

    Just because “lots of parents” choose careers that are not in the best interest of their families doesn’t make it okay. Once you decide to have children, they become your first priority. The choices you make for yourself should always be weighed against their best interest.

    And sorry, but pregnancy is hard. It is physically and emotionally draining. It is terrifying. (I might have mentioned that?) Having to go through it at 17, when you’re single and thrust onto the public stage in the middle of it cannot make it any easier. Like I said, I can’t pretend to know what Bristol needs, but it’s not a mom running for VP.

    If I were in the middle of a totally planned pregnancy, I would have a hard time with my husband running for President/VP. And I’m saying that as a wife who would need support and as the mother of a baby who needs his dad around.

    Making a baby is a big deal. There’s a whole lot more that goes into it than making a pancake or planting a tree… and people do those things all the time, too.

    And for the record, my point was not that her husband somehow incapable because he’s a man or that Sarah should be at home because she’s a woman. Sarah should be “home” in a general and emotional sense, and her husband should be. Any parent should.

  24. @joshsmom and @awbranch:

    I’m not getting into a political discussion about her qualifications as VP. This isn’t about who should be the next president. I’m just asking the question that the media keeps asking themselves… then dodging for themselves.

    They want to know if, as a mom, she is doing the right thing. Then they get mad because they asked that question of a woman and wouldn’t ask it of a man. Then they never answer the question.

    The answer is: no, she is not doing the right thing for her family. And it’s not an irrelevant question just because we don’t ask male candidates the same question.

  25. Palin is an evangelical christian and by all accounts pretty devout. The typical sex education that children get in a household like that is abstinence only. Now it has been pointed out that we dont know what kind of sex education she used with her children but I have to believe, given the above fact, that abstinence was heavily stressed. My observation is that if the press wants to point out something of value in this debate, it is that Palin’s 17 year old pregnant daughter is proof positive that abstinance only sex education is a joke. If I were a reporter, I would be asking her about that. Then again, at this point it would only draw attention to the deficiencies of the abstinance stance so she would probably lie about it. I’m just trying to point out what I see as a major hypocrisy here, unfortunately, since I am very nearly illiterate, I havent done it very well. :)

  26. Why not just say, “You know, we should be asking men this question, too.” Instead of, “How dare you ask her! she’s a woman!”

    I’m trying to remember the last time a candidate for president or vp had a newborn. Closest I can think of is John F Kennedy Jr, who was born shortly after the 1960 election.

    But, let’s face it, in 1960 the father’s responsibility was limited to the handling of tobacco products: chain-smoking Winstons (taste good like a cigarette should) while pacing the waiting room, handing out cigars.

    Today, things would probably be quite different.

  27. @Elyse:

    I’ll accept that it’s fine to call her a shitty mom, even if “we” never call a dad a shitty dad, but why did *you* wait just until Sarah Palin came around to make a big deal of it?

    Barack Obama has a 6-year old and a 9-year old. I have a 6-year old and a 9-year old, so I can tell you that he’s been a shitty dad for the 20 months he’s been running for president. That’s about a third of his younger daughter’s life, so it’s a significant amount of time.

    So I think it’s incumbent upon you to either agree that you are bringing up Sarah Palin’s shitty motherhood for reasons related to her gender or her politics, or to tell us why all the men and democrats in national politics are not shitty dads.

    Disclaimer: I am not going to vote for the ticket that includes Sarah Palin.

  28. I think it important to point out that her daughter is responsible for her own actions and Sarah Palin may want to help her daughter but is NOT responsible for the care of her grandchild. Also it is worth pointing out that Sarah Palin is a married woman and has the support of her husband to care for her son. She may feel comfortable in his ability to take on the majority of the parental responsibilities just as Barack Obama might feel about his wife. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, plenty of families have a carer and an earner or have the roles spread around among parents and extended family.

    I think her policies, opinions and abilities should be under scrutiny. Based on those I would not like to see her as VP, one heart beat away from the President’s chair. How does she compare with Joe Biden in terms of ability?

  29. @msd:

    The reason I didn’t jump on it was because no one was asking it. The reason I picked Sarah Palin was because that’s who the media are asking about over and over and over… but they refuse to answer the question.

    I have thought about writing a post about this topic for a while. Right now seemed pretty timely.

    I didn’t say that men are not shitty dads or Democrats are not shitty dads. Anyone putting their dreams of fame and power above those of their families are shitty parents.

    If it makes you happy, I’ll say it: Obama is a shitty dad. Bill Clinton was a shitty dad… a really shitty dad.

  30. “Anyone putting their dreams of fame and power above those of their families are shitty parents.”

    should read:

    Anyone putting their dreams of fame and power above the needs of their families are shitty parents.

  31. @writerdd:

    I’m saying you can’t have a job that demands all your time and attention and have a family and expect that one or the other or both won’t suffer. I’m also saying that kids need their parents.

    It’s not a crock, it’s reality.

  32. Elyse said:

    “Just because “lots of parents” choose careers that are not in the best interest of their families doesn’t make it okay. Once you decide to have children, they become your first priority. The choices you make for yourself should always be weighed against their best interest.”

    Some points in reply to that paragraph:

    1. You appear to be lashing out with an unbalanced, and certainly non-skeptical, emotional, non-rational perspective.

    2. It would appear you are avoiding any and all research that shows children turn out pretty darn good so long as basic needs, including emotional support, are provided and come from any good care provider be it Mom, Dad, or a good “nanny.”

    3. So poor people who have no options are ipso facto “shitty parents”?

    4. You’re brow beating, and that doesn’t open many doors to coherent, constructive communication. You are also, in my opinion, romanticising parenthood and childhood in a truly outrageous manner. We’re mammals, not crystal figurines.

    and: “And sorry, but pregnancy is hard. It is physically and emotionally draining. It is terrifying. (I might have mentioned that?) Having to go through it at 17, when you’re single and thrust onto the public stage in the middle of it cannot make it any easier. Like I said, I can’t pretend to know what Bristol needs, but it’s not a mom running for VP.”

    Oh calm down for Numa’s sake. That is a pretty darn overblown generalization, and is also several different and exclusive issues hiding under one emotional umbrella. I’ve known women for whom pregnancy was very difficult. I’ve known some for whom it was very scary. I’ve known none at all who would insist it was terrifying.

    I have also known several who thought it the most wonderful, soul enriching, and fulfilling experience of their lives.

    and: “If I were in the middle of a totally planned pregnancy, I would have a hard time with my husband running for President/VP. And I’m saying that as a wife who would need support and as the mother of a baby who needs his dad around.”

    Fine. But that’s just you. You are saying that because thus and so is your experience, it is therefore every woman’s experience. I’m sorry, but that’s nonsense.

    I’ve lost track of how many logical fallacies you’ve dropped on us in that post. You’re trying to bully people into false consensus.

  33. Yeah, by the light of the day I’m going to go ahead and disagree with the premise based on lack of information. I don’t know enough about what goes on in Sarah Palin’s family life (nor do I want to) to know whether she’s a good parent or not. Nor do I think it really makes much difference come election time. I believe that even public figures are entitled to a modicum of private life.

    I simply do not think that the ONLY kind of good parents are the kind that sacrifice everything in order to be there with the family. It seems to me a big stretch to assume Sarah Palin isn’t “there” emotionally for them even while she’s not there physically. For all you know she’s on the phone with Bristol every few hours checking in. Is this the same as being there, in the same home, all the time? No, but who says that’s the only kind of good parenting?

    MILLIONS of kids come out just fine with one or both parents working. It’s been that way, or similar, forever. What about underpriviledged families where both parents have to work multiple jobs to survive? Sure, they are putting their families first, a point Elyse has stressed…but they’re probably less “there” than anyone else.

    And, as a final thought: the election is only two months away. Whatever happens then will happen then, and Sarah Palin will have some time to go back to her family, win or lose. While two months is a large time, proportionally, in the life of a newborn or small child…it certainly isn’t long enough to be the single determining factor in whether a person is a good or bad parent. I’ve got a relatively good memory of my early youth, but I’ll be damned if I can remember months. If the father is with the children, if the grandparents are around to help, etc, those kids aren’t WANTING for anything. They’ll probably be fine.

  34. Once I stopped channeling Mrs. Rev. Lovejoy in my earlier comment, I was going to post something thoughtful that actually related to the post, but Expatria pretty much commented with every thought in my head , thereby saving me the trouble, leaving me free to live a life of religious fulfillment.

  35. It is standard practice for politicians to sacrifice the safety and happiness of their families in order to acquire power. This isn’t good, but it is the common reality. It hardly seems legitimate to focus on one specific instance of this as though it is a deviation. I agree with writerdd @39 that you can either accept this or limit yourself to

    Only childless people or old people whose children are grown

    The fact that so many make these sacrifices to obtain political power gives us some idea of how badly they want such power. Such desire is not justified by the legitimate power that such offices hold. It is for this reason that in Plato’s Republic Socrates argues that the desire to hold political office is sufficient cause for disqualification.

    I am a Hedge

  36. Speculation:

    If she *looked* more like Helen Thomas and less GILF-y, nearly everyone who is now crowing about how wonderful she is would be saying what a weak and dangerous choice for VP she is.

    Would you vote for her if she were running for President?

    (Channeling Don LaFontaine:) IN A WORLD where Vladimir Putin and oil-rich middle-eastern theocratic thugs cause all sorts of problems… ONE MAN… (cue the dramatic entrance of SUPER-MOM)

    Yeah, that’s a comforting thought.

  37. I call crap on this argument. It is entirely irrelevant if Palin or any other politician is a shitty parent. As long as they are not breaking any laws, that’s their business.

    Our business is to pick a team that will lead this country in the directions we want it to be led.

  38. I’m a Hedge said:

    “… sacrifice the safety and happiness of their families …”

    Snuh?

    Can you expand on that? My understanding of politicians is that they almost invariably do precisely the opposite, and do whatever is in their power to ensure the safety, the security, the happiness, and the future wealth and power of their offspring.

    Here’s a thought: If Palin is such an awful mom because she gives the current upbringing of her kids to others, and she is also such an awful prospective President because she is so deeply devoted to fanatical and outrageous Woo-Woo, wouldn’t she then be doing her children a positive service by having them “brought up” by strangers who may at least potentially be just a little less loopyloo? Wouldn’t that actually be better for both the kids and the world in general?

    Question: Is it better for kids to brought up by Mom, even when Mom is a card carrying yippee-kiyay nutbar, than it is for them to be brought up by (potentially) more rational, earth-based folks?

    Just a thought.

    Cheers. I’m off to work….

  39. Well Elyse I just gotta say that my wonderful, intelligent strong wife, who’s also a great parent, a wonderful parent, enjoyed both of her pregnancies very much and found them rewarding and interesting as well as challenging and hard. Her husband made his best efforts to be supportive, caring and empathetic. My wife taught a more than full load of university classes through both pregnancies, including coaching the university speech and debate team during her first pregnancy, and only reduced her class load for the two quarters after the birth of the children. (not paying all the bills was not an option and previous commitments needed to be honored) We made it with a great pool of sitters known as TA’s and a wonderful grandmother type who lived next door. Our extended families were either over seas or hundreds of miles away. People make sacrifices and what one may consider optimal and best is not always practical, reasonable or even an option. Life is about choices, and trying to live up to some gold standard of family wonderment and bliss is a damn foolish, and ultimately futile, choice in my estimation.

  40. markshulz said: “What kind of people ‘mock’ community organizing?”
    Just to add to that … Obama’s work as a community organizer in south Chicago was no doubt more demanding than Palin’s work as mayor of a town of much less than 10,000.
    It’s worth noting that, to make her job even easier, the town had a high-salaried chief administrator to do the heavy lifting.
    Otherwise I recommend Rude Pundit for a brief, cutting assessment of Palin’s speech.

  41. It is entirely irrelevant if Palin or any other politician is a shitty parent. As long as they are not breaking any laws, that’s their business.

    I agree. I don’t see how this is any more relevant than Clinton getting a blow job. We are hiring someone for a job and their personal life is not pertinent. Unfortunately, there are no job requirements for being president other than being a “good ole boy” or “the girl next door” — that is, it’s a frakking popularity contest to see who will run this country. How stupid is that? That’s not to say that I am against democracy, but the candidates should be vetted by previous job performance and/or some kind of test in order to get on the ballot.

  42. It kills me that every week I miss getting to say goodnight to my son two nights but I take solace in the fact that a) it will (most likely) result in greater financial security in the future and b) my wife is very capable of shouldering the extra burden.

    If (and I know I’m taking a big risk assuming this) Palin is sacrificing some quality time with her family so that millions of families can have better lives and because she knows her husband/family can handle the extra burden, then I applaud her sacrifice. If she is just a power-hungry, uncaring bitch (which, I will concede, is the likely case) then I agree with what Elyse says.

  43. SicPreFix @50:

    Can you expand on that? My understanding of politicians is that they almost invariably do precisely the opposite, and do whatever is in their power to ensure the safety, the security, the happiness, and the future wealth and power of their offspring.

    This probably applies far less to local politicians, but consider the case of a national politician in the U.S. (Throughout the example, feel free to swap the gender of the hypothetical politician.) His family likely lives hundreds or thousands of miles from where he works. He maintains a presence in D.C. during the week, perhaps returning home on weekends. So his children rarely see him. While home, he likely spends a lot of time engaged in various work-related or campaign-related activities, further depriving children of interaction. His wife is deprived of his presence and assistance throughout the week, and likely during the weekend as well. He is probably capable of earning a higher salary (often much higher) in private industry, which would compensate somewhat for this absence, or may not even require such absence. The family may be carefully scrutinized by the media, infringing on their ability to lead a quiet, safe, and happy life. At the higher levels (Senators, President), safety becomes a major concern, and family members require armed guards which further infringe on their privacy and ability to go about their business as they please. The primary compensation for all of this is the power acquired by the politician by virtue of his office. While an especially honorable and noble individual will use this power to improve his community and society in general, his family is not likely to be the direct recipient of this (and if they were, this would be seen as an improper use of power for personal benefit). If his main goal is benefiting society, there are ways to do this that are at least as effective as political office and do not require the same inconveniences for the family (private charity work, medical industry, scientific research…).

    Certainly when you get to the level of POTUS, the good of the family is being sacrificed.

    I hope that clarifies what I meant. I hope you can correct me if I have made any errors.

    I am a Hedge

  44. I’ve been trying to shy away from this subject, because I sort of agree with Obama: the personal lives, and especially the personal lives of the children of politicians, really isn’t relevant or fair to their qualifications. Maybe she can work out her motherhood with her career, maybe she can’t. I can’t know this, and I don’t have any faith at all that I can come to know it via media profiles in the middle of an election. She could be a shitty mom and a great VP, and in the end, people should be voting for or not her based on what sort of VP she’ll be rather than on what sort of mom she’ll be.

    But I do admit to a guilty pang of worry when I read that Bristol’s soon-to-be husband had a myspace page or whatever in which he stated flat out that he didn’t want children. That does not bode well for his skills as a young parent. He could rise to the challenge, but that doesn’t exactly scream “maturity!” right off the bat.

    Part of the reason why there’s such a difference between young marriage and young kids in earlier eras and today is simply a maturity gap. Teenagers in earlier eras almost all lived hard working lives where they were forced to grow up fast and become mature fast. Teenagers in our society, on the other hand, are given the liberty and encouragement to basically grow up slow: to unrealistically dream about being hockey stars well into their 20s, and to simply enjoy being young.

    Whether you agree with it or not 14 year old brides and husbands lived in a culture in which they were culturally prepared to be mothers and caretakers, and a lot was demanded of them, and their families were on their backs with no-nonsense clauses all the time. Young families today lack those expectations, and treat children as a burden from before their time rather than the normal course of things.

  45. “Why are the media talking about Palin like she’s some kind of superhero mom? She’s in the PTA. She’s governor of Alaska. She carpools to hockey practice. She cooks moose burgers for her family. She flew home from Texas to Alaska while she was in labor… on the back of a pegasus… unicorns were waiting for her at the airport to whisk her away to the hospital… she was throwing gold coins at homeless eskimos between contractions… Jesus was her midwife and when the baby crowned, a chorus of five thousand Boticelli angels erupted in chorus, singing a song penned by the Almighty himself about how Sarah Palin is the greatest mother ever to grace His 6,000 year-old universe.”

    Pure Gold! Funniest thing I’ve read all week.

  46. From what I’ve gathered of their family, the oldest girl – Bristol – does a lot of the babysitting for the younguns, as the dad Todd spends a lot of time away from home working on the rigs.

    Which isn’t all that uncommon – I have friends from big families who by stint of being the oldest spend a lot of time caring for thier younger siblings.

    Problem being is that, should McCain win – they’re not going to be ‘home’. They’ll be far away in Washington, while the extended family of aunts/uncles and grandparents will be back in AK.

    As I’ve never sprogged myself, I don’t feel qualified to pass judgement on her mothering abilities. Two cats and a husband is about the limit of higher mammalian ‘company’ I can take.

    What I think is more important to ask is: “you can do it with help – what provisions are you going to provide to parents (without an extended family or decent paycheck), who don’t have the benefit of the Governor’s Health Insurance and childcare package?”

    Its in the papers this morning that she actually cut the budget for an unwed young mother’s shelter by 62% for this fiscal year in Wassilla, and plans to fund it at the same rate (without increase) for fiscal year 2009.

    This, despite the heartwarming speech about being an advocate for Special Needs Babies, should she get elected.

    And her views on the reproductive rights of women (ie bupkiss) are well known.

    For me, what she’ll do for families just like hers is a much more important question.

  47. I don’t see how this is any more relevant than Clinton getting a blow job. We are hiring someone for a job and their personal life is not pertinent.

    See, I have to disagree with this. I think their personal life is *very* pertinent. I heard integrity defined once as “how you behave when no one’s looking”, and I think that a politician’s personal life can actually be at least as good an indicator of the kind of leader they’ll be as the stuff their speechwriter puts together for her. (Because I promise you Sarah Palin did not write that whole aphorism-laced speech all by herself, and yes, I listened to the whole thing.)

    I think Clinton did fine as a President for the most part, but his personal behavior made me very nervous about his integrity and reliability, particularly when it came into the issue of his honesty (or lack thereof) while under oath. I was very nervous to have someone making international agreements who couldn’t even be trusted to answer a straight question on the stand.

    And for me, the same thing applies here. Sarah Palin’s personal life is very relevant. She will be in a position to influence all manner of policy regarding family and marriage law. She has consistently made career decisions that take her away from her own family, and that makes me a little nervous. She might do just fine, I don’t know. But knowing that she went back to work when her son was three days old does not necessarily shout “consistency on matters of family values” to me.

    Obviously, no candidate (and the vast majority of humans) is going to be completely consistent in all of their words and actions, especially now that we can so easily dig decades into people’s pasts. But really current hypocrisy gets under my skin in a way that “oh, look, thirty years ago when this candidate was in college he did this” just doesn’t.

  48. Improbable Bee, in any other case, it is basically illegal for your boss to ask about your personal life when hiring you for a job. Why should it be any different in politics? It’s a job. It is nobody’s business who I f*ck or how I take care of my kids. It’s their business if I know how to do the tasks that are required for the job. That’s it. Period.

  49. Oh, one more thing. I have a special needs child who had challenges that were evident as early as two weeks of age, and even then they were not as serious as her son’s. And I can tell you right now that I have zero patience for her trumpeting about “families with special needs [children], you will have an advocate in the White House!” when someone else has raised that baby ever since she brought him home from the hospital.

    I mean, great, there’s still a lot that needs to be done regarding insurance coverage and adult services for people with special needs. Yay for an advocate in the White House, my son can use anything that comes our way. But I don’t like it that she can simultaneously be a candidate for Vice-President and present herself as this full-on caring nurturing mom, when she has been out of the house for the majority of this child’s waking hours.

    I’ve done this, with a special needs infant. I would have considered it a very bad choice for me and for my son to have taken political office at that point, and my husband would not have done so either, even if he’d been so inclined. I would have been a bad Vice-President AND a bad mother, and while I’m not a perfect mom, I’m a hell of a lot better one than if I was getting ready to move to Washington for a 24/7 job.

  50. Thank you anyvainlegend and James Fox. Elyse, I gotta tell you that I’m disappointed with how full of emotion that post was. Take a tip from science and at least look at things skeptically and put things in context … You complain that the media should be asking why she isn’t at home with her family while they are in this “crisis,” and you say we should be asking this of the men as well, and then you don’t. You defend this by bringing up that the media is basically doing this already, that they just won’t say it. Well, that’s great. I already know all of that. What I didn’t know that James so wonderfully pointed out is that alongside Biden and Obama (and surely McCain as well) Palin looks about on par. If you put her in the context of her field, she looks alright to me. And what about Edwards? Was anyone bitching about Edwards last year when he was running even though his wife was dying of cancer? I didn’t hear much (not to mention cheating . . . man what a bastard, but I digress)

    My other point is that we are not part of their family, thus we have no right to judge. If you were Palin’s husband, then I would trust your opinion, but you’re not, so all I can see is you judging a mother who has worked her ass off to get where she is. Why shouldn’t she want to perhaps see less of her family in order to serve her country? She would bring an entirely new perspective to the VP, and could represent mothers everywhere, because she truly understands them.

  51. Why should it be any different in politics? It’s a job.

    Politics IS different, though! (Are different? Anyway.) Most jobs can be done without any reference to one’s gender, sexuality, family life, religious belief, or any other aspect of personal life. My doctor’s a woman, my babysitter is a Mormon, a couple of musical co-workers are gay, and the kid who pumps my gas has a eyepopping collage of tattoos, and it doesn’t affect their work in any way.

    But politicians are different in the same way that religious workers are different. They have, by nature of their position, the ability to affect people’s lives. A pastor who preaches one thing and lives in an entirely different way is called a hypocrite, and if he’s called on it, will hopefully resign. A politician, I think, should be held to a higher standard in the same way. They have, in many ways, much more power than religious leaders in that they can make laws, make international policy decisions, all *kinds* of things that affect my daily life.

    And if they have a history of behaving in one way at work and another way at home in order to promote their own happiness and political gain, I have little reason to trust them. If someone is going to be making laws and decisions that can change my life in small and big ways, you can bet that “trustworthy” is VERY high on my list of desired attributes.

    How you think, how you make your decisions, comes from who you are. If a politician appears to be two different people, I never know quite which one I’m voting for.

  52. It’s not even Palin that scares/sickens me. It’s idiots like Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tenn. as quoted in the L.A. times this morning:

    “Every woman in this room knows that if you can handle being a room mother… a PTA chairman, a Girl Scout cookie mom, there are a lot of things you have the ability, the organizational skills to handle”

    WTF?!?!?

    So..what I’m getting here is that Marsha’s tryingto appeal to women by saying “look – if you have kids you know how much work they are – you could be the VP, so vote for Palin cause she has 5!” How fucking un-feminist can you get? “she really knows how to organize a dinner party, so she’ll be great at middle east peace talks!”

  53. @Improbable Bee: “And I can tell you right now that I have zero patience for her trumpeting about “families with special needs [children], you will have an advocate in the White House!” when someone else has raised that baby ever since she brought him home from the hospital.”

    Well, maybe she’s planning on assigning free nannies trained in special ed to every single special needs child? (NOT!)

  54. @writerdd: ouch. I hope that was sarcastic. cuz I’m a republican and very feminist. Though … I’m not a very good republican. I’m a very bad republican when it comes to women’s rights and gay rights. I really don’t see how anyone can conform to a single part/platform … that annoys me.

  55. Hey, has anyone ever thought that maybe she has discussed this with her family first? She has a husband. He’s not leaving her over this. Therefore, he’s accepting greater responsibility for the family to support her in this. Same with Obama’s wife, and with the spouse of any other political figure.

    I am not about to tell somebody that what works for their family and their relationship should be a factor in a POLITICAL election. We’re not discussing the election of a family therapist, we’re discussing the election of a government leader. Let’s treat the candidates like big boys and girls, and let them work out their home lives for themselves.

    On an unrelated note, the thought of Palin office frightens the hell out of me. *Shudder*

  56. @TheNerd: You and others some to have missed an important point.
    Quoth the Elyse: “… what her daughter doesn’t need right now is to be put on display, against her will, for the entire nation to judge her. She does not need to be the headline of every major newspaper. She does not need to be scapegoated for possible downfall of the G.O.P and her mother’s political career.”
    That is something Sarah Palin should have considered when she was weighing the merits of joining the GOP ticket. She could have spared her daughter the experience of being a national spectacle, which was quite predictable.

  57. It’s just a shame her job as supermom kept her too busy to talk to her teenage daughter about condoms.

    What are you talking about? The woman is notorious for (among other things) openly supporting an “abstinence only” policy. It’s entirely likely that she DID talk to her daughter about condoms — and told her to avoid them.

    ~Wordplayer

  58. Ugh! Do we have a quantitative amount of time one should spend with a family to be considered non-shitty? Since we’re in anecdotal land I’ll say this: The majority of parents in the US drop their kids off in daycare or with a family member so both parents can work. Are they shitty?

    Or is it just people who have high profile career aspirations? Physicians spend a lot of time at work for YEARS until they are established.

    What is it with the sacrifice for your family thing? When somebody has a kid it doesn’t mean they have to make every decision with the best interest of the child as their first priority every single time. Remember when those kids are 18-22 years old they won’t really want much to do with you anyway–they’ll be living THEIR lives so don’t invest TOO much of your life now.

    Children are not my first priority, they are one of many priorities that must be maintained. Long after my child is grown and gone I’ll still be here and I don’t want regret for things I didn’t do because of my kid(s) to be my only friend. For some people their kids are their whole world for others not.

    You make it sound like anyone who has any ambition that takes them away from their family is shitty and I disagree. All of this is opinion, of course, so it doesn’t really matter.
    On a sarcastic note I think you’re a shitty blogger for spending time away from this blog to be with your family. ;P

  59. Personally, I think Palin is a lightweight shill and is too dumb to realize it. Her nomination is an insult to thinking people of both genders.

    What really bothers me is that with as many intelligent and well-qualified people we have in this country, we ended up with the candidates we have on both sides . There are plenty of men and women in this country that could outthink all four candidates together with one lobe tied behind their back. (The challenger can pick which lobe – right or left!)

    Just the fact that Palin accepted the nomination knowing that her poor teenaged, pregnant daughter would be made a national spectacle is plenty of evidence that she has terrible judgment. If she does that to her own daughter, what is she capable of doing to the rest of of us that she doesn’t even know from Adam’s cat?

  60. Ohhh I think I’m catching on now… It’s this Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) pride thing. Anyone who isn’t a SAHM is a shitty parent. Aaahh. With ya ;)
    **

    Welp I’m sorry… but yer got all kinds o’ folks, and folks gots all kinds of ways to live out they lives… even them redneck folks. You gonna go round tellin’ ever’one they is bad parents fer givvin’ the fly-screen door key to they kids so they can let themselves in at night while the folks is both off workin’ two jobs? Shiiiiit I’d call that some full-blown, grade A, prime cut soap-boxin’, I would. All’s yer missin’s a pulpit!

    Tell you what lil’ missy, you just keep that pretty little brain o’ yours for skepchickin’ and leave stickin’ noses into other folks’s business for the church! ;)

    Jebus saves!

  61. OK… let me clear a few things up:

    1. I think people are misunderstanding what I’m saying about pregnancy being terrifying. I’m not saying that every moment of the entire 40 weeks is white-knuckled, hyperventilating, irrational, debilitating panic. Certainly pregnancy can be exciting and fulfilling and wonderful (though for a 17-year-old experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, those are probably not the words she would use). At the same time, the reality of being responsible for bringing a new human being into this world and raising him is quite scary.

    When I was pregnant, I had at least one moment every day where I was terrified realizing that I was completely unprepared and unqualified for the position of “mom”. I called my own mother at least once a week in tears insisting to her that, “I can’t do this. I’m not ready.” And every mom I talked to about this said the same thing – everyone feels that way. Perhaps it was naive of me to take that at face value that everyone feels that way. And I was wrong to make that assumption.

    However, any pregnant teen who isn’t terrified about parenthood probably has no idea what she’s in for.

    2. I don’t think that every parent has to sacrifice everything that would and could ever make them happy or help them lead any semblance of a fulfilling life. I just believe that the best interest of their families has to be taken as their first consideration.

    If staying home with your kids means foreclosure and starvation, that’s obviously not the choice that’s in the best interest of your family.

    If staying home with your kids means they will be staying home with a miserable parent who is bored and unfulfilled, lonely and depressed, that’s not the best choice for your family.

    Being a politician is rarely, if ever, in the best interest of anyone’s family.

    3. I’m sure hiring a nanny or putting your kid in day care isn’t going to turn him into a serial killer. Having a babysitter doesn’t automatically make you a shitty parent.

    But handing off your 3-day-old special-needs baby to someone else to take care of because you have better things to do? I do have a problem with that.

    4. My issue with Palin is not that she’s a working mom but that she’s taking a position she never previously even considered at the expense of her family.

    Even if she has wonderful daycare for her kids. Even if her husband is taking a leave from work to be with them. Even if Sarah is calling home 12 times a day. Even if they have the whole damn village supporting their family, I don’t think I need to cite studies to make the argument that a teen who is 5 months pregnant doesn’t need to be paraded in front of the world to be scrutinized.

    This decision was made at the expense of her daughter.

    Also, it’s my understanding that running a presidential campaign is extremely demanding, without much time to sleep or eat. It’s that understanding that has led me to conclude that Palin doesn’t have time to be emotionally supportive of her daughter or the rest of her family right now.

    5. I think someone can have a well thought out opinion, examined from a critical point of view and be emotional about it.

    I apologize if my post came across as reactionary emotional rant stemming from politics. I assure you, this has nothing to do with politics.

    My thoughts on the issue come from my pet peeve that girls are told that they can do anything and that they can have it all. They’re told that there’s no reason they can’t be tops in their fields, “high-fliers” as anyvainlegend says, and have happy families; that men have always had this and women can do it, too. But men weren’t doing it alone.

    Like I said to writerdd, you can have your demanding fulfilling career that takes up most of your time and energy, and you can have kids, too. But something in there is going to give eventually.

    And it is something that I get emotional about. Again, I apologize to anyone who thinks my post came across as too much raw emotion with no thought behind it.

  62. This …

    But handing off your 3-day-old special-needs baby to someone else to take care of because you have better things to do? I do have a problem with that.

    … and this …

    Also, it’s my understanding that running a presidential campaign is extremely demanding, without much time to sleep or eat. It’s that understanding that has led me to conclude that Palin doesn’t have time to be emotionally supportive of her daughter or the rest of her family right now.

    … were my first two reactions to her candidacy as well. (Please oh please Spaghetti Monster, let me have done the code right on the blockquotes.)

    And those are why, as a mother of a special-needs child and a mother of a daughter who is getting daily closer to the let’s-talk-about-condoms conversation, I will have very little patience with Sarah Palin carrying on about how she’s Just Like Me.

    No, honey, you’re not. Sorry. (And I just don’t mean about how you were a beauty queen and I’m, um, not.) When I brought my special-needs baby home from the hospital, I came home too. You didn’t. If my daughter finds herself a mother before she’s old enough to vote, she will be supported and loved in the quiet and privacy of our home. Yours isn’t. You and I both had the resources to put a career on a back burner for a while, which not everybody does — but when it came time, I chose work that allowed me to actually, you know, be there while my kids were growing up, and not just to kiss goodnight after the workday and meetings and press conferences were over. You didn’t.

    So don’t tell me you’re Just Like Me and think that’ll get you my vote.

  63. Elyse said:

    “Also I have a deep hatred for anyone who would hunt Moose and serve it to her family for dinner.”

    Well, at least she didn’t stuff its head and hang it over wee Trig’s bed. “Here you go Twinkle Tums, a pretty little mobile that Momma gutted just for you! ;)

  64. I don’t think what she is doing qualifies as hunting. She flies out over moose herds in a helicopter and shoots the moose. That is just target shooting with live targets. This is similar to the way that Dick Chenney hunts. That isn’t hunting anymore than walking into a herd of cows and shooting one and calling it hunting.

    I don’t have any problem with hunters. But this isn’t hunting.

  65. But handing off your 3-day-old special-needs baby to someone else to take care of because you have better things to do? I do have a problem with that.

    *sigh* So you have a problem with nannies or adoption too, I suppose? Sorry, you’re obsessed with parenting, Elyse. Obsessed, like it actually has some REAL, tangible significance in the universe. It doesn’t. Parenting, at the very base level, is making sure your offspring doesn’t die. Sarah Palin is doing that. Next level is providing emotional support. She does that. Next level is being involved in the children’s lives. She’s clearly very involved in her children, their schools and other extra-curricular activities. She’s getting good care for her newborn child. But aside from all of that, she’s trying to do something worthwhile as a person. She’s got a shot at really doing something, and she’s taking it.

    Are you jealous because mothering is all you do? I don’t get it, Elyse.

    Like I said to writerdd, you can have your demanding fulfilling career that takes up most of your time and energy, and you can have kids, too. But something in there is going to give eventually.

    Really? Who says?

    …pet peeve that girls are told that they can do anything and that they can have it all. They’re told that there’s no reason they can’t be tops in their fields, “high-fliers” as anyvainlegend says, and have happy families…

    Angelina Jolie seems to be doing pretty well. I could name others if I wanted to look into it.

    …that men have always had this and women can do it, too. But men weren’t doing it alone.

    Palin isn’t doing it alone – as far as I know she’s still married to her husband…

    I don’t think I need to cite studies to make the argument that a teen who is 5 months pregnant doesn’t need to be paraded in front of the world to be scrutinized.

    You don’t think Palin might have been in politics longer than the 5 months her daughter has been pregnant? Families understand what is involved when a parent enters politics. It’s a compromise they are willing make. Just because it isn’t one that you wouldn’t make does not make it wrong.

    And you’ve used this word “paraded” a few times. Sarah Palin is not parading her daughter.

    Being a politician is rarely, if ever, in the best interest of anyone’s family.

    Sorry, we live in a democratic society, therefore we need politicians. Comes with the turf. You want childless white males running the country? Hmm sounds like a theocracy to me.

    Elyse your pet peeve is misguided. We need family people in office. Not people who raised children 20 years ago, but are parents today and who understand what it is to raise a family in 2008. And we need them at the top.

    Raising children is not the entire point of one’s life, it is something we do because we’re all good at reproducing, but we need people brave enough to step up and not just be parents, but be both parents and leaders. It’s a demanding job, as you pointed out, but someone’s gotta do it. And they deserve better than your criticism of them for it.

    Policies are completely up for debate, and that is a seperate issue. But we will have, and we need, parents in office in a democracy.

  66. @anyvainlegend:

    *sigh*

    Fine, I get it. Parents don’t matter.

    I don’t know how to think critically. I’m stupid and it’s probably because mothering the only thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.

    Sarah Palin is a saint. Maybe one day I’ll grow up to be awesome like her.

    Tomorrow maybe I’ll try leaving the house… I’ve heard some moms do that, but I’m not sure. Moose might get pregnant if I do.

  67. @Elyse:

    Why? are they endangered? If you actuallythink about it, hunting is about 1000% more ethical than most any other way of obtaining meat food. The animal lives a free life in its natural habitat until the moment that you (just think of yourself as a Wolf/Bear peer) swiftly (which is morethan I can say for Wolf/Bear antics) kill it. And you get an awesome hide and all kinds of parts to use!

    What’s the prob?

  68. “You want childless white males running the country? Hmm sounds like a theocracy to me.”

    *I* want childless trannies of every race running this country. It would be much,much better that way. and more zazzy to boot!

  69. Elyse,

    Sorry if we’re jumping down you’re throat. Yes, raising is special needs child is hard. And being pregnant as a teenager can be quite frightening.

    However, I don’t think these are enough data to make the conclusion that you’ve come to. We know nothing of what the individual personalities and family dynamics of the Palin family. Until we know these I find it hard to come to any conclusion.

  70. I’ll amend my previous points simply to say that while I agree that it is misguided for Sarah Palin to have accepted the offer of this position knowing that she had a special-needs infant and a pregnant daughter at home, I hold firm on the fact that it absolutely does NOT make her a bad parent.

    Being a politician’s child is tough, no doubt. As is being a celebrity’s child, or the child of a teacher attending the same school their parent teaches at…or the child of a business person who works 60 hours a week, or…

    Hell. Being a child is tough. Being a parent is tough. But while I might question the judgment of any particular decision a parent has made, it’d be really, really tough for me to say anything at all about the quality of their parenting in general without intimately knowing them.

    And as for the best interests of her family… perhaps this isn’t in the IMMEDIATE best interest of the family, but surely the potential of becoming the FIRST FEMALE VICE PRESIDENT ZOMG is of long-term benefit?

    Ok, so it could mean uprooting the family from Alaska to DC…big deal, lots of families move, some many times. Are Army parents bad parents? Are parents whose company transfers them?

    It also means a lot of time without seeing her… as if being Governor didn’t already mean that? And ya know, I bet as mayor she probably put in a pretty hefty work week. Surely she shouldn’t have quit her job or forsaken progress just because it MIGHT (and a STRONG emphasis on might) have been in the immediate short-term interests of her family?

    Sarah Palin is no saint. She’s a career woman following the chance of the ultimate promotion and, indeed, the possibility of becoming one of the most powerful people in the world. Even if she does NOT win the election…even if she gets voted out in Alaska and never holds another public office, she’ll have punched her ticket on the lecture circuit enough to provide for her present brood, Bristol’s family, and hell, even more kids with wacky names (Truck, Trap, Tribble perhaps?) should she want them. And she’ll essentially be able to quit, be at home, and write memoirs for the rest of her life, as active a mother and grandmother as she could be. Surely that is, to an extent, in her family’s best interest?

    And, by way of closing, all I will say is this: each family is different. They’ve all got problems, they’ve all got adversity, from the troubles of the very poor (OMG what are we gonna eat?) to the troubles of the middle class (OMG where are we gonna eat?) to the troubles of the wealthy (OMG do we REALLY have to eat?). Each situation is unique, and each family will have different ways to navigate their troubles. Are all of these methods equally valid? Certainly not. A crackhead abandoning a child in a dumpster is a clear case of an action NOT in the best interests of a family. But there ARE a range of more-or-less equally valid ways of navigating the stream of family life, and who the hell am I, completely unfamiliar with more than the Press Guide details of the Palin family’s life, to say that picking one or the other of those paths isn’t valid for them?

  71. @Elyse:

    I know it was a joke, but srsly… mooseburgers are good. I was raised on them. I don’t appreciate Alaska’s right-wing obsession or consistent anti-science legislation, but I’ll defend to the death it’s local delicacies.

    @Gabrielbrawley:

    What? Nobody in Alaska hunts moose from a helicopter. That’s just insane. If you wanted to kill a moose from a moving vehicle, your best bet would be to cap one from your car on the way home from work. They’re -everywhere-. You might be confusing moose with wolves, which we DO kill from helicopters, (which I am against, incidentally) in order to control the caribou and moose population. I agree with your point, but I think you may be jumping to premature conclusions about Alaska (like EVERYONE does) and getting the facts wrong. Besides, if Sarah Palin hunted like Dick Cheney, she would be an oil-obsessed, drunken cyborg with no regard for human life… and I don’t think that she’s a drinker.

  72. Ooxman,
    I had heard that she hunted moose from a helicopter when I was suffering througn the RNC feed. It is entirely possible that I completly misheard. I had to drink a lot to keep from beating my TV to death.

    You said that wolves are shot from helicopters to control the moose population. Did I read that right?

    What I was trying to get to was it doesn’t sound like she is a hunter but a target shooter who uses live targets. I just don’t think of this as hunting.

    The only conclusions I have about Alaska is that the pictures make it look really beautiful and that I would like to visit someday. It sits in my imagination as a place that might be really wonderful to live.

  73. @Travis:

    I’m okay with jumping down my throat. I figured people would. Lots of these comments have given me food for thought. Lots of good points have been made. I didn’t write this post thinking people wold respond by yelling, in unison, “AMEN! HALLELUJAH!”

    What I don’t appreciate is having my words twisted. I’ve been accused of being an affront to feminism. I’ve been told I don’t know how to think critically and that I have no right to say anything because I don’t do anything with my life, I’m doing the worthless job of stay-at-home parenting and I’m jealous of women who actually make a difference. Those things are upsetting to me. They are false. They are irrelevant.

    I will accept the criticism that perhaps I’ve jumped on Sarah Palin personally without understanding all the facts or her family dynamics.

    However, change the name to Janet Jones and make her a hypothetical public figure in a demanding career with the same family situation, I stand by my opinion that she and her husband both need to be around for their family.

  74. @Gabrielbrawley and @Al:

    That is correct.

    When Moose was a few days old, I was holding him while my husband was watching the end of Gladiator. The crowd started chanting: mocks-e-moose! mocks-e-moose!

    The nickname “Max-e-moose” was born and was then shortened to “Moose”.

    He’s actually quite a small kid. 10th percentile for height, 5th for weight… and most of that weight is disproportionately from his 60th percentile sized head. Skinny kid.

    When we’re out in public we get a lot of double-takes and people asking, “Wait. That’s Moose?”

  75. Elyse,

    I say this in all sincerity. What you are doing is very valuable and I flat out envy you. If I could spend my days being a full time father I would love it. I don’t really have a special needs child but my oldest son does have aspergers and adhd and my middle son has dyslexia and adhd. With a lot of work we have been able to help them a lot and you really can’t tell the diffence between them and so called normal children. My daughter seems to be normal. Hurray. Anyway. I think one of the most imporant things a person can do in their life is to be a commited parent doing the best we can do. You are to be congratulated. Also I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. My biggest problem with her is the hypocrasiy of her behavior. I think she and her husband appear to be crapy parents.

  76. “However, change the name to Janet Jones and make her a hypothetical public figure in a demanding career with the same family situation, I stand by my opinion that she and her husband both need to be around for their family.”

    Then the opinion that you are “doing the worthless job of stay-at-home parenting and [are]jealous of women who actually make a difference.” is just as relevant since they’re just opinions. Or is it that they are equally irrelevant because they’re opinion? Or is it because it’s your opinion that it’s relevant, facts be damned?

    Why should you be upset? You attacked and questioned someone’s personal choices and made accusations of “shitty” parenting. Now it’s just been turned back on you. You’re statements, values, and decisions are being scrutinized.

    Please define “be around”. Geez! You’ve been doing this skeptical thing longer than me you should expect readers of this website to be critical of statements like that.

    In short what I’m saying is that you’re wrong, not because it’s my opinion but because you’re entire case is built on bias and anecdotal evidence and that just grinds my gears. But I suppose all of my arguments against are based on the same stuff so we’re both wrong. Damn! I hate being skeptical sometimes. It ruins opinion pieces.

  77. @Gabrielbrawley:

    Yeah, here in Alaska we use ‘aerial hunting’ to keep predators in check. In fact, there was just a ballot measure to halt it, and it was overwhelmingly defeated. Apparently we really like to kill things from helicopters, which is actually quite indicative of what kind of state this is. It -is- a beautiful place, no doubt about it, but it’s a tad unhinged at the same time.

    I can’t say for certain that Palin has never ‘hunted’ from a helicopter, but I seriously doubt it. In all likelihood, it was just a bit of ‘exotic’ trivia the media latched onto because there was very few hard facts about her political history. It’s the equivalent of asking if she lived in an Igloo… valid question, but completely misguided.

    But yeah, come on up to Alaska some time… we’ll get drunk and mess around with helicopters.

  78. I don’t appreciate Alaska’s right-wing obsession or consistent anti-science legislation, but I’ll defend to the death it’s local delicacies.

    ————-

    Oddly, you have very good science standards.

  79. @NautiusMaximus:

    Then the opinion that you are “doing the worthless job of stay-at-home parenting and [are]jealous of women who actually make a difference.” is just as relevant since they’re just opinions. Or is it that they are equally irrelevant because they’re opinion? Or is it because it’s your opinion that it’s relevant, facts be damned?

    They’re irrelevant to the topic. Just because they’re opinions stated as a response to my opinion doesn’t make them relevant. They’re irrelevant in the same way as someone responding by telling me how much they love pancakes or hate the color red .

    If the statement was that Sarah Palin shouldn’t stay home because the job of a stay-at-home parent is a worthless job, that would be relevant. The comments about me were only made to belittle me and add nothing to the argument… ad hominem attacks. To say that I’m wrong about Palin because I’m a jealous stay at home mom has added nothing constructive to the discussion. Or that I’m wrong because I disagree with feminists. Even if I am stupid, jealous, worthless and unable to think myself out of my kitchen, it doesn’t confirm or refute anything I’ve said.

    Please define “be around”. Geez! You’ve been doing this skeptical thing longer than me you should expect readers of this website to be critical of statements like that.

    I’m not writing a prescription for every family telling them exactly how much time they have to be together and what physical distance the parents have to be in order to be considered “good”. Not everything fits into an equation. Some things are abstract and fluid. Some families require more time and attention than others. Most families can only provide a certain amount of time and attention because they have other responsibilities.

    By “being around” I meant she should, to the best of her ability, be physically and emotionally accessible to her family as much as is possible and reasonable.

    Being a skeptic doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion. It also doesn’t mean that all opinions have to be backed up with cold-concrete facts based on double-blinded studies. It means that you base your opinions on as much information as you can get, suspending judgment without adequate information.

    For me to form this particular opinion, I felt that I had the information that I needed. Other people disagree. We don’t have to have a “skeptical consensus”. I’m okay with that. I’m also okay with being wrong. And I very well might be.

  80. @Elyse No, you don’t have it wrong. Being a parent is a career choice. While I grudgingly admit that both parents must sometimes work to support a family, one parent NEEDS to be available. The greatest duty Ms. Palin could be doing for her country right now is making sure that the five little citizens she spawned are valuable additions to the populace.

  81. Just remember, it could be worse:

    (1) You could be taking a bar exam (not because it’s a harder exame, but as a matter of what’s better for the rest of us)

    (2) They could not let you use a calculator. That was the case when I took it, way back when I had to trek two miles uphill in the snow …

  82. Elyse, this is my last reply, but seriously, I never insinuated any of the stuff you’re claiming I did. This is more emotional pleading. All I did was ask questions to get your response. The only thing I’ve opined outright is that you’re obsessed with this parenting thing. Like it’s the best thing a person can do with their life, to the exclusion of all else.

    I’m sitting here shaking my head at some of the things you’ve said, and in response I merely posed questions to you. I struggle to understand why you should attack this one person. It seems like a waste of breath. I don’t get the point.

    Plenty of parents aren’t perfect. Plenty follow their dreams and try to straddle parenthood. Plenty try to do something for the greater good. We get it. It’s been happening for millenia. But why criticise Sarah Palin??

    You must understand Elyse, it comes off as suss. Why her? That’s why we start questioning: are you jealous? Do you not like her policies? Do you not like HER? Are you anti-feminist? Are you obsessed with motherhood? What is it?

    They’re obvious questions that follow from a direct and unprovoked criticism of a woman that, despite her policies or political party, is reaching for something that many women aspire to these days: a place in politics to make a different.

    As I’ve already stated, we need family people in politics; people who have experience with disabled children, teen pregnancy, family issues, community spirit, etcetera.

    Dare I say it, Christians are for the most part very good parents. I was raised by Christians, surrounded by Christians, and they’re just great folks. The whole faith system is based on love, communication and morality.

    Therefore, going by the values she stands for and her good track record (17 year old girls are going to keep getting knocked up… FOREVER… regardless of how they were raised), Sarah Palin is actually probably a better-than-average mother. And no amount of belly-aching from you will change the reality of the situation.

    You can keep believing she’s “shitty” if that works for you, but as we all know, believing don’t necessarily make something true.

  83. @anyvainlegend:

    Dare I say it, Christians are for the most part very good parents. I was raised by Christians, surrounded by Christians, and they’re just great folks. The whole faith system is based on love, communication and morality.

    God, what a crock of shit that is. My Christian parents were good parents to the extent that they refused the church’s teachings about corporal punishment, sexual repressive sex education, etc. Teaching your children horror stories about places of eternal punishment is not good parenting. Teaching your children that the universe is 6000 years old is not good parenting. Teaching your children that they deserve eternal punishment simply by being born is not good parenting.

    Sorry, couldn’t let that one slide.

  84. flib: I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness. It was mostly good for me, no hellfire etc. Pretty sweet when I compare it to some others’ stories. But overall – and this is anecdotal – there’s a strong sense of love in most christian families. The right intentions are there.

  85. I was raised in a Catholic family. I was never really threatened with hell, as the nuns assured me that as a bastard I have no soul, my mother manipulated events to convince me that angels watched me all the time and told her everything I did and the only punishment for unworthy, unlovable children was horrific beatings that left me bruised and bleeding. When I went as a teen to beg the priest to help, that I couldn’t bear the beatings and rape anymore, he called me a liar and told me that my parents were good Christians and doing the will of God and if I EVER told anyone else my filthy lies God would punish me for eternity.

    I guess people’s mileage varies. Of course, I have long maintained that being a bad person is only partially influenced by religion. Some people are just wastes of carbon based life that should have had their genetics terminated by having their necks broken at birth. . . too bad you can’t tell by looking at a baby that it will grow up to torture and humiliate its offspring.

  86. @anyvainlegend:

    Ohhh I think I’m catching on now… It’s this Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) pride thing. Anyone who isn’t a SAHM is a shitty parent. Aaahh.

    Sorry, you’re obsessed with parenting, Elyse. Obsessed, like it actually has some REAL, tangible significance in the universe. It doesn’t.

    Are you jealous because mothering is all you do? I don’t get it, Elyse.

    Um….. you DID insinuate the things I’ve said you did. Also, I was talking about other people besides just you.

    You insist that I have to have some motivation for writing this post. I do… and it’s all in the post. That’s it. That’s all there is. I’m sorry that you couldn’t dig deep into my psyche and compel me to confess my hatred of other women or get me to break down crying and confessing that I hate Sarah Palin because I actually hate myself.

    I’m sorry that you think a woman can’t have an opinion about another woman without it being rooted in some kind of agenda. I have no secret sinister motivation. I just think she’s a bad mom.

  87. It’s a long way from the top of this thread. I am a full-time working mother of 2 – age 10 and 5 and I am taking grad classes, have a house, a dog, a garden, etc. Sarah Palin has made me ill since the first time I saw her. She is fake. She is lying. We want it _all_. It’s not possible. Something gives (usually its the Mom). She does not represent me and I strongly resent that she takes the attitude of some Supermom. I can’t stand to hear her speak for the same reasons I can’t stand the smugness of GWB. They think they know it all and that they are supremely correct. It’s a smugness that comes with many overly religious folk. I have this feeling that something awful is going on in the hypocracy that is her life. I suppose what I HATE the most is that they will be called out over and over again for this hypocracy and yet those sheeple following them are so skilled at spin and self-justification, it won’t make a whit of difference. It sucks SO bad. That’s why Sarah Palin disgusts me.

  88. No matter who you are, morality should be the first “platform” that determines your vote. Can do nothing but cry and pray for you if you can watch this and still plan to say Obama will be “good for our country,” or anything for that matter.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIdbYjmbFzo

    As far as all the talk of hypocrisy. . . everybody is a hypocrite, and you are for labeling someone you don’t even know as one. First, just because you can’t handle something (or multiple things) doesn’t mean nobody else can either. Second, just because your motives would be wrong in that situation (ie you would be power hungry and fake running for the VP position) doesn’t mean everyone elses are. Third, “With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible.” If she is truly guided by God, she is far more capable than anyone who is not.

  89. @mbreshears:

    No matter who you are, morality should be the first “platform” that determines your vote.

    I agree with that statement 100%.

    Can do nothing but cry and pray for you if you can watch this and still plan to say Obama will be “good for our country,” or anything for that matter.

    This reminds me of the right-wingers who demonize Peter Singer for his stance on infanticide. Singer has written at book length about the very complex issues surrounding infants who are born with inoperable conditions (like being born with their brain on the outside of their skull) that would doom them to a short but miserable life, or a potentially long life in a vegetative state. The anti-choice folks will take a half-dozen or so of Singer’s quotes out of context, and summarize his views as being in favor of killing babies.

    This YouTube video, produced by an anti-Obama group (nohussein.org? jeez.), comes to the same conclusion about Obama. Obama is in favor of killing babies. It’s as simple as that – the world is black and white. It’s an extremely anti-intellectual and dishonest way of making a point; pure appeal to emotion. And it’s sad that anybody could watch this and respond with more than eye-rolling.

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