The Last Word

Give Andrew Sullivan credit for allowing Patrick Appel to speak his mind on the Palin issue.  The Dish has always set the gold standard for airing dissent from across the political spectrum, and I hope more people favor Sullivan’s approach to online discussion over, say, RedState’s.

As to the merits of the issue, I think Appel’s take is pretty authoritative. The scope of the supposed conspiracy around Trig’s birth is ludicrous, and multiple eye-witness accounts confirm Sarah Palin’s pregnancy. Arrayed against all this is one ambiguous photo and a confusing timeline of events. Needless to say, I find Appel’s case a lot more persuasive.

However, I remain baffled by Sullivan’s willingness to pursue this issue beyond all reasonable limits. The substantive relevance of Trig’s maternity was so minimal – and the invasion of her family’s privacy so extreme – that there was never any reason to investigate Palin’s pregnancy in the first place.

I don’t dispute the fact that blogs are useful tools for keeping campaigns and traditional media outlets honest. I also understand that the pace of blogging is faster – and therefore less considered – than a conventional news cycle. But cyberspace shouldn’t make basic courtesy obsolete. I’m sure writing this will make me a hypocrite within a matter of weeks, but whatever. Consistency is for the unimaginative and all that jazz.

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3 Comments

Filed under The Media, Uncategorized

3 responses to “The Last Word

  1. Two Blue Jays

    “The substantive relevance of Trig’s maternity was so minimal – and the invasion of her family’s privacy so extreme – that there was never any reason to investigate Palin’s pregnancy in the first place.”

    Please do not be facetious regarding this issue and do not deliberately downplay its impact on Palin’s enormous popularity with the pro-life Republican community. If you choose to do this, you are ignoring the thousands of comments that have been made in public forums, on blogs, in the MSM, that single out and celebrate this specific aspect of Sarah Palin’s life. It certainly was not her non-existent “executive” accomplishments that attracted attention from the lower 48. She portrayed herself as a pro-life ‘regular Jane’ hockey mom maverick and had that baby on stage with her 90% of the time to make it even more apparent that she ‘chose life’. No one forced her to parade her family on stage, or announce her daughter’s pregnancy to the world, so please lose the ‘extreme invasion of privacy’ angle, too. She is a modern-day female PT Barnum.

    Remove the pro-life plank and the DS baby story from this election and I would be willing to bet you that some of Palin’s star might lose its luster with her fans when all that remains is a not-too-bright, highly ambitious, and opportunistic woman from a state that is not known for critical thinking.

  2. I suppose this is all pretty subjective, but I think you’re under-estimating the appeal of Palin’s lifestyle and compelling personal story. The blue collar husband, the five kids, the lack of an elite education – her background is and always will be incredibly attractive to certain demographics.

    And given the pro-life movement’s favorable reaction to the Bristol Palin saga, I think it’s a bit much to suggest another teenage pregnancy would have completely derailed her appeal to the base.

    In a broader sense, however, I think this sort of thing is unnecessarily invasive. People – even high- profile political candidates – deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect. A harrowing pregnancy is something families have to deal with privately.

  3. Alex

    I think Will has a point in that all people sort of “deserve” a certain amount of privacy, but the public must have its muckraking. Speculation as to the maternity of Sarah Palin’s child doesn’t necessarily qualify as invasive per se, certainly not when there are people out there trying to subpoena Obama’s birth certificate, for example. This is a case of capitalizing on tabloid fodder.

    However, I do believe that the public has a right to judge the character of an elected official not just by how they act/the decisions they make in office, but how they act in their “off hours” as citizens. Having been granted power by the people, they should expect their personal judgment to be on trial 100% of the time. Elliot Spitzer comes to mind, as well as Rev. Ted Haggard. Had their personal lives been disclosed at the outset, they may not have gotten as far in their respective fields as they did.
    If two people I knew were running for some sort of office, and one of them liked killing puppies, I would obviously think twice about casting a ballot for the puppy killer; now if the puppy were shot from a moving helicopter, well then…

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