Well, with the news that Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter is about five months pregnant, I have learned a great deal about the new rules for politics. And it has been a hell of an education.
Here are the new rules:
– Sarah Palin forfeited her minor daughter’s right to privacy by choosing to run for vice president, so it’s all right for people to use the daughter to attack the mother.
– Bristol Palin, a 17-year-old girl, should be held to the very same standard as John Edwards or Bill Clinton when it comes to public exposure of their failings.
– By choosing to declare candidates’ families, especially minor children, off limits for political attacks, Barack Obama has proven himself hopelessly naive and out of touch and unworthy of the support of such fine, upstanding, moral, principled people who have been pushing this story.
– People who oppose abortion have no business even recognizing that the law currently says that it is legal, and should not make public statements that acknowledge that reality. Instead, they should talk and act as if it was illegal, as if their wishes had the force of law, because to recognize that the right to have an abortion is tantamount to recognizing that it is moral as well.
— Only people who are absolutely, staunchly, unrestrictedly pro-choice are allowed to have any privacy whatsoever. Those who believe that the government has a place in certain matters that others deem “private” have no right to have any part of their lives kept to themselves.
Now that I know the new rules, I see that a whole host of things I had considered off limits are now, indeed, fair game, and the old “sauce for the goose” principle comes to mind.
So, what shall I do with this newfound freedom?
Not a goddamned thing.
I have long held that the children of politicians are off-limits when it comes to attacks on the parents, and it’s one of the things that most infuriates me in politics. I like to think that I’ve been very consistent on that, whether it’s Mary Cheney, the Bush twins, Chelsea Clinton, or anyone else.
I’ve made two exceptions — first, when Chelsea Clinton started actively campaigning for her mother (including spamming me), and earlier, when Al Gore III was busted for drugs, speeding, and drunk driving — he could easily have killed someone.
I am thoroughly disgusted with the people who have been reveling in the exposure of the sordid, intimate details of the Palin family’s lives — but I am not so angered that I will sink to their level.
They’ve made their own fetid cesspool. Let them wallow in it. I feel no particular compunction to dive in.
And nor should anyone else.