That’s What You Get When You Don’t Vet

We find out that John McCain did know about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy before he announced her as his running mate, but decided that “it did not disqualify [Palin] in any way.”

Maybe not, but it might have been a good idea to plan for the possibility that either the traditional media or the blogosphere would get hold of the news, would it not?

Josh Marshall suggests that the McCain campaign, which is now, predictably, castigating “liberal bloggers” for spreading the pregnancy rumors, might have better served their own interests had they done this:

Late Update: I’ll note also that the McCain campaign is lashing out at ‘liberal bloggers’ for this story coming to light and even perhaps the Obama campaign. I think we can chalk that down as another intemperate falsehood emanating from their campaign. I will note this. Vetting works in a fairly established way with most campaigns. The standard procedure in a case like this would have been for the campaign to have gone to a trusted reporter — and by that I don’t mean a hack but someone the campaign knew would deal with the story in an appropriate way — and given them the story about the family drama the Palins are going through, how the daughter is planning to have the baby, how it confirms the family’s values, etc. In an ideal world, the daughter’s life would be her own business. But in the world we live in the best for all concerned would be to give it a respectful airing on day one or two and take it off the table rather than have it come out in some more jagged and painful way. We don’t care about Palin’s daughter. Her life is her own. She’s not running for anything. What this does show is much more confirmation of what Republican operatives and pols are saying loquaciously off-the-record: that they don’t think there was any real vetting of Palin. Acting out from the McCain camp will not change that.

I’d also like to point to Steve Benen’s answer to the right’s talking point that Bristol Palin “made the decision on her own to keep the baby.”

I can’t help but notice, though, that the McCain campaign emphasized the fact that she “made the decision on her own to keep the baby.”

That’s nice, but if McCain has his way in office, the choice wouldn’t be up to her at all. Roe would be overturned, and reproductive rights would be dramatically curtailed for every woman in America. Indeed, it’s not just McCain — Sarah Palin told Alaskans during her gubernatorial campaign that she wouldn’t support abortion rights even if her own daughter had been raped. (Palin is also a staunch advocate of abstinence-only education.)

I mean, how crazy is that? How can she continue to claim that abstinence-only education works when her own daughter didn’t abstain?

Cross-posted at Liberty Street.

3 Responses to “That’s What You Get When You Don’t Vet”

  1. gcotharn says:

    The point of abstinence only public education is not to create ignorant teenagers, but rather to allow parents to handle interactions about birth control and ethical choices.

    You trust public schoolteachers to handle these interactions more effectively than parents. Fine. Your opinion is supportable and debatable. However, Gov. Palin’s opinion is also supportable and debatable.

    I just finished this on another thread: you don’t know the personal relationship between Gov. Palin and Bristol. For all you know, when Bristol conceived she was already the most knowledgable teenager in America about reproduction and birth control. We do know knowledge is no guarantee against choosing to risk becoming pregnant. We also know birth control is not 100% effective. You are making an unsupportable logical leap when you insinuate Bristol became pregnant due to ignorance.

    It may be true that large groups of birth-control-ignorant girls become pregnant more often than large groups of birth-control-educated girls. However, we have no idea if that was true or untrue in Bristol’s specific case. Further, I believe insinuated speculation about Bristol and Gov. Palin’s personal Mother-daughter relationship – and about the contents of their intimate conversations – crosses a line of decency.

  2. Chief says:

    1. My concern is not about a “mother-daughter” relationship.

    2. My only concern is about a politician’s truthfulness. Is Gov. Palin the birth mother of Trig?

  3. gcotharn says:


    On this issue, you’re either dumb as a box of rocks, or you are practicing “Modern Political Warfare”. I reject that you are that dumb. Could you possibly feel it’s true so strongly that it affects your reasoning; or wish it’s true so strongly that it affects your reasoning? You could. But that’s not where I’m placing my bet. I’m going with “Modern Political Warfare” – which, I suspect, is going to result in spectacular blowback which, actually, means that box of rocks thing is back in play.


    I was going to let the following go, but, since I’m back in this thread:

    1. Steve Benen’s statement:

    Palin is also a staunch advocate of abstinence-only education

    is incorrect. Alaska schools teach sex education which includes contraceptive options. Governor Palin supported giving parents the option to hold children out of class sessions about contraception.

    2. A smaller point, but it deserves airing: Steve Benen’s statement

    reproductive rights would be dramatically curtailed for every woman in America

    is incorrect. The issue would go to the states. This issue can be argued without exaggerating the truth as Benen did. Doing so damages credibility.


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