Tuesday, September 02, 2008

That Palin Pregnancy

Who directs the media? Media barons would undoubtedly feel they do. Not so, necessarily.

Witnessed this weekend, I think originating from The Moderate Voice blog, was a story questioning the motherhood of the fifth child of Sarah Palin, US Presidential candidate McCain Multiple-Homes’ running mate. Previously unknown on the world stage, before her introduction by said Multiple-Homes, now the world knows some and wants more. Let me make it clear, I have no vested interest, do not live in the US, nor have any voting rights in the forthcoming US election. But, as a citizen of the world, I comment here, because Sarah Palin could be in situ, second-in-command of the most powerful, richest nation on earth, come next January.

Back to her introduction, and now that we know her teenage daughter is unmarried and pregnant, when Palin gushed forth her and her family’s achievements, why did she not include the milestone of impending grandmother-hood? Was she embarrassed to do so? Did she truly believe that this news would remain within the confines of her family? Are they that backward in Alaska, unaware of the power that the Internet yields to ordinary e-folk and anonymous bloggers? With amusement, I followed and read the comments this weekend. And lo and behold! Heard the clarification of Palin motherhood, on BBC news no less.

Now, I completely approve of the ‘Reformed Republicans’ (well, they do wish to peel away the veneer of the Bush era), family response, that they support their daughter. Very good. Most unlike what would happen in other parts of the globe, in some tribal areas of Balochistan, for instance, where they would shoot and bury alive their daughters for much less misdemeanors:

"killing of five women ............ shot and buried alive because three of them wanted to marry men of their choice. The women were killed in Babakot village, 320 km (200 miles) east of Quetta, in July."
From here.

Palin's daughter is fortunate. Not so those innocent Balochans. Dishonourable murders of females, by their neanderthal fathers/brothers/uncles, is for another post, another day.

A question remains, on Palin: what else is she hiding? The worst aspect to any notion of freedom of speech, not just in the blogisverse, is that unfairly or fairly mud sticks. Although not of blog-creation, anyone who follows cricket and recalls UK’s 2006 Oval Test, Umpire Hair freely expressed his opinion. Consequently, Pakistan were branded ball tampering cheats, and a bunch of whiners - result of that match overturned. (Not saying that Pakistan haven't been pulled up quite rightly on some occasions, whereas anything England do to the ball - Michael Atherton, Rob Key, Marcus Trescothick, is seen hardly as serious an offence.)

Listen to Jonathan Agnew’s TMS interview of Tresco at Lord’s Sunday 31 August 2008. At 11.13 on this BBC Sports page, England vs South Africa 4th ODI.

I digress again!

So, finally, my advice to Palin, not that she’ll get to read this, but hopefully her advisory team will imbue it in her speech this week at the Republican convention, is: be honest. Lay bare your cupboard skeletons. At your peril you don’t, because bloggers will!


Scott Jensen said...


You got your information wrong. Governor Palin hasn't been hiding her teenage daughter's pregnancy. It is a widely known fact in their city and not something that they have hidden from anyone. As for why she didn't bring it up herself, why would or should she? Is her teenage daughter running for Vice Presidency? Is it really anyone's business that her teenage daughter is pregnant? Even Obama says that families are off limits so he's cool with it. The religious groups in America are even cool with it. She isn't having an abortion and she wants to marry the guy.

As a US citizen, I have no problem with Palin having a pregnant teenage daughter. These things happen to the best of families. What I am more concerned about is her record as a two-term mayor and first-term governor. What are her positions on important issues like energy, the military, government's role in society, taxation, and such.

As for her being an unknown to you, honestly I think the same can be said about Obama's VP candidate. Did you really know anything about US Senator Biden before Obama picked him? Did you even know he existed? That the US press is whining that Palin is an "unknown" just shows that they don't like people outside of the Washington Beltline. She is not an unknown in her state. She is the governor of it.

What I can say is that she has more credentials to become President than Obama has. He has never run an executive branch of government (she has at the mayor and governor level), never lead a bipartisan legislative movement (she has and Obama has done just the opposite actually), NEVER taken on his own party (she has repeatedly), and hasn't really done anything but get elected to the US Senate. Additionally, Obama has never worked in the real world (just the fairyland of academia) whereas she has as a commercial fisherwoman. Also, Obama won his Senate ran in a landslide because his opponent bowed out due to a sex scandal.

As for exposing all her skeletons in her closet, why does she need to do that? Obama hasn't. He's still refuses to release his tax returns.

Huma, relax. Contrary to what the media tells you, us Americans take seriously who we make our President. It is that reason why Obama hasn't sealed the deal in this very anti-Republican times in the US. What we are doing is looking at who he is and what he has done. Unfortunately for him and his supporters, he's coming up short and public polls are showing this assessment is growing here in the US.

Huma said...

Hi Scott: thanks for your comment.

"Palin is not about shattering the glass ceiling (which was shattered 25 years ago by Geraldine Ferraro) but shattering women’s lives."

That's another view (from here: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2008/09/02/sarah-palin-a-fatally-flawed-feminist)

The 'political gymnastics' is very interesting, more so than Pakistan's messy Zardari/Nawaz link-up. 'The Daily Show' put it best:


Scott Jensen said...

Hi Huma,

Geraldine Ferraro didn't shatter any glass ceiling. She lost the election. You don't succeed by failing. And she was picked by Mondale in his desperate attempt to defeat Reagan. Reagan won in a landslide. Now is McCain desperate? I don't think so. But he is in a tight race. Obama didn't pick Hillary Clinton because he hates her and knows that if he did, there would be three Presidents in the White House. Him, her, and Bill. But because Obama didn't do a Kennedy (who took on Johnson as his VP though Jack absolutely hated him), it opened the way for McCain to have a woman as his VP and pull women who are currently sitting on the fence on who to vote for as well as re-energize social conservatives, which she is one.

As for shattering women's lives, OH PLEASE! I am a libertarian but even I would never say such a stupid thing like that.

Also, it is really sad that we still think that a person's gender or race is more important to talk about than what positions they hold. It is and was sexist with Hillary Clinton and is now with Sarah Palin. It is racist with Obama. That is both for and against these candidates and their haters AND supporters that only see their gender or race. That 90-95% of blacks in America will be voting for Obama makes them racists.

Calling a spade a space,

Huma said...

Hi Scott, thank you again for your comment, am enjoying this discussion.

Like the “calling a spade a spade”, that’s my motto too.

Understand what you mean about bigoted voters: a news item (on C4), on the Democrat convention last week, featured an American woman saying that the US wasn’t ready for a candidate with a middle name of Hussein; one American guy said a big no no to Obama because he’s a Muslim, despite evidence to the contrary! – London has a mayor, Boris Johnson with Muslims in his ancestry.

I read, somewhere on the net, that Mrs Clinton didn’t want the Democrat VP post. That when Obama loses (Bradley Effect), she can run for presidency again in 2012, free from the failing team of 2008.

We have different views on succeeding and failing: not winning is not a failure, trying motivates and helps to prepare ground for others to improve on and strengthen. Every crack in the glass ceiling has been achieved standing on the shoulders of other glass ceiling crackers! (Though in the UK, it is said to be made of concrete).

My origin is Sub-continental; they have already produced women leaders, in Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Of course, we had Maggie Thatcher in the UK. So if women can achieve the top post in government outside of the US, it’s not really that big a deal for a woman to achieve deputy in the most powerful, first world nation.

Re the “positions” that those standing in the US elections hold, let’s just return to your earlier comment re Palin’s daughter: that she’s not running for US VP, so why would Palin mention her? But, Scott, neither are Palin’s husband or her son, so why mention their “achievements” in her introduction by McCain a week ago, and repeat it in her convention speech? It is Palin who is spotlighting, through her verbal behaviour and selectivity – selecting what family item to disclose and what to ignore, her elder daughter as a non-achiever, as someone who has committed a wrong, when she hasn’t. The daughter has not engaged in under age sex, the boyfriend is not some guy old enough to be the grandfather of the newborn. These youngsters have done what lots of young people, regardless of parents’ beliefs, get up to around the world. How many kids follow their parents every word anyway? And there are couples who have survived marriage since their youth.

I’d have more respect for Palin had she shown empathy and disclosed proudly, that in addition to her children, Palin was soon to be a grandmother, that though her daughter was unmarried, she would be marrying her beau. I’d hail Palin as a role model for every mother, for every woman, if she had, in a leonine fashion, promised that if for any reason her elder daughter’s marriage doesn’t work out, she, Sarah Palin, would do her utmost to ensure her daughter got a good education, so that her daughter could bring her own children up with respect and decency. That’s what I would have said. That’s kind of what Obama’s American mother did.

Scott Jensen said...

Hi Huma,

I am moderately enjoying this discussion. I see a lot you don't understand about US politics and am glad to help enlighten you on those points. :-) Speaking of points you brought up...

I don't know how politicians are perceived in UK, but here in the US, we trust them far as as we can throw them off a bridge while tied to a big block of cement. Americans always doubt the sincerity, honesty, and motives of politicians. There is a phrase in the US for politicians who will sacrifice anybody to win an election and that's is "throwing them under the bus". Obama did that to his grandmother when comparing her to his racist conspiracy-nut minister of 20 years in his Philadelphia speech, he did it again when that same minister went on TV to say he meant every word of his sermons (such as "God damn America"), and he's done it other times as well. I do not know if McCain has thrown anyone under the bus to get where he is now, but it wouldn't surprise me that he did. If he didn't, us Americans would marvel at such an event.

Now given the above, us Americans raise our eyebrows when something doesn't seem right. For example, Obama's father is a Muslim but Obama says he isn't. Some Americans wonder if there might be a political motive for Obama to change his religion. With an ordinary citizen, this wouldn't be an issue. But with a politician, us Americans have long learned to question their actions. As for a UK mayor having Muslim ancestors, that's apparently is acceptable to British citizens but us Americans are still upset about 9/11 and suspect anyone that is a Muslim. Personally, my best friend in college was a Muslim from Pakistan, but I am definitely the exception to the rule here in the US.

As for merely attempting to break old barriers (a.k.a. glass ceilings), that does have warrant merit. However, the credit doesn't go to either Ferraro or Palin. It goes to Mondale and McCain. It was their decision to offer the VP spot to these women. In other words, these two women was given this opportunity on a silver platter. Now if Hillary Clinton had been made Obama's VP candidate, I would view her as having truly earned that spot and having truly broken through the old barrier.

As for whether or not Mrs. Clinton wanted the VP spot, there are mixed evidence on this score. Bill Clinton made a very strong effort to get her that spot so I think she did. As I said in my last reply, Obama didn't want her on his ticket. They hate each other and that became VERY clear in the campaign. Their staffs vilified each other. Also, Hillary would be a handful as a VP. She wants to be President and as First Lady, she showed she would try to overstep her boundaries. This is why many political observers said that Obama feared that if she was his VP, she and Bill would force their way into running the White House. Additionally, Hillary Clinton had and still has some of the highest negatives in polls. That means there are a lot of people that hate her and thus putting on her on his ticket would bring those negatives to it. Have no doubt. She would have never given Obama the VP spot but had done like Obama and put a white male on as her VP. A black and female on the Democratic ticket would be a dream team ... for Republicans.

As for Hillary hoping that Obama loses, that goes without saying. If he loses, her 2012 campaign kicks off the day after election day. If he wins, she will not challenge him in 2016 unless he completely implodes. That means she has to wait until 2020 and her star might have faded by then. Given this, I believe if she thinks she can get away with it, she will do what she can to damage Obama in the next two months.

I think the only female politician outside the US that has influenced how Americans view women in politics is Margaret Thatcher.

As for your obsession with Palin talking about her pregnant daughter, PLEASE give it a rest. You do not understand the mind of us Americans. Americans do not expect anyone, especially politicians, to rush out their skeletons for all to view. It is completely acceptable to put your best foot forward. Her being proud of her husband and son is completely understandable. Her husband is his own man and not some pussy that is meek in her shadow. Her son is in the military and about to go to Iraq. This last point is something that counters the Democrats that scream that Republicans don't send their own children to war. She is. That defangs Democrats on this point. And NO ONE in America ... not Republicans or Democrats ... view teenage pregnancy as something good. Also, people would view it odd for any politician to talks about their children having children. It just isn't done in the US. If politicians do that in UK, I would view that as very odd.

Huma said...

Oh dear, Scott, only “moderately enjoying the discussion”! : - )

Umm, I think the obsession lies in you Scott; you deflect discussion to Obama each time Palin is pointed to.

What has Obama’s absent father’s belief system got to do with anything, especially as Obama was brought up by his American, single mother? Unless you’re positing that children follow their absent parent’s religion? That wouldn’t explain Sarah Palin’s daughter’s predicament, she clearly didn’t follow her mother-in-presence’s abstain-until-marriage dictum.

Understandably Americans are still upset at 9/11, just as we in the UK are still disgusted with the London Underground bombings of 7/7/2005. Americans may suspect every Muslim but I doubt every Muslim the world over suspects every American soldier on the basis of the few bad apples who abused their position so disgracefully when degrading and torturing the prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison; they probably don’t suspect that every American is for rendition/kidnapping, and for the torture of men in Guantanamo detention camp.

If Americans are still upset at 9/11, unless they value non-US citizens less, they ought to be upset at the number of civilians accidentally killed by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

You are wrong; your own nationals do not understand the ‘mind’ and stance of some Americans, including the Republican Party, in relation to the elder Palin daughter pregnancy. It seems disingenuous, the very same news and media commentators who bad-mouthed Britney Spears’ mother, upon news of the younger Spears daughter’s teenage pregnancy, are now hailing the Palin one as not that big a deal (see last week’s episodes of US's ‘The Daily Show’ - Jon Stewart for world leader, I say!).

How Americans view women in politics is unimportant, the fact that females in Europe and third world countries have led and lead their countries (e.g., Merkel in Germany), says a lot about opportunities these women were afforded.

And re Clinton, apparently she has said: "”To slightly amend my comments from Denver," the former first lady said in a statement as soon as the Republican nominee finished his speech. "No way, No How, No McCain-Palin," Clinton said, reprising her top applause line from last week's Democratic convention.” (Think this quote is from Hindustan Times).

Let’s see if McCain can really reform his Republican party. After all, he admitted he supported Bush 90 or 95% of the time. Hope he can run a country that is in so much economic strife, as well as deal with all the international issues facing the US. Good luck to him and America; it’s important for the rest of the world that McCain succeeds in his mission,

Scott Jensen said...

Hi Huma,

Yes, only moderately. Normally, I detest political discussions since very little is actually discussed in a way that both sides are receptive.

As for the obsession you accuse me of having with Obama, I deflect to him since he and McCain are the ones us Americans will be voting to make President. That is where I think the focus should be and not on their VP candidates. That and when you criticize her, I do the same to Obama for contrast. And, yes, you do seemed obsessed with Palin and her teenage daughter pregnancy. I don't understand why you think it is so important. I don't.

As for Obama's religion, he is suspect. He seems to have only really become religious when he got to Chicago and it looks like he choose his church for local political reasons.

As for US citizens being upset by the number of civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, I think they're as upset by that as much as citizens in those two countries were when US citizens were killed on 9/11.

As for disingenuous statements, those have been made by both political parties of each other. I'm sure there are many Democrats that praised Mondale for picking Ferraro for his VP that now disparage McCain for picking Palin for his VP. It all depends on if you're "us" or "them". Think how the Democrats would have reacted if President Bush had commit perjury and cheated on his wife. Hypocrisy is the norm in politics.

As for my statement about how Americans view women in politics, we were after all talking about US politics thus my comment was relevant.

As for Clinton, if you believe she doesn't want McCain to win, you don't understand how strong is Hillary's desire to be President. In no way does she want to have to wait until 2016 to run for the White House again. 2012 is for which she's hoping.

As for US's "economic strife", what strife? We are not even in a recession. To be in a recession, you have to have an economic decline in two consecutive quarters. We haven't even had economic decline in one quarter. This is just another example of the press acting like Chicken Little. Here's a link to an article dealing with the distortion by the media by the anchor of ABC News' "20/20".