John McCain had a good first 48 hours after announcing that Governor Sarah Palin would be his running mate. He knocked Obama off the front page and rallied many conservatives to his campaign. As they say in prison, it was all good.
But Monday's announcement that Governor Palin's 17-year-old daughter is pregnant took much of the joy out of Mudville, and the left-wing press gleefully swooped in. Now the Palin family has become a big campaign issue.
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CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Putting this young woman, Bristol Palin, smack in the media spotlight at what's already got to be a very challenging time in her life, I mean, how do you respond to people who wonder why her mother would have subjected her to this kind of scrutiny by accepting this high-profile position? As much as everyone might want to give this young woman her privacy, you know that's not going to happen.
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Now, for the fair-minded media, this is a tough one. Certainly the public has a right to know about Governor Palin's life, and there are legitimate questions about her family's situation, but Americans are very protective of families in general. So the questions have to be fair and balanced. So does the analysis.
But fair is a word that ideological press people will never understand. Here's an example. Writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, race-baiting columnist Mary Mitchell, who along with Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post are the worst in applying race to just about everything, said this:
"When an unmarried 17-year-old comes up pregnant on the South Side of Chicago, Republicans don't make it sound like a beautiful thing. They call it tragic and a moral failure, and they often blame the teen's parents… Conservatives like Palin have been hard on young, unwed, pregnant women in urban areas. Maybe now that she is in the same boat, they'll show a little more compassion."
Well that of course is brutally unfair. Critics of teen pregnancies have a perfect right to put forth that if children give birth to children, many bad things can happen, like society having to support both mother and child, like children being unsupervised because there's no father in the home, like mothers and fathers being emotionally unequipped to raise their children responsibly. Those are legitimate concerns, even if Ms. Mitchell spins it as a race situation, which it is not.
Millions of American families are dealing with teenage pregnancy. And as long as society doesn't have to support the mother, father or baby, it is a personal matter. Once the taxpayers do have to support the young family, it becomes a public policy matter.
It is true that some Americans will judge Governor Palin and her family. There's nothing anyone can do about it. And it's also true that Governor Palin will have a hard time running for vice president if there is much more family chaos.
So the governor is approaching the chaos zone, and John McCain can't be very happy about that. For the sake of her and her family, we hope things calm down. This country needs a vibrant policy debate, not a soap opera.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
Jerry Lewis is a good guy. At age 82, he's still raising money for muscular dystrophy, and this year he broke the record. His telethon recorded $65 million in pledges, and for this, the legendary actor/comedian is a patriot.
On the pinhead front, P. Diddy is involving himself in the presidential campaign, addressing John McCain on his blog.
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P. DIDDY, RAP MOGUL: Alaska? Alaska? Alaska? Alaska? Come on, man. I don't even know if there's any black people in Alaska. John, like, come on. This is — Sarah Palin? Yo, if you really think that we're going to let you win this election with these — these like crazy decisions that you're making, you're buggin'.
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Apparently, bug or bugging means crazy, and that term can swing both ways there, Diddy. And so can pinhead.