The Palin Pregnancy--How Should the Democrats Handle It?

Some historical perspective and questions—what does this say about McCain's decision-making process?

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WOW! Talk about energizing the pro-life vote. The McCain campaign has confirmed that it knew 17-year-old Bristol Palin was pregnant when they vetted her Alaskan governor mother to be Sen. John McCain's VP running mate. And that didn't give them pause?

This from MSNBC:

Bristol Palin, one of Alaska Gov. Palin's five children with her husband, Todd, is about five months pregnant and is going to keep the child and marry the father, the Palins said in a statement released by the campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby, McCain aides said. 'We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us,' the Palins' statement said. 'Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support,' the Palins said.'

If that isn't a between-the-eyebrows punch alert that abstinence-only education doesn't work (Gov. Palin advocates abstinence-only sex education, which is really non-sex education) what could possibly be?This is somewhat reminiscent of Democrat Grover Cleveland's run for the White House in 1884 when it was rumored he had an out-of-wedlock child. The Republicans created the now-infamous campaign slogan, "Ma, ma, where's my pa?" After Cleveland won, victorious Democrats responded: "Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha."

The full story about Cleveland:

It was in the July 21st edition that the Buffalo Evening Telegraph dropped a bombshell into the presidential campaign of 1884. Under the banner of "A Terrible Tale," the Telegraph announced to the world "The Pitiful Story of Maria Halpin and Governor Cleveland's Son." The story was that Democratic candidate Grover Cleveland, a bachelor, had had an affair resulting in the birth of a son.

Cleveland's primary supporters and campaign staff asked if it was true, and he said that it was indeed so. When asked how to handle it in the campaign, he said, "Tell the truth." The relationship was admittedbut downplayed. After all, they said, Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton were capable but wayward men as well.

The actual story was that Halpin, a widow in her mid-30s, had moved to Buffalo, New York, in the early 1870s. She became involved with a number of men, including a 36-year-old attorney named Grover Cleveland. By the end of 1873 she was pregnant.

Will Democrats use the teenager's pregnancy against Palin in similar fashion? They know well that such a tactic would backfire. But one does wonder about the wisdom of forcing a 17-year-old into marriage. Who among us is mature enough at that age to make such an important decision. Understood, the alternatives here for Palin are anything but plentiful. If one of her daughters was to have an abortion, she'd be rightfully accused of hypocrisy. The word probably isn't even in Palin's vocabulary. It is also fair game to question the decision-making in the McCain campaign hierarchy to have chosen Palin knowing this about her daughter. Makes Obama's decision-making capabilities look far superior.