Palin-drama: Is Teen Marriage Best for the Coming Child?

And what is the best thing for the coming child—maybe not a teen marriage.

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Say what you will about Sarah and Bristol and Twig. I'm feeling sorry for Levi.

There are no scarier words for a 17-year-old boy than "I'm late."

Except perhaps, "I'm late, and my mother is governor of Alaska and commander of the National Guard and running for vice president and thinks we should get married."

Or, "I'm late, and my mother knows her way around a shotgun."

Or, "I'm late, and you may want to talk to my ex-uncle, the state trooper, about how the Palin clan handles family disputes."

I hope that Levi and Bristol are deeply in love and spiritual soul mates, and that their high school romance will endure for 60 or 70 years. I hope that there's a sweet Knocked Up ending to their tale.

But let's be real. Life ain't Hollywood. The odds are not good.

Has anyone in St. Paul even raised the suggestion that it is not in the best interest of Levi and Bristol, at 17, to be forced into marriage with the whole world watching?

Or that their son or daughter might have a better life if raised by adoptive parents, or by a single mom in the vice-presidential mansion in Washington?

Or is that the sticking point? I guess you can't go barnstorming the country on Air Force Two, railing against sex ed and promoting abstinence, with an unwed teenage mother at home.

Certainly John McCain—the self-professed conqueror of Brazilian fashion models and Florida strippers in his lusty days of youth—should know better.

Hey, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton were raised by single moms, and look how they turned out. (All right, all right. I acknowledge room for debate about Bill.)

Perhaps this is a positive development. Perhaps this happening, in the best of families, will make Americans pause. Perhaps we'll be more understanding, and less willing to condemn, when we hear the next story of a Bristol and Levi, a Tasha and Alice, or an Adam and Steve, succumbing to the demands of their genetic imperatives.

But somehow I doubt it. I hear the ghosts of our Puritan forebears, deep in their tombs, cackling with malicious delight.