I have never been one to often use the ‘hypocrisy’ charge in political discourse. Granted, there is a certain gotcha-giddiness in exposing, for instance, liberals who cry racism and then send their children to all-white private schools, but I find it more fruitful to confront my opponent’s moral consistency. Just because I have proven you a hypocrite, doesn’t mean I have proven you wrong. Right-wing blogger Debbie Schlussel, who offers the web’s best news and insight on radical Islam, recently wrote that Ann Coulter, who she likes, is a hypocrite for supporting Sarah Palin, who she clearly doesn’t like (“the empress with $150,000 clothes”). Schlussel writes that Palin’s daughter Bristol, who recently gave birth to a son, has yet to marry the baby’s father, despite the family’s claims during the campaign that she would. Sarah Palin, she continues, is a woman touted as a “conservative family values person, who. . . has demonstrated that she actually isn’t one.”
She states that Palin is the “enabler, financier, housing provider and chief cheerleader of this girl” and concludes that Palin, for political reasons, would not make her daughter “get married or move out and get off the teat.” She also chides certain conservatives for blindly following Palin the same way Obama’s masses follow him. First of all, Palin, though avidly pro-life (let’s not forget), has never been a finger-wagging moralist. She has run on such issues as ethics reform, energy reform, tax cuts, etc. Furthermore, who decided that you are barred from the ranks of conservative leadership because of the randy behavior of your offspring? Does anyone remember Patti Davis? That would be Ronald Reagan’s daughter, child of the 60s and one-time Playboy model.
The lingering question is, outside of a shotgun wedding, which isn’t going to happen in 2009, just what are Todd and Sarah Palin supposed to do? Would throwing their teen daughter and newborn grandchild (a.k.a. “bastard kid” — loving touch, Debbie) out in the street keep them morally consistent with their family-values image? Most anyone with any values falls short of them at some time. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have them. That doesn’t mean they are wrong. More achingly, our loved ones, particularly our children, fall short of our highest expectations. That doesn’t mean we love them any less. It certainly doesn’t mean we don’t support them. Who knows what discussions — and I would bet heated ones — Sarah Palin had with her daughter.
Schlussel can’t see beyond her one-dimensional concept of family-values as an elite country club where even our relatives are subject to immediate banishment for their moral shortcomings. In truth, family-values are about sticking together, through good times and bad, when you come out shining and when you mess up big-time. Religiously speaking, Sarah Palin practices the charity and forgiveness her faith teaches her. As for Ann Coulter, she is supposedly a hypocrite because her latest bestseller Guilty criticizes single motherhood as a social trend and she honored Palin as ‘Conservative of the Year’ in the publication Human Events. Given that Ann Coulter — or any “Palinmaniac” — has never celebrated Bristol Palin’s behavior, given that Sarah Palin has certainly walked the walk, both as a wife and mother, and, we can presume, never encouraged her daughter’s licentiousness, I fail to see how Coulter is a hypocrite and Palin is unfit for conservative leadership (and save the catty remarks, Debbie, they’re beneath a woman of your intellect). No one who admires Sarah Palin condones single motherhood, but therein lies my problem with the hypocrisy charge. National political discourse seldom scratches the surface, policies are seldom debated and dissected thoroughly because of, for instance, this and numerous other snide insights about the life of a teenager who, to my knowledge, has never spoken publicly. Even if Bristol Palin is the shallow, grasping, backwater vamp that Schlussel claims, even if she never marries her menial-class stud, she and the first Palin grandchild will never want for love and sustenance, and, frankly, I would think less of Sarah Palin if they did.