Palin should withdraw

As a follow-up to the linked discussion, I urge that Gov. Palin withdraw her name from consideration for the Republican vice presidential nomination. Since her announcement yesterday of the pregnancy of her 17 year old daughter, the country is now offered the ludicrous and unseemly prospect of Palin campaigning around the country for the vice presidency even as her five month old, special-needs son is receiving his primary care from her 17-year-old, out-of-wedlock pregnant daughter. This is a spectacle worthy of a trailer park, not the White House. It should not be imposed on the American people, let alone on the Republican party.

I realize that this is tiny minority position within the so-called conservative movement. Many, perhaps most conservatives, far from thinking that Gov. Palin’s family situation requires her to devote greater attention to her family, fervently believe that her family situation makes her candidacy a great victory and symbol of conservatism. Also, many conservatives will be repelled at my calling for the withdrawal of the person they see as most exciting and promising conservative figure to appear on the scene since Ronald Reagan. However, even if the entire conservative movement, and many VFR readers, oppose and and dismiss what I say here, it had to be said.

- end of initial entry -

Al R. writes:

And now that you have said “what had to be said,” that Palin should withdraw, let me add one more thing to complete what I guess to be your unspoken thought: though the heavens fall. If they fall. of course, we’re all in the soup. Can we really afford so sinister a character as Obama? So that we remain without a spot as we go under? I’m simply asking you to reconsider your call for her to withdraw. I know it rises from your always good motives, but, still …

LA replies:

That’s a fair question. Of course I have never supported McCain’s election, so that my call for Palin to be withdrawn does not have the authority it would have if it came from a McCain supporter. However, my call for the withdrawal is not based on a calculation that the withdrawal will make McCain lose, but rather on my view that the Palin candidacy at this point is wrong and is not sustainable. So, though I don’t support McCain, my withdrawal call actually seeks to put the McCain candidacy on firmer and more proper ground. Whether keeping Palin or withdrawing her at this point is more likely to lead to a McCain loss is anyone’s guess. As I look at the mess of her situation, and the outrageous way that she and McCain “snuck” this thing on us, my feeling is that if she stays on the ticket, the ticket will likely lose. Therefore her withdrrawal should improve the Republicans’ chances of winning, though admittedly a withdrawal and replacement would also be damaging. But I didn’t create this incredible situation. McCain and Palin did, by their actions.

Either way it’s not good. Even such a cheerleader as Jay Nordingler admited that the “sneaky” aspect of the affair makes them lsook bad.

Terry Morris writes:

I certainly don’t oppose what you say in the entry. I support it 100 percent. She definitely should withdraw for all the reasons aforesaid. And if for nothing else, because it is the right thing to do for her family and her country. There’s no shame in someone realizing they’ve made a mistake, and acting on it before it’s too late. At this moment it’s not too late, but it will become more difficult for her to withdraw as time looms on.

Not that I expect her withdrawal.

Terry Morris continues:

I think I can understand how Sarah Palin got drawn in to all of this, even if she might have had reservations based on her family situation. But seriously, what conservative worth her salt would ever trust the moral and political judgment of John McCain?

Andrew T. writes:

This is the first time I have ever seriously disagreed with you. In the Palin household there is one family member who will be able to hold down the fort while Sarah is VP. That is her husband, someone who is deleted by the public consciousness in all this. The family has resources, they are certainly not destitute. He could become a great example to the nation of courageous, supportive manhood and leadership in the domestic domain. Sarah has done nothing wrong. This is not a problem but and opportunity for the Republicans to demonstrate their concept of cohesive, loving, loyal and supportive family life.

LA replies:

That’s a good point, and might be more persuasive if the situation we were dealing with were not a presidential campaign! Is a presidential campaign the context in which to make these points and demonstrate these lessons? Isn’t it a prerequisite for a presidential or vice presidential candidacy that the individual already have his personal affairs in order so that his personal affairs do NOT become the concern of the whole country?

Mark J. writes:

Question: would you be saying this if she were the man of the family? Is the rule that no one, man or woman, should run for major office if they have a special needs baby (regardless of their ability to hire a nanny?) and a pregnant teenage daughter who is getting married?

I suspect that if this was a man, we’d assume his wife would be taking care of these things and chalk this sort of thing up to the normal kinds of events that happen in any family. Anyone who has children is going to have times when there is a family crisis. Are you saying no one with children should run for office?

Does it seem right to say that purely because she is female, her children’s issues preclude her being able to run? That the woman must stay home and take care of this when the man needn’t?

Not sure I can sign on for that. Mightn’t Margaret Thatcher have had some issues with her children? [LA replies: Margaret Thatcher was 53 years old when she became prime minister, and her children were grown. She hadn’t given birth to a baby five months earlier, let alone a baby with special needs.]

Or are you saying that this particular situation—special needs infant and pregnant teenage daughter getting married—is so involved that it would exclude anyone, man or woman?

LA replies:

I haven’t yet worked out what the “rule” would be for every possible situation. It’s been enough to try to figure out this situation. But your question is a fair one and we’ll need to consider it.

Julius I. writes:

Perhaps we should add a new type of conservative to our growing list: neo-conservative, paleo-conservative, and now…

Trailer Park Conservative.

Robert in Nashville writes:

However commendable Ms. Palin’s ideological views, I come down to this: Out of this whole great nation, with all of its experienced and learned leaders, the best he could do was to choose an unknown governor lately the Mayor of a small Alaska town, with a suckling Downs syndrome infant and another daughter, unmarried and expecting her own baby. And too address our concerns she tell us- this 17 year old will take care of her Down’s Syndrome infant! (A pretty good first sign of lack of insight, before she even leaves the starting gate.) This is the best the Republican party can offer.

In the light of such superficial and local experience, and, as you have said, of such weighty personal moral obligations, her ideology fades to the background. I could weep. To me, this exposes the final collapse of Republican credibility. And yet, the Republican crowd roars and cheers as if all was well. Do they really not see her selection as bizarre, or are they just pretending? An even greater mystery.

Robert Johnson writes:

You are far from alone in wishing that the Sarah Palin candidacy was by some divine providence quietly withdrawn so that we may start over again. It is ludicrous to think that a very large percentage of conservatives—and, from what I can discern at this point in the debacle, a certain majority of the pragmatic Republican faithful—doesn’t agree with you as a matter of substance and principal. I suspect you know this well. [LA replies: Gosh, I don’t see that at all. The majority of conservatives seem passionately for her.] The problem is not one of principle but pragmatics. Despite the news cycle of the last five days (and for however many long days to come), this election is mostly about John McCain rather than Governor Palin. Many believe that our candidate cannot survive a scenario that in effect acknowledges that his most critical decision of the campaign, and his first decision in forming a new administration, was both reckless and wrong in the ways you have outlined. I gather from your remarks that you think that McCain can survive a “do-over.” But a do-over simply is not a luxury that either politics or governing in crisis often affords and, for this reason, I and many others think that sticking with Palin at least has the pragmatic benefit of the top of the ticket not taking a direct, fatal hit. A difficult choice, I agree, and one difficult to sustain in a convincing fashion until November, but those are the cards we are dealt. Recall that the VP selection process and subsequent campaign certainly diminished Dan Quayle, but a ELECTING wounded VP seems a better option than declaring a presidential candidate dead on arrival at the inception of the campaign.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 02, 2008 09:56 AM | Send

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