Sarah Palin, the GOP VP candidate, issued a statement today confirming that her 17 year old daughter is pregnant. Hmm! Obviously, I am not an advocate of teen pregnancy, but when it does happen I don't think the girl (and boy) involved or their parents should be tossed out with the bath water. Mistakes happen. However, when you are running for Vice President on a conservative ticket, espousing the importance of moral values, I am of the belief your own morality and the morality of those under your care should be above reproach. Fair or not, you and your family are held to a higher standard.
Additionally, this 17 year old girl is now going to come under national scrutiny, much of it harsh, judmental, and unfair. I am sure she is already battling feelings of guilt and shame. Being dragged into a political campaign with all of its mud-slinging is the last thing she needs.
I don't think that this revelation makes or breaks John McCain (although the culmination of all of these little mistakes might). However, it seems like if he was a) going to pick a woman b) going to pick an inexperienced running mate, woman or man and c) going to pick someone he'd only met once before that he would want to make sure he (and her family) were squeaky clean. It seems like he would not want to leave himself open to more criticism than he is already taking for choosing Palin to begin with.
Let's look at Palin, the woman. She is young with limited experience. She has 5 kids. One of those kids is a 4 month old with down syndrome. Another is a pregnant 17 year old -- in 9 months or less she is going to be a grandmother. She has a ridiculously full plate already. Why would she want to add a presidential campaign to that mix? For someone running on a ticket promoting the return of "traditional family values" I find it ironic that she is willing to sacrifice so much time with such a young family to potentially become VP. It seems like she has so much going on in her personal life that might need more attention than it is getting currently. Who is taking care of her children, especially her baby? The thought of leaving my children for any extended period of time is distressing to me, especially when my children were only 4 months old.
Look, Sarah Palin seems like a nice woman. She's a mother balancing an ambitious career. More power to her. She's been praised for playing hockey and carrying a gun (although I don't understand why Republicans are so impressed with that fact-- criminals carry guns too). Overall, she seems like a nice person, but that doesn't mean I want her making policies or having input on policies that will affect my daily life or the lives of my children. Just because she carries a gun and has a mean slap shot does not make her qualified to step in and become President if something were to happen to McCain. Even if he is elected and survives 4 years or potentially 8 that still doesn't make her qualified to be Vice President.
Truthfully, I don't know if she is qualified or not, but I think the aspects of her life that people are currently using to measure her with are not reflecting positively in her favor. If we want to look at what she has done we should be looking at what she has done politically in her brief political career. I'm tired of hearing about how she's a great mother, a great hockey player, and a great shot. Those skills don't ensure that she is qualified to hold the second highest position in our land. I'm just sayin'.