Ahhhh, Mrs. Palin… Only a few days in and the controversies keep-a-comin’. As many already know, Palin is and has always been a hardcore pro-lifer. Sarah Palin insists that she would not even support an abortion for her own daughter even if she had been raped. While this is great news to Right-Wing Fundamentalist Christian groups, it’s probably gonna scare away many if not most of the Hillary Clinton voters that John McCain may have hoped would swing over to support Palin. Oh, did I mention that Alaska’s rape rate is an astounding 2.4 times above the national average and that 25 percent of all rapes result in unwanted pregnancies? Yes, Palin’s Alaska has the nation’s highest per-capita rate of forcible rape. And to add fuel to the fire, Palin said she would fund abstinence-only education programs in schools while “The explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.” However, data shows abstinence-only programs do not take the place of teaching kids how to protect themselves from disease or unintended pregnancy.
Which brings us directly to Palin’s daughter. Palin’s 17 year old, unwed daughter, Bristol, is 5 months pregnant. The good news for Palin and the GOP conservatives is that Palin’s daughter plans to marry the father of her child. The bad news is, um, well… Palin’s daughter is 17, pregnant and currently unmarried while her mother preaches the virtues of abstinence-only programs. While I don’t personally have any issues with Bristol Palin’s pregnancy or her decision to keep the child, it does come at an awkward time for the candidate and her family and must be exceptionally hard on Bristol herself who has immediately become the center of judgement and attention.
Barack Obama, once again taking the high-road, has asked reporters to “back off” on reports of Bristol’s pregnancy:
“People’s families are off limits,” he said. “People’s children are especially off limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin’s performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president.”
So let’s move on to something else. How about the fact that Palin is currently under a state ethics investigation currently touted as “Troopergate”. The state trooper referenced was Palin’s former brother-in-law, Michael Wooten, who had just gone through a messy divorce with Palin’s sister. The investigation will look into whether Palin abused her power by firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan after he refused to fire Wooten. Monegan was fired without explanation and claimed he was pressured by Palin’s staff to fire Wooten.
Palin has declared her innocence. “It’s cool. I want them to ask me the questions. I don’t have anything to hide. Didn’t do anything wrong there.”
According to Associated Press Writer Steve Quinn:
In the recorded conversation, [Frank] Bailey [Palin’s director of boards and commissions] is heard saying: “Todd and Sarah are scratching their heads, why on earth hasn’t, why is this guy still representing the department? He’s a horrible recruiting tool. … You know, I mean from their perspective, everyone’s protecting him.”
Now, truth be told, Wooten has been reprimanded for violating nearly a dozen laws and departmental policies since December 2001 and may or may not have deserved to be fired. He is also accused of using a Taser on his stepson, Palin’s nephew Payton. And Palin may genuinely not have known that Monegan was being pressured by her staff. But the situation raises some serious questions that may be unsettling enough to turn many undecided voters toward the Democratic candidates.
But November is still a way’s away and anything can happen. And given the questionable integrity of some of the players, they probably will.