>Herbert to Dems: take the high road on Gov. Palin

>In a Tuesday op-ed for the New York Times, columnist Bob Herbert suggested that Democrats should not release the attack hounds on Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP’s vice-presidential nominee whose 17-year-old daughter Bristol is five months pregnant. Herbert believes that if Democrats attack Palin, supporters (who can identify with her “situation”) will resent the Democrats’ strategy, labeling the attacks as overkill.

The Gov. Palin issue, Herbert believes, is a “distraction,” something the GOP is “brilliant” at:

Here’s the deal: Palin is the latest G.O.P. distraction. She’s meant to shift attention away from the real issue of this campaign — the awful state of the nation after eight years of Republican rule. The Republicans are brilliant at distractions. Willie Horton was a distraction. The chatter about gays, guns and God has been a long-running distraction. And we all remember the Swift-boat campaign.

I wholeheartedly agree with Herbert’s assessment. I don’t believe the Democrats should seize this opportunity and attack the Palin household for their situation. However, I can’t avoid the elephant in the room here: the complete irony of a Republican governor’s teenage daughter getting knocked up by her boyfriend–whom she now plans to marry.

I can understand the position evangelical Christians are in right now: to support a vice-presidential candidate whose daughter has violated their most basic principle–not to have sex until marriage.

No, I’m not troubled by the teenage daughter’s pregnancy. I’m more troubled by the fact that the campaign did not disclose the information until rumors began to swirl about the Palin’s youngest child. It makes me wonder how long would the campaign have kept the pregnancy a secret if nothing was mentioned about the youngest child.

Also, McCain apparently knew about the Palin pregnancy. It’s somewhat strange that he continued to seriously consider Gov. Palin as a running mate (not to mention an investigation into her firing of an Alaska public safety commissioner). Was McCain betting on the Palin’s family situation as a way to garner support from real, working class families who are going through the same thing?