On CBS “The Early Show” Levi Johnston repeated his claim that Governor Palin called her son Trig, who has Down Syndrome, “retarded,” prompting afirm rebuttal from the governor.
Instantly commentators, bloggers and journalists all over the country, many with good intentions at heart, questioned the governor’s motives for the rebuttal. Conventional wisdom has it that the governor should take the high road, rise above it, and ignore the ungrateful pinhead she once treated as her own child. Some have suggested that if she responds to every ridiculous slur, she’ll never have a chance at a political future; people won’t elect a tabloid figure.
Those arguments are the same made when, on the same network, David Letterman joked about her 14 year old daughter being “knocked up” by Alex Rodriguez. Governor Palin was criticized for her fierce response, and then too she was advised to rise above it.
A recent CNN poll, to which Joshua referred in a post, noted that a 65% majority consider Governor Palin as “not a typical politician”, 64% consider her as “a good role model for women” and 56% believe her to be “caring about the needs for people like you”. The reason Governor Palin receives these high marks is because much of Governor Palin’s appeal is that she is a typical every day person like you and me.
Besides being a national figure, Governor Palin, is a mother, a grandmother, a human being and, yes, contrary to popular belief, she has feelings too. Unlike our president, who calls for a Jihad against a TV network who questions his policies, Governor Palin withstands criticism of her policies with grace and maturity. However, when it comes to her children, her maternal instincts take over and the “mama grizzly” surfaces!
Now, I know it’s difficult, because no one has really ever gone through what Governor Palin has in the last twelve months, but put yourself in Governor Palin’s shoes. You’re a mother of five, your youngest child was born with Down Syndrome (let alone that the mere legitimacy of your motherhood is questioned). Raising five children is a daily struggle in and of itself. And then, one day, your eldest daughter’s ex-boyfriend, for no other reason than to make a quick buck, goes on national television, diminishes you and claims that you used to refer to your baby by a derogatory slur.
Being a parent myself, I know what I’d do. I’d pick up the phone, call the broadcasting network, demand to speak to the reporter, and rebuke the lie on live television. If possible, I’d happily throw a few punches at the moron (metaphorically of course) who made those claims without considering the consequences. Although nothing concrete would be achieved, it goes without question that I’d feel much better.
Governor Palin didn’t call the TV show to rebut the claims or to defend her helpless child. She did, however, call out the pathetic liar and express her feelings, heal the pain, and make herself feel better. This is perfectly understandable.
Political pundits in general, and journalists and commentators in particular, strive to continuously offer Governor Palin advice on what to do and how to do it. Maggie Rodriguez, when interviewing the lying, self destructing loser, asked if “he’s hurt by all this”. I wonder how many of those “well-meaning” politicians and journalists have ever picked up a phone to Governor Palin, not for an interview, not for a quote or a ratings boosting juicy exclusive, but to simply ask her if she’s hurt by all of this or how she is doing”. If so, I’m sure she would appreciate it.
From a political point of view, it could be argued that Governor Palin should ignore all the slurs thrown at her and her children. But Governor Palin is not a typical politician; she’s a human being and a mother, with feelings, just like you and me.
None of us can know for sure, including Governor Palin, what her political future might be. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, the next day, a year from now. What we do know is that after releasing her statement, for today, just today, Trig Palin’s mother felt good.
(H/T Doug for editing assistance)