John “I can’t remember how many houses I have” McCain is a canny man. Not content with stealing Obama’s thunder by announcing his vice-Presidential running mate less than 24 hours after the Democrat convention, he reveals that – gasp! – it’s a woman. Sarah Palin – an easy-on-the-eye “hockey mom” (albeit one who earned the nickname of “Barracuda” in her school hockey playing days) – is a gift from the PR gods. Married to a working man, NRA member, and mother to five children including a son about to deploy to Iraq and an infant son, Trig, with Down’s syndrome, she checks a lot of demographic boxes. Even for the Republicans, this is a cheap, calculated move to try and hoover up the millions of disgruntled Hillary Clinton voters. But over the weekend, the Daily Kos reveals that perhaps Palin IS too good to be true and alleges that she is NOT Trig’s mother – she’s his grandmother, and that she’s covering up for her 16-year-old daughter Bristol. You can read their very lengthy post (including photos of a very unpregnant looking Palin at seven and eight months) here.
Whether it’s true or not, it smacks of a new low in political point-scoring, of poking around someone’s family life and casting aspersions on something that is obviously private. While it’s unlikely it came from deep inside the Obama camp, there’s no doubt someone with Democrat leanings started this particular rumour. Why not point out her political inexperience? Take issue with her environmental views? Or that she is anti same-sex marriage and pro-life? There’s something smeary and deeply sexist about this type of rumour, and while we all know politics is a dirty game, this is particularly grubby.
Update: Bristol Palin is pregnant and plans to marry her baby’s father.