This week it occurred to me that if Barak Obama is elected, it will be the first time I am older than the President of the United States.
At first it alarmed me, mostly for egotistical reasons. I like to think that in spite of the ravages of time on my body, that old age at least gives me the advantage of increased wisdom. I kind of want the leader of the free world to be more sagacious than a 51-year-old woman who opens the refrigerator door and forgets why.
I need to interject here that I’m not particularly interested in campaign politics. From here on out we will be promised everything – and nothing – and none of it will apply to what actually happens with a new administration. Anyone basing their voting decision on anything they hear in the next few months, please give me a call: I have an exciting business opportunity for you involving a bucket of cleaning products and every person you’ve ever known.
Dirtman, though, is a political junkie. So around here it’s convention coverage on the TV all day long and into the night. From what I can tell, “convention coverage” this week consists of the talking heads of the media repeating over and over about how they’re not going to repeat over and over about Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin‘s pregnant daughter. And, in case you are totally deaf, a disclaimer about not repeating over and over about Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter scrawls nonstop at the bottom of the screen.
In a totally weiner move, MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann smugly denied mentioning Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter, insisting that the “legitimate media” has too much class to mention Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter. Instead, he blames the blogosphere for floating rumors resulting in the legitimate media being forced into discussing how they are not going to mention Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter. (Olbermann also gets credit for a tail-wagging-the-dog moment when, in whining exasperation at yet another rumor coming across his monitor, he complained that if the McCain people hadn’t been so secretive about their vice presidential choice, the press would have time to verify all the rumors they were reporting.)
I couldn’t help but chuckle when MSNBC assured us that Laura Bush and Cindy McCain were taking Sarah Palin aside to coach her on how to handle it when the media goes after her family. As “Let’s All Go to the Ladies Room Together” as this sounds, Ms. Palin does have a husband who would be the candidate-spouse counterpart The Mesdames seek. Can you imagine Michelle Obama and Paul Pelosi pulling Joe Biden aside to offer marital advice?
Let’s face it, while everyone pretends to be so understanding of the issue of having a pregnant teenage daughter, even some of the most progressive and open-minded pundits can’t help some Puritanical “tsk-tsking.”
If Sarah Palin’s parenting looks “sloppy” compared to Michelle Obama’s cool patience, it’s because Malia and Natasha Obama aren’t even ten years old yet. For all we know, just off camera a burly secret service guy is holding their favorite sleep toy hostage: “Smile for your daddy or Bunny Foo Foo gets it.” And what’s the most a ten-year-old can do? Pick her nose on national TV? Utter a naughty word during Daddy’s speech? The media would love it; would be calling her “precocious.” She’d be all over <em>South Park the next week and Jon Stewart would want to interview her. It would do more for the Obama campaign than Bill Clinton playing sax on Arsenio. (And if you remember the aforementioned event, then you are just under the wire to become a vice presidential nominee!)
I guarantee that when hearing about the Palin’s situation, every parent of a teenager said the same silent prayer, “There but for the grace of God go I” (there are no atheists in foxholes or parenting teenagers). Teenagers operate on the notions that: 1.) I will live forever; and 2.) That could never happen to me. Conscience and common sense are not always engaged in a teenager’s brain, so the most you can do is hope that they are in gear the same day temptation presents itself. Most examples of “parental success” are simply the result of fortuitous timing in the ebbing of the hormonal tide.
The Palins aren’t the first family who has had to deal with a pregnant teenager and their pro-life beliefs mean that sooner or later it was going to become public knowledge. If familial dysfunction was a reason to not run for office, Washington, D.C., would still be a swamp.
So, in the end, let me tell you what my 51 years of wisdom are telling me: Tina Fey will totally be coming back to play Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live (perhaps an appearance by Palin herself).