A reader writes:
The argument against any kind of reporting on candidates' personal lives has always been that private life should remain private. Why should I care if some guy has an affair, etc.
Here's why this isn't off-limits. The McCain campaign has made the existence of this child a central part of its PR rollout of Palin, in particular highlighting the fact that Palin chose not to abort the child even though she knew the baby had Down Syndrome.
The campaign has made the entire story of this pregnancy and birth a part of its narrative to portray Palin as a morally superior being who is therefore deserving of the second-highest office in the land.
There is a serious possibility that this narrative is completely false, that, in fact, Palin's daughter became pregnant, and that she decided to take the following steps: first, hide the pregnancy by withdrawing her daughter from school; and second, pretend that the child was hers, in the process lying to everyone around her, including the public and her staff. If she did this, one must then ask, why? Certainly, it was preferable to an abortion. But why couldn't she simply admit that her daughter got pregnant at sixteen? Palin could have served as a wonderful role model of family support for a pregnant teen, and obviously she would have helped to raise the child. Instead, Palin sent a message that her daughter was shameful, and that lying is better than the truth.
Even if one could excuse this behavior as a misguided effort to protect her family, what happened next is beyond the pale. Knowing full well the truth, Palin allowed the false version of this story to be used as part of a PR campaign to dupe voters into viewing her in a completely false light.
What this says about her is that she believes that when you get into a situation where there might be public embarrassment, the best thing to do is lie (apparently, the same thing she did with Troopergate). That, to me, seems relevant to voters making a decision in November.