Reading Between the Lines of Bristol Palin, Levi Johnston Re-Engagement

"It felt right, even though we don't have the approval of our parents"

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Before telling her parents, Bristol Palin has announced her engagement to Levi Johnston in the new issue of Us Weekly. "We got engaged two weeks ago," says Bristol "It felt right, even though we don't have the approval of our parents."

Johnston obviously has a long way to go toward mending his fraught relationship with the Palin clan (something he's been working on as of late). In a statement to Good Morning America, Sarah and Todd Palin offered a measured response to the news:

As parents, we obviously want what is best for our children, but Bristol is ultimately in charge of determining what is best for her and her beautiful son. Bristol believes in redemption and forgiveness to a degree most of us struggle to put in practice in our daily lives. We pray that, as a couple, Bristol and Levi's relationship matures into one that will allow Tripp to grow up graced with two loving parents in his life.

Here's how the rest of the Web is reacting:

  • Bad Decision, Bristol, writes JammieWearingFool: "I'm sure Sarah Palin will say all the right things as a mother, but considering what a lowlife Levi Johnston has been, you've really got to question her daughter's judgment. How long until this marriage crumbles and this punk is running to the tabloids to dish some dirt?"
The intrigue in this story doesn't come only from the reuniting of Tripp's parents, but from Bristol's following quote regarding her mother's approval "It is intimidating and scary just to think about what her reaction is going to be. Hopefully she will jump on board."

This new wrinkle of Bristol currying mom's favor is likely to not only play into a 'family values' narrative, but also portray Palin in light that many voters can connect with - that family life can at times be messy and imperfect, but still work out for all involved.
  • Answer Me This, Bristol, implores Allahpundit at Hot Air: "Given the obvious interest mom's enemies have in using Levi to paint her as some sort of Springer-esque chillbilly freak show, might there perhaps have been a more politic way to break this news than with ... a splashy feature in a checkout-counter tabloid? No wonder she finds it 'scary' to imagine what Sarah's reaction will be."
  • Levi's Got a Long Slog Ahead, writes the Politics Daily staff: "Johnston may have a tough time making himself welcome in the Palin family. Last fall he took numerous well-publicized swipes at his future mother-in-law, claiming she had called her infant son Trig (who has Down syndrome) 'retarded.' The former Alaska governor responded that anyone who posed for Playgirl - as Levi had done -- would 'say and do anything for even more attention.' In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she dubbed him "Ricky Hollywood" and called his "aspiring porn" career 'heartbreaking.'"
  • What This Says About Palin's 2012 Ambitions Ben Smith at Politico cuts it both ways: "It's evidence that she is running to the degree that she's cleaning up a messy family situation. It's evidence that she's not because, yet again, her efforts to emerge as a serious person are drowned out her daughter's exclusive dish to USWeekly."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.