Murphy Brown and Bristol Palin

Just one more point on this front, and then I'll let it drop. Here's Weisberg's concluding paragraph:

Remember Murphy Brown? I always thought the former vice president was on solid ground when he called it morally irresponsible to encourage women without the TV character's resources to embark on child-rearing on their own. In today's GOP, Quayle wouldn't condemn Murphy Brown. He'd call her up to the stage and salute her for choosing life.

First of all, Murphy Brown was a television character, whose pregnancy - and the message it sent - was manufactured by the show's writers, making it a slightly more appropriate target for public criticism than an actual pregnancy being experienced by an actual teenage girl. Second, and more importantly, Dan Quayle's actual complaint was that Murphy Brown was "mocking the importance of fathers" by having its heroine decide to bear her child on her own rather than marrying the father, and treating that decision as a "lifestyle choice" worth celebrating. Whereas Bristol Palin, as you may have heard, is engaged to marry the father of her child. Not only are the two situations not parallel cases, from the point of view of the issues Quayle was highlighting they're actually the reverse of one another.