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September 3, 2008

RNC Wednesday Wrap-Up: Family Values



With the McCain’s and the Palin’s well aware of the camera’s eye, Cindy taking full advantage; Sarah Palin highlighting her immediate family and extended family; and the Governor also promising an advocacy role for parents with special needs children, baby Trig (held by sister, Piper) has definitely become a central prop in this campaign.

(screen shots: MSNBC)

  •[email protected]/ DennisQ

    Usually when we hear the term “Family Values” there’s an implicit reference to traditional family values. But that’s not what’s going on here. There’s nothing traditional about the mother of five children leaving them behind while she goes off to save the world. I don’t think McCain-Palin locks up the tradition-minded vote at all. Hillary ran as the mother of a grown child and the wife of a retiree. Strictly speaking, the Clintons don’t need Hillary the way the Palins need Sarah.
    Is Todd Palin really on board with this? He’s going to be the nurturing parent while Sarah’s off campaigning in Osceola or Cucamonga, but we don’t see pictures of him holding the baby. He seems to be accepting of the situation, but he doesn’t seem as enthusiastic as candidates’ spouses usually are. He’s not a professional, he’s working class. How does he feel being an adjunct to her career?
    I expect some backlash from tradition-minded people who feel the Palin crusade undermines their values. Yes, Sarah has important work to do in Washington, but she can’t bring her family along without uprooting them. Ya picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille. Four hungry children and a crop in the field . . .

  • mj

    It’s hard to believe how they exploit their family like this. Even Palin’s son who’s going to Iraq soon.. Putting his name, face, unit and where he’ll be located out there like they did, makes him a target for the enemy and will also never be treated as equal by his peers..

  • g

    Cindy looks uncomfortable holding the baby.

  • lemondloulou

    My take on the baby: it’s 10 o’clock at night. Why isn’t that 4-month old kid in bed?

  • ketura

    My husband’s great question: Why is everyone else holding that baby and not his father? My husband was appalled. (Mr. Dude Palin did take the baby when Sarah Palin took the stage, but mostly the baby’s seen in Bristol’s arms or another daughter’s.) The narrative here is clearly about mothers and daughters, about pregnancy and birth — not about how men father children. (Altho maybe that narrative will come with the arrival of Levi.)

  • mj

    How did the baby stay asleep the entire time? It had to be loud and with the bright lights…

  • PaminBB

    After reading how much Cindy’s outfit cost, no wondering she’s holding the baby so as to keep its mouth far away from her. You don’t want drool on a 300K outfit.

  • David

    It’s killing me to defend anything that happened there, but:
    The father was definitely holding the baby for a while.
    Why would the baby be in bed when his mom is talking about how she’ll represent special-needs kids in Washington? Of course he’s a prop.
    The best shot was the top one, which I believe is when the girl licked her palm in a big way and did the wet-hand comb-down on the baby’s head. I had a flashback to my own childhood.
    Somewhat later they showed another shot of the girl picking at something on the baby. We saw no more of the girl with baby after that.
    I thought it was much more interesting how much space Cindy kept between her and Todd most of the time.

  • jawbone

    Just a wee grammar suggestion: plurals of last names don’t use apostrophes (that’s for possessives). Two or more should be McCains and Palins. That’s all.

  • jawbone

    Ketura, I saw the father holding the baby quite a bit.

  • HarpoSnarx

    Cripes could’t the RNC shell out for a babysitter? Oh wait, cute baby boy to offset engaging Obama youngins’. Stoopid me (and sexist).

  • worriedmind

    I suppose there’s nothing especially cynical or disrespectful about using a 5 month old down syndromed infant as a stage prop. Yet another Republican example of all life being precious until it’s born. I too wonder how this kid managed to stay asleep while the crowd of however many tens of thousands roared and roared, with its own mother’s voice blasting from the speakers all around it’s little head and all the while it was being passed around like a bottle of cheap wine at an outdoor concert. Didn’t stir even once. Call me cynical but I’m actually wondering if it wasn’t sedated to keep the moment on script.

  • zzyzx

    It has been a mere seven days since we “set eyes on” Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, and her brood. In that short span of time, she and the GOP have succeeded in making that tiny baby an object. Not a person. Not a baby. Not a Down’s syndrome baby. But an object, to be passed around, shown off, obliquely referred to in the abstract. I was horrified the first day, as were many others, that he was even subjected to the hoopla of the campaign. It has only gotten worse.
    I have had contact with two families with Down’s syndrome children. In one family, the child was mainstreamed through high school. Even with that relatively high-functioning ability, it took an inordinate amount of the mother’s attention. She worked at a low-level clerical job and managed to be home when the child returned from school. In the other family, the child could not be mainstreamed and the father gave up his job to move to a city that had a developmental school for such children. I tell you this so that you can have some idea of the amount of care and attention needed. I did have an acquaintance with another family who kept a severely retarded child (not sure this was Down’s) in the home and all the attention of the family was focused on that child, to the detriment and inattention to the needs of the other children (there were two). This can be a difficult and overwhelming situation. It appears to me, superficially, that this family is not dealing with this problem in an effective manner.
    worriedmind: I’m wondering, too. Seems to me, though, that the baby might just be a tad less functioning than most. I’m just sayin’……….

  • sdv

    does todd ever hold his baby?

  • mj

    I’m thinking the baby was sedated too.. No way of knowing of course, but how many babies have you seen would stay asleep the entire time while being in a loud place with lots of people and bright lights..
    the husband did hold the baby.. Actually it seemed they kept passing the baby around waiting for their photo op to be on tv, then passed it down..

  • Samantha

    It surprised me too. It didn’t seem right to have an infant there so late, and with so much jostling that can happen at large gathering like that. But then, oddly, they started passing the baby around like a football. When Sara Palin talked about Todd, her husband, he had the baby at the time, and he rather abruptly dumped the baby off to their smallest child. What is she, 5 or something? I couldn’t believe that. What if she dropped the baby. What if she did something more than just pick at his face? And the father wasn’t even leaning over protectively to check up on the baby, which is what you would normally do. He never glanced back. He beamed while his wife talked about him, and then stood up and waved. Maybe he figured he needed to show a little machismo with all that around him, to show he’s more than mr. mom. But still….it was so strange.
    By the way, does anybody know why they keep referring to Sara Palin as “Ms Palin?” Isn’t she married to him? Hillary is always referred to as Mrs. Clinton.

  • jean

    Interesting that the only one interacting with the infant is his little (older) sister. Everyone else looks like they are holding a sack of potatoes. Maybe they are, but the kids only chance is one on one interaction, which he doesn’t seem to be getting.
    Papa Todd appears to have been more interested in the local action in the Alaskan government:
    Reading this stuff does remind one of Peyton Place, or…?90210? Never watched the zipcode, but whoa! PP was weird!!!

  • David

    I really want to stick to the visuals here, which is what this blog is about, but can I just step out for a moment to say that this is not a parenting blog? I have a 3-month old who would TOTALLY sleep through that speech. He sleeps through anything. And it’s my experience, it’s anecdotal, and it doesn’t mean shit. I don’t think any individual’s experience can be applied to any others in these issues.
    By trying to criticize the parenting of the child, you’re really missing the point: the baby is an important part of this narrative. He (he?) will be posed according to the instructions of the McCain campaign and McCain and Palin’s handlers. Parenting has nothing to do with it.

  • jean

    Taking into consideration all the pictures I have seen of this child, NO ONE is doing the baby thing. NO ONE is cooing and clucking to or at this child. Yes he’s a prop, but that’s what I see beyond that fact.

  • Shack

    What about when she was getting off the plane – she was practically dangling the baby in one arm like ti was a sack of flour. She’s a politician she knew she was going to shake hands – why didnt her husband carry his child so she could meet and greet??

  • gene b.

    I worked as an Early Interventionist with special Needs children for six years and I was amazed and appalled with what I saw last night.Downs Syndrome children almost always have problems regarding their neck and the way this child was being handled was inapproriate even if there were no problems of any sort. It is totally inappropriate for a child as young and small as the youngest daughter to be carrying the baby around on a crowded stage with little if any adult supervision.If Governor Palin truly intends to be an advocate for Special Needs children she should model effective parenting by interacting with her child.

  • rochelle

    I have never been able to hold any baby in my arms without kissing a cheek or a forehead.
    I’ve never seen any of them give that little boy the tiniest amount of affection.
    It seems that Sarah is a firm believer that patting a babies back is a sign of love.

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