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March 11, 2009

Palin’s Place (Revisited)

Bristol WHNPA Mara.jpg

Bristol and Levi Johnston have broken up? You’re kidding!

This recent award-winning image by photographer Melina Mara takes us back to Campaign ’08’s biggest snow job. I mean, it’s all there: the smirk; the fact sister Willow was mostly the one schlepping Trig; and the irony — since Bristol’s since had her own baby — of being left holding the bottle. (And then, contributing to the family values, remember First Dude’s tendency — out of the spotlight — to put all kinds of distance between himself and little Trig?)

(With a few more winning shots in mind) I imagine Sarah — simply a natural when it comes to children — must be thrilled.

Blasts from the not-so-distant past: 200903112118.jpg 200903112120.jpg 200903112123.jpg

(Update: Embarrassingly, and thanks to the correction of my readers — who I hope have otherwise at least partly acquired their sharp eyes from me — I have mistaken Willow for Bristol in the photo above. Please forgive my mistake and enjoy Ms. Mara’s excellent images, and have at it, as you will, in this look back at the Palin clan. With the correction, the photo realizes how then 17-year-old Bristol would soon be lugging her own baby (without Levi around). And, as for Willow (center), maybe Bristol’s experience might actually help her avoid being left holding a bottle.)

(image: Melina Mara: Winner of the White House News Photographers Association - 2nd Place/Political Portfolio)

  • funkalunatic

    Um, you’ve got them mixed up. Willow’s the one in the middle. Bristol’s on the right holding Trig Paxson Van Palin

  • DennisQ

    This family would be a lot better off if John McCain had simply left them alone. Sarah Palin was happy as the governor of Alaska, and Alaska was happy with its First Family. McCain’s choice to bring the national spotlight on these completely ordinary people was questioned even when he announced it. The passage of time makes that selection even more bizarre: What was he thinking?
    Here’s what would have happened to the Palin family if McCain had chosen say, Mitt Romney instead. The eldest daughter would have quietly gone to some clinic and terminated her unwanted pregnancy. Levi Johnston would have remained in the complete obscurity he deserves, and the First Dude would be amusing himself in nickel-and-dime local politics. Sarah Palin herself would be seen as a Rising Young Star of the Republican Party, an accolade she actually deserves.
    But dopey John McCain had to go and ruin it. Much as I dislike Mitt Romney, he would have been more of service to the Republican Party. He and his perfect wife and their perfect sons would have handled the spotlight a lot better than the Palins.

  • Progresssive Mom

    I agree with Dennis, but for one thing: the problem wasn’t that the Palins couldn’t handle the spotlight; it was that the spotlight showed what the Palins are as a family. The pregnancy, how “First Dude” handled their youngest child, the circumstances around the youngest child’s birth, the potential mother-in-law being arrested for drugs, and the combination of too much greed and not enough education in the Palin household looked far too over-the-edge for many Americans and many Republicans.
    And some of us looked at photos like the one here and saw not a cohesive family but rather a collection of individuals, each on his or her own.
    This whole thing was sad and, you’re right, what was McCain thinking?

  • yg

    here is one of dude with baby:
    another angle:
    not that i’m challenging your characterization of the dad. i’ve read accounts that does suggest he spends extended time away from the family, for work and play.

  • Michael Shaw (The BAG)


    The names in the post are correct. (You can check the right column of this Zimbio post or this family portrait from Daylife.) The pregnant Bristol (center) was 17 at the time, and younger sister, Willow, right, was 14.

  • mcmama

    Here are my thoughts, in no particular order:
    I always suspected that Bristol and Levi had ceased being an item long before Sarah started getting national attention.
    The whole ‘engagement’ thing was staged for the cameras (and likely paid for in some way – maybe via Levi’s ill-fated apprenticeship?) I would have been dumbstruck if those kids had actually gotten married.
    Remember the poll about who you’d want babysitting your kids, and Sarah got the largest number of votes? Ick. Creepy.
    These kids appear to be stage props to their mom’s ambition. Again – ick.
    Maybe the First Dude spends time away because of his wife, and not because of his son. Maybe the wife isn’t any nicer in private than she is in public.

  • Asta

    I really hate to say this, but Michael, you’re wrong on this one. Willow has a widow’s peak in her hairline. After googling for images of Bristol and Willow, I confirmed that Willow is the one in the middle of the image in your post. There is a remarkable likeness between the sisters, but Willow doesn’t appear as vapid as Bristol does. Lots of images of the girls on flickr.

  • asif

    I am quite positive your names are incorrect. In your lead photo it is most definitely Bristol holding Trig. The girl holding the bottle is Willow. Seriously. Google them both and you will see.

  • timolo

    Why is this even being discussed?
    People don’t even know which daughter is which. Gov. Palin did an outstanding job tearing herself down.
    Its a waste of time. Move along.
    Reading into the smirk of a teenager…OMG!

  • Michael Shaw (The BAG)

    funkalunatic, Asta, asif,
    Yes, the widows peak…. I totally missed the boat on this one. My apologies.

  • charlie

    Family of zombies.

  • Clem Guttata

    Maybe I’m totally off on the timing here, but wasn’t one of the reasons why Bristol was often holding Trig was to help hide her showing pregnancy before the word got out?
    I agree with all the comments above, McCain did Palin no favors. Then again, Palin returned none for McCain, either.

  • tallulahbankhead

    So John McCain forced Sarah Palin to say yes to his feeble minded offer to be the VP nominee? It’s kinda insulting to Sarah Palin to think that she’s not enough of an independent thinker to decide what is best for her career and family.
    Which is it — is she a maverick or the puppet of an ambitious politician who knew last year was his last shot at the White House?
    Zero sympathy.
    Tis a pity she didn’t understand that she would actually have to show voters why she was worthy of the invite.

  • cenoxo

    Trashy, n’est ce pas?

    Mercifully, our sense of propriety and style has been rescued by First Daughters Sasha and Malia:

    More adorable Inaugural moments at HuffPo.

  • Doktor

    so what? man leave the kids alone. You won the election and Palin was a good reason that the democrats won. During a campaign everythign is politicized but can’t you leave them alone and pu tyour hate eleswere. I consider myself a liberal but postings and comments like this make me remember that this was considered a derogatory term not so long ago

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