Inordinate amounts of incongruous baby sightings during Wednesday's Republican National Convention played like a public relations staging of family values.
First up, Cindy McCain cradling a baby. Then it was Republican V.P. Nominee Sarah Palin's husband holding their infant son. Next, Palin's young daughter in baby holding central. When the little girl licked her fingers to smooth down the baby's hair, I half expected her to spit away smudges too. Luckily the camera pulled away before she could completely gross out the audience.
Whatever public relations coup the Republicans think all that baby holding accomplished, somebody better get a grip on reality.
Hot off the presses comes the glut of celebrity magazine covers featuring Sarah Palin with not so nice news about members of her family. Is there something maniacal about the camera angle? The reversed image of her pinched out a smile with "must hold eyes open" glare reminds me of those America's Next Top Model themed photo shoots, you know, the ones where contestants pose using wacky scenery in the background.
"Give me fierce, Sarah, your most fierce pose as new mother and governator! Oh yeah, that's fearless, yes. Love the 'we're gonna terminate you' look as baby obliviously grips a finger."
The GOP has been criticizing the media's treatment of Palin's unmarried pregnant 17-year old daughter, Bristol. Majority opinion says to lay off because Bristol is not in the public eye and didn't seek publicity for having sex out of wedlock. I couldn't disagree more. At least the media fire storm is understandable.
Prior to Palin's nomination, Obama family bashing was good sport. Conservative pundits claimed Michelle Obama was fair game because she made campaign appearances. They mercilessly played her controversial sound bites over and over until most people didn't care whether she was proud of her country for the first time or "really proud." Then they went to town on Access Hollywood's 4th of July family interview, claiming Obama exploited his young children for the sake of publicity. Don't get me started on the stink they continue to make over his personal associations.
So, why should Sarah Palin's personal associations be off limits?
For a woman whose face was supposed to evoke the embodiment of core conservative values, revelation of Bristol's pregnancy is more than just a fly in the ointment. It's shocking confirmation of another politician talking the talk but not walking the walk. For someone preaching abstinence and holier than thou fundamentals, Palin didn't do such a hot job of indoctrinating her own daughter. Worse, she's running on a platform seeking to dictate those values to the American people. Changes in public policy and the composition of the Supreme Court are on the line. The public has a right to know everything about the person advocating such changes.
Granted, the media is having a field day with Palin and the almost daily revelations of shocking surprises, including her husband's association with an independent political party and Pat Buchanan's assertions that she was a fundraising member of his brigade. But isn't that to be expected when the presidential election is less than 100 days away?
Pundits who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.