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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Asset or liability?

Last week, the Candie's Foundation announced at a media event that Bristol Palin is their new "ambassador." The organization was founded to raise awareness and discuss ways to combat teen pregnancy after the fashion company, as the New York Times put it, came "under fire from critics who accused [Candie's] of dressing high schoolers like tarts." Meanwhile, Candie's product spokesmodel Britney Spears is promoting, well, you probably already know what Britney Spears is promoting.

All well and good — unless maybe your mom may want to run for President of the United States someday.

As any politico as experienced as Sarah Palin surely knows, either your children are off limits to the press and public, like the youngster Obama girls, or they step into the spotlight and takes their chances, like the adult Meghan McCain.

Politically, the pertinent question about the 18-year-old Bristol's new spokesperson status is: would it be an asset or a liability to a future Palin for President campaign? Would Bristol perhaps had as much or greater effect on teens had she mounted a lower-profile statewide campaign to her fellow Alaskans, under the national media radar? What were the identified political risks of Bristol's signing on with Candie's? Strictly from a brand management standpoint, what would George W. Bush or Barack Obama have done under similar circumstances?

Like it or not, every move by every Palin family member, from her guy Todd to little Trig and into the outer branches of the family tree, is being and will be examined by the opposition (outside and inside the Republican Party) for possible political advantage. If she hasn't already, Gov. Palin may face a Carrie Prejean moment, in which she must decide which is more important: making a statement or winning the crown (and then making the statement).

As the New York Times demonstrates, all the media has to do is cast doubt: "But when a teenager goes out on this kind of mission, you have to wonder where her parents’ heads were. What does this say about Sarah Palin’s judgment? Although we’ve sort of answered that question before."


  1. Personally, I think that the positive publicity that Bristol generated with her stance on the abstinence issue has gone a long way to offset the negative publicity generated by Levi's tour of the talk shows. I think that it has helped to assuage the ugliness that the liberal media tried to infuse through their giddy coverage using Levi and his family as prawns.

    Sarah Palin has beautiful, well-mannered children. Children make mistakes, and the Palin family handled this one well. It was the news media that made a brouhau out of it. The elite news media will do anything in their power to besmear and besmirch Sarah Palin because they know that she has the potential to lead this country in the right direction, back to the values and ideals of our forefathers.

  2. Two points.

    Bristol: She's an adult now and a mother. It's her decision.

    Governor Palin: She isn't as concerned about what misguided people might say as she is about doing what's right for people. That's not a platitude. I've followed her closely and I have no doubt at all that she considers herself to be an honorable servant of the people. An "honorable servant of the people" is not even remotely like being a "puppet" motivated by polls. It is one thing to be merely "of the people" (do what the majority want) and another to be an "honorable" servant of the people (do what the people want provided that it is the right thing to do under our basic law.)

    Palin detractors often confuse (or perhaps, in some cases, intentionally distort) her ear for the people's voice with a misguided desire for power through pleasing people. They either do not understand or do not agree with the form of government called a "Republic" which is where the people rule, but under LAW. An executive must serve the people but also enforce the law.

    I listen to Palin as much as I possibly can and I am convinced that she understands UTTERLY what a Republic is and I believe she is passionate about preserving this form of government. Indeed, it is what the founders gave to us.

    The people rule, but the government is constrained from harming the people thanks to basic law (see our founding documents).

    "Politics" is secondary to Palin. Trust me. I know this about her because I listen closely. I am convinced that she would only run for President if she believed it would be in the best interest of the nation. She is an "honorable servant", not a power-broker who runs things based on political advantage.

    In short, my personal opinion based on what I understand about Governor Palin is that the Candies campaign is not a "Governor Palin" thing at all. It is a "Bristol Palin" thing and she has both her parents' support for what SHE has decided to do because it is a noble act -- political consequences be damned.

  3. I think we (Palin supporters) all very much respect Bristol and what she has chosen to do. Yet Palin the politician cannot always be Palin the pure ideologue in today's hostile cultural, political, and media environment.

    The experiences of Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN6), whom I have known since before she was elected to the Minnesota state Senate, are relevant. Michele too is a strong conservative elected representative, perhaps even more outspoken than Gov. Palin if less famous. She is a wonderful, Godly woman with a wonderful family who has been excoriated and practically stalked by her political opponents, especially in blue Minnesota. This of course is a measure of her integrity and courage to say and do the right things. She is serving her second term in the U.S. House, an election she nearly lost due to a statement on MSNBC's Hardball, taken out of context and distorted just weeks before the election. Michele does not shy away from controversy in service to her district and conservative values, but she understands, perhaps now more than before, that being right isn't enough. First you have to get elected.

    Look at Pres. Obama, he says what people want to hear, then he spends the political capital to do whatever he wants. I am not suggesting that Gov. Palin acts like Obama, far from it. But how can you separate the politician from politics?