by Max Brantley
A St. Petersburg columnist, Robyn Blummer, considers the "family values" bloc:
I find so-called "values voters" to be completely inscrutable.
First their "values" seem to revolve entirely around their opposition to: abortion rights, promiscuity, gay marriage, sex-education and church-state separation. Values like compassion, tolerance, generosity and humanity do not apply.
But then, when these voters are confronted with politically conservative candidates who seem to defy the Christian Right's rigid prescription for moral behavior, they shrug. No biggie.
When I look at the ticket of McCain-Palin, I see a guy who was a playboy, who left his first wife after she stood by him, raising his children, until his release as a POW. I see a VP pick who gave birth a mere eight months after eloping, whose husband has had trouble with the concept of a designated driver, and whose pregnant 17-year-old daughter is unmarried.
But what really burns my begonias is not this explicit hypocrisy. It is that the Christian Right is positively jubilant over the fact that Sarah Palin's daughter intends to keep the baby and get married, yet conservatives have helped to ensure that few young people have that as a viable option.
The life prospects of a teenage couple with a child and only high school degrees have collapsed in this modern economy. Things that might have prevented this deterioration such as support for unionism, fair trade policies, a minimum wage that constitutes a living wage and universal health care, have all been anathema to the Republican Party.
This reminds that I forgot to mention in the item about the need for comprehensive sex education that the high teen pregnancy rate that accompanies the failure of abstinence-only sex education inevitably produces a higher abortion rate.
And speaking of shotgun weddings, Frank Rich writes about John McCain's hookup with Palin, yet another outward sign of the dishonesty of his maverick label. (It includes a handy check-off of the lies about her record.) He also remarks on her near non-existent vetting by McCain.
By hurling charges of sexism and elitism at any easily cowed journalist who raises a question about Palin, McCain operatives are hoping to ensure that whatever happened in Alaska with Sarah Palin stays in Alaska. Given how little vetting McCain himself has received this year — and that only 58 days remain until Nov. 4 — they just might pull it off.