Victim, Jr.

Political discourse in this country would be considerably improved by a convention that the children of politicians be neither seen nor heard on the airwaves or in newsprint. They are often used by their parents, abused by their parents’ enemies, and denied normal lives. If it were up to me, in fact, I’d extend the ban to the spouses of politicians, or at least those who would prefer to maintain entirely private lives (e.g., Dr. Judith Steinberg Dean, who was dragged into the 2004 presidential cycle very much against her own, and her husband’s, wishes).

I say all this after discovering that Bristol Palin has begun a new blog, which has now been deployed to fire a direct shot at President Obama’s supportive call to Sandra Fluke after she was dragged through the mire by Rush Limbaugh. I wasn’t surprised, since just the other day Bristol’s mother invoked her starstruck opinion of the coolness of Andrew Breitbart in the process of taking up the late smear-master’s campaign to drag the self-same President Obama through the mire.

Sadly, Ms. Palin has chosen to adopt her mother’s favorite tactic of trumping everyone else’s pain with her own alleged victimization, in this case, of course, by Bill Maher. Fluke is apparently not entitled to the president’s sympathy unless he extends it first to Bristol Palin, and presumably to her mother, since it’s Maher’s nasty words about Sarah that is the center of the whole ridiculous right-wing effort to defend Limbaugh because liberals talk nasty, too.

I genuinely felt sorry for Bristol Palin in 2008. She certainly did not choose to become a global celebrity when the McCain-Palin campaign trotted her and her siblings out at countless 2008 campaign appearances and exposed her in particular to scrutiny as a one-dimensional symbol of shame and redemption. She did nothing to earn the mockery and hostility of her mother’s critics, or the patronizing admiration of her mother’s fans. She might, of course, have returned to a very private life after that campaign, instead of making her private life the center of a public career as a sexual abstinence advocate, reality-TV star, and Dancer With the Stars. But let’s say all that was part of the original deal, and cut her some more slack.

Now, though, it appears she is hell-bent on becoming Victim, Jr., and a fully-fledged member of Sarah Palin, Inc. Soon I suppose we will be treated to her pithy views on the full range of issues of the day, since Bill Maher gave money to the Super-PAC of Barack Obama, which makes Bristol an expert on All-Things-Obama just like her mom–and Andrew Breitbart.

Of all Sarah Palin’s much-publicized grievances, the most understandable is her anger at people who gratuitously attacked her children to hurt her. But who’s engaged in gratuitous attacks now? Mama Grizzly really ought to protect this particular cub by encouraging her to pursue some other path in life than right-wing politics.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.