Washington Babylon — September 1, 2008, 9:03 pm

What Would Newt Do?

From James Wolcott:

Jake Tapper asks: “What would the response be if Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and his wife Michelle had a pregnant unmarried teenage daughter?”

I can answer that. Mona Charen, Ann Coulter, and Michelle Malkin would sprout bat wings and fangs and start divebombing, Peggy Noonan would issue a pained sigh that would ruffle nun’s robes from here to Hoboken, Laura Ingraham and Bill Bennett would engage in a finger-wagging contest to condemn our loose licentious liberal culture, and Jennifer Rubin at Commentary’s Contentions would crash into the wall doing cartwheels.

Bristol Palin should be left alone, but Wolcott is dead-on about conservative hypocrisy on the story. Just think back to 1994 and the story of Susan Smith, who drowned her two children. Then-Congressman Newt Gingrich was not exactly reluctant in milking that story for political purposes. “I think that the mother killing the two children in South Carolina vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting and how much we need to change things,” he said. “The only way you get change is to vote Republican.” (As it turned out, “Smith had been molested as a young girl by her stepfather, Beverly Russell, a big Republican leader in South Carolina…. At Smith’s trial Russell admitted to having sex with her two months before the murders.)

And Wolcott’s also right about the real significance of the current soap opera, namely that it raises questions about “McCain’s judgment, Sarah Palin’s reproductive stance, the paucity of what we actually know about the governor herself.”

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