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.”

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

February 2015

The War of the World

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Sharp Edge of Life

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Great Republican Land Heist

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Captive Market

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Day of the Sea

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Great Republican Land Heist·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The wholesale transfer of public lands to state control may never be achieved. But the goal might be more subtle: to attack the value of public lands.”
Photograph by Chad Ress
Article
The Sharp Edge of Life·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The struggle of the novelist has been to establish a measure, a view of human nature, and usually, though not always, as large a view as belief and imagination can wring from observable facts.”
Photo by Eddie Adams/Associated Press
Article
Captive Market·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Fear of random violence lives on, but the reality is that violent-crime rates have dropped to levels not seen since the early Seventies."
Photograph by Richard Ross
Article
The Day of the Sea·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Fifteen judges will then sit together in a wood-paneled room, in a city thousands of miles from the Andes, and decide whether the ocean Bolivia claims as its right will at last be returned to it.”
Photo by Fabio Cuttica/Contrasto/Redux
Post
The Art of Outrage·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Illustration by Art Spiegelman

Estimated total calories members of Congress burned giving Bush’s 2002 State of the Union standing ovations:

22,000

A fertility scientist named Panayiotis Zavos announced that he had created human-cow embryos that were theoretically viable, but denied that he planned to allow such a hybrid to be implanted in a woman’s womb. “We are not trying to create monsters,” he said.

A statistician determined that the five most common first names among New York City taxi drivers are Md, Mohammad, Mohammed, Muhammad, and Mohamed.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today