April 4, 2009

Levi & Bristol: The Young and Stupid Leaking the Air out of the Palin Ballon

Levi Johnston recently went on the Tyra Banks show to talk about his relationship with Bristol Palin. On the show he admitted that he didn't always practice safe sex with Bristol and that he believed Sarah Palin knew they were having sex.

He was accompanied on the show by his mother and sister. As I recall, Mom Johnston is facing several drug related felony counts. So this is just an interesting family.

Right Wing News really took exception to Levi's interview.
They said it was evidence of no class and I'm inclined to agree. Though I would cut the kid some slack in that he is young and stupid and his family does not appear to win any awards for great responsibility or intelligence either.

Bristol issued a statement in response to the interview:

"Bristol did not even know Levi was going on the show. We're disappointed that Levi and his family, in a quest for fame, attention, and fortune, are engaging in flat-out lies, gross exaggeration, and even distortion of their relationship," says the statement from the Palin family rep, Meghan Stapleton. "Bristol's focus will remain on raising Tripp, completing her education, and advocating abstinence,"

Advocating abstinence? Uh uh, I don't think so.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't want to pry to personally, but I mean, actually, contraception is an issue here. Is that something that you were just lazy about or not interested, or do you have a philosophical or religious opposition to it or...

BRISTOL: No. I don't want to get into detail about that. But I think abstinence is, like -- like, the -- I don't know how to put it -- like, the main -- everyone should be abstinent or whatever, but it's not realistic at all.

I wouldn't suggest that a teenage unwed mother can't be an advocate for abstinence, though frankly, thats not my first choice to deliver such a message. But just like republicans are questioning whether or not Michael Steele's words of apology to Rush are to be believed after he said that his gaffe was "strategic", similar skepticism can be applied to this statement from Bristol given her interview with Van Susteren.

The continuing tabloid like saga of Bristol Palin is proof positive of the tremendous political mistake it was to use Bristol and her pregnancy to highlight Sarah Palin's conservative values. Because fundamentally, the picture it painted of Palin's family increasingly appears to be a falsehood. Levi suggested that Palin actually let the two of them sleep in the same bedroom on at least one occasion. If thats true, that reflects on Palin's judgment in a way that I dont' see how you can clean it up or square it with conservative moral values. Bristol is young and foolish, so the fact that she has a poorly formed commitment to abstinence is no revelation.

On the right, there is always this spirited defense of Sarah Palin based in part on her representation of superior conservative values, but this tabloid tale lets the wind out of that balloon. Conservative social values and mores are indeed superior, but Palin's family dynamics don't make her a superior example of them. She was put forward by the McCain campaign and now by the conservative movement as an icon of superior family values, but if you do that and the reality is really less than the representation, the man in the street will rightly question if any of the billing is on point.