Candidates' Children are 'Off Limits' Unless Campaigning for Conservative Mother

Politics & Views 21

Sarah Palin and her children

During Presidential election cycles, much is written about the candidates' children on the campaign trail. The general consensus is often feigned indignation that children are even being mentioned, with hand-wringing and calls of "children are off-limits; keep the families out of it!" Unless, of course, the candidate is a Conservative, particularly a Conservative woman.

Shattering the glass ceiling? Not in their cases. As punishment for being icky old conservative dames not molding to the caricature of conservatives, which seems to be some sort of combination of Footloose and barefoot and pregnant Stepford Wives, they will be vilified -- along with their children. The most blatant and reprehensible example of this is, of course, Sarah Palin

For many, For The Children (tm) and For The Women (tm) is just words. You see, it's totally cool to demonize and demean 'the wrong kind' of woman. It's even no big whoop at all to make fun of her children, as long as you think their mom has cooties. Sarah Palin is just a girl and not even the right kind of girl! She doesn't hyphenate her name and does not limit herself to caring about topics the left has assigned as 'woman' topics. Egads!

The garbage spewed at Sarah Palin's family was particularly egregious. Her son Trig, who has Down syndrome, was the focus of revolting attacks. MSNBC did a "Top Ten" bit listing reasons why America is obsessed with Sarah Palin. Reason number one was 'family drama that makes you feel better about your own.' Get it? You are totally better than they are, those rubes! Oh, the holier-than-thou hilarity! 

Her uterus and the uterus of her teenage daughter were the focus of not only inappropriate and insane questions, but were the focus of investigations by Forensic Uterine Expert Andrew Sullivan and his new side-kick, author Joe McGinniss. From the moment she was announced as John McCain's running mate, the media fell all over themselves to prove that she couldn't be a Vice-President while having a fancy womb and being a mommy. Gee, I don't recall anyone asking Joe Biden if he would have time to parent his children what with all the hair plug maintenance, Amtrak train riding and researching speeches to plagiarize. I also don't recall anyone berating the Obamas for making campaign appearances with their daughters, nor should they have.

But, for Palin, it continues to this day. Even the latest fluff piece this election cycle about the children of candidates hitting the campaign trail included the Palins. And had to snarkily add 'even after news broke that teenage Bristol was pregnant' to the snippet about Palin's children on the trail. Hint y'all: Sarah Palin is not running. 

Look, women can do it all. We can be mommies and run for office at the same time. We are good like that. It's called multi-tasking and it's second nature to us. Our children can, and should, hit the campaign trail with us; why on earth would we want to leave them behind? I would not (don't worry; I've no plans to run. Whew!) All women should demand that women of every political stripe be able to campaign with their children without fear of being attacked. Shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.



This post is part of a weekly conversation with our 5 Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. Read the original question and find links to all their responses here: Candidates' Kids on the Campaign Trail: Good Idea or Bad?


Image via tgaume/Flickr

2012 election, feminism, discrimination, in the news, media, michelle obama, politics, sarah palin, white house


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bills... billsfan1104

Yup absolutly.  conservative women and tehir family are always "fair game", because they "put their children out there".  But other democrat mother will put their children "out there", and they are praised and applauded when they do. 

As for Sarah Palin and her family, I am done saying anything because it will never change, and you are beating a dead horse.  Its ok to call her names, trash her daughter and most of all trash her son, and even some of the Stir bloggers participate or worse yet,  applaud this behavior from their fellow writers.  They detest her and hate her and yet they cannot say why without talking about her issues or beliefs.  All people can say is that she is ignorant or stupid, but they have nothing to back it up. 

Torra... TorranceMom

Yet another example of the Left keeping it classy . . .

dreab... dreabug23

I am as liberal as they come and think that Sarah Palin is the devil herself, but I would never, ever take a shot at her children. To say that the left is the only side that takes shots at children of political candidates is just not accurate. Have we forgotten Chelsie Clinton?

Littl... LittleFrogsMA

I can't recall ANYONE ever asking a male candidate how they could be President or VP with small children in the home.


That was asked of Sarah Palin and following the gross sexism of that year's Democratic Primary, it was depressing, disenchanting and disgusting.

lovey... loveyoualready

 I think plenty of people can back up their statements about Sarah Palins lack of intelligence. I dont believe her kids should be ridiculed though. But come on! People attack Srah Palin because of her incredible ignorance and John McCains blatant, obvious attempt to appeal to a larger demographic by choosing a woman.....any woman to be his vp candidate regardless of her lack of qualifications. Watch her interview with Katie Couric. But back onto your point, I havent come to notice this but I am burnt out on politics and all the bs the media outlets Republicans and Democrats say about eachother but if they are saying negative things about their kids that are uncalled for or malicious or purely inappropriately hateful that is just downright wrong. No matter what political party you belong to. I am a democrat and I am do not approve of that behaviour at all so please dont paint a picture of liberal minded people doing this. There are sick people in every political party.

Izla Izla

I have never bashed her children or her family and fully believe that people shouldn't talk about other people's children, but Sarah Palin is an idiot. AND Let me back it up for you.

1.  "As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border." --Sarah Palin, explaining why Alaska's proximity to Russia gives her foreign policy experience, interview with CBS's Katie Couric, Sept. 24, 2008

2. "He who warned, uh, the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms, uh, by ringing those bells, and um, makin' sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed." --Sarah Palin, botching the history of Paul Revere's midnight ride, June 3, 2011

3. "But obviously, we've got to stand with our North Korean allies." --Sarah Palin, after being asked how she would handle the current hostilities between the two Koreas, interview on Glenn Beck's radio show, Nov. 24, 2010  - by far my favorite.

She's an idiot.




nonmember avatar Norman


nonmember avatar Cococandy34

I agree with Izla. There's so much proof showing that Sarah is an idiot and not much proof showing she isn't. Anyway, while I believe you shouldn't bash her or anyone else's family, I sort of understand why people do. Her daughter made some bad choices and all the info about her marriage was in the news years ago. Conservatives pride themselves on being such role models, so for her to have a life most people wouldn't envy has made her a target. Just because her family life is in the news shouldn't make it public domain to trash, but there's some rude people out there. Anyway, I don't see a need to take a shot at her family when there are plenty of stupid quotes out there that are actually about politics. So, once again, I agree with Izla.

jagam... jagamama0710

I appreciate that even though you are very clearly conservative, you stayed away from saying "all democrats do this" because that's complete bullshit.

I agree with Izla and Cococandy34. 

heath... heather0131

I am surprised that, so far no one has commented on WHY some have felt it acceptable to comment on her children.  I do not believe it is because she is conservative or because she is female.  The reason why some felt it ok to discuss her kids is because Palin herself threw her kids into the spotlight.  She had them on the trail.  She invoked her kids to substantiate her stances.  A little digging into her claims about her family led to some half truths and flat out lies told by Palin. 

If kids are off limits, it goes both ways.  She should not trot them out to validate her claims.  By doing this, she opened the door for the media to discuss the children. 

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