Scrutinize candidates; leave families out of it

Barack Obama and most Republicans are in agreement regarding the revelation that Sarah Palin’s unmarried, 17-year-old daughter is pregnant: As political fodder, it’s out of bounds. They’re right.

“It has no relevance to Governor Palin’s performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president,” Obama said Monday, “and so I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories.”

How John McCain’s running mate responds to the inevitable coverage, though, and the other arduous tests of a national campaign, is not only relevant, it’s crucial information for an American electorate that knows uncomfortably little about her. Her performance under fire for the next two months — beginning tonight when she addresses the Republican National Convention — will also say a lot about McCain’s judgment.

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee rolled the dice by picking Palin, who has been Alaska’s governor for less than two years after two terms as mayor of a town only slightly larger than Stanwood. McCain did so after only two face-to-face meetings, during which he presumably discerned in her not only the soul of a reformer, but the intelligence, vision and fortitude required to sit a heartbeat away from the presidency.

How candidates perform in a tough election campaign provides much of the basis for voters to make their own judgments. Palin’s family issues shouldn’t be under a microscope, but everything else about her should, including a legislative investigation of allegations that she abused her power as governor, details of her political and financial history, and her knowledge of national and international affairs.

Legitimate questions about Obama’s experience and readiness to be commander in chief will continue to be asked, too, and he’ll have to convince voters that he’s up to the job. But he has already survived an extremely challenging primary campaign against a seasoned and well-funded rival. His running mate, Joe Biden, has been tested through parts of two presidential campaigns and 35 years in the Senate. McCain has proven himself the same way. Palin is just starting that process.

That means being tested under the pressure of an intense spotlight. Only by seeing how well she handles that can voters get an idea of how she might do under the pressure of, say, staring down a serious military threat.

On that score, Sarah Palin is untested. The media and others should leave her family alone, but the nature of the office she seeks dictates that no scrutiny of the candidate herself can be considered out of bounds.

Talk to us

More in Opinion

FILE — In this Sept. 17, 2020 file photo, provided by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Chelbee Rosenkrance, of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, holds a male sockeye salmon at the Eagle Fish Hatchery in Eagle, Idaho. Wildlife officials said Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, that an emergency trap-and-truck operation of Idaho-bound endangered sockeye salmon, due to high water temperatures in the Snake and Salomon rivers, netted enough fish at the Granite Dam in eastern Washington, last month, to sustain an elaborate hatchery program. (Travis Brown/Idaho Department of Fish and Game via AP, File)
Editorial: Pledge to honor treaties can save Columbia’s salmon

The Biden administration commits to honoring tribal treaties and preserving the rivers’ benefits.

Editorial cartoons for Saturday, Sept. 30

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Eco-nomics: Climate report card: Needs more effort but shows promise

A UN report shows we’re not on track to meet goals, but there are bright spots with clean energy.

Comment: Child tax credit works against child povery; renew it

After the expanded credit ended in 2021, child poverty doubled. It’s an investment we should make.

Matthew Leger
Forum: Amenian festival shows global reach of vounteers

A Kamiak student helped organize a festival and fundraiser for the people of a troubled region.

Dan Hazen
Forum: Things aren’t OK, boomers; but maybe the kids are

Older generations wrote the rules to fit their desires, but maybe there’s hope in their grandchildren.

Comment:Transition to clean energy isn’t moving quickly enough

Solar energy and EV sales are booming but we have a long way to go to come near our global warming goal.

Patricia Gambis, right, talks with her 4-year-old twin children, Emma, left, and Etienne in their home, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in Maplewood, N.J. Gambis' husband, an FBI agent, has been working without pay during the partial United States government shutdown, which has forced the couple to take financial decisions including laying off their babysitter. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Editorial: Shutdown hits kids, families at difficult moment

The shutdown risks food aid for low-income families as child poverty doubled last year and child care aid ends.

Editorial cartoons for Friday, Sept. 29

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Most Read