Sep 042008
Authors: The Daily Nebrasan Editorial Board

(U-WIRE) On Monday, the McCain-Palin campaign announced that Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant, and is going to marry the father of her unborn child.

News like this makes politicos, especially those in the attack-dog role, salivate. Some on the left immediately began floating criticism of Gov. Palin’s qualifications and judgment.

Her daughter’s pregnancy could be used to strike and unsettle the Republican Party base of social conservatives, who have long pushed for abstinence-only education in public schools.

While this issue would likely not be a deciding factor for the majority of voters, it could be used as a wedge issue to discredit Gov. Palin and make her more vulnerable to other attacks.

Those on the conservative side of the political spectrum quickly became outraged, saying that Gov. Palin’s private family life should be left as just that – private, no business of either the media or politicians.

Barack Obama agreed. On Tuesday, Obama came out with a strongly worded statement against any attacks on Bristol Palin.

“I think people’s families are off-limits” to political attacks, he said.

We applaud his effort. Attacks on character are an unavoidable part of the political process. But attacks on a politician’s family, especially when used to denigrate the candidate, are unethical in the highest.

If only the Republicans could follow Obama’s lead.

In prepared remarks released to the media, Mitt Romney’s Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention included an attack on Michelle Obama’s patriotism, referencing a statement she made about the first time she truly felt proud to be an American.

The comment will be used in a character attack on her husband.

This is hypocrisy at its worst.

Families are often unwilling participants in political campaigns, especially presidential campaigns.

Their names, backgrounds and reputations are dragged through the mud in the name of political expediency and getting the upper hand.

The harm to these family members cannot be overstated. Unlike their family member in politics, they typically are not used to the harsh attacks that are far too common in modern politics.

Family members should be off-limits to the venom of national politics, regardless of age and regardless of political affiliation.

The media and politicians ought to treat family issues with the utmost respect and deference to the privacy of the family unit.

But while some, like Obama, choose the high road, others will inevitably choose the low road. Those who choose the low road of personal family attacks should be disavowed by their party, rather than embraced on a national stage.

This is an ugly kind of politics and is hopefully not a harbinger of things to come before November.

Shame on you, Mitt Romney.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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