I haven't checked any out of these shocking rumors being heavily flogged by anti-Palin parties such as Andrew Sullivan and Daily Kos for factuality, I just want to give you my impression of how they'll strike average Americans (especially average American women):
- Palin was already pregnant when she got married two decades ago!
Let's see, you're saying the beauty queen/point guard and the oilfield roughneck/Bering Strait fisherman couldn't keep their hands off each other, got pregnant, got married, had lots more kids, and are together 20 years later? Wow, that's the most appalling thing I ever heard.
- The governor didn't really just have a baby at 44, it's actually her teenage daughter's, but she's raising the baby as her own!
Gee, that never happened before in the history of the world ... except that's how Jack Nicholson, Bobby Darrin (see Kevin Spacey's nice biopic "Beyond the Sea"), Thomas Sowell (in a slightly more complicated version), and a quite a few less famous people were brought up. It lets the inexperienced teen finish her education and find a husband unencumbered by another guy's kid. The girl escapes being a "single mom" while maintaining a close relationship as an "aunt" with her child, as her experienced and better-financed mom oversees raising the kid. I'm not saying it's the only or ideal way to handle such matters, but more than a few people have chosen it as the best solution in a difficult situation. Indeed, it might help get Palin off the hook with the more maternal women who are uncertain about her going on the campaign trail so soon after having a baby.
As I said, I haven't checked into the facts regarding these rumors. I'm all in favor of as many people as possible checking out rumors as soon as possible (in sharp contrast to Barack Obama's 20-year-relationship with Jeremiah Wright, which the media paid almost no attention to until March 13, 2008 when the primaries were largely over). What I am saying is that a lot of Primarily Political People are clueless about how most people think.
Overall, what we can say for sure about Palin is: she Has A Life. In contrast to undersexed Hillary Clinton's cautious, cramped biography, Palin's life story just makes you feel sorry for poor Hillary.
The unanswered question, though, is whether, being a woman, Palin has too much of a life to have mastered her career skills enough. With a male executive with four or five kids, like, say, Mitt Romney, nobody worries about whether his having a life means he can't also rescue the Salt Lake City Olympics. We just assume that he has a wife who takes care of domestic concerns while he focuses on his career. But with a female executive with such a rich home life, can she really have been devoting enough of her attention to public life?
But, of course, while that's a good question, it's also a sexist one. I look forward to Obama and Biden trying to figure out how to handle it.