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McCain, Palin show inexcusable judgment

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On Sept. 1, Ruth Hochberger posted an article on the Huffington Post that was headlined: "Press: Back Off Bristol Palin!" In that piece Hochberger correctly offered some guidelines for the press about when it is okay to invade a person's privacy.

Then she said the press inappropriately crossed the line in reporting on Bristol Palin, presumptive VP nominee Sarah Palin's daughter. Hochberger said Bristol did not thrust herself in the public spotlight. Hochberger is correct in this logic. Unfortunately, it was the judgment of John McCain and Sarah Palin that put Bristol in the limelight.

Hochberger then lost her logic when he implied that further coverage of Sarah Palin's family choices should be completely off limits for the press. Hochberger's admonition to the press to back off on Sarah Palin is nonsense.

Of course the press should use McCain and Ms. Palin's utter lack of judgment in these matters as fodder for news coverage. The press did not impregnate Ms. Palin's daughter. The press is under no obligation to protect Ms. Palin's daughter when her own mother and John McCain failed to do so.

Both Sarah Palin and John McCain committed a plethora of gross misjudgments on Thursday, Aug.28. Such errors of judgment qualify as fair game for the press in regard to the coverage of Ms. Palin's expected grandchild.

If McCain knew about the circumstances of Palin's 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy and the apparent circumstances of Palin's own recent pregnancy, which he says he knew all about, Ms. Palin would never have been offered, or even be further considered for, the VP slot.

Any savvy politician would know that his judgment would be seriously questioned for making such a choice-especially since Ms. Palin had such a shallow grasp of any important national issues (i.e., foreign policy, health care, global warming, on any issue one chooses to raise).

A person who espouses so-called family values would know that Palin's pursuit of the vice-presidency would be at the expense of her children's needing her full support during the next few years. In choosing Ms. Palin, McCain knowingly did accept the implicit fact that Ms. Palin's daughter would be sacrificed on the alter of both his and Ms. Palin's egos. In other words, Bristol Palin's difficulties were exposed only for political ambition. That's a lack of judgment that is unforgivable.

If McCain did not know any of these facts, as I truly believe, he should never have "shot from the hip," as he admits he often does in his decision making, and chosen Ms. Palin. In spite of the spin from McCain's lobbyist advisors, it is obvious that Palin was never on his short list for VP.

He was adamant about having his long-time friend Sen. Joe Lieberman as his running mate and only on Thursday, Aug. 28, was he dissuaded from that intention. That day he scrambled to find a dramatic and electrifying VP choice.

In a fit of anger and impulsiveness, he selected a "babe" (Rush Limbaugh's description of Ms. Palin) to put before the Republican National Convention. That's poor judgment that can have disastrous effect on the republic.

The second person who showed a lack of judgment is Ms. Palin herself. She obviously knew her family's secrets and should have known that those secrets would have come to light in the press.

I cannot believe that any parent would subject their child to such international exposure for the parent's own political ambition. Ms. Palin should have known her child could suffer lifelong mental distress from such exposure. Ms. Palin's poor judgment is inexcusable.

Ms. Palin knew she was in no way qualified to step into the job of vice president. She is not prepared either by experience or education or personal thought to be vice president of the United States of America. The only qualification she has is that she is age-eligible.

She does not even know that the vice president's only Constitutional duties are 1) preside as president of the U. S. Senate and 2) be ready at a moment's notice to ascend to the highest office of the land.

That she did not flatly turn down McCain's offer of the job reflects such shallow judgment as to disqualify her from further consideration. It does matter who the vice-presidential candidates are.

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P. A. Triot is the pen name of a retired journalist.

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