Sarah Palin has successfully crafted a strong public image as a social conservative diva–all God-n-Guns, with a dash of blindly ignorant golly gee charm popularized by the George W. Bush School of Political Leadership and Winning Elections.
Her opposition to sex education for young people suffered a troubling dose of reality last year in the form of her own unwed and pregnant teenage daughter, Bristol.
I thought this morning that the meteorologist in hell must be forecasting snow, after reading on ABC’s Radar blog that Palin told Greta Van Susteran in an interview broadcast last night that expecting abstinence from teenagers was “not realistic.” Further, Radar quotes Palin as saying that people need to “get beyond the ideal of abstinence.”
The ABC blogger who wrote the post must have been drunk or devious because Sarah Palin never said those things.
Greta Van Susteren was sitting down with Bristol Palin for the new mother’s first interview about the birth of her child Tripp, when the Alaska governor popped in to say hi.
I clipped the pertinent section of copy from ABC’s Radar piece about the discussion, just in case they wisely decide to revise it after I post this criticism.
But the words “not realistic” did not came out of Palin’s mouth during the conversation with Greta. That comment came in a confused jumble of half-formulated thoughts by Bristol, much earlier in the interview, before the governor arrived.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don’t want to pry to personally, but I mean, actually, contraception is an issue here. Is that something that you were just lazy about or not interested, or do you have a philosophical or religious opposition to it or…
BRISTOL: No. I don’t want to get into detail about that. But I think abstinence is, like — like, the — I don’t know how to put it — like, the main — everyone should be abstinent or whatever, but it’s not realistic at all.
Sarah Palin did later say “naive” when Greta was stumbling over her approach to discuss the abstinence issue, but it wouldn’t be a quotable comment without further clarification from the governor, since Van Susteren’s failure to ask a direct question makes the substance of the response unclear.
VAN SUSTEREN: So it’s not just an issue of abstinence. That’s one issue. But once we get beyond that — you know, because when you have the discussion of abstinence, it’s almost — I always sort of feel badly because there’s a wonderful child here and talking abstinence sounds — I mean, it sounds…
SARAH PALIN: (INAUDIBLE) naive (INAUDIBLE)
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it doesn’t even — it doesn’t even sound naive, but it doesn’t sound very nice because this is a wonderful young boy.
SARAH PALIN: Yes.
No idea why the Fox transcribers couldn’t understand Palin. On the video, she says “It sounds naive, Greta.”
Shortly afterwards, Sarah Palin does make an inarticulate comment about getting beyond the ideal of abstinence. In doing so, however, she is referring to her own specific family situation–getting beyond the ideal of abstinence and dealing with the situation if you have a pregnant child–not a general principle of her thinking, as Radar’s misquoting summary implies.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, the bigger topic is, OK, now the situation — the bigger question is, like, now — you know, how to make it go right.
SARAH PALIN: Exactly. Exactly. So you get behind that, that ideal of, yes, abstinence, you know? Hey, don’t get pregnant. Well, get beyond that when it happens, and then you deal with it. Life happens. Life happens and you deal with it, and Bristol’s dealing with it wonderfully.