So the news that Sarah Palin's 17 year old daughter is five months pregnant isn't going to hurt Palin's standing with the religious conservatives, because they are all about forgiving mistakes (unless you are a mentally retarded murderer, in which case you deserve to fry in the electric chair and burn in hell, but I digress). God knows, they've forgiven Bush plenty. In fact, they are willing to overlook any failing of someone who can credibly pretend to share their values. But independent, middle-of-the-road voters might see it a different way. We've had several years now of Republicans saying one thing and doing another with regards to sexual mores, particularly with their public anti-gay faces, and private, well, no need to go further with what they do with their faces in private. All that Larry Craig and Mark Foley and David Vitter stuff had to hurt the Republicans in '06 (if you want to shut a winger up on the subject of politics, just drop Larry Craig's name, and then listen to the crickets chirp). Here we have another one -- a socially conservative, "family values" Republican, who did such a fantastic job of parenting that her teenage daughter is knocked up, maybe not even for the first time. It just makes the Republicans look like hypocrites all over again.
I still think Palin was a good political gamble, but that's the problem: they vetted her from the standpoint of politics only; Palin the person hasn't been vetted at all, and she's looking worse and worse the more of her I see. She's probably going to be quite charming when she goes out on the campaign trail, but then, so was Mike Huckaby, a candidate with pretty much identical views who was rejected in a Republican primary. If Palin is given a fair public going-over, I think it's a good bet that the majority of the public will reject her, just as a majority of Republicans rejected Huckaby. With the media that we have, terrified of the "liberal" tag, and backpedaling after the savage, often sexist full frontal attack they made on Hillary, she almost certainly won't get a fair going over (she certainly hasn't thus far). That means her nutty, way-outside-the-mainstream views on a host of issues won't be discussed as they should, and so a little bit more wingnuttia becomes mainstreamed. And that was, almost certainly, one of the reasons they nominated Palin in the first place, knocked-up daughter and all.