It's bad for America that John McCain plucked Sarah Palin from semi-obscurity and turned her into a walking, breathing incarnation of right-wing grievance. But now Bristol Palin is getting attention in the blogosphere, and I'll be honest here -- as much as I dislike Sarah Palin's presence in public life, I feel mainly pity for her daughter.
I think I realized this a couple of weeks ago when Bristol was still competing on "Dancing With The Stars." As the final episode neared, she reportedly cast a possible victory in political terms: "It would be like a big middle finger to all the people out there who hate my mom and hate me."
And I thought: "I don't hate you Bristol."
Bristol hasn't done anything. That's ok! She's very young! She's not supposed to have done anything yet! She's just a girl who became a single mother at almost the precise moment her mother emerged as a political icon. And that means a bunch of attention has been directed at her. And she, like her feckless ex-boyfriend, has decided to leverage that attention into even more attention -- because, well, who wouldn't?
I might change my tune on this in a couple of years. If Bristol Palin continues on this path, she'll end up being much like her mother -- with constant railing against the "lamestream media" -- but without even Sarah Palin's meager record of accomplishment. If that happens, she'll be only grievance, and probably an intolerable presence in public life. But the real tragedy is that she's in public life at all. I don't hate you Bristol; I'm sad that I even know who you are, and I'm said that millions of people have an opinion about you. If it were up to me, you'd raise your child -- and grow up a little more yourself -- in obscurity. For your own sakes, not ours. I'm sorry that can't happen.