Nat Hentoff on Sarah Palin
Three days after she gave birth, Mrs. Palin was back in her Anchorage office with her husband and Trig. “I can think of so many male candidates,” she tells the AP, “who watched families grow while they were in office. There is no reason to believe a woman can’t do it with a growing family. My baby will not be at all or in any sense neglected.” Says the governor of Alaska: “I will not shirk my duties.” Taking her stand for life as a holder of high political office is all the more valuable in the face of the termination of fetal lives as not worth continuing before they can speak for themselves. Mrs. Palin’s stand also puts a searching light on the growing “futility” doctrine in hospitals which is affecting people of all ages.
Nancy Valko, a medical ethicist and intensive-care nurse I consult on these lives-worth-living debates, has emphasized that “with the rise of the modern bioethics movement, life is no longer assumed to have the intrinsic value it once did, and ‘quality of life’ has become the overriding consideration.” Because of Mrs. Palin’s reputation as a maverick, and her initial reduction of state spending (including pork-barrel spending), life-affirming Palin connects with voters. For these reasons, she has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate for Mr. McCain.
She would be a decided asset: an independent Republican governor, a woman, a defender of life against the creeping culture of death and a fresh face in national politics. She was described in “the Almanac of National Politics” as “an avid hunter and fisher with a killer smile who wears designer glasses and heels, and hair like modern sculpture.” Moreover, I doubt that she would engage in such campaigning, as Sen. McCain’s strongly implying that a Hamas terrorist saying he would like Barack Obama to be president thereby damages Mr. McCain’s opponent (though Mr. Obama has totally condemned Hamas). Still unknown is whether Mrs. Palin would be as flip-flopping as Mr. McCain on the Bush torture policy that has so blighted our reputation in the world. But we would find out: If chosen as his running mate, she would create more interest in this already largely scripted presidential campaign.
And her presence could highlight Mr. Obama’s extremist abortion views on whether certain lives are worth living — even a child born after a botched abortion.