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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

Agony aunt ALICE McVEIGH
ignores classical music again to discuss American politics,
shotgun weddings, bizarrely-named children and moose

? ' Dear Alice,

The candidate you support has told the media to 'back off' the story that one of Sarah Palin's bizarrely-named children (Bristol, or Canterbury, or possibly Edinburgh?) is five months pregnant by her boyfriend.

My complaint about his attitude is that it is actually pertinent. You can be a standard-bearer for the born-again, fundamentalist, gun-toting, moose-shooting right or you can be the mother of a 17-yr-old girl who's got herself pregnant out of marriage. I just don't see how you can be both. Obama should come clean and admit that he's disgusted.

Jeff in LA

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Alice Dear Jeff,

Yes, I do support Obama -- fervently (Obama!!! Obama!!!) and I'm going to support him on this, too. Everything you say is spot-on, bang-on, right, but it's not Obama's place to point it out. No, he's doing what he does best: behaving in a statesmanlike way. He's not going to trash McCain or Palin -- and he shouldn't.

That doesn't however stop me (or you) from observing that, in addition to frankly having several more kids than the planet has any right to expect, Sarah Palin is obviously not one of the world's great mothers. My guess is that she's too busy grooming herself and promoting her political career (not to mention pouring shot into poor deer and mooses who never did her any harm) to have noticed that her daughter is -- uh -- grown-up, has a boyfriend, and is (this part is just a guess) too scared to ask her mom about contraceptives. (Not that I blame young Edinburgh for being too scared to ask. Her parents would probably have shot her.)

I also can't help but wonder, now the kid has been pregnant for five months, exactly why it's taken so long for her to decide on a shotgun wedding (the gun part I understand: they'll probably leave the church under a line of friends holding up crossed rifles) -- no, I'm kind of thinking, there's no way she can hide a five-month bump in your average wedding dress. (Was she perhaps for a time too scared to 'fess up? -- if so, another black mark on her mom's parenting.)

And one also has to wonder about John McCain, who reportedly knew all about it. A lot of women's delight in his having asked a woman to join him on the ticket will have been already shaken to discover that Palin's executive experience applies to fewer people than live in greater Orpington -- surely the Republicans have lots of women of suitable stature he could have picked? -- and now they'll know that this self-confessed 'hockey mom' (read: 'Look, I'm just a ordinary little housewife like you all!') is, um, not quite what a self-respecting, church-going, middle America might be expecting by the term. Let me put it this way: 'Hockey mom' and 'mother-of-unmarried-pregnant-teenager' don't usually come along in the same sentence.

However -- who's complaining??? I'm not. On the one hand: Joe Biden, a long-term senator with decades of serious foreign policy experience. On the other hand, an uninterested mother who has been governor of a titchy little state for -- uh -- a whopping two years.

(Obama!!! Obama!!! Obama!!!)

Yours in steadily-growing hope,

Copyright © 5 September 2008 Alice McVeigh, Kent UK

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