Solid Support for Palin at Convention
St. Paul, Minnesota -- Republicans assembled here in Minnesota are finding many things to cheer about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the vice presidential choice of Sen. John McCain, no matter that she is little known on the national stage, has little governing experience, or even with the ricocheting news that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant and, as yet, unmarried.
If the last part is a red flag for some, it's not for the party assembled here. For the large part, they are more than ready to back her in full, seeing promise in her choice and willing to look past her family matter of the moment.
In interviews with delegations assembled at the Xcel Energy Center convention site here, I found Republicans enthusiastic in their support of this youthful, bright and confident governor. Most were more than willing to grant a pass on her daughter's teenage pregnancy, even in light of Palin's championing of teenage abstinence and abstinence-only education in public schools.
Palin's "statement today that she loves her daughter unconditionally, and that they are a family first and last is all you need to know," said Robert Paliono, delegate from Georgia. "That's a family value right there. The media won't accept that because it needs a story."
"Her daughter's pregnancy and the way the family is handling it just shows you that their family's compass is right," said Tom Geohgin, delegate from Florida. "We can all pass judgment about parenting and whether it's done right, and we're often wrong when we do. I think it is a private matter."
Mary Lambinoux, a special guest of the Utah delegation, was less forgiving. "We're obviously learning more about her family. It might have been better if we hadn't learned about it from the news like it was a secret. I don't think anyone here can say we know everything."
And Tom Korologos, a long-time GOP operative and once a close aide to former Sen. Bob Dole, Kan., said, "This is such a small issue. Governor Palin is a conservative godsend, hands down. I could give you a litany of Democrats' ethical issues -- and about them, not their children."
The overriding sentiment at the convention opening last night was that Palin's daughter's pregnancy and how it was revealed simply does not rise to the much larger issue of a presidential and vice presidential choice.
While the schedule of the convention remains uncertain in light of Hurricane Gustav, it appears much will, indeed, go on, including Gov. Palin's vice presidential acceptance speech Wednesday night. She may mention the issue of her young daughter's unplanned pregnancy, perhaps indirectly, in a nod to all the chatter about it.
She may even be able to turn it to her favor. After all, she'll have a friendly convention crowd before her and a party that is finding its bearing, via McCain, in being more practical than in following an unbendingly ideology. That families are not perfect but can persevere if they are loving and stick together is a theme that hardly any would discredit.