September 4, 2008 in Voices

VP pick hits close to home

D.F. Oliveria Staff writer

None other than former Bill Clinton adviser Bruce Reed cautions Demos not to celebrate John McCain’s choice of a running mate too soon. Reed, the son of Scott and Mary Lou Reed of Fernan, greeted the selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with less joy than some Demo partisans who were ready to dismiss the Sandpoint native as “Geraldine Quayle” – a reference to unimpressive Geraldine Ferraro and former VP Dan Quayle. After all, Bruce said in his Slate column Saturday, the selection of Palin hit too close too home. Writes Bruce: “She was born a few miles from where I grew up, went to junior college in my hometown, and has now eclipsed Deep Throat and Larry Craig as the most famous graduate in University of Idaho history. It’s as if the McCain campaign were micro-targeting my wife’s demographic: exercise-crazed hockey moms from Idaho who married their high school sweethearts.” For those who might dismiss Palin as too risky, Reed warned that McCain might spin his choice to underscore his willingness to take risks. For those who contend that Palin is too inexperienced to be vice president, Reed took note of important qualities she does have, raising a large family while running a (lightly populated) state. If jubilant Demos misplay their hand, Reed said, they could transform Palin into a working-mom’s hero. Time will tell if she’s able to take the heat or she’ll reprise Quayle’s deer-in-the-headlights moment at the ’88 convention.

Bristol’s pregnancy

Among those who weren’t casting stones when she heard the news of unwed 17-year-old Bristol Palin’s pregnancy this week was a well-known local woman who found herself in the same circumstances four decades ago. Writing under the pseudonym “Been There,” she told Huckleberries Online: “I got pregnant when I was 16 in the 1960s. My parents were disappointed but here’s what they told me. First that they loved me and then said they would support me having the baby, I could marry my boyfriend or not, they would help me raise the baby or they would raise the baby. They could not even consider giving their grandchild up for adoption nor even consider abortion for their grandchild. I married my boyfriend and we divorced a couple of years later. I had many struggles and it was hard but every step of the way my parents were there. My daughter is now almost 40 years old and I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without her in it.” And for the self-righteous who are trying to lay the sins of the daughter on the parents, Been There added: “My parents were good people who taught me right from wrong. No one but me and my boyfriend were responsible for our actions.”


Poet’s Corner: “Now silence creeps softly/through our whole house all day/since the big yellow bus/hauled their laughter away” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Back To School”) … Yeah, I checked for the local names on that Republicans for Minnick list – Betty Cheeley, Melinda George, Christa Manis Hazel, all of Coeur d’Alene, and Don Soltman of Rathdrum … BTW, North Idaho College had invited distinguished former student Gov. Sarah Palin to be the commencement speaker for the 2009 graduation, before she was elevated into the national spotlight last week. She has yet to respond … SR photographer Brian Plonka was surprised after he and his 9-year-old son were rousted by Spirit Lake’s finest as they tried to use the town’s otherwise vacant skate park at 10 a.m. Labor Day. Seems there were signs warning that the park would be closed for Spirit Lake’s centennial celebration. But they’d been ripped off by hooligans long before the law-abiding Plonkas arrived.

Parting shot

I didn’t see a Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre performance until closing night of the superb “Les Miserables.” Therefore, I didn’t know about the new restroom tradition. Seems the men’s restrooms are open to the long line of women during the last 10 minutes of intermission. Imagine my surprise when a man poked his head into the men’s restroom late in the intermission and announced: “Hurry up, men. The women are about to come in.” Talk about performance anxieties. At that point, I simply wanted to get out before being trampled. Forget the hand washing.

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