"I don't think he knows," Elizabeth answered. Then John Edwards must be truly clueless. And it brings me back to 2004, when Democratic nominee John Kerry chose Edwards as his running mate. Edwards had little political experience -- he had not yet completed his one term in the U.S. Senate. He voted for the war in Iraq when it was popular, then later boasted at a 2007 Democratic primary event, "I think I was the first, at least close to being the first, to say very publicly that I was wrong." He was an issues lightweight chosen to serve one heartbeat away from the Oval Office.
So to all of you who tut-tutted about John McCain's running-mate choice last year, note that Kerry handpicked a Sarah Palin in pants.
As for Palin, you would think that the Alaska governor would have managed to prevent her 19-year-old daughter Bristol, an unwed mother, from advocating for sexual abstinence as Teen Ambassador for the Candie's Foundation. It is not merely incongruous for the young mother to preach what she clearly did not practice -- it also defies common sense to do so, thanks to the sponsorship of an underwear outfit with the sales pitch of "I want my Candie's."
The anti-role-model role-model approach kills the message. Young Palin may warn that being an unwed mom is impossibly demanding and, by the way, not good for dating, but her kid ambassador role tells other teens: Have a baby and you, too, can be on TV.
Elizabeth Edwards and Bristol Palin are sympathetic characters. Edwards was wronged too publicly, while Palin's privacy has been yanked away during the most mistake-ridden years of life. You want to root for them -- until their self-serving version of events threatens to make you complicit.