Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman


Has Todd Palin Quit His Job?

posted by swaldman

I know I’m treading into dangerous territory by commenting on what the Palin’s should or shouldn’t do for her family but her nomination has triggered a national conversation about parenting, and I think there’s a big point being missed.
Let me start with an interesting post from Beliefnet member 1AmazingGrace, who describes herself as a former Hillary supporter:

“I have a brother with Down Syndrome and a daughter who has had rheumatoid arthritis since age four. I love them both and can’t imagine my life without them. Also, my remarks are directed toward Gov. Palin as a parent, and as a candidate, not as a woman. Whether you are a man or a woman, it is unrealistic to expect to be an involved parent of a child with disabilities and take on even more responsibilities as Vice President of the United States. Someone will get shortchanged.
It’s hard to have children, but kids with problems add a level of difficulty impossible to imagine without experiencing it. Despite what you were told in the 1970’s, you really CANNOT ha’ve it all, Governor Palin. Right now, you need to give your family more time and energy than ever before — and you want to give them less? That’s not very pro-child to me.”

Combine the difficulty of having a child with Downs Syndrome with the supreme stress of helping your 17 year old daughter deal with an unplanned pregnancy and the birth of a new child — oh, and then add, running for the vice presidency — and you have a monumental burden on the family.
But AmazingGrace and other critics assume that Sarah is the one who needs to renounce work to spend more time with the kids. She’s the governor of a state and has a chance to shape the world for the good as vice president. I don’t think she by any means has a moral obligation to turn away from that. The obvious solution would be for Todd Palin to announce immediately that he was becoming a full-time dad.
Maybe in her circles this sounds like wierd lefty thinking but this is 2008, for crying out loud. No one should expect Sarah Palin to give up this opportunity for her kids; we wouldn’t ask a man to. But we would expect the Palin Family to come up with a solution that works for their kids, which in this case would be for dad to spend more time at home.
Now, in googling this, I’m having a hard time telling how much Todd is working now. There’s some indication he’s taking more time to be with the family. If so, fantastic. But with a family that has a disabled child, a teen mother and a matriarch running for vice president, Todd should, it seems to me, be on full-time home duty.
What’s more, if the Palins (and the McCains) are making such a big deal about Sarah caring for the disabled child, why not also trumpet Todd’s stay-at-home role? Think of what a great teaching moment this could be. A conservative, blue-collar guy giving up his job to take care of the kids, so his wife can help change the world.



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Carla Barnhill

posted September 2, 2008 at 5:16 pm


Thank you Todd–I’ve been shouting the same thing at my computer screen all day!



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Scruffy

posted September 2, 2008 at 5:24 pm


When the oceans raise another degree or so because of Global Warming, Todd will be out of a job anyway because there will not be enough fish in the sea to harvest any more. But Palin and McCain don’t seem to care that with the melting of the North Polar Cap, the raising of the oceans and the influx of more severe storms in the Gulf, that oil is the major cause of it all. That is the Inconvenient Truth that the GOP doesn’t want to hear.
So it doesn’t matter if Todd become a stay at home dad, he will be out of work soon anyway. Maybe the knee jerk kid who got Brittney pregnant can help him, all he cares about is bike riding and fishing and sex.



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Caryn

posted September 2, 2008 at 6:00 pm


I’ve done a lot (too much, really) reading about this whole deal over the past couple days, and I thought I did read that he’s an at-home dad now.
If he’s not, I agree, it seems that would be the logical step for him to become one. And I write this as a conservative woman married to a conservative man — neither of whom think at-home dads and working moms is some sort of weird lefty logic. But I like that turn-of-phrase so much (just so fun to say!) that I will start using it for plenty other things. : )
Thanks for the great post!



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Paula Sand

posted September 2, 2008 at 6:11 pm


Sarah Palin is as well equiped to be President of the USA as I am to fly to the moon. The question is not whether or not she can be Vice President, but whether sh could be President.



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Denise Velez

posted September 3, 2008 at 6:56 am


I am disturbed by all the focus on personal issues in the Palin family.
I am however very interested in how Ms. Palin’s politics have an impact on the personal lives of Americans. I have been an HIV/AIDS researcher for many years. The US government position of promoting “abstinence only” policies, attached to funding for programs nationally, and internationally is disturbing – and ultimately ineffective. Palin is a staunch advocate of these policies and has voted against sex education in the schools. If one digs deeper into her history as mayor of Wasilla, we find that she also attempted to remove the town librarian, in an effort to ban certain books.
This does distress me. In the 21st century we need enlightened leadership to deal with the complex and interlocking problems we face as a people. The selection of Ms . Palin by Senator McCain calls into question his competence, the obvious lack of vetting, but more seriously this pander to the extremist wing of his party, who seem obsessed with taking us back into the dark ages rather than moving forward into a future we need to face; not as Republicans, Democrats or Independents; but as Americans, and citizens of the world.



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Thomas O'connor

posted September 3, 2008 at 9:23 am


A lot of people lately have started lashing back on comments questioning Palin, saying that her personal family life is no business of ours. I’m sorry, but I strongly disagree. I expect my politicians, as public role models and persons that can strongly affect the direction that the nation grows, to walk the walk that they spend so much time talking about. All this late breaking news about her family really makes me wonder – if she and her husband are unable to raise their own family in such a way that they maintain their faith and morals, and abstain until marriage, then what kind of national leader can she really be? She has little credibility when it comest to what I would consider family values. I’m worried that my children will take from this that underage sex is fine if you just keep the baby and marry another teenager!



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1AmazingGrace

posted September 3, 2008 at 12:26 pm


Steven – thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog and to quote from it. You are highlighting a relevant issue in the campaign, because our personal lives do impact our professional ones.
I also believe that Mr. Palin should consider becoming a stay-at-home Dad. But, I wanted to emphasize that even with that proviso, Mrs. Palin would be shortchanging her family OR herself OR the country by taking on such onerous additional responsibilities. Especially in light of the newest revelation of her daughter’s pregnancy.
Everyone is an individual and I don’t proclaim to know what superwoman capabilities Mrs. Palin has, nor do I know what she or her family is willing to sacrifice on behalf of the Vice Presidency. But speaking for myself as a former superwoman, there will be a breaking point and I prefer not to have my country be on the short end of the stick then.



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PB

posted September 3, 2008 at 11:42 pm


I just stumbled upon this website, and I must say that this is genius. Fantastic idea, seems to be good execution, my only complaint is that I didn’t think of it first.
As for this being an “issue”: who cares? Really, who cares? What does the VP do, aside from casting a deciding vote in the senate and make the electorical college vote official? 1AmazingGrace – super cool name btw – implies that fulfilling the VP roles and your family / personal responsibilities are mutually exclusive. I balance an 80hr a week job, my personal life and my family obligations, I’m certainly no super-hero. I highly doubt that the vice president’s office does not employ enough staff such that he has to work 80hr+ work weeks on a regular basis. Even if that is the case, this would not preclude that individual from fulfilling all of their responsibilities; I am not an exception to the rule, most if not all of my colleagues are in a similar situation in their life.



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liarsniffer

posted September 9, 2008 at 8:15 pm


Somethings just dont add up. For instance if you keep telling me that you had a baby five weeks early, then you are not validating the babies birth but you are validating the baby’s conception. If you had a baby on
April 18 and it was a nine month birth, you conceived during the later part of July. If you husband work half a month on and half a month off and he worked the later part of July, then somebody needs a paternity test. If you are a mature mother with a seventeen year old daughter, you dont keep your pregnancy a secret from her until the seventh month or one month before you before you give birth. I have heard fish stories before and this smells like one. If your water breaks in Texas why would you ride a plane all the way to Alaska to give birth hmmmmmmmmm!
If you gave birth in April, and your daughter is now five months pregnant, she conceived in April after you gave birth. hmmmmmmmmm



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Pamela Ricci

posted September 16, 2008 at 9:53 am


Can’t run on a “family values” platform if your own family is being raised by other people. Can’t have both parents working full time with 5 children, one being developmentally disabled, and say that your family comes first in your life. Raising humans requires 24 hour participation. Put the ego aside for the next few years, and run again after the children are on their own. The biggest problem in our culture is that all the parents went off to find their calling and make their way in the world, but left the children to others when young, and unsupervised after the age of 13.



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Jessie

posted July 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm


She quit today. Her little boy is sick.



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