Last night, Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski conceded something that had been obvious for a week: She won't be her party's nominee this fall. She lost her primary for being insufficiently anti-abortion. (Here's what that means for a Republican in Alaska: She and her opponent both endorsed a parental notification ballot measure, but he endorsed it harder.) Because there's no more important issue, and nothing worse, than teenagers having sex.
Also this week, Alaska's most famous birth control eschewer, Bristol Palin, told People magazine how excited she was to be joining Dancing with the Stars.
"I see this as something that's fun and that's positive and I'm going to be able to show my work ethic to people out there."
Bristol's mother, Aimee Semple McFacebook, had thrown her support behind Murkowski's opponent, and cited his position on abortion- - really, really against it -- as the reason.
So, here's Alaska's position as of today: Unwed, pregnant teenagers getting abortions? Bad. Unwed pregnant teenagers doing the Cha-cha-cha? Good.
The Republicans do have a jobs plan. And it's all babysitters.
But here's the part where I get confused. The pressure group behind Alaska's new parental notification law said it was a good idea because
34 states have laws that require parental consent or notice before abortion, and these laws have led to fewer abortions, lower rates of teen pregnancy and more responsible behavior among teenagers.
(This is a crazy lie, of course. While there are notification laws in 34 states, there's a study from exactly one that ever even tried to connect them to an increase in "responsible behavior rates." Whatever the fuck that that could possibly mean.)
Let's say this nonsense statement of tricked-out casuistry and wishful thinking could possibly be true. And let's say Alaska's voters had a compelling interest in making sure that other people's children either acted right or carried their unwanted grandchildren to term, under penalty of law. Let's say that was true too.
Rather than discourage teenage sex with a law against abortion, why not discourage it with a law against Dancing with the Stars?
Isn't the Palin family sort of profiting from Bristol's irresponsibility? Wouldn't it send a clearer message to teens if she wasn't on TV?
Listen, obviously I don't think that's going to happen. There's money involved, and Sarah and Todd Palin would kill anyone, including each other, for a free meal at Outback. And obviously, the new Alaska parental notification law doesn't have anything to do with discouraging anything; it was just a sweetener to get Jesus freaks to the polls.
(It's not just unconstitutional; it's actually demented. You know which teenage girls don't need a note from their parents to get an abortion? The married ones. Because then, clearly, their parents don't own them anymore; their husbands do. I swear I'm not making that up.)
This was never really about "life." Sarah Palin had a hard-on for Lisa Murkowski over some personal slight so ancient and trivial it makes Achilles' snit fit about Briseis look like good government. And the way Sarah Palin fixes you, in a close election in Alaska, is by saying you're soft on abortion. She said the mayor of Wasilla was pro-life and beat him with 616 votes. Not a margin of 616 votes. 616 votes was what she got, total.
To be an anti-abortion mayor.
Why shouldn't she use the same trick to take down Lisa Murkowski? Couldn't happen to a nicer person. I can't even pretend to feel sorry for Lisa Murkowski.
But I do feel sorry for all the other women in Alaska.
I don't think I'll be watching Bristol Palin on Dancing with the Stars. As a dad, it kind of gets me down. Even though she won't, in People's words, be "stepping into any of the show's skimpy costumes."
"I think I will be the most dressed [contestant and have] the most modest outfits for sure because that's who I am," she told PEOPLE Monday night in Los Angeles at the announcement of the show's new cast.
How did Yeats put it in To a Child Dancing in the Wind? (Oh, look, I have it right here.)
O you will take whatever's offered.