“On the last night of the Republican convention,” Jim Geraghty observed in the latest issue of National Review, “MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann reacted in outrage to a comment by Hawaii governor Linda Lingle... Said Olbermann: 'I’d love the governor or anybody else repeating those talking points to give us the names of those news organizations that have actually questioned whether or not mothers have a right to sit in office. But we haven’t heard that list yet.' His colleague Chris Matthews agreed: 'I sit here waiting for that list of major news organizations who have questioned her motherhood or her right to become vice president, given her motherhood. I don’t think it has ever happened.'
“Glad to oblige.”
And oblige he does.
NBC News anchor Brian Williams: “Are [working women with several children] wrong when they express fears or doubts that she should be able to do this, that she should be doing this?”
Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn: “And I think if you’re talking about the commander-in-chief, and that is what she is likely to be given his age and his health, will she put her country first, or will she put her family first?”
Harry Smith of CBS’s Early Show: “Coming up, the mommy wars. Should a woman with five children run for the nation’s second-highest office? We’ll hear from all sides of that debate. The question, can a mother of five, including an infant with Down syndrome, be an effective vice president?”
Sally Quinn again: “…a woman with five children, including one with special needs, and a daughter who is a 17-year-old child who is pregnant and about to have a baby, probably has got to rethink her priorities.”
An on-screen headline over at MSNBC: “…some working mothers worry that Palin is taking on too much” and “some voters concerned if Palin, a mother of five, has time to be VP”
Liberal talk-show host Ed Schultz to Larry King: “What kind of mother is she? Is she prepared to be the vice president? Is she going to be totally focused on the issues?”
Campbell Brown of CNN to McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds: “…why [Sarah Palin] would have subjected [Bristol Palin, her pregnant daughter] to this kind of scrutiny by accepting this high-profile position?”
Bill Weir of ABC News to McCain aide Mike DuHaime: “Adding to the brutality of a national campaign, the Palin family also has an infant with special needs. What leads you, the senator, and the governor to believe that one won’t affect the other in the next couple of months?”
Alan Colmes on his blog: “Did Palin Take Proper Pre-Natal Care? ...even after the water broke, [she] continued with her activities and then boarded a plane.”
Explaining the ways of womanhood to men, Gerahty felt constrained to point out to Colmes “that preterm premature rupture of the placental membrane (PPROM) complicates 3 percent of all pregnancies, occurs in approximately 150,000 U.S. pregnancies each year, and can occur before labor begins. While there is some risk of infection or compression of the umbilical cord, active labor can, in some cases, be delayed as much as a week. At the time, Palin called her doctor, Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, who — based on the length of time between contractions — determined Palin was not in active labor and okayed her return flight. She gave birth the next day.”
And then ,of course, there was Lindsay Lohan, not a newswoman yet: “I am concerned with the fact that Sarah Palin brought the attention to her daughter’s pregnancy, rather than all world issues and what she believes she could possibly do to change them — if elected.”
Palinophobia is on the march, and there are miles to go before we sleep.