The Issues on Labor Day: Bush, McCain, and Teen Pregnancy

Today, the Republican National Convention started in St. Paul/Minneapolis. The official program was shortened due to the potentially dangerous storm Gustav. The happenings on the floor in Xcel Center took place for only about 3 hours. President Bush, who was supposed to headline the evening stayed in Washington to deal with Gustav. One delegate told me that that is the best thing that could have happened. Having Bush in St. Paul, he argued, would have only given Obama more ammunition against McCain. One of my reporter friends, who writes for the Seattle Times, also noticed that Bush seems to be a very unpopular topic at the GOP convention. He wrote his daily column about it: Bush an Unpopular Topic at the GOP Convention.

The other major issue today was that the 17-year-old daughter of Republican VP pick Sarah Palin is pregnant. Everybody was talking about it: in the halls and on the floor, on TV and online, everywhere. At the Foreign Press Center in the Xcel Center, a Republican politicians was grilled by the foreign media about it. For most foreign reporters, teen pregnancy is a strangely fascinating issue. For me it certainly is. When I was a junior in High School in Humboldt/Kansas, I was surprised how many of my fellow High School and even Middle School students where pregnant during the time I was there. During the whole time I went to High School school in Germany, none of my fellow students was ever pregnant. 

While policy issues should certainly be more important, it’s easy to understand why the media focuses on this story. And the issue also reflects on policy issues, such as abortion and sex eduation. The another major consequence of the story was that the media started to question John McCain’s judgment and his vetting process for his VP pick. Nobody knows yet, how this story will play in the upcoming weeks and how the surprising VP pick will be evaluated by the electorate. Time will show!