The XX Factor

When Are Kids Fair Game?

There’s been much ado here over the past few days about Vanity Fair’s musings on Sarah Palin’s exploitative parenting techniques . Of course this isn’t the first time Palin’s private life has been hauled out into the public square for taunting. Perhaps you remember Bristol’s pregnancy ?

To bring kids into the political game or to not? That’s the question. And it’s sprung up again today, this time in the Minnesota governor’s race. A local weekly paper, City Pages , has just published some incriminating Facebook pictures of GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer’s 20-year-old son, Tripp . The photos show Tripp partying and drinking last year at the very not-legal age of 19, and posing-with a thumbs-up-next to a passed-out girl who was kindly given some Sharpie penis drawings on her face and arm. Normally, this would all just point to the not very salacious fact that Tripp is one of those backwards hat-wearing, power-drinking, fratty teens, but the problem is this: Dad Tom Emmers has been convicted of two DWIs as an adult and has also championed reduced penalties for drunk drivers. Tripp, his son, pleaded guilty to underage drinking less than two months ago. Just like Bristol’s pregnancy highlighted the hypocrisy of Palin’s pro-abstinence stance, in Emmer’s case, too, the personal is political.

Tripp’s Facebook profile also lists an unfortunate saying by Dad in the Favorite Quote section: “Don’t Blow Your Wad In First Period– Thomas Emmer, Jr.” But, hey, look on the bright side– he’s quoting his Dad on Facebook! Surely the GOP can spin that as evidence of a close-knit family.