September 6th. John McCain's appointment of Sarah Palin is a brilliant gamble, and may yet win him the White House. Whether the world wants a brilliant gambler in the White House is another matter, but I don't get the impression that many Americans are asking themselves that question. The focus is not on whether the decision is risky but on whether the decision is right or wrong.
Update: But see Joseph Lelyveld, "John & Sarah in St. Paul", New York Review Volume 55, Number 15 · October 9, 2008
Meanwhile, the spectacle of Democrats gossipping and speculating about Palin's disabled son and unmarried daughter is not only shameful but possibly also counter-productive. Attack her political record and opinions, for God's sake, not her family.
One of the things I do find interesting about her family is their unusual names. Her daughter is called Bristol, a city historically associated with the tobacco industry. And her son is called Trig Paxon Van Palin, which makes him sound like a rock star.
Paxon? I turn to the internet, where I find an old car company and a Marxist called Homer Paxon. And (now this looks as if it might be more relevant) a right-wing Republican called Bill Paxon, whose wife Susan Molinari was once talked of as a potential rival to Hillary Clinton.
Paxon's Wikipedia entry has two mysterious footnotes   referring to the suicide in 1998 of a young journalist called Sandy Hume, together with rumours that he had been having a homosexual relationship with a Republican politician. Paxon quit politics three days after the suicide to spend more time with his family. Nearly thirty years previously, Sandy Hume's father had been responsible for a press story exposing an alleged homosexual relationship involving Spiro Agnew's son. Twists of fate indeed.
But why is Sarah Palin's son named after Paxon? Think about it. If you want to distract people from your extreme opinions and bloodthirsty hobbies, why not spread a few false clues that lead scandal-seekers astray?