NYT Columnist Frank Bruni Picks on 21-Year-Old Bristol Palin: Hypocrite, Bad Mother

May 16th, 2012 9:09 AM

New York Times columnist (and former White House correspondent for the paper) Frank Bruni gets nasty and personal again in his Tuesday column "The Right's Righteous Fraud," picking on 21-year-old Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah, for blogging about gay marriage, even throwing out a date rape reference. Judging by the time stamps at Bristol's blog, Bruni has stirred up another round of hateful lefty comments to Palin's original May 10 blog post, some of them simply regurgitating Bruni's bile.

In March, Bruni devoted a column to a former classmate providing a pat liberal morality lesson that seemed a lot like an invasion of doctor-patient privacy, then attacked Newt Gingrich and insulted Gingrich's wife. Today Bruni, who is openly gay, goes after Palin's oldest daughter for hypocrisy and being a bad mother, after Bristol had the audacity to blog her opinion on gay marriage (she's against it):

Say what you will about Bristol Palin, she’s a quick study. It didn’t take her long to master the ways of her elders on the censorious right and decide that personal circumstance and past error needn’t prevent someone from claiming righteous leadership. Uncle Rush must be proud.

Soon after President Obama stated support for same-sex marriage, Bristol publicly weighed in. Because, you know, the world was on tenterhooks.

In a blog post she focused on the reference that Obama made to his daughters -- and to the same-sex parents of some of the girls’ friends.

“It would’ve been helpful for him to explain to Malia and Sasha that while her friends (sic) parents are no doubt lovely people, that’s not a reason to change thousands of years of thinking about marriage,” wrote Bristol, making her heady debut as the new Dr. Spock for a nascent millennium. She added that “in general kids do better growing up in a mother/father home. Ideally, fathers help shape their kids’ worldview.”

Fathers like...Levi Johnston? It’s with him that she conceived her child -- out of wedlock, at the age of 17 -- and by most accounts, his relationship with her and the Palin family isn’t any warmer than Juneau in January. A mother/father home is not what he and Bristol have succeeded in creating.

What’s more, she has made sure that their son, Tripp, will at some point be treated to a worldview-shaping image of Dad as something akin to a date rapist. That’s the description of him immortalized in her memoir, one of her many efforts to monetize her surname. It recounts the loss of her virginity as a result of getting drunk and blacking out in the company of Levi, who pounced. What a gift that narrative is to Tripp, now being hauled into a TV reality show, “Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp,” already in production. Little children are known to thrive in such environments.

I hesitated before picking on Bristol because she’s an easy target. It’s like shooting moose from a helicopter flying low over the tundra.

But she so perfectly distills the double standards and audacity of so many of our country’s self-appointed moralists and supposed traditionalists: hypocrites whose own histories, along with any sense of shame, tumble out the window as soon as there’s a microphone to be seized or check to be cashed.


Within its uppermost ranks are many champions of small government who squirm at the small-mindedness of the scowling theocrats in an increasingly uneasy coalition. These fiscal conservatives take advantage of the religious right’s political muscle but have reservations about its hectoring piety, and their own views on social issues are often moderate or somewhat liberal. Recall that Republican money played a pivotal role in the successful campaign for same-sex marriage in New York.