Jacob Weisberg of Slate.com, and a contributor at Newsweek, told David Schuster of MSNBC yesterday that President Reagan would be “rolling over in his grave” if he knew that Sarah Palin brought her unwed pregnant daughter on to the stage with the family at the Republican National Convention.
I was shocked to see her unmarried pregnant teenage daughter on stage with the Republican nominee. It seemed to me that Ronald Reagan would be rolling over in his grave if he saw the Republicans embracing unwed motherhood this way. And I think, really, the issue there is about the pro-life absolutism that has come to dominate the party.
Michael Reagan spoke to Eyeblast.tv today and said this claim from Weisberg about his father is wrong. He said that his dad would have applauded Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston’s decision to get married and raise the child together:
Ronald Reagan would applaud a parent supporting their children even when their children do not do things that parents agree with.
My father would not be rolling over in the grave. If anything, he would be applauding the fact that the young man who in fact got Bristol Palin pregnant is in fact following through with what my father would believe is his obligation to in fact marry the young girl and become a husband to her and a father to the child, as my father did back in 1951 when he married Nancy after she became pregnant with their daughter Patty who was born in October of that year.
Reagan pointed out that his sister Maureen was living with Dennis Revell, who she eventually married after her father’s first inauguration. According to Reagan, Revell was treated as part of the family and photographed often with the first family before he married Maureen.
Dennis Revell was in all of the photographs. In fact, he was in the official red room White House photograph that was taken as the first family photograph. The only person in that photograph who was not actually a member of the first family was in fact Dennis Revell, who was living with my sister Maureen at the time. They would not become married until April of 1981, which finally made that official first family portrait an official first family portrait, but when it first came out it was not, because Dennis was not an official member of the first family. He was only living with my sister. He was not married to her, and he was also on stage.
It is important to point out John McCain warmly and publicly welcomed Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston to Minneapolis when the Palin family first arrived.
Like the Reagan family, the Palins know that conservative family values are not about shaming or embarrassing your children when mistakes are made, but embracing sons and daughters and teaching them responsibility.
Weisberg and the rest of the media still have yet to figure that out.
Related item: "Slate's Weisberg: Abortion Essential to Family Values."