"My Kid Has More Chromosomes Than Your Kid"

The bumper sticker on Sarah and Todd Palin’s car reads [voices.washingtonpost.com]: “My kid has more chromosomes than your kid.” Nana-nana-poo-poo!

Palin mentions her infant son, Trig, who has Downs syndrome at every stump speech she makes. (But of course there’s no mention of her pregnant teenage daughter, because that is simply inappropriate and out of bounds!) Similarly, McCain speaks regularly about his 17-year-old adopted daughter, Bridget, when making an argument against choice.

The Republican candidates are pimping out their children for votes.

in 2000, George W. Bush used Bridget to win ground in South Carolina with push polls that asked, “Would you be more or less likely to vote for John McCain if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?” a move that helped him win the election. Eight years later, McCain is using his own daughter (though this time without the false rumors that would make him look bad) to gain ground nationwide.

In the last debate, McCain said: “That’s the extreme pro-abortion position, quote, ‘health.’ But, look, Cindy and I are adoptive parents. We know what a treasure and joy it is to have an adopted child in our lives. We’ll do everything we can to improve adoption in this country. But that does not mean that we will cease to protect the rights of the unborn.”

Psychologists discuss the harm to one’s own children caused by highlighting the fact that they’re adopted. This is a widely accepted idea that is parodied in the film The Royal Tennenbaums:

NARRATOR: Margot Tenenbaum was adopted “at age two”. Her father had always noted this when introducing her.
ROYAL TENENBAUM: This is my adopted daughter Margot Tenenbaum.

Thankfully, no film parody comes to mind (yet) of a parent pointing out the fact that her infant son has an extra chromosome for her political gain. But perhaps there is no need for fiction here. McCain’s comments in the debate on Wednesday elucidate the ridiculousness and inappropriateness of the campaign’s use of the candidates children even more than a comedy script could.

“And I just said to you earlier, town hall meeting after town hall meeting, parents come with kids, children — precious children who have autism. Sarah Palin knows about that better than most. And we’ll find and we’ll spend the money, research, to find the cause of autism,” McCain said.


Suggesting that Palin knows what it’s like to have a kid with autism is about as sound of an argument as claiming that she has foreign policy experience because she can see Russia from Alaska.

This kind of blatant exploitation of the candidates’ own children is appalling. Wasn’t it not too long ago that McCain and Palin were applauding Obama for saying that people’s children “should not be part of our politics” [www.cnn.com]?

–Jamie Wong