Miles to go

It was basically a no-brainer for them, but Barack Obama and Joe Biden are playing the Bristol Palin pregnacy just right. Both are declaring it “off limits” as far as they are concerned. Obama also noted that his mother gave birth to him at the age of 18.

The story thus gives Obama and Biden instant mileage. They are able to get credit for taking the high road. Having done so, they can sit back and wait for whatever additional mileage may be had once the public processes the story and draws its conclusions.

What will those conclusions be? I hesitate to guess. It seems like we’re playing three-dimensional chess this political season. I was only but so good at the two-dimensional kind.

Still, it’s difficult for me to see the story as other than a minus for McCain in the short run. This is a presidential election, and folks are looking for a president with sound judgment. Considering the totality of this story, including the way it was revealed to the public, swing voters — the ones who will decide this election — are likely to be unimpressed with McCain’s judgment here.

In the longer run, a great deal will happen in the next two months. Assuming that these events do not include new surprises about the Palins, and assuming that Palin acquits herself well during the campaign, I don’t see the Bristol Palin matter factoring into the outcome of this election.

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