COMMENTARY | Levi Johnston , the former boyfriend of Bristol Palin and the father of her son Tripp, has come under fire from his ex and her mother, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Johnston is firing back with his book, "Deer in the Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin's Crosshairs."
The book is being called Johnston's revenge. Sarah Palin taught him well. It's how people in Camp Palin air their differences. Not content to splash it on Facebook, tweet about it or hash it out within the family the old-fashioned way, the Palins broadcast their issues in books.
In Palin's book "America By Heart: Reflections on Faith, Family and Flag," she accuses Johnston of tailgating on her fame. With that title like that, one expected motherly wisdom from a woman with a large family in politics. Kind of a "Chicken Soup for the Mom Politician's Soul." What one got was petty rants and delusions of grandeur and persecution.
In Bristol Palin's book "Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far," she follows her mother in dishing blame and clutching at dignity. Again, one expected a this-is-what-I've-learned progress report. What we got, again, were blame-ridden diatribes defending why Bristol Palin got pregnant and how it was Johnston's fault.
We know going Johnston's book that it will be a "she-said-I-said-but-here's-what-I-really-said" rebuttal. Johnston refutes accusations made in preceding Palin-themed books. He discusses whose idea it was to get pregnant and how news was received by the Palins.
I don't care to know from Palin or Johnston when, where, how often, with who else and under what circumstances they had sex. I do feel sorry for Tripp; nothing like the details of your conception being hung out like laundry. What I find indicative is Johnston's assertion that Palin did not want to be called "Grandma" and that she would have hushed up her daughter's pregnancy by adopting Tripp.
The adoption campaign isn't surprising. If Palin believed her daughter and Johnston weren't capable of parenting a child, she might wish to raise Tripp as her own. I do wonder how much of it was prompted by Palin's desire to protect her career. A pregnant daughter made her political agenda look rather hypocritical. It also made people question her ability to parent five children, including a special needs baby, and run a country. Which, if Johnston is to be believed, might have been Bristol Palin's motivation in getting pregnant.
Raising grandchildren like children is archaic. It also generally backfires. I have relatives who tried raising a child as her mother's sibling. It's still causing problems 50 years later. I can't see how Sarah Palin could juggle a political career, family, a handicapped son and a newly adopted baby. Mercifully, the teens nixed the adoption idea.
Many women don't want to admit they are old enough to be a grandmother. But according to Johnston, Palin wanted them to refer to her as "Mommy Sarah." I'm foreseeing identification, role reversal and parental authority issues. Way to confuse the child from day one.
Palin can't get too angry with Johnston. She's the adult and she did draw first blood. I hope for the sake of her children and grandchildren that Palin quits the blame-shame game and starts taking people as they are.
Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben writes from 23 years parenting four children and 25 years teaching K-8, special needs, adult education and home-school.