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Column: Gov. Palin's Personal Life Doesn't Affect Electability

This story was written by Mandi Sordelet, The Daily Gamecock

If I read one more article involving another Sarah Palin scandal, I will scream.

Lately, most newspapers have been reading like the latest issues of Us Weekly. However, instead of a broken-down Britney Spears on the cover, it's the defiant and rebellious governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, who is gracing the headlines.

First, there was the scandal involving her pregnant 17-year-old daughter. Then there was the issue of her newborn son who was diagnosed with Down syndrome, making Republicans and Democrats alike wonder if she could really focus on the responsibilities of holding office. The media critiqued her at first for hiding her pregnancy and her son's condition. The next week, they accused her of exploiting him to gain voters' support. Now the critics are faulting Palin for hiring and firing politicians who work for her based on personal relationships.

And what I want to know is, "Who cares?"

The media are known for playing dirty and exposing skeletons when it comes to elections, so of course they're going to nitpick every agonizing detail about each candidate and their running mates. But couldn't they at the very least focus on the issues that matter?

For example, where does McCain stand on border patrol? And how does Obama plan to free us from this economic recession? Instead, I'm only seeing articles that either reprimand or praise Palin for her parenting skills and quote her ordering "'moose tracks' ice cream at a Wisconsin diner."

I'm not writing this as a Palin hater or supporter. I'm not telling you to vote for or against her. I'm just saying not to get caught up in the hype.

If you love Palin, that's great. But don't vote for her just because you feel bad that her son has Down syndrome - do it because you agree with her stance on the pro-life movement. And if you hate Palin, that's fine too. But don't vote against her because her daughter is pregnant out of wedlock - do it because you disagree with her 'abstinence-only' message in schools.

And don't be shocked by Palin's habit of mixing her personal relationships with political affairs. Every politician has done that since the beginning of time. At least one member of the cabinet will be a personal friend of whoever wins this election because politicians like to surround themselves with people they trust - and that includes friends. This is not a scandal. It's just politics. Whether you agree with Palin's decisions or not can be expressed in your vote.

Basically, all I want is for the media to quit focusing on the gossip and give me the facts. Does Palin's dirty laundry really affect us as citizens? No, not quite. And it shouldn't affect your votes, either.