In her touching US Weekly engagement announcement, Bristol Palin says, "I hope my mom will accept us." Yeah, right. Bristol and Levi's "secret" engagement is actually Sarah Palin's weirdly brilliant PR move.
Us did a bizarre job on the cover, taking two very attractive young people and making them look like a peeping tom and an overzealous Mary Kay spokeswoman, with a child who's justifiably afraid of them both. But what's inside is pure gold — for Sarah anyway. Says Bristol, "We got engaged two weeks ago. It felt right, even though we don't have the approval of our parents." And, "It is intimidating and scary just to think about what her reaction is going to be. Hopefully she will jump on board." For anyone who believes that Bristol went to Us Weekly without clearing it with Sarah and her people, I've got a house with a view of Russia to sell you. No, Bristol and Levi's renewed engagement is no surprise — it's genius.
Here's how it works. Levi paves the way by mysteriously "apologizing" to Sarah a week ahead of time. Then Bristol and Levi announce their "secret engagement," complete with adorable details ("He texted me: 'I miss you. I love you. I want to be with you again'"), and America's all like, "Those crazy lovebirds! If only they could get their parents' blessing, they'd totally live happily ever after." Sarah Palin gets to appear shocked at the very public surprise announcement of their engagement; then she will display her great generosity by accepting Levi back into the family even though he said that stuff about her "retarded baby." In the end, Sarah gets to rise above the conflict and embrace one of her most high-profile critics, which is a big coup for someone who's often accused of being vindictive, inflexible, and unable to let things go.
Another big perk of this strategy: when Levi and Bristol first announced they were planning to marry, lots of people thought Sarah had forced them into it — and into keeping their baby, for that matter. But now they're forcing Sarah into it, proving that their love is real and not at all the cynical creation of a political campaign that depends on the appearance of family values for its viability. Genius again!
Of course, it's possible that Levi came back to Bristol because he truly wants to be with his high school sweetheart and the mother of his child. And that Bristol took him back because even though he talked shit about her mom and seems like a total famewhore, he is really hot. If that's the case, though, Sarah Palin needs to take our advice: don't fuck this up. Don't snipe at Levi or offer some kind of half-hearted, I-hope-he-makes-her-happy type acceptance. Act surprised, open your arms, and laugh all the way to the ballot box.