A baby boomlet is beefing up families of GOP contenders. While the average American family has two children, six GOP presidential candidates and prospects have 34 kids among them (not counting Michele Bachmann's 23 foster kids)—and "religion appears to be a major driver of the GOP population explosion," says Jill Lawrence in the Daily Beast. Big families appear to be a political marker, demonstrating the candidates' values—anti-abortion, "traditional" family support, for example—and are also "throwbacks to the past: The 1800s, to be exact," notes Lawrence.
"On the plus side, there’s that madcap but wholesome Cheaper by the Dozen dynamic," writes Lawrence. "And the photos are wonderful, especially if the kids are young enough to be adorable or old enough to provide grandchildren." But big families are not without risk. "Each additional child exponentially increases the potential for kid-centric controversies and gaffes," Lawrence warns, noting that with Bristol's teen pregnancy and Willow's anti-gay comments on Facebook, "Palin’s family has been Exhibit A."