First, let me digress to say that I woke up to almost 60 links to the text of the statement in my "approve" box. I rejected most of them, simply because they provided a duplicate link with no comment. Anyone who made a comment or had an insight I approved. So if you don't see your link here don't let your feelings be hurt!
If you haven't seen it yet, you can download your very own copy of the letter by clicking here.
The timing is so bizarre it's hilarious. With all hell breaking loose as people start to vote this morning (my husband already tried and could not get into the parking lot at the community center - he returned home for additional fortifying cups of coffee and will try again later when hopefully many have gone on to work) this statement will get minimal coverage today, to say the least. I've been watching CNN on and off now since about 5:45 A.M. Eastern Time and have not heard it mentioned once. (Switched to MSNBC around 9:30. Hasn't been mentioned there either in the last hour.)
This is not "medical records" by any stretch of the imagination. It is a summary of what Dr. Baldwin Johnson knows or believes to be true regarding Gov. Palin's medical history. It could have been written by any member of the practice. (And yes, I know Obama released roughly the same thing. But, as I must say to my squabbling kids on a regular basis, we're not talking about him. We're talking about you. We're not talking about Barack Obama, we're talking about Sarah Palin.)
This statement is probably based at least in part on what Gov. Palin has told the practice in a history. We've all gone to new doctors and filled out medical forms, usually containing umpteen pages of questions like "Have you ever turned blue while chewing Juicy Fruit gum?"
But seriously, how many of us have actually transferred medical "records" between doctors? I've changed doctors probably ten times in my adult life, and had at least that many insurance companies. I've never transferred a single "record." I've never once called Doctor A and instructed the office to send my "file" to Doctor B. My medical file at my current doctor contains what I told him the first day I was in his office, and anything he's added since. And that's it.
In this specific case, for example, Dr. Baldwin Johnson did not deliver any of Gov. Palin's first three children. Two were born before Gov. Palin began visiting the clinic at which Baldwin-Johnson works. Here's the exact statement:
She had four term deliveries in 1989, 1990, 1994, and 2000, and one pre-term delivery at 35 weeks gestation in 2008.
How does she know those first two births occurred? When Sarah Palin first visited the office in 1991, she told the clinic on a form that they did. Perhaps she had files transferred. But if the deliveries were low-risk and problem-free, perhaps she didn't.
I've been saying for weeks that I have been waiting for a statement from Dr. Baldwin-Johnson that Sarah is Trig's biological mother. This letter contains that. And it does contain it strongly enough that, should it ever turn out to be not true, I suspect Dr. Baldwin-Johnson's medical license would be in jeopardy.
However, I still must ask the question: Is the information about Trig's birth something that she believes to be true - based on Palin's statements to her - just like she "believes" that Palin had a delivery in 1989, or is it something she knows to be true based on first hand observation? Although this will infuriate detractors, I think this very carefully crafted statement still leaves that door open. Dr. Baldwin Johnson never states that she was actually at the birth, that the birth occurred at Mat-Su (only that it could have), or even that the birth occurred on April 18th.
Considering the number of plausible troubling questions which have surrounded this birth from day one, I for one find the lack of these precise specifics very frustrating and still suspicious. It would have been easy to say those things. Saying these things on August 30th would have precluded having to announce that Bristol was pregnant. The McCain campaign knows that those of us who have questioned this were waiting for just those exact statements. And somehow, we still did not get them.
And after reading this, I still must ask one more question: What took so long? What is there in this insipid benign generic letter that took almost two months to cough up? Why do I get the feeling that there was a whole lot of behind the scenes wrangling required to produce... this? Why? There's nothing here. I could have typed this up in my spare time while cooking dinner last night.
One thing hasn't changed. It still doesn't make sense.