In January, Alaskan Blogger Celtic Diva published a "guest post" by a Labor and Delivery nurse named Lee Tompkins entitled The Birth of a Conspiracy; Delivering the Real Issue. Several days ago, a second Alaskan blog, Progressive Alaska, reprinted this post in toto. The theme of this post was simple: both the original writer and Phil at Progressive Alaska believe that the focus on Palin's birth story should be squarely on what they consider the "real issue," which is the very poor judgment she showed in traveling while allegedly in labor with Trig. They believe that Palin's terrible choices so endangered her child that on that basis alone she should be disqualified from any serious consideration for public office.
Both believe Sarah Palin's birth story, specifically that Trig was born to Sarah on April 18, 2008, after a trip back from Texas that I have chosen to call "The Wild Ride." (For those who don't know, I based that moniker on a quaint Disney theme park ride, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, still operational at Disneyland (and, according to Wikipedia, one of the few remaining attractions that was present at the 1955 opening) but removed from Disney World in 1998. The concept of the ride was based on Kenneth Grahame's children's book The Wind in the Willows, from which Disney had made a cartoon in 1949.)
While Phil at Progressive Alaska obviously continues to take this position (he reprinted this post barely a week ago) i.e., that Trig is Sarah's and was born April 18, 2009, from private conversation with Celtic Diva (again, original source of the post last January though she did not write it), while she may be unsure of the whole truth regarding Trig's birth, she now personally entertains at least some doubts that it occurred as Palin reported. Would she, today, late June 2009, post Ms. Tompkins' guest blog? I don't know but I intend to ask her.
Most of Palin's supporters will not intelligently debate the evidence at all. Their tactics are few - but very consistent - whenever the pregnancy story is discussed. It takes only a moment for a reasonable-sounding authoritative voice, without citing any specifics, to label a theory like ours "irresponsible, incorrect, poorly researched, sensationalistic," or - simply - "bad." It takes much longer to refute these charges. Points, often boring ones, must be made individually. Specific examples, requiring serious research into dates, times, places, and statements, must be discussed. Obstetric minutiae is of little interest to most people, and actually unpleasant to discuss for many.
These are some of the favorite tactics used:
1. Their favorite red herring is Obama's birth certificate. "There's the real story," we are assured solemnly. There may be a story there. I don't know - I haven't looked into it at all. But what I do know is that regardless of where, when, or to whom Barack Obama was born, it's got nothing to do with Sarah Palin.
2. A tactic of "redirection" is employed whenever specific obstetrical facets are considered. Everyone seems to know someone that "never looked pregnant with a fifth child," or whose water broke and she didn't go into labor. All that tells us is that it is "possible" that some aspects of Sarah Palin's story might be true based on others' similar experiences. It does not prove that they are.
3. They simply refuse to believe the evidence in front of their eyes. Shown documented photographs from unimpeachable sources, these folks simply allege (with no proof whatsoever) that the documentation is wrong or suspect and then, because they cannot "verify" the source of the evidence, they will not discuss anything further.
4. The last bastion: Sarah's story is true because Sarah wouldn't lie.
When one (or all) of the four tactics above are employed, it's impossible to have an honest debate with a legitimate exchange of ideas. With Ms. Tompkins post, I can. I can debate her reasoning with my own. What I intend to do here is to go through Ms. Tompkins' post point by point and do my best to, if not refute each one, then at least put forth why I think the real evidence indicates something different: specifically, that Sarah Palin did NOT give birth to Trig Palin on April 18th, 2008. I intend to quote large sections (indicated by blocks) of the original post, though not all of it, just because of length considerations.
Let me say categorically that I think the widely disseminated rumor that Sarah Palin is not the mother of her child Trig is totally false, although I know many well-informed and well-educated people who believe otherwise, and I certainly understand their theory.I've stated this before, but I will repeat it for the purposes of this post. I have done more than anyone regarding "Babygate," and while I can't speak for others, I can certainly speak for myself. My initial interest in the story had nothing to do with wanting to "believe the worst" about or discrediting Gov. Palin. I'd never heard of her. I was an Obama supporter and doubt that anything could have made me vote for the Republican ticket but I certainly did not dislike Sarah Palin on any sort of visceral level. In fact when I first heard that a mother of five had been chosen, I was rather thrilled and very very happy for her. I was eager to learn more about her.
I'm going to spend some time discussing the reasons why I think the Palin faked pregnancy story is not true, but first I think it is of interest to comment on why this story has really caught hold of the imagination of many.
... the general public disliked Sarah Palin and when the bizarre circumstances of the birth of her child Trig became generally known, the public wanted to believe that she was capable of faking a pregnancy in order to bolster her standing as a "family values" candidate by avoiding the baggage of a daughter who was about to become an unwed teenage mother. Avoiding that didn't quite work out for Palin as it turned out, but that didn't stop a vocal minority of conspiracy theorists to believe Palin capable of such chicanery earlier. The public wanted to believe the worst of Sarah Palin.
In an ironic sense, I set out to defend her, feeling that she specifically and women in general are not well-served when such an unlikely and implausible childbirth story is disseminated. My initial interest stemmed from my desire to set the record straight. Some dim-witted young male reporter who probably barely understood how babies get in much less how they get out, I assumed, had gotten his facts wrong. No experienced mother, having had four prior births, would fly ten hours at 35 weeks while leaking amniotic fluid. Ludicrous. Crazy. Didn't happen.
This was my original premise and it had nothing to do with Sarah Palin at all. It was only after I understood that this WAS her story and she WAS sticking to it, that my B.S. meter went off the chart.
....the evidence very strongly suggests is that Palin was guilty of recklessly endangering the life of her unborn child, which to me is far worse than faking a pregnancy, to protect her political ambition and perhaps the reputation of her daughter. It's just not as sexy of a story, not one the public could latch onto with such fervor. Discussing ruptured membranes ain't exactly something to talk about at the dinner table. And since "life imitates art more than art imitates life" it's highly doubtful the Desperate Housewives' writers will be opening next season with one of the wives flying transcontinentally with preterm premature rupture of membranes.I agree, I think recklessly endangering a child would be worse than faking a pregnancy. Much worse in fact. Where we differ is that I don't think Palin actually did that.
The public couldn't understand why anyone would do anything other than take the greatest of care and every absolute precaution with the health of a special needs child, whose parent should have been their greatest advocate and protector.
The faked pregnancy theory was easier to believe. And so it was born...
I do not believe that Sarah Palin, under any circumstances, would have risked giving birth on an airplane. Whether she would have been motivated to avoid this by concern for her child (hopefully) or fear of criticism and embarrassment doesn't really matter in the end. What matters is that the consequences of giving birth under such circumstances probably would have been career-ending.
I do not think she would have taken this risk. More to the point, I do not believe she DID take this risk. She was absolutely positive she would not have a baby on the airplane. And how could she be positive? The same way I am positive every time I fly that I will not have a baby on an airplane. I am not pregnant.
We are "working" this story knowing how it ends. We know that Sarah Palin did NOT have a child on an airplane on April 17th 2008. But at 2 PM that afternoon, when Sarah Palin would have been walking down that jetway, she could NOT have known what the next ten hours would hold. If Sarah Palin was 35 weeks pregnant on April 17th, given her obstetric history, not only was it possible she would give birth within ten hours of her membranes rupturing, it was probable. She would had to have guessed, getting on the airplane, that there was a very fair chance she'd have the baby in the air.
She should have known that the odds were against her, and if she did not, any credible doctor would have made it immediately, explicitly, abundantly clear. Several different versions of how much contact she had with her doctor and when that contact occurred on that day have circulated. But if Sarah Palin had been pregnant and had been leaking amniotic fluid, no doctor in the world would have ever told her it was alright even to consider getting on an airplane. Any physician would have made it clear that, if you're leaking amniotic fluid, you have a very high chance of having the baby before you get back to Alaska, certainly BETTER THAN 50/50. That information would have stopped Palin cold. Let's be reasonable. It would stop anyone.
The primary risk she would never take is to her own public image. She cares about what people think - very much. No professional woman - and certainly not the narcissistic governor of Alaska - would have risked for a second the absolutely appalling level of scrutiny and social embarrassment that would have resulted if she had given birth on the airplane... and that is if things came out well. If her preterm baby had been harmed by the choice, she could have been charged with child endangerment and prosecuted!
I have personally seen a baby born after two hours of membrane rupture and one - yes you're reading right - ONE contraction. Palin had boasted, prior to April 18th, about how easy her birth had been with Piper six years earlier, reminding people that after Piper had been born, she'd gone back to work the next day. Sarah Palin may not know the ins and outs of African politics, but she's a practical-minded woman who had given birth four times. She knows where babies come from and just exactly what is involved in getting them out. Do THAT on an airplane? Never. Not in a million years did she chance it.
I have never looked at a map and checked proximity of the hotel where Palin was staying in Texas to a hospital, but in a large urban area, surely she could not have been more than, say, ten minutes away from a good hospital where she could have gone in a hurry. I can accept - and always have - that someone in Palin's position might try to give the speech. MIGHT, though the image of an amniotic fluid "leak" turning into a full-fledged rupture while on stage certainly would have dissuaded me personally. (If you wonder what I'm talking about, dump approximately one and a half quarts of yellowish pinkish kinda funky smelling liquid between YOUR legs all at once. Now picture this happening WHILE giving a speech to other governors. Hmmm. Sort of wrecks the professional aura, doesn't it?)
But no one will ever convince me - ever! - that the image-conscious governor of Alaska risked having to lie down in public, spread her legs, and grunting and panting in a messy puddle of amniotic fluid, mucous, blood, urine and possibly either the baby's excrement, her own, or both, push her baby out on the carpet in the aisle. Risked her own health and her baby's. Risked the public criticism she would have come under for inconveniencing hundreds of other passengers. And taken this chance not once, but twice, on two separate four hour flights.
Would she ever have been able to overcome the eye rolling and snickers? I don't think so. "Oh yeah, Sarah Palin. She's that Governor that had a baby in first class. YUCK YUCK YUCK. Good thing it wasn't coach. HAR HAR HAR." "Didjya hear the one about the Governor that had the baby..." And on and on and on. Millions of people who had never heard of Sarah Palin would have, all at once, and not in a good way. "Pulling a Palin" (or something comparable) probably would have become - for generations - a synonym for: stupidest choice imaginable.
My "comeback" to Ms. Tompkins is that I believe that the faked pregnancy theory (which of course means she was never actually at risk for having a baby on the plane) is in fact far more plausible than suggesting that she risked the incredible level of scrutiny and criticism, possibly career ending, that she would have come under if she'd given birth somewhere over Canada.
And consider this: If you are going to put this forward - that Sarah Palin recklessly endangered the life of her child - you're going to have to be able to offer some plausible explanation for why she did it. That has never happened. Sarah Palin has NEVER offered any credible or even remotely believable explanation as to WHY. WHAT was her utterly compelling reason for getting on the airplane? WHY did she chance this medically risky and humiliating scenario?
So that her child could be born in Alaska.
This is the only reason she has ever offered. So that her child could be born in Alaska. (Or to quote the succinct Todd, "You can't have a fish picker [commercial fisherman] from Texas.") This makes no sense. It is in fact one of the dumbest things I have ever heard.
Having a baby on an airplane would almost certainly have ended Sarah Palin's political career, just due to the embarrassment and the criticism she would have come under for inconveniencing the other passengers. If the baby had come to harm, it would definitely had ended her career and might have opened her up to prosecution. If the events of April 17, 2008 occurred as described, at 2 PM on that day when she got an airplane to return to Alaska, she could not know what would happen during the next eight hours. This is the risk the Sarah Palin would not take. This is the risk she did not take.
PART 2 COMING SOON.