Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin in the Blogosphere

The web is crackling with rumors and speculation this evening about the circumstances surrounding the birth of Trig Palin, the fifth child of Alaska governor Sarah Palin, named on Friday to be John McCain’s running mate.

Some of the speculation is based on news stories published in the Alaska press around the time of Trig’s birth. This much is not rumor: Governor Palin’s pregnancy came as a complete surprise when she announced it because she was already seven months pregnant and did not appear to be pregnant (Anchorage Daily News, March 6, 2008). In April, when she was eight months pregnant, Palin was at an energy conference in Texas where she was scheduled to speak. According to her own account, reported in Alaska newspapers, at about 4 am on the morning she was scheduled to speak she began to leak amniotic fluid. Nevertheless, she gave the speech several hours later then headed for the airport after consulting her Alaska physician who told her it was safe to fly. The flight from Dallas to Anchorage required a change of planes and she arrived approximately 8 hours later in Anchorage (Fairbanks News-Miner, April 22, 2008). According to Palin, one reason she flew home was her desire that the baby be born in Alaska. Upon arriving in Anchorage she traveled about 45 minutes to a hospital near Wasilla where the 6 pound, 2 ounce baby boy was born early on the morning following the Governor’s departure from Texas.

The medical advice Palin received, that it was safe to fly home, is highly questionable. Almost any OB/GYN will tell you that once fluid starts to leak, a pregnant mother needs to get to a hospital as soon as possible. There is a risk of infection and delay can place mother and baby in danger. While the judgment of the doctor, and Palin herself, has been called into question, what’s buzzing around the Internet is far more bizarre. It’s the rumor that the child is not Palin’s, but her 16 year old daughter’s. The reason Palin had to get back to Alaska, according to this speculation, was that Palin needed to be near or with her daughter for the alleged cover-up to work.

The circumstantial evidence is hardly enough to come to a conclusion, but it is curious that a 44 year old mother of four would delay seeking medical attention, board a long flight to Alaska, put herself and her baby at risk for the vanity of having the child born in Alaska. Typically, the time that elapses from the leaking or breaking of amniotic fluid (Palin’s story about whether her water “broke” was revised after the event) to birth is shorter for women who have had previous children. Indeed, many airlines have policies against women flying in such a condition, though Alaska Airlines, on which Palin appears to have flown, leaves it up to the judgment of the passenger.

It has also been floating in the blogosphere that Palin’s 16 year old daughter had, in the four to five months prior to Trig’s birth, been on leave from her Anchorage high school with mononucleosis. I have not seen a contemporaneous Alaska newspaper report to this effect, however.

The story would seem to be too bizarre to be true, but for the very odd, and undisputed accounts of the Governor’s travel back to Alaska from Texas, and her ability to keep news of her pregnancy a complete secret into the seventh month. But, again, this could all be wild speculation. If that’s the case, I am sorry for repeating it. But at the very least, a legitimate question is Governor Palin’s judgment in risking her own health and that of her unborn baby by delaying medical attention once she noticed, in Dallas, that she was leaking amniotic fluid. But this would have no bearing on her candidacy.

If this story is true, however, and that’s big “if,” look, obviously, for Palin to be dropped from the ticket. If it is true, and it breaks before the convention, McCain will not be the nominee since the blow to his claims of judgment will be destroyed. The convention would be thrown wide open. Who would want to accept the GOP nomination under this scenario? Probably no one except Mitt Romney. He’s so desperate to be noticed he’d throw himself under the bus for the party.

1 comment:

John Lott said...

This has to be the kookiest discussion that I have ever seen. Do you have any idea of the level of conspiracy necessary to hide a birth in a hospital? That no one would talk about this? We are talking about a governor of a state. Some one whom reporters would be covering constantly. Find some contemporaneous links to these claims at the time of the birth in the legitimate press and I might give it some weight.