Sunday, August 31, 2008

Not buying it

I am not buying into the internet rumors about Sarah Palin's youngest child not being her own baby.

Let me start by saying that Sarah Palin gives me the heebiejeebies when you pair her name with the words "Vice President". She seems wayyyy too much like our Minnesota's 6th district congresswoman, Michele Bachmann for my comfort.

Bachmann's 2006 campaign for congress just about stood my hair on end, and I don't even live in the 6th district - though it is basically next door.

Being pro-Intelligent Design; calling the human connection to global warming voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax; and being a dedicated opponent of a woman's right to reproductive choice are just three of Bachmann's Right-wing "charms".

Ironic Bachmann trivia: she introduced the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act. According to Wikipedia, she said of the legislated phase out of incandescent lightbulbs:
I was just outraged that Congress would want to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the American people. It struck me as a massive Big Brother intrusion into our homes and our lives.
Sarah Palin is, as far as I can tell, Michele Bachmann's ideological sorority sister. She is NOT someone I want to see one step from the most powerful position in the world. So don't get me wrong, I'm not defending Sarah Palin because I like her.

This thing could have been started by someone on the Left trying to out-Rove the McCain camp. And if so, it could seriously backfire.

But - call me paranoid - I wouldn't rule out that it could've been manufactured by the Rove Machine itself to make the Dems look like they're mudslinging when Obama has repeatedly promised to avoid the ugly tactic of personal attacks. All the McCain campaign needs to do is produce clear proof that the rumor is a lie, which shouldn't be difficult, and the liberals who jumped all over the story will look like the worst kind of muckrakers.

As for the story itself, the date on at least one of the supporting photos has been fudged to make the rumor seem plausible. A photo purporting to show Palin's daughter Bristol as pregnant was taken in 2006 - Baby Trig was born in April 2008. So there's no way that photo shows what they claim it shows.

A lot of the details of the accusations are based on assumptions and individual opinions from people who have no first hand knowledge of the people involved.

For example, ArcXIX, the author of the story on Dailykos asserts that Bristol Palin must be pregnant in specific photos because of generalizations about female physiology. Explaining the curve of Bristol's abdomen in close-fitting clothes ArcXIX says:

Bristol is pregnant in these pictures. She is not carrying belly fat, which grows outwardly wide, and does not become dome-shaped. That's because fat is generally evenly distributed around the abdomen and a fetus is not.

That's just ridiculous. I've never been pregnant, but since my early teens - even at my most slender - I've always had a dome shaped belly. Everyone - man or woman - carries their body fat differently, unless they're Michael Phelps and just plain don't have any.

For the record, the photos I've seen of Bristol look like a very attractive, healthy young woman. She isn't a bean pole like the twigs we're accustomed to seeing on TV. She's not a thin as her mother certainly. But I wouldn't look at her and think "pregnant", and I feel sorry for her - a teen in image conscious America, being told by thousands of anonymous voices that she looks pregnant when she's not. Way to make the poor kid's day.

Some people are making a lot of the fact that Palin didn't publicly discuss her pregnancy until she was 7 months along. This, IMHO, is a non issue. My Mister and I didn't know my my sister-in-law was pregnant until she was 8 months pregnant. Not everyone shouts their news to the hilltops as soon as they know. And if I was a politician, I think I'd keep it private until it was pretty obvious, too. It would be easier to get things done if its business as usual, instead of everything you say or do being filtered through or trumped by speculation about your pregnancy.

Also from the same DailyKos diarist:
In a video posted in February (nearing five months of pregnancy at the time), Sarah is seen trim, and walking around all of Juneau, Alaska.
Eight months pregnant. A 6.2 pound fetus. No one notices a visible trace. By the third trimester, a perfectly fit woman not wearing anything less than a space suit should be easily spotted as pregnant.
Again, I say this is a load of bat guano. In the video ArcXIX refers to, assuming it was shot the same month it was posted on (February '08) I would have no trouble accepting that Palin is 5 months pregnant. Compared to her more recent photos, she's plumper in the face, her jacket is fairly loose, and it's common knowledge that women show their pregnancies at widely different times.

I've been amazed by some of the women I worked closely with and knew were pregnant who barely showed until 6 months. One, at the age of 40, had a 9 lb baby; another friend had healthy twins at 6 lbs each. The former was able to wear one of her regular coats zipped closed until very late along. And you'd never have guessed the latter woman was carrying twins even up until she went on leave from work to have the babies.

And if we're going to play the comparing photos game, what about this photo of Sarah Palin and family from a few months after Trig was born? Bristol is in the photo with her. Which of the two looks more to you like a woman who has recently given birth?

I've read posts by commenters on various articles that back this rumor using Palin's age as supposed proof that she couldn't have been pregnant.

Do any of these people seriously believe that the hospital she gave birth in would be likely to participate in a cover up?

As for the flight from Texas back to Alaska that Sarah Palin took before delivering Trig that so many of the gossipers claim proves she either wasn't really pregnant (because she wouldn't have taken such a risk), or that she put her baby in jeopardy? Her own doctor, Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, is quoted in the the Anchorage Daily News as saying:

Things were already settling down when she talked to me...
I don't think it was unreasonable for her to continue to travel back.
Sarah Palin is actually her son Trig's grandmother?

Sorry. Not buying it.

Oh, and the person with the screen name ambivular who originally submitted the story that I saw on the front page of had, when I checked, only ever submitted 3 stories to Digg - all 3 of which relate to the Palin rumor, and had never yet dugg any other articles on Digg. That alone in this circumstance seems suspiciously like an account had been set up specifically for rumor mongering.

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