by Dave Weigel
Who could have expected this? Criticizing my blog-host's indulgence of the "Trig isn't the son of Sarah Palin" theory inspired a bunch of e-mail, some of it critical of me for doubting. Or of not doubting enough. I've lost track.
Your argument comparing the Birthers and those questioning Trig Palin’s birth misses the largest most salient fact of all. Obama has answered his questioners with a legal document that clearly proves those stating he was not born in the US are choosing to disbelieve what has legally been shown to be fact. Sarah Palin has answered her questioners by producing a statement: "I already answered those questions". I am foreigner who does not even live in the US, I have no horse in this race. But these arguments are not of the same ilk. While both arguments can be be settled with supporting documentation, only the Birthers have been shown to be WRONG. As Andrew has stated before, just prove him wrong...
It's true that Palin has not published a certificate of birth the way Obama's campaign did when confronted with the early spasms of the birthers. A medical report that describes her pregnancy is all the media has. Remember, though -- birtherism didn't really take off until the campaign did so, and conspiracy theorists began to argue that the document was flawed and lacking. Palin has reacted to more information requests with anger. I think that anger's understandable.
I'm utterly astounded that you take it upon yourself to claim that evidence against Palin as Trig's mother a) is vapor, and b) doesn't make any difference even if it's not vapor. If you are finding people in AK who "followed" Palin during her brief pregnancy, would you please give their names and their comments? And may I ask, why haven't they themselves come forward to offer eyewitness accounts of the pregnancy? And why haven't those who were present at the birth (other than Levi, who's a confessed liar, and Palin's father, who is a creep of the first order and clearly biased) ever come forward to confirm the details of the birth story? And by the way, not even the doctor who wrote Palin's "medical letter" before the 2008 election said in the letter that she was present at the birth.
The last point is not true. From the letter: "Routine prenatal testing early in the second trimester of Palin's pregnancy determined that the fetus had the chromosomal condition known as Down Syndrome. The Alaska governor and her husband, Todd, decided to go ahead with the pregnancy." That's pretty clear, isn't it? And among the people who told me that Alaskans were well aware of Palin's pregnancy were Shannyn Moore, an award-winning and left-leaning political radio host who has been roundly attacked by Palin fans.
Ok, so, she gave birth to Trig. But that does not mean that her story doesn't smell. I look at this not so much as a political story, but a medical one. Here are the questions that remain unanswered for me:
1) Why did she have amniocentesis at 13 weeks gestation (as she stated in People Magazine in August 2008). Amnio is normally performed at 16-20 weeks. It is considered too risky at 13 weeks.
2) Why didn't she seek medical attention when she discovered she was leaking amniotic fluid (she confirmed this in an interview in the ADN shortly after Trig was born)? This is a huge red flag because once your water is broken, the risk of infection increases. If she was leaking amniotic fluid, wasn't she at all concerned that she would get amniotic fluid all over her plane seat? (Sorry, but delivering a baby is messy business).
3) Why was Trig delivered by a family physician, and not an obstetrician, or a perinatologist? Over-40 women are almost always considered "high risk" because of the increased chance of pre-eclampsia, a potentially fatal condition.
4) Why did she give birth to Trig at a small community hospital that does not offer high-risk obstetrics and does not have a neo-natal intensive care unit? She was 44, in labor prematurely, and carrying a Downs' Syndrome baby (who sometimes face complications at birth). Any of those three things qualifies her as "high-risk". This is the part that just sounds so implausible to me. The Providence Alaska Medical Center is close to the airport in Anchorage, is a state-of-the-art facility, and Palin's physician had privileges there. So why did they drive an hour past that facility back to the Mat-su hospital?
Here's what you and so many others are missing, Mr. Weigel: It is simply not normal behavior to "go into labor" in Texas and then take a very long trip, involving two planes and a car ride, to get home. Labor hurts like hell, and can turn on a dime. You may have heard the story of the birth of Gov. Bobby Jindal's third child, but here's a recap. Mrs. Jindal had typically long, drawn-out labors with her first two children, and she assumed her third child would arrive in a similar fashion. He did not. Mrs. Jindal's labor progressed so quickly that there was no time to get to the hospital, and Mr. Jindal ended up delivering his son himself, while on the phone with a 911 operator who coached him through it.
In "Going Rogue" she describes how she woke up in Texas feeling contractions and prayed that her baby would be okay even though he would be premature. That is very understandable, but if she really cared about her baby's well being, why didn't she also visit a hospital in Texas to have a physician reassure her?
Andrew has never stated that he thinks Palin faked the pregnancy. He has stated clearly that he thinks there are three options here: 1) she behaved recklessly by flying while in labor 2) she lied about the details of Trig's birth to make herself sound more tough or 3) she faked the whole thing.
Not to be too flippant about this, but who cares? This is a woman who named her other children Track, Bristol, Willow, and Piper, and gets made fun of all the time for that, and whose husband participates in multi-week snowmobile races. So, yes, count me in as a believer of theory #1 who hasn't been too interested in it since then. (I have read "Going Rogue" with her account of this, via ghostwriter Lynne Vincent.) Why interpret her odd decisions as part of a cover-up?