In the Friday Wisconsin speech, we were reminded again of how central the Trig pregnancy remains to the Palin phenomenon. McCain, in the three minutes he spent thinking about it, saw Palin as some kind of "reformer". In fact, she was carefully marketing herself in 2008 as the uber-Christianist, and her carrying to term a Down Syndrome baby was the single most important fact about her for the base (and still is). This is what Kristol saw in her: a walking embodiment of the pro-life movement, but also usable to launch further warfare in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan or wherever the next neoconservative adventure can be found.
So what did we learn on Friday?
We learned for the first time that the Dish's appalling interest in her odd amniocentesis was onto something. In September 2008, I asked:
Why would a pro-life woman choose the procedure that could lead to the death of her unborn child rather than the safe, less invasive procedure? I don't know. It's one of many mystifying weirdnesses in Palin's own account of her pregnancy.
You'd think I'd accused her of manslaughter. But it now turns out that Palin did have an early ultrasound before the amnio - at least according to her latest version of the one-month-long public pregnancy and miraculous airplane labor across several time zones and continents. And it was the ultrasound, and not the amniocentesis, that revealed the Down Syndrome:
Palin spoke movingly of her youngest son, Trig, who has Down syndrome. She recalled that when she was pregnant, she underwent an ultrasound and the technician told her, "I see boy parts." Later, the technician told her that the baby's neck "is a little bit thicker," an indication that there might be an extra chromosome. A few days later, Down syndrome was confirmed.
Presumably, the confirmation came by amniocentesis, a procedure that posed a small but real threat to the baby's life. So the Dish wasn't crazy to ask this obvious question. Palin might have finessed this story last year because she didn't want to answer the question of why, as a pro-life woman, she would risk the life of her unborn child merely to confirm a diagnosis that had already been made. It could also be explained by a simple compression of the pregnancy story - but that's a little convenient given her acute control of the message at the time. There's one other aspect of her current story that's a bit strange as well.