Sunday, September 07, 2008

Frenzy over Rumor Helps Palin Avoid the Baby Story that Deserves Spotlight

To those who ran with the rumor that Trig Palin was not Sarah’s child, but her daughter’s – without any more solid evidence than a couple of photos where Bristol’s tummy isn’t perfectly flat:

You provided Sarah and her Rovian consultants the escape route they so desperately needed.

Now, we have the media trumpeting Obama’s response to the pregnant Bristol story -

I have said before and I will repeat again: I think people’s families are off limits. And people’s children are especially off limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Governor Palin’s performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. And so I would strongly urge people to back off of these kinds of stories.

To Obama’s credit, that would be a fair response – IF that was actually the basis of the concerns being raised. But it’s not!!
Today, two of NPR’s top programs, The Diane Rehm Show, and Talk of the Nation talked about Governor Palin, and while the pregnancy issue was addressed at length, they didn’t get anywhere near the original, very strange story. The most daring caller merely questioned the apparent effectiveness of the Governor’s policy of abstinence education over birth control.

They’ve gotten completely off track of where this entire thread began – April 17th, 2008, in Texas, where the water was flowing.

So, it is our responsibility, as citizen journalists, bloggers, commentors, and political junkies – to push forward the real story - which is a big enough story WITHOUT having to resort to Mother-swapping rumors.

The voters need to know about – and publicly discuss – what is the significance of what happened on the day before her son, Trig, was born:

1. Sarah Palin had her water break while she was in Texas on the morning of April 17th, but she chose to continue to participate in an "energy forum", including giving her own 30 minute speech that afternoon. Then, despite the danger of infection and imminent labor, she chose to go to the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport and board an Alaskan Airlines plane for a very long flight back to Anchorage – at least 9 hours, according to the airline’s current schedule – and even then, upon landing, chose to drive to a hospital another 43 miles from the airport. Why did she make those choices? Would she have been this careless if the baby were not already known to have Down Syndrome? What kind of prioritizing is this?

2. This under-reported, and vaguely defined "energy forum" on April 17th, that Sarah Palin was dedicated to, was a gathering that consisted of nine Republican governors and six energy industry CEO’s, hosted by Texas Governor Rick Perry, according to The Austin American Statesman. Why was the event not on the Governor’s website? What was the theme of Ms. Palin’s "keynote" speech there. Will it turn out that Ms Palin was chosen for McCain because she is already selling out her state and its people to industry?

So, let us choose to take Sarah Palin at her word – about that day, and about that pregnancy. And let us then ask the pertinent questions about the strange decisions she made that day, and why.That, too, would be a very fair response – which has nothing at all to do with the candidate’s children or family, as Barack wishes.

It does have a lot to do with this politician who is put before us -- her wisdom, leadership, and, most important, the company she keeps.

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