Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Profiling Palin

Just as everyone is saying to drop the whole Sarah Palin fake pregnancy issue, I feel compelled to make a few points in defense of the rumor that so many say is disgusting and nothing but a leftist/Democratic smear campaign to make the new Republican VP pick look really bad.

For those of you living under a rock (or maybe living the better life of no television and Internet), The Daily Kos, a strongly left-leaning blog accused Alaska Governor Sarah Palin of faking a pregnancy to cover for her errant teenager, Bristol, and pretending the new addition to the Palin clan, little Trig (who supposedly has Downs Syndrome) is hers and not her daughter's. As proof, The Daily Kos provided a picture of Sarah Palin at six months pregnant with a stomach that is flat as a pancake. They pointed out that when Governor Palin announced that she was seven months pregnant and going to have a baby soon, her staff was floored. No one who worked with her had a clue she was pregnant. Finally, The Daily Kos offered the frightening story of Sarah Palin's abrupt return to Alaska via a ten hour flight, even though her amniotic fluid had started leaking and she was experiencing real labor pains. She didn't tell the flight attendants that she was that pregnant and in labor and they never had a clue this was her situation. The chances of Palin giving birth on the flight were relatively high and taking such a chance seemed so irrational that those at The Daily Kos felt Palin wouldn't have actually taken such a crazy risk. They felt it was more likely she only flew home because her daughter, Bristol was giving birth to the baby and because taking such a long flight while not pregnant was no risk at all.

So, that story multiplied on the Internet to the tune of over 2.000,000 references in just a few days. The story had very good running legs until Governor Palin and John McCain decided to clamp down on it by admitting Bristol was pregnant (five months pregnant) but had become pregnant before Trig was born, thereby eliminating her as the mother of the little boy. Now, Republicans and many others are embracing the pregnant teenager and her mom as just regular folk who have problems and telling those ridiculous gossipers and slanderers to shut up about this fake pregnancy thing. "Enough is enough!"

I beg to differ and I do so as a conservative who absolutely does not want Barack Obama in office. I do not like his ideology and I do not trust where he wants to take this country (keep in mind I have a biracial son that looks pretty much like Obama, so race is playing no part in this - I would love to see the color barrier erased in politics and would be thrilled if a black man or a man of Indian descent like Bobby Jindal or a man of mixed race like Obama made the big time). I also would love to see more women in high political office in the United States (I am a huge fan of the recently assassinated Benazir Bhutto) and I love renegades (look at me!). I am not to fond of McCain but I planned to vote for him if his running mate was someone I felt comfortable with. Now, I am stumped as to what to do come this election. Palin is a problem for me. I find her just as disingenuous as Obama.

Let me explain my position. First of all, I don't think she is ready to be vice president because she does indeed lack experience on the international front. I have no issue with Sarah Palin being mayor of a small town and being the new governor of Alaska. I think these are appropriate levels of government for a woman with her experience. I might have thought a number of years down the road, she would be a good VP. I don't think she is ready to be Vice President or, heaven forbid, the President should McCain croak.

But, even her lack of experience pales when it comes to Sarah Palin's character and choices. She scares me. Let's take a look at the "Whose Your Mommy?" scandal.

1) If Trig is her baby, why did Sarah Palin get pregnant at age forty-four and just when she became governor of Alaska? Does she not know the meaning of birth control, tubal ligation, or vasectomy? If she was planning on a full-time career in politics that leaves little time for young children, shouldn't she have made sure she would not jeopardize this venture by becoming pregnant?

2) If Trig is her baby, why did Palin, an ardent anti-abortion/pro life woman, get an amniocentesis? This procedure carries the risk of miscarriage; if she never planned to abort the baby even if he had Downs syndrome, why take this test? I refused amnio for this exact reason during my pregnancies; if I killed my baby for useless information, I could never live with myself. So why was the pro-life Palin willing to risk "aborting" her baby?

3) If Trig is her baby, why did Governor Palin keep everyone in the dark for seven months and then spring this news on them? Doesn't she think the people she works with and works for have some right to know what her situation is? One could say it is a private matter, but she is in public office and a change in her life circumstances can affect others, even if just because of the publicity. Furthermore, does she lie to them about her doctors appointments and come up with excuses for changes in exercise habits or diet, etc.? Isn't all of rather disconcerting behavior? If I worked with her and realized she had put up a big pretense for months, I wouldn't trust her much in the future.

4) If Trig is her baby, why in the heck would she risk the baby's life (and her own life) by getting on a long plane flight while in labor and leaking amniotic fluid? I myself am not fond of doctors and had a home birth the second time around (attended only by a lay midwife) and even I would not get on a plane with a high risk pregnancy and high risk birth (because of the Downs Syndrome) after my fluid started leaking and I felt labor pains. I would know that labor could increase quickly while airborne and the child could be born at any time during the flight. It would not fair to the baby or my family to take such a risk. It also wouldn't be very nice of me to put the flight attendants and the other passengers through such an ordeal. This to me is a huge red flag as to the judgment of Sarah Palin and what she considers important in making her decisions (you can decide for yourself why she got on this Alaska flight).

5) If Trig is her baby, why does Palin hide her daughter's pregnancy for so long, only telling the public about it she needs to squash this other story? Is it the lesser of two evils for her? Did she throw her daughter under the bus just to make herself look better? Shouldn't she have made the pregnancy known before she accepted the VP spot and when she accepted the VP spot? Why does it only come out to override the other scandalous story?

6) If Trig is her baby, why, oh, why didn't Sarah Palin just post a "Trig Birthday Page" with pictures of her holding Trig in her arms in her hospital bed, in her hospital gown? Why not show a picture of Palin being wheeled out of the hospital with Trig on her lap? Why not show a copy of Sarah/Trig's hospital record?

Some folks will say, "Why should Governor Palin have to do all this? Why should she have to respond to this smear campaign?" Under many circumstances, I would agree. I have suffered some amount of slander and libel in my career. Most of it I have ignored so as not to start a forest fire where there is only a small campfire burning that will extinguish itself in time. Sometimes one should not fan the flames even if the lies are unsettling and insulting. However, if there is a very damaging falsehood being spread about, especially the kind of stuff that would harm others I work with or work for, then I best deal with it. This story about Sarah Palin faking a pregnancy to cover for her daughter is not only bad for her reputation, but a huge liability for the Republican campaign for the White House. Why would she ignore such a nightmare when putting up one quick page on the Internet - a cheerful little piece with a happy tone, maybe even a slightly mocking tone - could solve the problem within minutes?

"To all my supporters out there, that silly story about me tossing on a fake belly for a couple months and pretending to birth Trig - here we are at the hospital! Yes, that baby at my breast is really mine and that ugly hospital gown was really on me that day. Check out this hospital record also! See my name associated with pregnant/birthing patient? Okay guys? Got it? Thanks! See you in the White House!" Simple to do and, in my opinion, necessary. Sarah Palin still hasn't responded to the allegations. All we have seen are a couple of new pictures of Palin looking pregnant in her eight month. Unfortunately, this is not proof of anything. If she announced she was pregnant in the seventh month (when she still did not look pregnant) and she was faking being pregnant, she would have to do something in the next month or two. She would have to carry through by adding a little tummy under her clothes as time went on. So the pictures don't prove she was pregnant; they just proved she looked pregnant.

7) If Trig is her baby and she knew her daughter was pregnant, shouldn't she have told John McCain that this was not an appropriate time to accept the VP spot, that a Downs baby and a young pregnant daughter will need a great deal of attention from her? Is it possible that a VP with exceptional life crises would not be beneficial to the Republican ticket?

So, I have no clue if the Palin fake pregnancy story was total bunk or not. While it has not be proven, neither has it been disproved - yet. If Bristol Palin has her baby (and doesn't have a "miscarriage" which would then make the original story possible again, or have the baby "so late" she would have had time to get pregnant again), then the Sarah Palin fake pregnancy story will have been proven a misinterpretation of "the evidence", but an understandable misinterpretation considering the series of events.

So even thought I am conservative and would have voted for the Republican ticket this time around, I can't entirely fault The Daily Kos for jumping on this bizarre story. I, too, have had the same thoughts, and although I haven't seen proof of the story being true, I haven't really seen enough proof that it isn't. I guess I will continue to wonder unless I see solid evidence that puts my curiosity to rest.

In the end, it doesn't matter a whole lot to me if the story of faked pregnancy is true or not. I am still uncomfortable with how Palin handles situations. She and John McCain won't get my vote at this point, and I am guessing, she has cost the Republicans the presidency in 2008. I think, regardless of the big effort being put forth to make Sarah Palin palatable, a whole lot of people won't want to vote for her or the fool who picked her.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown