Johnny Cash was and is one of my few heroes. My admiration for him is based not only on my appreciation of his unique talent as singer, songwriter and performer, but on the courage he showed as a Nashville heavy hitter who stood up for Bob Dylan way back when Bob was considered a commie jew anti-war hippie by the country music establishment, and for Johnny’s overcoming substance abuse problems to create a whole new oeuvre in his later years, and for his being a man who never tried to shove his Christianity down anyone’s throat, and who, throughout his life, opposed needless war, imperialism, racism and insensitivity to the less fortunate among us.
In October, 2008, she wrote a brilliant commentary in The Nation, called “Why I’d Be a Better VP than Sarah Palin.
Contained therein is her straight from the shoulder shot about Sarah being pregnant with Trig in Dallas and taking the wild ride to Wasilla:
Finally, there is one subject in which I find I am even more conservative than the Governor, and that is in the area of neo-natal responsibility. The Governor was eight months pregnant and in Texas to give a speech, when her water broke. She reportedly made her speech and then traveled eleven hours, dripping amniotic fluid, bypassing Seattle and Anchorage (major cities with world-class hospitals) to travel to a small hospital in Wasilla that had no neo-natal intensive care unit, and gave birth there. Call me a wimp, call me insecure, but you had better also call me a maverick, because I would have said “Damn the schedule! Damn the speech and the airline ticket!” If this had been me, as soon as my water broke, I’d be at the closest hospital and that baby would have been born in Texas!
This is from a mother of five whose career has taken her to far more places around the world than Sarah’s has.
It’s a question of priorities.
What matters more: the life and well-being of your Down Syndrome baby, about to be born prematurely, or your image?
The estimable Ms. Cash makes clear the choice she would have made.
Which is the choice any sane and caring woman in that circumstance would have made. And the choice her husband–if he were caring–would have insisted on!
This leaves us with only two options:
a) Sarah is/was either not sane, or was so uncaring that she was more concerned about her image than about the life she was carrying inside her.
b) She wasn’t pregnant.
I just don’t see a third alternative.
I’ve declared myself as “trignostic,” meaning I am skeptical about Sarah’s story of her pregnancy with Trig and his birth, but I am not yet certain that it could not be true.
If it’s a hoax, it would be the worst ever perpetrated on the American electorate by a candidate for national office.
That’s a lot to swallow, which is why MSM has simply turned its collective head.
I’m still not convinced (i.e. persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt), but recent close readings of the newly-released Palin emails by Jesse Griffin at Immoral Minority and Andrew Sullivan at Daily Dish bring me closer to concluding that Sarah’s tale is an absolute and utter fraud and that Trig, in fact, was not her baby.
To me, the questions have always been valid, and the MSM dismissal of Sullivan as a misogynist freak with a tinfoil beard has been shameful.
The question of whether or not Trig was really Sarah’s baby was much on my mind last spring and summer in Alaska. Both Levi’s sister, who was photographed holding him soon after birth, and Levi’s mother assured me that conspiracy theories about Trig were absurd: Sarah gave birth to him, just as she said.
I devote a full chapter of THE ROGUE to this question, and have material in other chapters that relates directly to it.
My research did not uncover proof that Sarah was lying, but I returned from Alaska last fall more skeptical about the official version of events than I’d been when I got there.
In regard to this question, I recall the words of a US Army CID detective who on April 6, 1970 questioned Jeffrey MacDonald about his account of the murders of his wife and two daughters: “Anything is possible, but some things are more possible than others.”
I now think in regard to Trig that anything is possible, but that it’s more possible than not that Sarah’s whole story is a lie.
Even so heavily redacted, the Palin emails offer startling new evidence. By evidence, I mean facts that could be submitted to a jury in a court of law. For a long time, there have been photos online–both of Trig’s ear and Sarah’s belly–from the spring of 2008 that would seem to contradict her version of events. But much of what a photograph demonstrates, in a forensic sense, is in the eye of the beholder. If you already believe Sarah’s story to be a lie, the photos prove it. If you don’t, they’re just pictures, taken from different angles by different people at different times.
The emails, however, are in Sarah’s own words.
As I point out in THE ROGUE , for someone who wrote in her memoir that “desperation…overwhelmed me” when she realized her amniotic fluid sac had ruptured in Dallas at 4 a.m. on April 17, 2008, Sarah was strangely indifferent to her baby’s fate. I describe how close she was to so many Dallas hospitals with neo-natal intensive care units, yet she felt no need to go to one, even though her baby wasn’t due for another month, and even though she already knew that his Down Syndrome and her age made the birth high risk.
Hell, Sarah didn’t even want to call her doctor!
I go into the hours that followed in great detail, pointing out that observations by others of her behavior every step of the way from Dallas to Wasilla cast doubt upon her version of events.
What’s new in the emails is proof that seven hours after being overwhelmed by desperation about the fate of her new gift from her Heavenly Father, Sarah was firing off BlackBerry messages, including one about Andrew Halcro, one of her opponents in the gubernatorial race of 2006, who’d started a blog often critical of her.
“What a goof he is…truly annoying,” she wrote in the throes of her desperation about Trig’s fate. She added, “I’m headed home from Dallas.”
We’ve all heard about compartmentalizing, but, hey, let’s get real: her great gift from her Heavenly Father is at risk of dying before he’s even born and Sarah is bitching about Andrew Halcro?
Despite being overwhelmed by desperation, Sarah also fired off a note to an aide that morning, instructing her not to proceed with a fake letter to the editor of the Anchorage Daily News–one that was to be sent as if it came from Sarah–responding to criticism from a couple of Anchorage radio personalities.
“Don’t submit at this time as there will be more thought put into this…” she wrote.
In THE ROGUE I wonder about how Sarah spent the hours between the onset of desperation at four a.m. and her luncheon speech. Now we know: she was on her BlackBerry, dealing with inconsequential matters, as her amniotic fluid continued to leak, putting her baby, hour by hour, at increasing risk.
IF there was a baby in her womb at the time.
Jesse Griffin’s close reading of Sarah’s letter to family and friends, written as if it were from God, provides the strongest evidence I’ve yet seen that Sarah was not pregnant in 2008 and did not give birth to Trig.
In the popular idiom, “God is in the details.” Here, God is in the redactions.
I read Going Rogue (don’t get me started.) In it, Sarah says she wrote a letter about Trig “to our family and closest friends.” Being Sarah, she opted to write it as if it had come from “Trig’s Creator, the same Creator in whom I had put my trust more than thirty years before.” She signed it, “Love, Trig’s Creator, Your Heavenly Father.”
First, how crazy is that? You write a letter to family and closest friends announcing the arrival of a new baby as if you were God?
I’ve read saner communiques from Son of Sam and Charles Manson.
But…what’s relevant here is what Sarah redacted from the letter as published in Going Rogue.
There was sheer nuttiness, such as this paragraph, which was redacted:
(But tell me, what do you earthlings consider “perfect” or even “normal” anyway? Have you peeked down any grocery store isle, or school hallway, or into your office lunchroom lately? Or considered the odd celebrities you consider “perfect” on t.v.? Have you noticed I make ’em all shapes and sizes? Believe me, there is no “perfect”!)
“You earthlings?” What is this, Star Trek?
But then there was the money quote:
“I let Trig’s mom have an exceptionally comfortable pregnancy, so she could enjoy every minute of it, and I even seemed to rush it along so she could wait until near the end to surprise you with the news…”
There’s more sentimental tripe about Piper not waiting too long for a Christmas present and Palins having four-day birthday parties (“You all really like cake”), which goes to show that the heavenly father really needs an earthling editor, but the bottom line is what Jesse Griffin spotted.
I believe we’ve now seen an email that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sarah Palin’s pregnancy was not as reported.
On Monday, April 7th, Sarah Palin sent this letter from her official government account to her yahoo accounts. It was the draft of the letter she eventually sent to friends and family after Trig was “born” on April 18th, eleven days later.
This letter was written when Sarah Palin was supposedly thirty-four weeks pregnant. Six weeks away from her announced delivery date of May 18th.
How can you possibly explain her writing a letter which thanks God for giving her an exceptionally easy pregnancy (“Then, I let Trig’s mom have an exceptionally comfortable pregnancy so she could enjoy every minute of it,”) when she should have been six LONG weeks away from the end? Still facing the weeks that any woman will tell you are going to be the most uncomfortable…
How could Sarah know for sure that her birth would be easy and free of complications or that her baby would be, except for the Down Syndrome, healthy?…
And what about this sentence? “and I even seemed to rush it along…” I believe this is a clear reference to the fact that Trig came early. But how could Sarah possibly have known, on April 7th, that that was going to happen?…
Here is my question: if she could write on April 7th that her Heavenly Father let her “have an exceptionally comfortable pregnancy,” and she knew in advance she’d give birth so easily–although a month prematurely–that she wouldn’t even have to take a day off from work, how come “desperation…overwhelmed” her in Dallas ten days later?
Sarah: forget about “The British are coming!” What should worry you is “The questions are coming!”
Ever thicker and faster.
And by the way, where is Trig? Long time no see.
See “A Trignostic Wavers” from Andrew Sullivan at Daily Dish today.
If so, this should do it for you:
Meanwhile, at Daily Beast, Alex Massie has a bracing article about Sarah’s foolhardy hope of meeting with Margaret Thatcher.
As Andrew Sullivan would say, the money quote:
There is something loathsome about this attempt to use a frail 86-year-old stroke victim (who has largely retired from public life) as fodder to enhance your own domestic political agenda. It is vulgar and it is vainglorious and therefore entirely typical of Palin’s political style.
But Lady Thatcher is not a boardwalk attraction to be gawped at by tourists from Palookaville…Why should Lady Thatcher have any interest in meeting Palin? Even if the Iron Lady were not in such rusty health, what would be the point or purpose of any such encounter? What possible interest could she have in meeting a two-bit, half-term governor of Alaska?…What could they possibly talk about? One is a giant figure; the other…a carnival pygmy.”
Sarah and Van Susteren, like the Canadian craniopagus conjoined twins, may actually share one mind.
Difference is that the four-year-olds are both cuter and smarter.
Sarah actually gets it, but continues to pretend she doesn’t: she owes everything to the tickle-hungry, hit-starved minions of MSM.
She shows up in black leather with a Harley helmet on her head, and, yes, her talking points written on the palm of her hand, and mainstream media—-as exemplified by this story in The New York Times, (featured at the top of their home page, which is equivalent to above the fold on page one, back when anybody actually read the print edition)—-rolls over giddily and begs her to scratch their collective belly.
For sheer mastery of celebrity theater, Sarah Palin cannot be beat.
Ms. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, let the anticipation build for hours on Sunday in the Pentagon’s North Parking Lot, where thousands of bikers (and their rumbling Harleys) had gathered for the annual Rolling Thunder rally ahead of Memorial Day.
And then, suddenly, there she was: Ms. Palin, with her husband, Todd, and the rest of the family. Wearing matching black Harley-Davidson helmets, they rode motorcycles toward the front of the procession through a crush of cameramen, photographers, reporters and leather-clad bikers, all jostling for just a peek at the woman who might be president.
It’s long past time for those of us who believe that Sarah continues to represent a real threat to the (largely) rational discourse that has been a hallmark of our democracy for 235 years to keep blaming her and recognize that it’s the enabling by mainstream media, desperate for page views as print circulation plummets, that keeps her not only afloat, but aloft.
MSM argue that they have to cover her because everything she says and does is “news.”
But it’s only news because they make it news.
Granted, as a candidate for vice president in 2008, Sarah was news. But since November, 2008–and even more so after she quit as Alaska governor in 2009–it’s been MSM’s presenting her as a serious person, even while deriding her in the snobbish fashion that allows her to call them “lamestream”–that has kept the helium in Sarah’s balloon.
What’s clear from the weekend is that nobody has learned a thing.
She starts a “bus tour”—one for which her organizers refuse to say where she’ll be tomorrow— on the back of a motorcycle, and she’s hailed for her “mastery of celebrity theater,” and praised for outFoxing (pun intended) the MSM journalists who chase after her, tongues hanging out.
Okay, but cover her in the entertainment section. Even as the solemn debate about whether she’ll actually be a candidate next year continues, The New York Times calls her, without apparent irony, “the woman who might be president.”
And Chris Matthews, who stated the obvious last week by saying, “she’s profoundly stupid,” said more recently:
“She is really good . . . she’s fantastic on a stage. When she walks out on that stage there’s something kinetic happening. She looks great, look at her, she’s alive, she’s smiling, she’s doing stuff, she’s moving around. You can’t take your eyes off of what she’s doing.”
God help us, his leg is tingling again.
And both John McCain and Andrew Sullivan said yesterday that given the right set of circumstances she could beat President Obama next year.
Hey, if exchanging nasty comments about Sarah on this or any other blog makes you feel good, by all means keep on doing it.
But don’t kid yourself that it’s having any effect in the real world, where media memes are created, where elections are decided, and where the moral, ethical and political contours of our country are being shaped.
Seeing the gleeful embrace that MSM is giving Sarah as she returns from self-imposed, post-Tucson exile, I don’t quite despair, but I worry.
And in my head, I replay Bob Dylan’s lyrics from “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” which he wrote and first performed in 1965, in the wake of the John F. Kennedy assassination:
You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last
But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast
Yonder stands your orphan with his gun
Crying like a fire in the sun
Look out the saints are comin’ through
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue…
The empty-handed painter from your streets
Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets
This sky, too, is folding under you
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue
Sarah hops on a Harley at the Pentagon and MSM falls back in love with her again.
Happy Memorial Day.
Pen a fantasy about how Sarah Palin could have been Barack Obama if only she weren’t so:
b) filled with anger, resentment and hate
d) stupid and uneducated
e) all of the above
and you tap into a deep vein of right-wing nostalgia for the Sarah-Who-Never-Was, which will prove of immense benefit to your personal brand and career.
I’m sure he felt he had a legitimate, counter-intuitive, against the flow argument to make. He’s proven himself to be an excellent and fair-minded reporter in the past. And nobody should knock him just because his first job in “journalism” was at The Onion.
It may be that with “The Tragedy of Sarah Palin,” Green is returning to his satirical roots. Although if you read some of the comments in response to my earlier post, “If Only Sarah Weren’t Sarah, She Coulda Been a Contender,” you’ll find some strong fact-based arguments against Green’s hypothesis.
In any case, I’m sure Green was perspicacious enough to sense the likely windfall that would result from a “St. Sarah, The Fallen Star” story.
And he’s knee-deep in peaches and apples already, as the huzzahs arrive from all the obvious right-wing shills:
—John Podhoretz in Commentary
—Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post
—Ross Douthat in The New York Times
This chorus sings in only one key: the key of sorrow, for the loss of a Sarah Palin who never existed outside the realm of their collective yearning, and who ever existed only as a figment of their collective imagination.
Andrew Sullivan wrote a bracing response yesterday and today added:
Josh’s piece will serve as balm to the right. And it will allow them to believe that their choice of veep in 2008 was not an indictment of them or the media – but just an unfortunate decision by Palin to change her colors. The only problem with this argument is that it is manifestly untrue. But we know that Palin lovers, like Palin herself, must perforce be wedded to mountains of untruth.
That’s the thesis propounded by Joshua Green in the June issue of The Atlantic.
The magazine, however, went with the classier title, “The Tragedy of Sarah Palin,” and illustrated the piece with the striking image above of Sarah in full presidential mode.
“But over the past few months, Palin has begun fortifying her profile by visiting foreign countries and delivering speeches that extol her record as governor, especially on energy, as she did in March to an audience of international business leaders in India….She seems to be reintroducing herself.”
Given that I’m presently writing the last chapter of THE ROGUE I’m not going to critique Green’s piece, though I’m sure some will take issue with his conclusion that Sarah was a great governor of Alaska, who accomplished extraordinary things.
I find it interesting that during his week in Alaska Green spoke to the same people I talked to two-and-a-half years ago about Sarah’s accomplishments as governor–Gregg Erickson, Pat Galvin, Hollis French, Les Gara–and came away with conclusions very different from those I reached and published in my 2009 Portfolio cover story.
I will say that I hope Howard Kurtz reads Green’s story. In the current Newsweek, Kurtz writes about the end of the Sarah Palin phenomenon in a piece titled, “Is Sarah Palin Over?”
Kurtz says she’s toast. Green says she just might be a soufflé only starting to rise.
Maybe Andrew Sullivan, formerly of The Atlantic and now with Tina Brown’s Daily Beast-Newsweek behemoth could moderate a Kurtz-Green debate on The Dish.
Even Commentary compares Sarah to Daryl Strawberry.
Even while pining for what might have been, Podhoretz writes her off. But who will win his heart next?
Or can Sarah lure him back by offering lunch on the concrete block on Lake Lucille, the way she seduced his buddy Bill Kristol over lunch at the governor’s mansion in Juneau?
He writes today: “I’ve been struggling to write a long new post on this entire thing, and am almost happy with it.”
I can say this about Andrew: he recognized from the start that the combination of Sarah Palin and the bedazzled media’s failure
to expose her for the fraud she was and is represented a genuine and grave threat to democracy. At the time, the 2008 election result was far from certain. In her Christian dominionism, her ignorance, her willfulness, her petulance, her spitefulness and her unbalanced belief that God really had annointed her to impose her narrow view of Christianity on a sinful, secular nation, Palin posed a clear and present danger to our way of life.
And we are by no means out of those woods yet. I have no doubt that she is currently preparing for a Fall Offensive that she thinks will carry her into next year’s primaries on a wave of fresh momentum. Given the weakness of the GOP field (Donald Trump?!!) , she could still become the Republican candidate.
The campaign that would follow that calamity would tear this country apart as maybe nothing has done since the Civil War.
So be grateful that Andrew Sullivan is standing watch.
…and many won’t like what he says.
From the start, Andrew has made an effort to be scrupulously fair about the Trig question. For being willing to consider even the possibility that Sarah’s story was a hoax, he was derided. Today’s post is further evidence of his scrupulousness, and although I disagree with him about many things (he is a Republican, after all) I’ve never found him to argue from false premises.
However, I’m less persuaded than he is by the belated first-person accounts of Quinn and Loy.
Loy wrote the original ADN story that said what a shock it was to learn that Sarah was pregnant, because she never looked it.
Now, three years later, he suddenly remembers that, yeah, actually, she did look pregnant, I just didn’t notice it at the time? A good cross-examiner could have fun with that in a courtroom.
As for Quinn, it was widely rumored that he was romantically involved with Palin aide Ivy Frye while covering Sarah as governor for AP. He doesn’t work for AP any more. I don’t know why, but I’ve heard the story of his relationship with Fry often enough and from enough different people without axes to grind that, at the least, it gives me pause in regard to Quinn’s credibility.
But set aside questions about the motivation of these two, suddnly key “eyewitnesses,” who decided in unison to go public last week. As all cops, prosecutors and defense attorneys know, eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. How about eyewitness testimony three years later?
I’m a Trignostic. I don’t have a dog in this fight. But I don’t agree with Sullivan that the “recovered memories” of Loy and Quinn (neither of whom I know, by the way) should be accepted as having significant weight.
Not only is eyewitness testimony unreliable, but these were young male reporters covering the most dazzling & sexy political figure in Alaskan history. Sarah invites them to view her (veiled) belly in private? And now–contradicting what they wrote at the time–they both decide retroactively that she was obviously pregnant?
Something about that smells like fish to me: and not like fish that even Todd Palin could sell commercially.
Sullivan says the Loy and Quinn accounts “buttress–powerfully–the case that this whole thing is a tempest in a spatula.” He finds Loy and Quinn “persuasive.” I don’t.
Hmm. I’m not so sure. That reminds me of the argument that friends of Jeffrey MacDonald made in his defense: he couldn’t have murdered his wife and children, because he’s not the kind of man who could have done that. Turns out that he did, and he was. So a long-distance psychological evaluation of Sarah by a pediatric specialist who’s never met her doesn’t rise to the level of evidence either.
My verdict? Jury still out. But we thank Mr. Sullivan for his testimony.
Finally, someone who personally believes that Sarah Palin gave birth to Trig respects the right of
Andrew Sullivan and others to ask legitimate questions. Amy Davidson, a senior editor at The New Yorker posts on her Close Read blog.
This is like a breath of pure oxygen after choking on the aggressive contempt spewed by Salon, HuffPo, etc. over the past few days.
I can understand skepticism. But what’s fueling the anger of MSM toward those like Andrew Sullivan, who simply keep asking questions because no one is giving answers? You would think journalists would applaud Sullivan for doing his job. Instead, so many try to marginalize and demean him. I would expect this from hack polemicists like Breitbart, but I’d really like to know what’s behind the defensiveness at MSM sites such as Salon, Slate, and HuffPo. They laugh at and scorn Sarah for everything else she says, but on this one issue she’s declared beyond reproach and taken at her word? And the thoughtful and diligent Sullivan is ridiculed for saying it does matter if Sarah’s whole bit of performance art with Trig was only that?
What could matter more? This woman almost became vice president of the United States, and still harbors hopes (because God will open the doors for her) of becoming president.
I suspect, and certainly hope, that we’ve not heard the last from Andrew Sullivan on this question. I know we haven’t heard the last from me.