Raw Journolist emails on ‘Palin’s Downs child’

Maggie Mahar
Aug 30, 2008, 4:47pm

Thank you Brad.

Rich Byrne
Aug 30, 2008, 4:52pm

I’m a bit skeptical of this whole rumor because it would be the audacity of dope. But c’mon, the falsification of public records, the reflection (warranted or no) on parenting skillsm, the sustained and public falsehood…. If it’s true, it would make her candidacy

Eve Fairbanks
Aug 30, 2008, 4:54pm

I thought there was a bulge, too, Avi. Don’t underestimate how complex this cover-up would have been to pursue — someone would have to go to quite the lengths to convince those around her she was pregnant when she wasn’t, even if she wasn’t a public figure under reporters’ scrutiny! There’s weight gain in the face and breasts as well as the abdomen — how could she have managed that? And what about the birth? What about the hospital? There would have had to be massive fraud and cover-up on the part of a lot of hospital staff. By now, or soon, some of these people covering up would crack, for money or under some other pressure. If the rumor is true, she can’t sit on it forever, and even if Brad, or we as a group, or conservatives, or whoever, don’t think it’s in and of itself disqualifying, it’s quite strange and would be such a distraction that she’d be ruined for bringing down McCain with the lie. It would be like the Edwards explosion, in a way. She would be blamed for irresponsibility toward her party.

But count me skeptical it could have been kept completely under wraps until now.

Kathleen Geier
Aug 30, 2008, 5:20pm

When I first heard this story, I thought it was preposterous. (And btw, a scenario similar to this lurid tale occurred last season on Desperate Housewives). And maybe I really am losing it, driven over the edge at last by my hatred of all things Republican, but at this point I’m starting to believe it.

There are a lot of things about the official story that just don’t add up. There’s a good summary in this recent Daily Kos post:

Everything from the pictures of both mother and daughter, to the daughter allegedly being out of school for anywhere from 5 to 8 months because she had “mono” (really?), to the fishy story about Palin’s water breaking, but her then going on to give aspeech, and then taking an 8-hour flight to Alaska, and *then* not heading immediately to a hospital near the airport, but driving for 45 minutes and going to the small hospital in the remote village where she was mayor and supposedly giving birth there, to pictures being scrubbed yesterday from Palin’s website — well, I don’t know about you, but lots of things about this story don’t sound right to me.

Give the Daily Kos post a read. And if you think I’m heading deep into tin foil hat territory, give me a good hard slap across the face, and a Cher-in-Moonstruck-like “Snap out of it!” please.

Lindsay Beyerstein
Aug 30, 2008, 5:23pm

If a grandmother wants to legally adopt her daughter’s child, that’s wonderful. However, the adoption should be legal and above-board. Falsifying parental records is wrong. If we believe in choice, we should condemn arrangements that strip vulnerable people of rights without legal safeguards.

Adoptions within a family aren’t fundamentally different from adoptions between strangers. If one person is giving up their parental rights and someone else is taking them on, that’s a very serious matter. The implications are huge. Parental status affects everything from medical decision-making to custody rights to inheritance.

By ceding her legal status as a parent, the daughter may be giving her mother even more power over her life. Pregnancy and parenthood legally emancipate a minor in ways that might be important to her life prospects. For example, pregnant and parenting youth are may be eligible for social services that they wouldn’t otherwise be entitled to. If the hoax goes according to plan, the teenager is rendered doubly dependent upon her parents because she’s not eligible for the social supports that are provided for parents. If she walks away, she stands to lose access to her child.

Having a grandmother pretend to be the mother might work out well. However, what happens if the daughter changes her mind? Without transparency and a paper trail, how can we be sure the girl freely consented in the first place? I wouldn’t just assume that a pregnant teen from a religious family is in a good position to say “no” if her
parents suggest that she conceal her pregnancy and sign her rights away to her own mother. It’s not uncommon for parents to threaten their unwed pregnant daughters with all kinds of dire consequences for getting pregnant.

Let’s not forget that this baby has a father whose parental rights would also be nullified by a maternity hoax–possibly without his knowledge or consent.

Adam Serwer
Aug 30, 2008, 5:23pm

I gotta say, if this is much ado about nothing, the McCain campaign may be very happy to air these rumors in public. It gives them their first big opportunity to say that she’s being attacked unfairly, and because Democrats are sexist.

I know they can hardly wait, that’s all I’m saying. And I read that Dailykos diary. Bristol does not look pregnant. She looks like she’s had a few too many mooseburgers, but then again so do I, and I’m not carrying a kid.

Mark Kleiman
Aug 30, 2008, 5:31pm

I see no upside for our side here. There’s plenty of other stuff to work on that won’t get her any sympathy at all and won’t risk damage to her innocent children/grandchild.