The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Having Met Todd Palin …

Posted on | April 14, 2011 | 130 Comments

. . . I would advise anyone to avoid ever insulting the man. He is not particularly tall, nor ostensibly stocky, an easygoing, modest and quiet man by nature. Mr. Palin reminds me very much, however, of certain fellows I grew up around and, if I judge the man rightly, you’d never want to make him angry.

When such a man decides you’re in need of a good old-fashioned ass-whupping, he’s unlikely to deem you worthy of advanced warning. Which was why I posed a question to Mr. Palin’s wife via Twitter:

Dr. Bradford Scharlott is an associate professor of communications at the University of Northern Kentucky, who has called attention to himself by publishing a 29-page “academic” treatise, the essence of which is an allegation that Todd Palin is a liar:

The theory is that Sarah Palin is actually the grandmother of her purported son Trig, not the mother, and that she staged a gigantic hoax during the campaign to cover up this fact. . . .
Scharlott’s article walks through all the evidence supporting the theory, including the photos of Palin in what is said to have been a late-stage pregnancy, the leisurely 20-hour trip home that Palin took after she supposedly went into labor in Texas, the refusal of the hospital where Trig was supposedly born to even confirm that he was born there (let alone who was the mother), strange statements from Palin’s doctor and the McCain campaign, and so on.

As I say, I have met Todd Palin, seen Trig scamper around the living room of the Palin family’s lakefront home in Wasilla, and watched Todd read a storybook to the adorable little tyke. Todd just rolled his eyes in disgust at my cautiously indirect mention of the “Trig Truther” nonsense, but I’d double-dog dare any of those fools to try presenting the so-called “evidence” for their lunatic theory while Todd Palin was in the room.

Yet I didn’t need to meet Todd and Trig to recognize Trig-Trutherism as lunacy. In August 2009, while dealing with vicious anti-Palin blogger “Audrey,” I wrote

[T]he moonbats are insinuating that Bristol is actually Trig’s mother, and Sarah his grandmother . . . Such insinuations collapse at first contact with reality:

What the Trig Truthers are trying to insinuate is that Bristol gave birth in April, conceived again almost immediately after Trig’s delivery and then, barely eight months after the birth of her first child, delivered her second child — healthy and apparently full-term — shortly after Christmas.
To the extent that this is not a medical impossibility, it certainly seems both unlikely and unnatural to say nothing of what we bloggers sometimes call “nucking futs.”

So if Palin’s pregnancy was a “hoax,” if she faked a pregnancy to disguise the fact that Trig was in fact Bristol’s child, this would seem to require that mere days after giving birth to Trig — scarcely permitting time to heal from that experience — Bristol became pregnant again so as to give birth to full-term baby Tripp exactly 255 days after giving birth to Trig.

Normal gestation period is 40 weeks (280 days). There have been instances where, impatient with the normal post-partum healing period (six weeks is usually recommended), ardent couples have conceived again within a month or two of giving birth.

Such are the circumstances of the phenomenon commonly called “Irish twins,” two babies born to the same couple less than a year apart. But it is ludicrous to suggest that this could explain Trig and Tripp as both being Bristol’s babies: At a bare minimum, allowing just two weeks after an April 18 childbirth before she again ovulated, this would put the second conception date no earlier than May 2. A second baby born Dec. 29 would make the gestation period for Tripp just 241 days — more than a month premature.

How many 34-week babies weigh 7-and-half pounds?

As if this were not in itself ironclad disproof of the Trig-Truther theory, there is still the matter of Trig being born with Down Syndrome and, as I first pointed out on Sept. 1, 2008, this is a condition closely correlated with advanced maternal age. At age 44, the odds of Sarah Palin giving birth to a child with Down Syndrome were 1-in-140, compared to 1-in-1,400 for a woman under age 25. Given that Gov. Palin was thus ten times more likely than Bristol to give birth to a Down Syndrome child, and in light of the more-or-less impossible odds against Bristol giving birth to a 7-and-a-half-pound baby after a 34-week gestation . . .

Well, what part of “nucking futz” is so hard to understand?

It’s crazy, is what it is, and the craziest part of it is that these fools are calling Todd Palin a liar. By my calculations, the campus of Northern Kentucky University is just about a 15-minute drive from the airport in Florence, and if Professor Scharlott gets the ass-whuppin’ he deserves, don’t say I didn’t try to warn him.

UPDATE: Jesse “Gryphen” Griffin claims that he corresponded with Scharlott for two months, and that Scharlott shared an advance draft of this paper with him. This indicates that Scharlott is knee-deep into the festering swamp of Palin Derangement Syndrome.

UPDATE II: Kudos to former Palin spokesman Bill McAllister who, upon receiving a copy of Scharlott’s paper, called the professor “despicable” and a “scoundrel.” McAllister declared: “If we ever meet, I’ll slap you. . . . In a different era, I’d challenge you to a duel.”

McAllister wrote an op-ed column for the Alaska Dispatch, explaining how Scharlott’s paper tries to connect dots that aren’t actually connected. But this is what conspiracy theorists always do, and why any reputable university would employ such a despicable scoundrel is beyond me.

UPDATE III: Justin Elliott of Salon notes that the Scharlott paper is being “shopped” by a publicist named Jennifer Campana, who may be the same Jennifer Campana described in a 2009 Los Angeles Times story about layoffs in California. (Disprove it!) And Elliott’s article also reminds us of Dave Weigel’s rebuke to Trig Truthers:

Trig Palin is Sarah Palin’s son and it’s irresponsible to suggest otherwise. . . .
Were Sarah Palin to become president and everything the Trig Truthers believed to be proven right, it wouldn’t matter at all. But they won’t be proven right. All of the evidence indicates that Trig Palin is Sarah’s son, and none of it suggests otherwise.

Let anyone go read Scharlott’s paper:

  • On Page 2, he says there was “insufficient evidence for the press to conclude that Palin was telling the truth about Trig.” So, according to Scharlott, anyone can accuse someone else of lying and the burden of proof is on the accused.
  • On Page 3, Scharlott uses the tendentious phrase “purported birth,” the kind of dirty trick that would never get past the copy desk at any reputable newspaper.
  • On Page 4, Scharlott cited the long-since-deleted Daily Kos poster “ArcXIX,” and then an Anchorage Daily News reporter who cited the “ArcXIX” post as the basis for treating the Trig-Truther story as a legitimate topic.
  • On Page 5, Scharlott writes that the John McCain presidential campaign “chose to reveal on September 1 that Bristol was pregnant, alleging that she was in her fifth month — and thus, the logic went, she could not be the mother of Trig, who was allegedly born on April 18.”

Now, amidst all this “allegedly alleging” stuff, you see how Scharlott engages in insinuation, seeking to play on the suspicions of readers predisposed to doubt any word a Republican says, especially when it involves a pre-demonized personality like Sarah Palin.

As for it being “alleged” that Bristol Palin was five months pregnant on Sept. 1, she gave birth on Dec. 29 — a fact not in dispute — almost exactly four months later. (Last time I checked, 5+4=9.) And if it is merely “alleged” that Trig was born on April 18, on what basis does Scharlott suppose otherwise?

Does Scharlott mean to insinuate (just taking a wild stab in the dark here) that Trig was actually born to Bristol before April 18, which would for the purposes of the Trig-Truther theory provide additional time for Bristol to get pregnant again and have a full-term baby (allegedly!) in late December?

OK, fine: Where is there any evidence that Trig Palin was born before April 18? There is none. And so all Scharlott’s “allegedly alleging” insinuation is irrelevent nonsense.

I’ve just skimmed through Scharloff’s paper and highlighted problems from the first five pages. Let anyone else go take a look at the whole 29-page paper and see for themselves: As Gertrude Stein said of Oakland, there’s no “there” there.

UPDATE IV: Tom Maguire at Just One Minute linked Sully, who continues to express outrage at “the strange – and, frankly, incredible – stories Sarah Palin has told about her fifth pregnancy.”

But let’s face it: Sully would find any story involving a vagina ”strange”and “ncredible.” Also strange and incredible: Nothing from Ace about this?

Damn. That boy’s slipping in his old age.

UPDATE V: Linked by Josh Painter at Texas for Palin — thanks!

UPDATE VI: The Lonely Conservative points out medical studies showing that women pregnant with Down Syndrome babies tend to gain less weight during pregnancy, which goes toward rebutting the whole “but-she-didn’t-look-pregnant” meme of Trig Trutherism.

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