LN: Your comment surprised and intrigued me, Brad. And I know that a few others have wondered too what epiphany you might have had. I believe your comment came out of a brief discussion in comments about your theory, or feelings, on Bristol giving birth to a child with Down syndrome. Let’s go from there.
BS: Well, the person most responsible for getting me to rethink my views was Henry Blodgett, the head of BusinessInsider.com. After BI recently published my Babygate article, Henry and I exchanged several emails about whether a Palin family member could likely be Trig’s mother. And then, as you note, I bounced ideas about that off some of your regulars here. Finally, a few nights ago, I was literally lying awake, tossing and turning in bed, when all those ideas from everyone came together and produced a lightning bolt of understanding – and I was so excited I had to get up, go to my computer and send you that message.
My epiphany was that citing the odds against a teenager having a Down syndrome child is not very useful in figuring out what likely happened with Trig. Before the insight, my reasoning went like this: 1) because it was very beneficial to Sarah for Trig to have Down syndrome, and 2) because the odds against a teenager having a DS baby are remote, then Bristol probably was not the mother – Sarah Palin could not have been that lucky, I thought. I was virtually convinced that a Down syndrome ringer had been brought in from the outside, to benefit Sarah politically.
But here’s the flaw in that logic: it overlooks the likelihood that Sarah would have found a way to help herself politically from virtually anything that happened to be wrong with Trig. I realized that Bristol can be a strong candidate for the birth mother, because it’s not that unusual for a baby to be born with some disability – and in Trig’s case, Ds happened to be the disability. But if it had been multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, etc., Palin could likewise have milked it for political advantage.
By the way, I know some will say we don’t need to speculate on Trig’s bio-parents, just the fact that Sarah perpetrated the hoax. But I believe that without a plausible story as to what did take place, the public won’t accept that the hoax happened.
LN: I agree with you there. Besides, the “who” and “how” are as fascinating as the “what” might have taken place. There are those who look at the broader view and the political implications behind the hoax. I see their point entirely. And there is the view that this was a personal story exploited for personal reasons, and the “greater good” as far as Sarah could see.
BS: Well, my insight got me to view the entire birth narrative in a new light. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Bristol gave birth to Trig around Feb. 15, 2008. Let’s also assume nobody knew in advance the baby would have Down syndrome – after all, that’s not something teenagers are often tested for. If that’s the case, perhaps Sarah did not develop a plan to fake anything until after the baby was born.
Here’s a research challenge for your readers: what’s the earliest date that anyone can find for Sarah wearing her pregnancy “disguise” of a big flowing scarf? She’s wearing it in the Newsweek interview on March 4. But on Feb. 13, Sarah appeared in the video where she walks around Juneau drinking coffee, etc. Below to the left is a still shot from that video, and to the right a lightened close-up of her torso.
She seemingly hadn’t formulated the fake-pregnancy plan at this point. But why not? Bristol had been pregnant for quite some time. Sarah had plenty of time to figure out what to do. She would have been far better off starting the ruse when she was supposedly five months along instead of seven.
My take: Palin did not plan to fake the pregnancy until after Trig was born, when she learned he had Down syndrome. She certainly had the means to “hide” the baby and the fact of his birth, at least until after the election, if necessary – and that probably had been the plan until Trig arrived. But I think that after learning Trig had DS, Sarah opportunistically hatched the scheme to fake the birth.
Does this theory make sense, Laura?
LN: It does. And it’s almost too perfect for words. Let’s say for a moment that baby had been born with a far more esoteric defect or chromosomal disorder. Would that story have “played” well with the masses? Probably not. But if there is one thing that is universally known, or heard of, it’s Ds. And if there is one disorder that better exemplifies the RTL argument, I can’t think of it. Instead of making Sarah appear to be more of a burden (on the ticket) saddled with a challenging newborn, she was seen as a savior holding a poster child aloft.
BS: Another thing that had tripped me up before was the two Trigs angle. I could not figure out why two different babies had been displayed as Trig, but I figured something that bizarre must relate to an elaborate scheme to bring in a DS ringer. But one of your commenters explained the reason for two Trigs quite simply the other day:
Some people immediately could tell that the baby, Bristol’s baby, that Chuck Heath showed the KTUU camera crew at the Mat-Su hospital on April 18 was not a newborn preemie – and they immediately wrote that at the Anchorage Daily News web site. The comments were quickly taken down, but the Palins realized that for the next month or two, they needed a younger stand-in for Trig for photo ops they would orchestrate.
That’s where the ruffled-ears baby came in. Whose baby that really was, we may never know, but the baby met two key requirement: he (or she) was smaller than Trig and had Down syndrome. The Palins did not foresee that the ear problem would give the game away.
So a party was arranged at Kristan Cole’s home in honor of the baby, and it took place sometime in May. Pictures from the party were posted to the Internet, but whoever posted them made a mistake – she (or he) uploaded them as high-resolution photos, meaning people could zoom in on the ears and see the birth defect. By contrast, the Gusty-interview photos where Sarah wore her orca whale prosthetic were downsized so that not too much detail showed.
Incidentally, that means Kristan Cole, former Palin government appointee and BFF, is definitely an insider to the hoax. She must have seen the ear deformity of the baby at her house and knows the real Trig has no such deformity. The pictures of Ruffles were uploaded to her real estate business homepage. So I guess she is the one Sarah should blame for not downsizing those shots. Bill “I’ll slap you” McAllister (one might assume) was more careful with the Gusty photos.
So Ruffles served his purpose, but by September enough time had passed so that the real Trig could be shown at the Republican National Convention without his apparent age being an issue.
LN: Allow me to interject something here. When I saw Trig at the RNC, my immediate impression was that he must be deaf and was awfully big for a 4-month-old. The following month, he was brought on stage following the debate. It was as if three months had passed before my eyes. That baby, that night, was SO much bigger than the baby the month before. In fact, I wondered aloud to a doctor friend of mine whether the baby had some sort of metabolic disorder. I couldn’t fathom how he could get that big that fast.
I don’t say this to clarify, or muddy, any points. It’s just not something that I’ve said aloud before. And it’s always nagged at me. But here is something I have said many times: nothing in this story adds up. Not the sofa bolster bust at the RNC, not the size of the various babies in their TV appearances, not the announcements of their births, not the shape shifting women who are supposedly their mothers. Nothing.
BS: I couldn’t agree more. A finalnote. If this narrative is correct, it makes clear that the hoax happened strictly as an act of political opportunism. Palin did not fake the birth to help Bristol; she did it to give herself a better shot at the vice presidency. At some point, I predict, the hoax will be exposed. And you can bet Palin will say it was all about protecting Bristol. And that will be yet one more brazen lie.