In an unguarded moment last night, McCain Report blogger Michael Goldfarb replied to my question of whether there's any truth to the rumor that Sarah Palin's Down Syndrome child is actually her daughter's with the following less-than-confidence-inspiring comment: "Well, I don't…think so." He added that the whole thing, like Hurricane Gustav, will have played out, one way or another, within the next 24 hours.
That wasn't enough for the pretty pro-McCain crowd he was talking to, and when one interlocutor (not me) accused McCain of not having properly vetted his nominee, Goldfarb dropped the M bomb. "He's a maverick," he said. "That's the way mavericks do things!"
On this point I agree with him. Every family in America has something this fucked up or more in its past. In fact, I don't see why (other than the fact that Palin used the baby story as demonstration of her pro-life bona fides) the whole thing couldn't be spun as a touching story of a mother protecting her kid. Like the straight-talking maverick persona, this family weirdness (which I am not, repeat not claiming is true or even credible) is something most Americans could readily identify with.
In fact, the dumbest comment on this matter has come from About.com urban legends guy David Emery, who writes: "Can anyone point to a single example of such a thing ever happening before -- a mother pretending to be pregnant and faking a birth to 'cover for' or 'protect the reputation of' her pregnant teen daughter?"
Just sticking with famous people I can point to one: Hillary Clinton supporter Jack Nicholson, who was raised to believe his grandmother was his mother. Among the less famous: several people in my high school.