Hey, Wait A Minute, Mrs Palin

Andrew Sullivan —  May 27 2014 @ 11:19am

In the week I was off, former half-term governor Sarah Palin decided to go ballistic over Democratic push-back against Karl Rove’s line about Hillary’s possible “brain damage” after her fall. Palin demanded tough media scrutiny for Clinton – including medical records. Money quote:

America, you deserve fair and consistent coverage of relevant issues before deciding a Presidential/Vice Presidential ticket, so have faith the agenda-less media will refuse to push whispers and wildly inaccurate information about a partisan politician’s body part. Goodness, no one credible would print lies, continually harass a candidate’s doctor, disrupt local hospital staff, or even offer to pay locals to give “quotes” about her health records to be included in a “research book” by a public university professor (your tax dollars at work?) which the candidate’s attorney will need to respond to.

Let me agree wholeheartedly with Palin. When voting for someone to lead the US (or be the next-in-waiting), the public deserves a full accounting of a salient medical history. That’s why I repeatedly demanded Joe Biden’s medical records be released in 2008 – here, here, here, here and here. And that is all this blog asked of Palin when she was running for vice-president. Biden released his; Palin kept refusing to release hers. Her doctor effectively disappeared and refused to talk with the New York Times. Here’s the paper in October 2008:

Nothing is known publicly about Ms. Palin’s medical history, aside from the much-discussed circumstances surrounding the birth of her fifth child last April. Ms. Palin has said that her water broke while she was at a conference in Dallas and that she flew to Anchorage, where she gave birth to her son Trig hours after landing.

Last week Maria Comella, a spokeswoman for Ms. Palin, said the governor declined to be interviewed or provide any health records.

When did Palin actually release something about her health? She released a two-page letter from her doctor one hour before polling day.

No records at all. Was she subjected to a press grilling? I know of no reporter who asked her to verify her Trig stories; there were no questions ever about her weird stories about giving a speech while having contractions or getting on an airplane eight months pregnant and already in labor. The McCain campaign never asked her for verification or explanation of any of these stories. Those of us who did ask were then ridiculed and slimed by the press and the campaign.

These facts need to be remembered when Palin tries to rewrite history. And one above all: all Hillary Clinton needs to do, if she is to follow Palin’s example, is to wait until an hour before the polls open, and release a brief doctor’s note saying nothing is wrong. Somehow, I don’t think the press will let her get away with that. Which raises the question of why the press let Palin get away with the same thing. And still do.