I have it on good authority that until very recently Sullivan had really hoped to find definitive evidence of the impossible-to-believe "Desperate Housewives" pass-the-baby fiction. It would've vindicated him, destroyed Palin politically, and perhaps even put a stake through the angry and possibly dangerous movement of which she is the de facto leader. Richard Nixon's scandal, after all, helped discredit pragmatic Republicanism for a third of a century and counting.
In today's post, though, he appears to be saying that he's found no smoking gun or 8.5-pound gap. First:
I tried to write a fair account of Palin's various stories of her incredible fifth pregnancy, labor and delivery and to reconcile all the various facts we know and the various versions of the story she has told. Just for the record and because we have aired the public record on this before. I honestly however cannot make total sense of them in a way that I'm completely convinced by and so simply do not feel comfortable making any judgment on them in any way at this point. That's fair to her, my readers, my colleagues, and the innocent private people caught up in this circus.
That's progress. There were times he put "pregnancy" in quotes when talking about Trig. And then:
[F]or those things we cannot prove objectively, we just have to leave alone at this point. I believe nothing she says is true unless I can verify it. But if I can't disprove her accounts of things only she and her family can know about, I should shut up.
He should also apologize to the Palins. It was wrong of him to lend his considerable prestige to a damaging lie and then try to keep it alive for over year.
He won't, I'm sure. At this point, really shutting up would be a considerable blessing. Sullivan has promised to leave the Trig story alone before. But if he does no more than once and for all back off the ridiculous claim that a woman is not the mother of her beloved child -- if he not only stops hinting at it but stops needing it to be true for his own sake -- he can at least do his down-by-the-Jordan bit with authenticity, saving the republic from Palinism with unmixed motives.