Sex scandals can be the end of a political career, but what if that sex scandal involved the spouse of the politician and not the politician herself? That seems to be the case with the current allegations, insinuations, and open rumors that have become the gist of the National Enquirer story implicating Todd Palin, the husband of Alaska’s former governor, Sarah Palin, in a sex scandal involving a masseuse. Is there any way a politician could possibly weather the storm of ridicule, condemnation, and humiliation that comes with the exposure of an extramarital affair, especially one involving an alleged prostitute? Could Sarah Palin actually turn the alleged affair of her husband to her advantage and find a happy ending to this masseuse sex scandal?
The answer is “yes,” and there are at least two ways in which Sarah (and possibly Todd) can escape the scandal somewhat intact.
The first is the simplest. Sarah and Todd Palin have been down the alleged affair road before. They have seen their names attached to spurious claims of infidelity emblazoned on the front pages of tabloids, and they have ridden the public scrutiny and intense speculations that come with such scandalous territory. Prior accusations and allegations were found to be non-credible over time due to the fact that substantiation and/or corroboration of the affairs never seemed to pan out or even exist.
If the current sex scandal is like the previous charges of affairs, Palin and her husband can just ride it out. Sarah can then make her standard and often over-used, but in this case appropriate, accusation that she and her family were targeted by the media in an attempt to bring her down and perhaps destroy her political aspirations as well in their collective rush to post salacious material.
But there is a second avenue that Sarah could travel if the allegations that Todd was seeing an alleged prostitute in an extramarital relationship pan out to be true or at least substantiated by other parties and/or evidence. She could always place the burden on her allegedly cheating husband.
Sarah Palin wouldn’t have to do a thing. She could simply sit back and allow the media to do its work, worrying a story from hundreds of angles in order to get every story idea it can, picking the topic clean before going back over it again and again in a rehashing of what was and where the story might be in the present. One only has to look at the sex scandals of John Edwards, Jesse James, and Tiger Woods to see how thoroughly the media can and will completely work a topic into oblivion while destroying the image of their target.
The National Enquirer claims to have documentation of physical evidence that ties Todd Palin to the scene of the arrest of a massage therapist, 36-year-old Shailey Tripp, in March 2010. Tripp was arrested for maintaining a house of prostitution, a charge she pleaded no contest to in June.
Beside the physical evidence, the Enquirer also claims to have documented evidence that a masseuse — identified by bloggers as Tripp — contributed free massages to Palin’s Alaska gubernatorial campaign. The Enquirer was also one of the media outlets that received an e-mail on Jan. 4 that claimed “a massage therapist and computer technologist, SHAILEY TRIPP, had an affair with Todd Palin that lead (sic) to her arrest March of 2010.” The e-mail also claimed that there were witnesses who saw Todd come and go at Tripp’s place of business, which she apparently maintained in the same building as said tenants.
If the story gets worse for Todd (and, by extension, his wife — at least at the onset), although his representatives have denied any affair or wrongdoing on his behalf, or gets to the point of undeniability, Sarah has the option of standing by her man or showing her independent streak and/or her ability to be strong in an adverse situation. She would then also be the sympathetic figure, which she could also work to her political advantage, especially in the long run.
To be fair, her political aspirations haven’t been looking too promising of late, so weathering a sex scandal involving an affair between her husband and an alleged prostitute, which could hurt her somewhat at first, might not hurt her at all in a political campaign in 2016, where she could be looked upon as that strong, independent, public service-oriented woman whose husband cheated on her all those years (her gubernatorial campaign, if that is where the affair began, ran through 2006).
So, yes, Sarah Palin could find herself in a somewhat advantageous political position following whatever develops from the scandal, but she has to tread carefully, which seems to be what she intends to do. In an update to their exclusive, the National Enquirer noted that although several media outlets have been quick to report the first indications of scandal, unlike previous allegations of extramarital affairs, Sarah Palin has maintained silence concerning the masseuse allegations. Whether this means there may be some truth to the allegations or that she has learned prudence about offering the media quick refutations and rebuttals (that often come back to haunt her or leave her open to an immediate attack) is unclear. But there does seem to be some hope of something good coming from what might potentially be a devastating personal and political setback.
“Todd Palin Sex Scandal,” NationalEnquirer.com