It has been over two weeks since several media outlets received an e-mail from an anonymous source that openly alleges there are witnesses to the fact that Todd Palin, former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin’s husband, was seen frequently entering and exiting the offices of a masseuse before her arrest for prostitution in March 2010. However, the news caught fire in the blogosphere and in the national media outlets just within the past few days, fueled in part by Sarah Palin’s odd silence concerning the matter but most of all by the National Enquirer going national with the exclusive story.
Although Todd’s reps have denied the First Dude’s involvement with the 36-year-old alleged prostitute, no official denial from Sarah Palin, who seems to never be quiet about anything, only increases the electronic muttering, mumbling, and whispering along the ethernet. And along with it comes added speculation about Sarah Palin and her potential presidential bid in 2012. How will allegations of her husband having an affair affect her political aspirations?
First of all, it must be pointed out that the allegations against Todd Palin at present are little more than simple speculative rumor and innuendo. The National Enquirer, the tabloid that has gained a reputation of late for outing high profile sex scandals, reported that they not only have confirmed that Shailey Tripp, the woman alleged to have been the one Todd Palin was getting massages from, was arrested in March 2010 for operating an establishment for prostitution (to which she pleaded no contest in June), but the Enquirer also claims to have documentation of gathered physical evidence during the arrest that could tie Todd to the woman.
Then there is the e-mail that seemed to have started it all, an anonymous missive that claims there are tenants in the same area where Todd supposedly met the masseuse who can place him at Tripp’s place of operation on numerous occasions and can attest that there were sounds of sex emanating from Tripp’s offices during the visits.
The National Enquirer also claims that the massages were an ongoing series of events. They claim to have documentation that attests to someone working for Sarah Palin’s campaign for governor of Alaska received free massages from Shailey Tripp.
But how will the alleged affair or the public airing of a sex scandal affect Sarah Palin, besides the obvious pressures it will place on her 22-year marriage to Todd? Will it affect her 2012 presidential aspirations?
There is the possibility that a sex scandal involving her husband could have a detrimental effect on any political aspirations the former governor of Alaska might have in the near future. With the 2012 presidential campaign getting ready to heat up within the next few months, a sex scandal on the eve of the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary might spell political calamity for a candidate in a party that espouses family values (although it could be argued that the candidate would not be the one eschewing those family values). And at a time when a candidate wants to give the impression of strength, it is most inopportune to have an example of familial discord, secrets or secretive behavior, and/or possible dissolution playing out in the national media.
Of course, it could be argued that Palin doesn’t stand a chance in the field of potential candidates the Republican Party might see in the coming primary campaigns leading to the Republican National Convention. Recent polls continue to indicate that, although Sarah Palin tends to poll well within the Republican Party, her power seems to be waning. Polls also indicate that, even if she were somehow to win the nomination of her party as their 2012 candidate, she would suffer a massive defeat in the general election to incumbent President Barack Obama.
It will be argued that with time and changing attitudes could possibly see a vastly different set of poll numbers in 2012, and that is indeed a possibility. But with Palin already a force of polarity within her own party and seen as a non-credible candidate by some Republicans and most Independents and Democrats, it is doubtful that a sex scandal would have a positive effect on her political chances, no matter how positive a spin her camp puts on the matter (and with Todd Palin taking all of the negative burden).
But the scandal is just a minor one as yet. There has been no concrete evidence proffered, only the claims that evidence and eyewitnesses might exist. Sarah and Todd Palin have weathered these types of extramarital affair allegations before and may simply have to do so again. If so, the political repercussions might amount to just soldiering through to the other side of it.
But if the insinuations and rumors turn into substantiated eyewitness accounts and the alleged prostitute, Shailey Tripp, comes forward to add to the allegations, there is little doubt that such information will have a negative impact on any political aspirations Sarah Palin might have in the near future, possibly hammering home the proverbial nail in the coffin of her 2012 presidential dreams. But there is always another campaign season on the other side of the next one. Many politicians have weathered such scandals, like former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, only to re-emerge later as strong candidates, even frontrunners. Given a worse case scenario of a long, drawn-out sex scandal, Sarah Palin could always push for more political influence and set her sights on 2016.
“Todd Palin Sex Scandal,” NationalEnquirer.com