Did you hear that the real love story in the Palin family isn't between Levi Johnston, the "f*in' redneck" and Bristol, the Palin's 17-year-old daughter? It's all a cover-up for the truth; it's a Brokeback Mountain Alaska-style romance between Levi and Track, the Palin's oldest son who's about to ship out to Iraq: the soldier and the hockey stud. The baby story is just a cover for the love that dare not speak its name.

You haven't heard it? Well, I'm not surprised, because I just made it up.

Not a day goes by since the emergence of Gov. Sarah Palin on the national scene that I haven't heard some rumor or story passed on through e-mails or the internet and even published in some blogs or blogfeeds, the next story more sensational and weirder than the last, about the real story of Ms. Palin or her family. They aren't as ludicrous as the one I just cooked up, but they're close, including a detailed list of the books that Ms. Palin wanted banned from the local library when she was the mayor of Wasilla, that she was a card-carrying member of a secessionist party, or that she was a Pat Buchanan booster. Some of them may have a microscopic grain of truth in them, but by the time you check the facts, it's too late; the stories are already out there.

It may seem like ironic justice that it's happening to Gov. Palin after all the stories that went around -- and are still out there -- about Barack Obama being a Muslim, that Michelle Obama is really an Angela Davis-style radical, that Sen. Obama holds dual citizenship in Kenya, and any of the other patently false stories. What's even more ironic is that the people who are now furiously trying to bat down the Palin stories are the some of the same people who were pushing Barack-in-a-burnoose stories last winter and spring.

There are enough documented and corroborated stories about Gov. Palin's time in office in both Wasilla and Juneau to call into question her qualifications as Vice President and the judgment that John McCain used in picking her. However, the unsubstantiated rumors, as delicious and outrageous as they are, don't add any light to the campaign. In fact, they may backfire, generate sympathy for her, and give her an opportunity to play the victim, something the Republicans excel at.

So when I see these stories, I give them all the scrutiny I can muster: Google and Snopes come in very handy. And if the story is bullshit, I say so.

Having said that, I'm wondering how long it will be before I get an e-mail with all of the details about the trysts between Levi and Track and the massive cover-up that's protecting them until after the election.


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