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Archive for the ‘The Faith of Sarah Palin’ Category

Sarah Palin The Fighter

Posted by Gary P Jackson on July 19, 2009

Some inspiring video for a Sunday. Nice way to lead up to Sarah Palin’s much anticipated leadership role in taking America back.

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Posted in 2012, Alaska, Alaska native, anklebiters, Barracuda, character assassination, Conservative, Conservative of 2008, Conservative of the Year, Family, fundraising, GOP, GOP / Conservative, Governor Palin, Governor Sarah Palin, grassroots, Hate and Misogyny against Palin, liberal bloggers, Media, media bias, Media Malpractice, misogyny, Obama, politics, Republican, RNC, Sarah Palin, sports, The Faith of Sarah Palin, Woman | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP’s Newest Star

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on May 11, 2009

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP’s Newest Star

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

By Fred Barnes

 the weekly Standard

JUNEAU, Alaska — The wipeout in the 2006 election left Republicans in such a state of dejection that they’ve overlooked the one shining victory in which a Republican star was born.

The triumph came in Alaska where Sarah Palin, a politician of eye-popping integrity, was elected governor. She is now the most popular governor in America, with an approval rating in the 90s, and probably the most popular public official in any state.

Her rise is a great (and rare) story of how adherence to principle–especially to transparency and accountability in government–can produce political success. And by the way, Palin is a conservative who only last month vetoed 13 percent of the state’s proposed budget for capital projects. The cuts, the Anchorage Daily News said, “may be the biggest single-year line-item veto total in state history.”

As recently as last year, Palin (pronounced pale-in) was a political outcast. She resigned in January 2004 as head of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission after complaining to the office of Governor Frank Murkowski and to state Attorney General Gregg Renkes about ethical violations by another commissioner, Randy Ruedrich, who was also Republican state chairman State law barred Palin from speaking out publicly about ethical violations and corruption. But she was vindicated later in 2004 when Ruedrich, who’d been reconfirmed as state chairman, agreed to pay a $12,000 fine for breaking state ethics laws. She became a hero in the eyes of the public and the press, and the bane of Republican leaders.

In 2005, she continued to take on the Republican establishment by joining Eric Croft, a Democrat, in lodging an ethics complaint against Renkes, who was not only attorney general but also a long-time adviser and campaign manager for Murkowski. The governor reprimanded Renkes and said the case was closed. It wasn’t. Renkes resigned a few weeks later, and Palin was again hailed as a hero.

Palin, 43, the mother of four, passed up a chance to challenge Republican senator Lisa Murkowski, the then-governor’s daughter, in 2004. She endorsed another candidate in the primary, but Murkowski won and was reelected. Palin said then that her 14-year-old son talked her out of running, though it’s doubtful that was the sole reason.

In 2006, she didn’t hesitate. She ran against Gov. Murkowski, who was seeking a second term despite sagging poll ratings, in the Republican primary. In a three-way race, Palin captured 51 percent and won in a landslide. She defeated former Democratic governor Tony Knowles in the general election, 49 percent to 41 percent. She was one of the few Republicans anywhere in the country to perform above expectations in 2006, an overwhelmingly Democratic year.

 Palin is unabashedly pro life. With her emphasis on ethics and openness in government, “it turned out Palin caught the temper of the times perfectly,” wrote Tom Kizzia of the Anchorage Daily News. She was also lucky. News broke of an FBI investigation of corruption by legislators between the primary and general elections. So far, three legislators have been indicted.

In the roughly three years since she quit as the state’s chief regulator of the oil industry, Palin has crushed the Republican hierarchy (virtually all male) and nearly every other foe or critic. Political analysts in Alaska refer to the “body count” of Palin’s rivals. “The landscape is littered with the bodies of those who crossed Sarah,” says pollster Dave Dittman, who worked for her gubernatorial campaign. It includes Ruedrich, Renkes, Murkowski, gubernatorial contenders John Binkley and Andrew Halcro, the three big oil companies in Alaska, and a section of the Daily News called “Voice of the Times,” which was highly critical of Palin and is now defunct.

One of her first acts as governor was to fire the Alaska Board of Agriculture. Her ultimate target was the state Creamery Board, which has been marketing the products of Alaska dairy farmers for 71 years and wanted to close down after receiving $600,000 from the state. “You don’t just close your doors and walk away,” Palin told me. She discovered she lacked the power to fire the Creamery Board. Only the board of agriculture had that authority. So Palin replaced the agriculture board, which appointed a new creamery board, which has rescinded the plan to shut down.

In preserving support for dairy farmers, Palin exhibited a kind of Alaskan chauvinism. She came to the state as an infant, making her practically a native. And she is eager to keep Alaska free from domination by oil companies or from reliance on cruise lines whose ships bring thousands of tourists to the state. “She’s as Alaskan as you can get,” says Dan Fagan, an Anchorage radio talk show host. “She’s a hockey mom, she lives on a lake, she ice fishes, she snowmobiles, she hunts, she’s an NRA member, she has a float plane, and her husband works for BP on the North Slope,” Fagan says.

Todd Palin, her high school sweetheart, is a three-time winner of the 2,000-mile Iron Dog snowmobile race from Wasilla to Nome to Fairbanks. It’s the world’s longest snowmobile race.

Gov. Palin grew up in Wasilla, where as star of her high school basketball team she got the nickname “Sarah Barracuda” for her fierce competitiveness. She led her underdog team to the state basketball championship. Palin also won the Miss Wasilla beauty contest, in which she was named Miss Congeniality, and went on to compete in the Miss Alaska pageant.

At 32, she was elected mayor of Wasilla, a burgeoning bedroom community outside Anchorage. Though Alaskans tend to be ferociously anti-tax, she persuaded Wasilla voters to increase the local sales tax to pay for an indoor arena and convention center. The tax referendum won by 20 votes.

In 2002, Palin entered statewide politics, running for lieutenant governor. She finished a strong second in the Republican primary. That fall, she dutifully campaigned for Murkowski, who’d given up his Senate seat to run for governor. Afterwards, she turned down several job offers from Murkowski, finally accepting the oil and gas post. When she quit 11 months later, “that was her defining moment” in politics, says Fagan.

Her campaign for governor was bumpy. She missed enough campaign appearances to be tagged “No Show Sarah” by her opponents. She was criticized for being vague on issues. But she sold voters on the one product that mattered: herself.

Her Christian faith–Palin grew up attending nondenominational Bible churches–was a minor issue in the race. She told me her faith affects her politics this way: “I believe everything happens for a purpose. In my own personal life, if I dedicated back to my Creator what I’m trying to create for the good . . . everything will turn out fine.” That same concept applies to her political career, she suggested.

The biggest issue in the campaign was the proposed natural gas pipeline from the North Slope that’s crucial to the state’s economy. Murkowski had made a deal with the three big oil companies–Exxon, BP, ConocoPhillips–which own the gas reserves to build the pipeline. But the legislature turned it down and Palin promised to create competition for the pipeline contract.

She made three other promises: to end corruption in state government, cut spending, and provide accountability. She’s now redeeming those promises.

Palin describes herself as “pro-business and pro-development.” She doesn’t want the oil companies to sit on their energy reserves or environmental groups to block development of the state’s resources. “I get frustrated with folks from outside Alaska who come up and say you shouldn’t develop your resources,” she says. Alaska needs to be self-sufficient, she says, instead of relying heavily on “federal dollars,” as the state does today.

Her first major achievement as governor was lopsided passage by the legislature of the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, which is designed to attract pipeline proposals this summer. The state is offering $500 million in incentives, but the developer must meet strict requirements. The oil companies have said they won’t join the competition.

Palin’s tough spending cuts drew criticism from Republican legislators whose pet projects were vetoed. But her popularity doesn’t appear threatened. “It’s not just that she’s pretty and young,” says Dittman. “She’s really smart. And there’s no guile. She says her favorite meal is moose stew or mooseburgers. It wouldn’t shock people if that were true.”

Fred Barnes is executive editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

http://weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/851orcjq.asp?pg=1

Posted in Alaska, GOP, Governor Sarah Palin, Pro-life, Sarah Palin, The Faith of Sarah Palin, Wasilla | Leave a Comment »

Banquet displayed Palin hold on conservatives

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on April 19, 2009

sarah-at-mike-in-evansville1

Banquet displayed Palin hold on conservatives

Overflow crowd saw Sarah, not candidate

By Thomas B. Langhorne (Contact)
courierpress
Sunday, April 19, 2009

It wasn’t supposed to be a political event, but try telling that to a man who has seen 2,200 people react when he walks into a banquet hall.

Sgt. Robert Goedde, a sheriff’s officer who was at Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s side throughout her 17-hour stay in Evansville, says Palin was besieged at Thursday’s Vanderburgh County Right to Life banquet by people urging her to run for president in 2012.

The exhortations, which Goedde called a constant refrain, began as soon as he and Palin and other officers began making their way to the banquet’s head table through surging crowds in The Centre’s assembly hall. The journey, during which Palin was mobbed by people seeking autographs and pictures, took 20 minutes.

“Some people would shout it out, and you’d see others just asking her,” Goedde said. “I heard it two or three times a minute, the entire time. She’d just smile and wave. She was very gracious.”

Palin’s appearance at the sold-out Right to Life banquet was her first major public event outside of Alaska since the 2008 presidential campaign, when she and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., were defeated.

Campaign opener?

Dr. W.R. Mack, a political scientist at the University of Southern Indiana, called it the first major event of the 2012 presidential campaign. Mack cited Palin’s criticism of Democratic President Barack Obama in Evansville on the abortion issue.

Mack said the key to understanding Palin’s appeal to social conservatives — a potent constituency in Republican presidential primaries — is her perceived sincerity and strength of conviction about their issues.

“In the past, maybe they felt like they were being used (by national Republicans),” Mack said. “John McCain was kind of a fake conservative to them. But with Palin, they think, ‘Here’s somebody who is really going to follow through.'”

Nick Hermann, chairman of the Vanderburgh County Republican Party, said Palin’s personal magnetism, which Mack likened to Obama’s, is also a key to her appeal.

The Right to Life banquet marked the fourth time Hermann has seen Palin in person, including the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., and two 2008 campaign speeches in Indiana.

“She has great stage presence, but she also works the crowd well,” Hermann said. “It’s unusual to have both. (Former GOP presidential candidate) Mike Huckabee, for instance, works the crowd well but doesn’t have the stage presence.”

As GOP national Chairman Michael Steele did at the Right to Life event, Hermann said it would be premature to label any prospective presidential candidate the early front-runner for the 2012 nomination.

Appeal an asset

But he said Palin has an “Every Woman” appeal and a personal authenticity that could prove to be considerable political assets on the road to 2012.

“The Right to Life banquet (at which Palin teared up over her baby son who was born with Down syndrome and spoke openly of her teenage daughter’s pregnancy) was the first time I’ve seen her really open up and talk about her story, her feelings,” he said. “Sometimes, politicians seem too perfect. She really connected with people.”

It was a sentiment expressed over and over again by people who met Palin while she was in Evansville, including several young servers at Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano who waited on the Alaska governor at Friday’s private breakfast event hosted by S.M.I.L.E. on Down syndrome.

“It didn’t even feel like you were in front of somebody that was famous,” said server Chrissy Heffernan. “It felt like you were in front of somebody that you’ve known forever. She was just very nice, very personable, very personable.”

Goedde, who headed up a detail of about 20 city and county law enforcement officers who volunteered or were compensated by Right to Life to guard Palin, said he made a point of watching the Alaska governor’s interactions with people.

“I thought, ‘I’m going to watch and see if there’s ever a sign that this is all a put-on,'” he said. “I never saw it. Never once did I see her say or do anything that made her look less than sincere, like rolling her eyes when no one was looking.

‘Hometown girl’

“She was just like a hometown girl from Evansville, Ind., coming home after making good.”

Goedde, a Right to Life board member, knows a little something about how to project oneself effectively as a candidate for office.

In 2006, he ran an insurgent campaign for the GOP nomination for Vanderburgh County sheriff, bucking the local party central committee’s endorsement of his opponent to win 70 percent of the vote in a primary.

Though he lost to Democrat Eric Williams in a general election year that saw few Republican victories, the 45-year-old Goedde is often asked by GOP leaders to seek office again.

Goedde marveled at Palin’s ability to remember the first names of people she met and to connect with each of the law enforcement officers who protected her.

“People looked up to her almost in a rock star way, but it was also with respect, not just ‘Oh, Sarah, Sarah,'” he said. “I don’t know any other way to say it, but this lady is the real deal.”

Palin made a similar impression on Nina Fuller, who shared a private breakfast with her and about a half-dozen other people Friday morning before the larger event at Biaggi’s.

“There was not a political word in the conversation,” said Fuller, executive director of S.M.I.L.E.

“Gov. Palin is now a good friend of mine, and her name is Sarah.”

http://www.courierpress.com/news/2009/apr/19/banquet-displayed-palin-hold-on-right/

Posted in 2012, Alaska, Conservative, Down Syndrome, GOP, Governor Sarah Palin, media bias, National, President, Pro-life, right to life, Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin, special needs, special needs children, The Faith of Sarah Palin | Leave a Comment »

Who Is Sarah Palin?

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on March 14, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Who Is Sarah Palin?

Last month, I read Lorenzo Benet’s unauthorized biography of Sarah Palin, “Trailblazer,” and this week I watched John Ziegler’s complete interview with Sarah Palin.

The question I asked myself after finishing both is the same question I’ve been asking myself since August 29, 2008: Who is Sarah Palin?

Many who know her say that she is exactly the person that she appears to be. And, yet, no one is ever quite what they appear because they appear to be many things to many people. A person as complex and intriguing as Sarah Palin is certainly not that simple. However, complexity does not imply cunning or deceptive manipulation. A person can be honest, straightforward, and completely without guile and yet still be complex.

I’ve been fascinated by biographies and biography writing my entire life. One my favorite books on the topic is Janet Malcolm’s “The Silent Woman.” Malcolm tries to get to the truth behind the poet Sylvia Plath, and in my opinion comes closer than anyone else, by revealing the agendas of the biographers writing about Plath. Every biographer molds the biographical subject to fit a vision or agenda. Recognizing that is key to reading a biography objectively. We sign on to the biographer’s vision, and we allow ourselves to either agree or disagree with that vision.

Lorenzo Benet’s “Trailblazer” was compelling, but no thanks to any talent on his part. It was compelling because Palin is compelling. Benet is not a particularly gifted or imaginative writer. The book is little more than a compilation of various news stories supplemented by interviews. That’s certainly not a bad thing. All modern mass market biographies are little more than Nexus Lexus compilations.

Benet is at his best writing about Palin’s years as a mayor because he can understand “mayor stuff.” He clearly doesn’t understand Palin’s work at the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) or the issues that propelled her gubernatorial bid and her work as governor. He is a People Magazine writer after all. I find this weakness amusing because the very people who criticize Palin for being an intellectual light-weight would probably have a hard time navigating the complexities of her job as the governor of our largest energy producing state.

It’s clear that “Trailblazer” was not written by an Alaskan, just as it’s clear that Kaylene Johnson’s Palin biography was. Johnson is at her finest in the chapters beginning with Palin’s chairmanship at the AOGCC and ending with her gubernatorial victory because those chapters describe the events that defined Palin as Alaska’s Joan of Arc. Johnson’s biography, like all biographies, constructs a vision of the biographical subject; and Johnson’s vision effectively evokes the sense of excitement and optimism that Palin inspired in ordinary Alaskans.

Benet doesn’t really get that far, but “Trailblazer” isn’t a complete waste. The supplemental interviews he conducted with key figures in Palin’s life are worth the cover price. His best interviewee, in my opinion, is Judy Patrick. She provides crucial insight into Palin’s years as a mayor. Many stories and rumors which were only partially understood are given clear context.

All of this is well and good. We could learn all of it from the articles currently in print. But who is Sarah Palin? Neither Johnson nor Benet’s biographies satisfied me, and Ziegler’s extensive interview only intrigued me more.

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to take my stab at a biographical sketch of the good Guv. It won’t be exhaustive. I will no doubt return to various themes over time. But here’s a first draft. And it is really only a draft. I haven’t resolved the mystery of her entirely — no one can or perhaps should — but here’s what I think.

Let’s start with her childhood, which is the most crucial section of any biography, and with Sarah Louise Heath Palin we see a childhood that would be quite foreign to most of us. I must commend Benet on his chapter dealing with her early years in Skagway and Wasilla. He really does paint a portrait of Little House on the Tundra.

When Michelle Obama spoke of her childhood in her DNC convention speech, she recalled watching “The Brady Bunch.” Sarah Palin isn’t big on watching TV because she never was. Her parents didn’t encourage it. She grew up as an outdoorsy girl in a world where the outdoors was vast and wild. It’s difficult for those of us in the Lower 48 to imagine the vastness of Alaska. The Mat-Su Valley, where Palin spent most of her childhood, is the size of West Virginia. And there were only 400 people living in Wasilla when her family moved there in 1969. Subsistence really was a part of their lifestyle then. That’s how they ate. They had a garden for vegetables, and they hunted and fished.


If there is one figure in Sarah Palin’s life who I think had the most formative influence on her, it is her father, though he balks at any suggestion that he still has influence on her today. Johnson noted:

When his daughter became governor, Chuck [Heath] found it immensely amusing that acquaintances asked him to sway Sarah on particular issues.

He says he lost that leverage before she was two.

Chuck Heath is everyone’s favorite middle school science teacher. His home is an amateur natural history museum filled with fossils and skulls and antlers. Far from being “anti-intellectual,” Sarah Palin was raised in a home where science was valued and children were expected to bring home good grades and go to college after high school.

Chuck taught his daughter discipline and determination, as well as a love of the outdoors. He treated his son and his daughters the same, and taught them all to be self-reliant — in hunting, fishing, and sports.

He was her high school track coach, and he pushed her harder than the other kids because he didn’t want to be perceived as showing her favoritism. He was so hard on her that another kid once said, “I’m glad I’m not your daughter.”

The only journalist who seemed to “get” Palin was the Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins, perhaps because Jenkins’ background was in sports writing, and she was able to understand the quiet strength, stoic determination and “non-intellectual” intelligence that defines Sarah Palin’s world. She wrote:

Chuck Sr. drove Palin hard, both as a father and a coach. “She gets her steel, her competitiveness, from him,” says Marie Carter Smith, who was the school statistician. Chuck ran alongside on training runs for miles, barking maxims he picked up in his own career as a high school football player in Idaho, under a farm legend named Cotton Barlow. “Lead by example, not with your mouth,” he said. Or: “Run through it! The more pain you’re feeling, the more it will show in the performance.”

When Chuck chewed her out like a football player, she stared back at him and nodded. “She just looked me straight in the eye, didn’t talk back or anything,” he says. “It’s a wonder she didn’t whack me.”

By all accounts, Palin didn’t need an external motivator. She understood she wasn’t a gifted athlete, so she decided to be a tireless worker. “She ran her guts out,” Smith says. And she did it with an obvious edge. “She was small and thin and active,” Heather remembers. “There was no slacking when that girl was practicing or competing.”

Her sister Heather noted that Sarah was “the strong, quiet one,” in the family.

And here we have the first incongruity in the popular perception of Palin.

It seems astonishing, but it is a fact that everyone who knew Sarah Palin growing up describes her as shy and reserved. They also say that she was disciplined, determined, goal oriented, unflinchingly upbeat, and even a natural leader at times, but all agree that she was shy and unassuming. The Sarah Palin who burst confidently onto the national stage like a heroine of old was not the quiet girl who grew up in a small town tucked between two mountain ranges in a distant valley far removed from the avenues of power.

It turns out that the woman who has been mocked for supposedly not reading any newspapers was actually a bookworm. Johnson noted:

From the time she was in elementary school, [Palin] consumed newspapers with a passion. “She read the paper from the very top left hand corner to the bottom right corner to the very last page,” said [her sister] Molly. “She didn’t want to miss a word. She didn’t just read it — she knew every word she had read and analyzed it.”

Still, no one ever thought that politics was in her future. Her future husband said she was shy in high school and not someone he would have pictured having a political career. Her mother said the same:

“She didn’t talk about politics or getting into politics,” said her mother, Sally Heath, adding that her daughter back then was “never one to be in the limelight.”

She was a good student in college, but did not stand out. “She was quiet, she took notes, didn’t speak unless she was called on,” according to one classmate. She was even described as “almost a wallflower type”. But her shyness wasn’t weakness. Her friends recognized an inner strength:

Palin was a calming presence who offered to pray for her when [college classmate Stacia Crocker] Hagerty had boyfriend troubles. “She was so ‘steady Eddie,’ so rock solid,” Hagerty said. “She didn’t make a big deal out of things like other people did. She talked about politics and history and what was going on in the world. I was like, whatever, I don’t care about that stuff.”

It would appear that she was always “intellectually curious”.

According to one leftist narrative, Palin has an “Evita” complex and was always plotting to get away from her hick town upbringing to do bigger and better things. I found no proof of that. In fact, the evidence points to the opposite. She loves Alaska, and when she went away she was homesick. One college friend noted that she would “gaze out their window missing Alaska’s sunsets.”

She didn’t set out to conquer the world. But she did have a competitive streak, despite her shyness:

Her old high school basketball coach had this to say about her:

“We called her Little Sarah. She was sort of a quiet type person, but she was really a competitor and wanted to do her best in anything she went to do,” said Jerry [Russell, her basketball coach].

Jerry says Sarah Heath was usually timid, but he remembers a time when he put Sarah on the bench for not doing as she was told.

“And she turned around and looked at me, and said, ‘You’re always telling us that if we see the opportunity to score, to take it, and that’s what I did, so put me back in.’ It was so out of character for her, I had to turn my head because I just couldn’t keep from laughing,” Jerry said.

[…]

But he says Sarah became more outgoing in high school, even becoming known at “Sarah Baracuda” on the basketball team, and her team went on to win the state championship.

“She played that game on a fractured ankle,” said Jerry.

She was short and scrappy and not a natural athlete. She had to work hard to achieve. She didn’t have an overarching ambition in life. Instead she pursued modest goals, one after the other, and built up her confidence. The first goal was winning the state championship, and she succeeded against all expectations. She would later say, “I know it’s hokey, but basketball was a life-changing experience for me. It’s all about setting a goal, about discipline, teamwork and then success.”

Winning that championship was indeed a defining moment for her. The Wasilla Warriors were the scrappy underdogs. They were mocked by the big city team. They were underestimated. And yet they won. This theme would be replayed over and over in her life.

Her next goal was to pay for college, and in order to do that she needed scholarship money. And here we come to an episode in Palin’s biography which she would no doubt wish to forget, but which her critics use as a source of endless mockery: the beauty pageants.

Sally Jenkins’ noted:

In between semesters [Palin] did her famous stint as a beauty queen, which she mainly did for the money. The interesting thing about that is, at roughly the same time, she worked in a fish cannery to make extra money. Glamor and fish slime. Quite a contrast. And somehow very her.

It was never really her thing.

It was the prospect of tuition money, friends said, that led her to compete as Miss Wasilla in the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant — a little surprising, perhaps, since she “wasn’t a high-heels kind of girl,” as one competitor put it, and found the swimsuit competition “painful,” according to her mother.

Yes, I can see that it was painful. In the photo of her swimsuit competition, her shoulders have that slight hunch of a modest girl who feels exposed. And here we have another striking incongruity about Sarah Palin. Lorenzo Benet reveals that she was never the prettiest girl in class. Her future husband thought she was, but he appears to have been struck by love at first sight. As an adolescent she was regarded as rather “dumpy” with her thick black glasses. Sarah Palin was the geeky/jock girl, not the beauty queen type.

I think the reason why she is not vain about her looks is because she doesn’t see herself as beautiful. She sees herself as a jock. Her classmates say that she was never the “coquette” — she was the tomboyish girl who could talk to the boys about sports and fit in just fine.

She’s one of those extraordinary people who grow more attractive with age, but that doesn’t seem to have changed her perception of herself. She doesn’t behave like a beauty queen. This is why I don’t understand women who find her looks “threatening”. The truest sign of vanity is someone who is demeaning to those who are less attractive. Sarah Palin is not that person. Not by a long shot. She was not the “mean girl” in high school. She might have many shortcomings but vanity is not one of them.

No woman who is vain about her looks would dress as…well…oddly…as Sarah Palin occasionally does. (Her “square-ness” endears her to me even more. God bless her.)

It’s true, folks. She hates shopping. She said so in no uncertain terms in a Q&A with the ADN during her gubernatorial race:

ADN: Tell us one thing even your closest friends don’t know about you.

PALIN: My disdain for shopping is pretty extraordinary.

Diane Osborne, one of the sponsors of the Miss Alaska pageant, didn’t think the soft-spoken, unobtrusive, agreeable young Sarah Heath had a prayer of winning the pageant:

“I kind of worried about how she would do up there on stage,” Ms. Osborne said. “You have to have a certain go-get-’em to get up there and stand up for yourself, and she came across as such a shy, sweet girl.”

Never underestimate her determination. The shy girl pulled it together. She was the second runner up. She got some scholarship money and moved on to the next thing.

Around that time, her college friends discover that she had a hidden talent:

Ketchum discovered…that Palin was a natural in front of a camera, a quality that helped her land her first post-college job as a weekend sports reporter at an Anchorage television station. For a journalism class, they videotaped themselves giving a 30-minute speech for classmates to critique.

“She didn’t have the kind of fear most kids would have had,” Ketchum said. “I could barely handle it.”

She didn’t stand out among her college professors, but she managed to snag two good internships with local television stations by sheer determination. She was “a go-getter,” according to her academic advisor at the University of Idaho, Roy Atwood:

“She may not have stood out as a brilliant student that people remember well in class, but her record suggests she was a student who went way above and beyond and maintained a sense of drive and initiative that was rare,” Atwood said.

She eventually landed a great job at the Anchorage station KTUU as a sports broadcaster. She got good at it. She probably could have gone all the way with it if she wanted to. But she didn’t. She decided it wasn’t for her. She left to raise her kids.

You’ll notice that her family members say that they didn’t know that she was interested in politics. That’s not surprising really. They also say that she was quiet as a child and that she has always been a very private person. Palin and her husband, Todd, are both quiet and private people. She once said of her husband: “There’s that saying, ‘Still waters run deep.’ That’s Todd.” That’s her too.

It’s quite likely that she never mentioned her interest in politics to anyone. Perhaps she never fully articulated it to herself. But she must have thought about it.

The question remains, Why politics? This is where we unlock another key to Sarah Palin’s personality. It’s an aspect of her life which is both deeply personal to her, and yet something which she’s perfectly comfortable speaking about. I’m referring to her simple spiritual faith as (to use her own words) “a bible-believing Christian.”

I find a great many similarities between Sarah Palin and Ronald Reagan. There are the obvious similarities: Like Reagan before her, Palin is a gifted public speaker and a former small market sports broadcaster. But there is another less obvious, but integral, similarity: Both Palin and Reagan inherited their simple and solid faith from their mothers.

When Reagan was a boy, his mother gave him a work of religious fiction — a Christian novel used for evangelization. Reagan biographer Edmund Morris described it:

[Reagan] happened to read a novel which his mother had picked up somewhere called “That Printer of Udell’s.” It’s the story of a young man born in a rather ugly industrial midwestern town, who discovers through a series of bitter experiences with an alcoholic father… that he has got the gift of oratory. And through his good looks and his voice and his convictions he manages to create a whole social movement in this town. The young man, Dick Falkner, goes off to Washington to take his message to the world. [Reagan] went to his mother when he finished that book, and he said, “I want to be like that man, and I want to be baptized.”

Young Reagan, whose own father was an alcoholic, obviously identified with the main character. Like Palin, his career path had twists and turns — through sports broadcasting and acting — before he eventually made his way into politics. I doubt if anyone suspected he would be president someday, but the inclination and the calling was always there. His boyhood writing reveals his fascination with politics and even a tell-tale desire to be president one day. His mother’s faith instilled him with a sense of destiny about his place in the vast cosmic scheme of things. There was no hubris in this; it was a matter of one’s calling, and, as Sarah Palin would later say, you pursue your calling with a “servant’s heart.”

At a young age, Sarah Palin first contemplated her calling. Benet notes:

Pastor Riley [of Palin’s childhood church] and his wife like to tell the story of how the church’s former youth pastor, Theren Horn, would remind his adolescent charges that God has a specific calling for them — teaching, parenting, medicine, or politics. Sarah heard the same command, and Horn’s mention of politics stuck in her head. Years later, after Horn had moved to Minnesota and was back in Wasilla for a visit, Sarah, then the city’s mayor, reminded him of the lesson and said, “I was called to politics, and that was the direction I took.”

When she was recruited to run for city council, she took up the charge with all the conviction of her calling. Her sister Heather recalled, “I remember asking her why she was doing this, and Sarah said, ‘I have something to offer, and I want to help. I have some great ideas and a lot of community support.'”

The good old boys who recruited her for city council expected her to sit back and follow their lead. The situation reminds me of the film “Protocol.” They expected her to be the Goldie Hawn character, but just like Hawn’s character in the film, Palin proved that she wasn’t an airhead. Beneath the cheery exterior was a smart and principled politician.

She got into a fight with fellow council member Nick Carney because he wanted to pass a city ordinance mandating garbage pick-up, and his company was the only garbage removal outfit in town. It was an obvious conflict of interest. He recused himself from the vote, but he allowed himself to be called as an “expert witness” to testify on the merits of adopting the ordinance. He was testifying on behalf of his own company for his own financial gain before his colleagues on the council. But he saw no conflict of interest. Palin did. She said that citizens should be allowed to decide whether they want to haul their own garbage to the dump or be forced to pay for the service. Her stubborn insistence on little issues like this didn’t go over well with the good ole boys.

There was also the little matter of Mayor Stein’s sense of entitlement. The citizens had voted for term limits, but Stein didn’t feel that they applied to him because the law was passed after he was elected. That might have been legally true, but he was disregarding the spirit of the law. Palin challenged him at a time when Republicans nationwide were taking back government. This was the era of the “Contract With America,” and Sarah Palin was riding that wave with a message of fiscal responsibility. But the real secret to her success was that she went, literally, door to door campaigning. There’s a reason why vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was a natural at the rope-lines — mayor candidate Sarah Palin had a lot of practice at retail politics.

Her critics now make the absurd claim that she started some kind of right-wing “whisper campaign” during her first mayoral race. This is utter nonsense. The only thing being “whispered” was the fact that this smug Cosmo Spacely look-a-like had a sense of entitlement and was planning on building some Taj Mahal city hall for himself and a history museum worthy of a city ten times the size of Wasilla.

The Benet book is especially helpful when it comes to separating fact from fiction in this period of her life. Our leftwing media somehow dug up every Palin critic out there and gave them a microphone. Most of them were from her years as mayor. The media provided no context to their accusations. They just presented them as fact, and when challenged they would claim that the local newspaper backed them up. Well, the local newspaper hated Palin when she first became mayor because the editors were friends with the former administration. The paper delighted in attacking Palin on any pretense until it became clear that such a strategy was not good for business.

Everything Palin critics fired at her ended up backfiring on them. Like all smug bullies, they retreated when the person they were attacking fought back. Bullies are always rendered impotent when their erstwhile victims are no longer afraid. Palin fought back, and they soon retreated.

She had many pitched-battles, and if anyone questions her conservative principles, I recommend that they read the chapters in Benet’s book covering her years as mayor. She had to make tough decisions in order to keep her promise of “more efficient government.” You can’t enact real reform without upturning some apple carts. Entrenched interests and bureaucratic entitlements are hallmarks of every city hall.

Take for example Palin’s battle over Wasilla’s historical museum. It was run by a curator and three old ladies, much beloved by the community, but they ran it very inefficiently. Palin asked them to cut $32,000 from their $200,000 budget, and she left it up to the old ladies to decide how to do it:

“Sarah liked them, we all did, and we didn’t want to get rid of them,” said [Judy] Patrick. “We asked them to decide how to [make the cuts]. We didn’t care how they did it — one could leave, or they could work part-time. But we were portrayed as being mean, and once again it became a personal attack.”

Palin made a reasonably request — the sort of tough request a reformer has to make. But instead of cutting back their hours or working with her to find efficiencies, the three old gals decided to all quit in order to make “a political statement.” They broke out their violins and gave their sob stories to the press, and Palin looked like a heartless meanie. But she didn’t back down:

“I think everyone was in agreement that there were ways to make the museum more efficient, to spend taxpayers’ dollars wiser over there,” Sarah said to the Anchorage Daily News, noting the cost of the museum based on foot traffic was around $25 per visitor. “If you talk to someone in Wasilla about where they want their tax dollars to go, nine out of ten say, ‘Fix my road. I still don’t have water in my area. And protect our lakes with a sewer system.'”

With the old gals gone, Palin hired a new curator and a part-time employee, cut back the museums hours, created an annual community holiday celebration sponsored by the museum (to generate revenue and interest), opened new exhibits, and brought it all under budget. The new curator wrote, “[Palin] wanted the history of Wasilla preserved, but with fiscal responsibility.”

Of course, the old curator, John Cooper, couldn’t get to a microphone fast enough to holler about Sarah Palin the minute she sky-rocketed to national fame:

Cooper weighed in from Hawaii, saying he felt his support of [former mayor] Stein and his proposed expansion of the museum led to his dismissal. He packed up his family and moved out of state. “Our lives were really coming together in Wasilla, and Sarah Palin tore it apart,” Cooper said recently from his home in Hilo, Hawaii. He told a reporter in September 2008, that he was a “casualty of Sarah Palin’s rise to political prominence.”

Friends, Cooper deserved to be a political casualty. I want Sarah Palin to be president because I want the Coopers in Washington, D.C. to be slain. I want their political heads stuck on pikes and paraded down Pennsylvania Avenue to the howls of a braying peasant mob. Why do I feel such contempt for this sniveling sanctimonious taxpayer-leech? Judy Patrick explains:

Patrick said John Cooper was a good example of Sarah’s attempt to keep costs under control. “He was making $70,000 a year, and they would get something like one or two visitors a month in the winter. He wanted [to build] a big fancy museum, but we’re talking about Wasilla, Alaska, here. We wanted to turn it into a seasonal museum. She wanted to streamline government and consolidate departments. We were looking for ways to be more efficient.”

And without that intractable leech, she did make it more efficient. Palin learned quickly that you can’t waste your time trying to win over obstructionists. You cut them off. You want to know why Alaska is littered with the bodies of her political opponents? Because she cut them off in order to get the job done.

Palin is a woman of action. She doesn’t suffer fools. There was an anecdote in Sally Jenkin’s profile of Palin that seemed to capture this aspect of her personality perfectly:

A few years ago, [Chuck Heath] watched [Sarah Palin] pilot her husband Todd Palin’s commercial fishing boat in a storm. Todd was working at his oil-field job on the North Slope, and Palin and her father had been fishing on Bristol Bay. “It was the toughest work I’ve ever done, and it wasn’t only hard, it was dangerous,” Chuck says. At the end of the run, they had to get the boat on a trailer amid crashing surf. As cold, metallic-sheened waves tossed the trawler around, Chuck quailed.

“I’m not doing that,” he said.

“Get out of the way,” Palin said. “I’ll do it.”

She did.

“Get out of the way, I’ll do it.” That could be the motto of Palin’s political career.

The City of Wasilla had been talking about building an indoor sports complex for years. In a state that loves sports, the winter months are limiting. But what private company would invest money in something like that for such a remote city? No one. It was something the community would have to do themselves if they really wanted it. Palin got it on the ballot and convinced voters to temporarily increase their sales tax to pay for it. There were twists and turns to the sports complex saga, but it did get built. And the community loves it. And every year it gets closer to paying for itself.

Everything in her life is based on incremental steps. She was term-limited out of her job as mayor, and she decided to run for lieutenant governor. She lost, but came in a close second despite being outspent four to one and running against well-known state officials.

This is where her biography approaches what I consider the first of the two great tests of her character.

She caught the eye of the new governor, Frank Murkowski, and he appointed her to a plum position as the ethics chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC). It was her first big six-figure job. Once again, the good ole boys expected her to be the Goldie Hawn character in “Protocol,” and once again, they were gravely mistaken. We all know the story of how she blew the whistle on Randy Ruedrich, the chair of the Alaska GOP and a fellow member of the AOGCC. Part of her job as the ethics chair was to verify that no wrongdoing was taking place. As one friend, David Murrow, explained:

Once a year all political appointees in Alaska are required to sign a conflict of interest statement. Part of the statement requires commissioners to report any violation by their colleagues. Sarah felt she had no choice but to tell the truth about Reudrich’s abuses, even though she would be turning in a fellow Republican. In the days following her allegations many who follow Alaska politics (myself included) thought Sarah had committed political suicide. But her courageous stand against corruption endeared her to the citizens of Alaska.

Those are the facts. She gave up the job and turned in the leader of her own party, who would later pay the largest ethics fine in the state’s history. She had seemingly committed “political suicide.” It’s dangerous to double-cross the crooks in a crooked state. Palin’s critics now laughably suggest that she quit in order to make herself look good. Yeah, that’s like saying that a firefighter ran into a burning building to rescue an infant because he knew he would get a medal! The firefighter had no idea whether or not he would survive the fire, and Sarah Palin had no idea whether or not she would survive her whistle-blowing.

Let’s look at what her actions must have cost her at the time to consider what it took to quit. She and her husband had recently built a new home. She brought home the larger salary. They were no doubt counting on that money. If she quit, there was no guarantee that she would ever work in the public sector again. In fact, it was almost certain that she wouldn’t, and she might even be black-balled in the private sector as well because Alaska is a small state, and everyone knows everyone. You cross swords with a powerful man, and you make a lot of enemies.

But she did the right thing. She passed the test.

Her gubernatorial race has been written about elsewhere, so I won’t recount it, suffice to say that she was underestimated yet again and she proved her critics wrong.

Now let’s examine the next great test of her life. It was a phone call she received from her doctor in the fall of 2007, telling her that her unborn child had Down Syndrome. She was a busy woman, the governor of her state, the mother of four. How in the world would she have time to raise a baby with Down Syndrome? No one other than herself and her doctor knew about the pregnancy. She could have quietly had an abortion, and no one would have been the wiser, and there are many people who wouldn’t think badly of her for doing so.

But Palin seems to see every human existence as part of the cosmic plan, and she couldn’t end an existence, even though she was terrified of the challenge. Her husband told her, “We shouldn’t be asking, ‘Why us?’ We should be saying, ‘Well, why not us?'”

Indeed, Palin is uniquely suited to raise a child with special needs because she has a special appreciation for the sentiment behind the words, “Blessed are the meek.”

Benet notes that Palin’s sympathies always run with the underdog, the ordinary man, the meek who are supposed to inherit the earth.

As governor, she told the graduating class of her high school alma mater:

“For those of you feeling like you’re middle of the road, lost in the crowd — that’s most of us.” Every graduate “has a specific destiny,” even the most “undistinguished student has an important role in the final cosmic calculus. Seek what it is you are created to do,” she said. “Nothing is an accident.”

A woman who believes such things was meant to raise a child like her little Trig. A crusty cynic like me was moved to tears at seeing a brief video clip from her interview with Matt Lauer. It showed Palin, obviously just home from work, holding her baby with her husband standing next to her, and both of them were beaming at that little boy as if he was the best thing in the world. The love there was so obvious it took my breathe away. Ninety percent of Down Syndrome babies are abort. Ninety percent. I imagine that the parents of those lost children can’t bear to look at the Palins. Sarah Palin re-ignited the culture wars just by showing up.

And show up she did. We learned during the campaign that one of her favorite movies is “Rudy,” and when asked her favorite part of the film, she said the very end “where he gets to run out on the field and he gets to participate and make a difference.”

That day in Dayton, they played the theme music from “Rudy,” and Sarah Palin “ran out on the field” at the end of a tangled two year campaign and got to participate and make a difference.

We should always ponder what it is that motivates our leaders to lead. What drives them? It’s a serious question that should be asked of every leader or potential leader because a leader driven by base motives is a dangerous one.

What motivates Sarah Palin? I think she revealed it in that answer about her favorite film: “to participate and make a difference” — to fulfill her part in the “final cosmic calculus.” She was called to politics, and that’s where she toils with a “servant’s heart.”

We should not be deceived by the apparent ease with which she gave her RNC speech. We all marveled at it and thought she was some kind of moose hunting wonder woman.

She’s not a super heroine. She’s disciplined. I see the old clips of her early years as a weekend sports anchor, and then I see her now, and I realize that she has worked to be as good as she is. I see her working a room and a rope line like a pro, and I think of her shyness and wonder how she overcame it.

She wasn’t afraid to give that speech at the RNC. Her confidence is astonishing, and I think it’s something she fought hard to achieve.

She seems to posses the double-edged asset and weakness of every driven person. She has extraordinary reserves of energy, but when they’re unfocused she can seem almost hyperkinetic. She wastes no time. She works late and rises early. “Todd jokes I can sleep when I die,” she says.

Her husband understands her better than anyone and is naturally very protective of her. He knows how gifted she is, and yet he must also understand her weaknesses. Her friend and aide Kris Perry also understand this. During the campaign, Newsweek noted:

Next to Todd, says one former aide who did not want to be named discussing sensitive personnel matters, Perry was the person most responsible for “creating a sense of peace around Sarah.” Despite recent media reports of a wild temper, those who know Palin say she is more prone to anxiety and frantic overdrive than tantrums. “She’s the world’s worst multitasker,” says the aide. “She’ll have a cell phone in one hand, the BlackBerry in the other while she is reading two position papers. You have to tell her prior to the debate, ‘Put that down, breathe deep.’ They [the McCain staff] are not going to know that.”

Right before the vice presidential debate, the LA Times ran a story on Palin that relied heavily on two anonymous campaigns aides from her gubernatorial race. Their comments were unwittingly amusing to me because they were familiar. They could easily have been written by anonymous Reagan aides in the 1980s.

Palin, the former aides said, had a sharply limited attention span for absorbing the facts and policy angles required for all-topics debate preparation. Staffers were rarely able to get her to sit for more than half an hour of background work at a time before her concentration waned, hindered by cellphone calls and family affairs. “We were always fighting for her attention,” said one of the aides.

[…]

“If you can sit her down, she has a talent for listening to a policy presentation that is so boring it would bring tears to your eyes,” the aide said. “Then — boom — she will nail it down to its essence.”

In her memoir of her days in the Reagan administration, “What I Saw at the Revolution,” Peggy Noonan wrote:

Those who grew impatient with [Reagan] or frustrated or resentful tried to cover it up. But sooner or later – and you really saw this in the Reagan years – what they were thinking could be seen in a sentence shot out, in a look or a shake of the head. They were thinking something like what Sergeant Warden said of the captain in From Here to Eternity: “He’d choke on his own spit if I weren’t here to clear his throat for him.” They’d say, with a certain edge, “The president isn’t a detail man” (the fool doesn’t know Antarctica’s the one on the bottom!); they’d say, “The president is a big picture man” (He wouldn’t know a fact if it ran up his nose!). You could see it in Deaver’s book, all the unexpressed hostility seeping out in those ‘The president of course has an amiable temperament, but he’s usually content to allow someone else to make the decisions’ sentences.

Even Palin’s enemies admit that she’s positively “Reaganesque” in her ability to win over voters.

And like Reagan after his primary defeat in 1976, Palin lost a race and was sent home to heal.

We shouldn’t overlook how hard her defeat must have been for her. Her critics see her as some sort of Nixonian character filled with class resentment. But that’s not true. I don’t think that’s who she is.

That sad night of November 4, 2008, I watched her closely. The look on her face was familiar, but it was weeks before I made the connection.


What did I see?

A shy girl of humble origin from the back of beyond with no obvious distinction other than courage, determination and faith.

Am I describing Sarah Palin? No, actually, I’m describing Joan of Arc. But the description fits our Joan of Arc of the Tundra quite well.

The look on her face that night reminded me of a scene in Jacques Rivette’s film “Joan the Maid.” On the final day of the Battle of Orleans, Joan removed herself to the quiet shade of a tree and poured out her pain and frustration to God. She was recovering from an arrow wound that nearly killed her earlier that day. Her face was pale, her expression weary and stoic, as she said, “I have no strength. I ache. I am sick. I don’t know what to do. Tell me what to do.”


She rested a while, and then she got her answer. Before evening fell, she rode back to the battlements, lifted her banner high, rallied her weary soldiers and told them, “When my banner touches the walls, victory shall be ours.” And before the sun set, the Maid of Orleans was victorious.

Our Alaskan Joan prays before her battles too:

I know He hears me when I just call out to Him, which I do a lot. Oh, yes, I pray. I talk to God every day. I’ve put my life, so I put my day, into God’s hands, and I just ask for guidance and wisdom and grace to get through one situation after another.


She fought valiantly and was wounded. She told Ziegler:

Throughout the entire campaign we were quite insulated and isolated from what was going on in the world of the media. We would catch snippets here and there either on the campaign bus or looking at a headline in a newspaper as we walked by and we would see some coverage that way, but we were quite isolated really from what was being said about our candidacy in the media… Once I returned from the campaign, got back home, and then realized what had been said throughout, it was very overwhelming and very disappointing.

But she is not whining about it — that would be a capital offense in her mind:

[I] try not to personalize it, or sound whiny about it or sound like I am a victim, I don’t want to participate in that.

She admits that she was naïve in thinking that her opponents would play by the Marquis of Queensbury Rules. In an interview with LaDonna Hale Curzon, Ziegler said:

The only thing I would say about [Sarah Palin] — and she acknowledges this twice in my interview — is that she’s a little bit on the naïve side… probably not so much anymore, but… I think that people are naïve either because they’re stupid, which clearly she’s not, or because they are a good person and they just can’t understand how much evil is potentially possible in others.

In this weakness she is also like Reagan, whose son described him as a guy “who always thinks the best of people”:

[He] can’t believe that anybody who’s… ever met him would ever want to do anything bad to him, would ever want to go behind his back, would ever want to stab him in the back… that’s just not within his realm of thinking. He just can’t conceive of it.

Reagan had his Nancy to watch his back. I think Palin has her Todd for that role.


And now she begins the slow process of healing and regrouping. Make no mistake, the beating she took during the campaign was wounding. She’s not as confident as she once was. You can see it in the difference between her pre-campaign interviews and her post-campaign interviews. There’s a stuttering nervousness about her now. She’s trying to get back on her game. We built her up to be wonder woman, but she’s really something much more admirable and courageous — she’s the shy girl who used discipline and determination to conquer her reticence, who set incremental goals for herself and distinguished herself in the service of her community despite being dismissed by people who thought they were her betters.

Joan of Arc used to say, “I would much rather be home sewing by the fire with my mother” than leading armies. Sarah Palin would probably rather be home reading to her kids than giving interviews.

She’s lost some of her self-assurance. She’s even cautious with the ankle-biting back benchers in Juneau now. But in time, she’ll heal — though I’m sure she was harder on herself than any of her critics were. How do I know this? Call it a hunch. She used to stand silent and unflinching as her father chewed her out over a poor performance on the track field. Imagine how she must have chewed herself out over her performance in that interview with you know who.

She told Charlie Gibson last September that she felt a huge responsibility not to “let women down” during the election. I think that, more than anything else, is what lead to the tears on election night — the fear that she had let women down. I don’t think she let anyone down. I think we let her down. Our “Mrs. Smith” was ready to go to Washington, but instead of rallying behind her, many of us watched silently as she fainted on the Senate floor, and worse yet — some of us joined the crooks and the cynics who laughed at her fallen form.

The most interesting and revelatory part of the Ziegler interview, to me, was when she said:

I’ve questioned — when I’ve taken the time to even question, because I’m busy as a governor and busy as a mom, and I don’t want to have to spend too much time trying to figure out “what the heck just happened” via the media in these last few months — but when I do take the time, I have not concluded yet in my own mind what has taken place. Has this been an exercise — again being under such a microscope and so scrutinized — was that sexism? Was that political? Was this an issue of class differences? What has it been? Obviously something big took place in the media and in many in mainstream media deciding that we’re going to seek and we’re going to destroy this candidacy of Sarah Palin because of what it is that she represents — not me personally, not the mom from Wasilla, Alaska — but what it is that she represents in a conservative movement.

You represent us, Sarah. That’s what you represent in a conservative movement. When they attacked you, it felt like they were attacking us because you’re one of us. That’s why so many of us believed in you almost instinctively.

Ziegler asked her if she would she do it again? Oh, yes, it’s her calling:

There is great need for reform… and if there is an opportunity that I could seize to help, I would do it again — just, you know, [I’ve] got to keep growing that thick skin and try not to personalize the attacks too greatly — very tough to do when the attacks come on my family though. That’s just inherent, I think, in any mom, but I’d do it again if there was opportunity to help.

And what about us, her loyal foot soldiers? What can we do in the meantime to help our Arctic Joan of the Arc?

She sent out a call to arms for us:

I wish that there was opportunity for people — especially in the Lower 48 — to look at my record and my administration’s record — what we were able to accomplish here…those things that I have done in my administration… I wish people in the Lower 48 who perhaps would be tempted to be influenced by this media saying that we’re just incompetent or ill-intended up here — I wish that they could just see our record, let it speak for itself, and perhaps believe the facts there versus being sucked into believing what it is that too many in the mainstream media would want them to believe.

C4P has your back, Governor.

And when you finally ride out from the north with your banner lifted high, we’ll rally. 

Posted in Alaska, Barracuda, BOOKS ABOUT SARAH PALIN, Children with Special Needs, Conservative, Faith, GOP, Governor Palin, Governor Sarah Palin, Mayor Palin, Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin, sports, The Faith of Sarah Palin, Trailblazer, Uncategorized, Vice President, Wasilla | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Faith of Sarah Palin (by Julian Lukins)

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 8, 2009

The Faith of Sarah Palin
by Julian Lukins
She was vilified by the media, hated by pro-abortion activists and adored by many evangelical Christians. Her 2008 candidacy energized conservatives, broke tradition and made history.

SARAH PALIN WAS A LITTLE GIRL HOLDING on to her mom’s hand when she first attended Wasilla Assembly of God (AG) Church in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska. The church’s founding pastor, Paul Riley, remembers the pigtailed second-grader—then Sarah Heath—coming with her mom, Sally. They established a pattern of faithful attendance that continued through Sarah’s childhood and teenage years.
Every week, Riley recalls, Sarah attended Missionettes, the church’s program for girls. During those formative years, Sarah learned about the Pentecostal tradition, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, divine healing and the importance of living out her faith in the world.

By the age of 12, Sarah showed depth in her personal faith, Riley told Charisma. “She began to have a strong desire for the Lord,” he says.

One summer’s day in 1976, 12-year-old Sarah waded into the chilly waters of Beaver Lake, a popular location for church camps. She had committed her life to Jesus and wanted to be baptized along with her mom and sister. Riley immersed Sarah in the lake, baptizing her in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. “I wish I could remember more about that moment,” reminisces the retired pastor, now 78. “I know that she loved the Lord with all her heart.”

At that moment, though, no one, including Riley, had any inkling of what the future held for the small-town Alaskan girl.

After her baptism, Sarah continued to attend Wasilla AG, growing in her faith and singing in the choir, Riley recalls. “I know that she did receive an experience of the Holy Spirit,” he told Charisma, “and that she received a calling on her life.” That spiritual turning point came when Sarah’s youth pastor told her: “You are called by God for a purpose.” Years later, Palin confided that the pastor’s words were etched on her mind.

Last June, Palin spoke fondly of her years growing up in Wasilla AG when she appeared at a ceremony for graduating ministry students. “It was so cool growing up in this church and getting saved here, getting baptized by Pastor Riley … my whole family getting baptized,” she told the congregation, just two months before her vice presidential nomination.

Speaking to the ministry graduates, 44-year-old Palin said: “Just be amazed … the umbrella of this church here, where God is going to send you from this church. Believe me, I know what I am saying, where God has sent me from underneath the umbrella of this church.”

As she continued, Palin spoke of a “spirit of prophecy … a spirit of revelation” that would “bubble over.” Then, she told the ministry students: “Thank you so much for dedicating your lives to Jesus Christ.”

Pentecostal Underpinnings

Within hours of Palin’s nomination as the Republican vice presidential candidate, the video of her 10-minute address at Wasilla AG was doing the rounds on the Internet. News reporters immediately picked up on Palin’s plea to pray for those serving in the military: “Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God,” Palin told the congregation. “That’s what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan, and that plan is God’s plan.”

Suddenly, in the media frenzy that followed her nomination, every church Palin had attended came under scrutiny. Eager to unearth controversy, reporters probed into the Charismatic practices at Wasilla AG, especially the experience of speaking in tongues, which commentators often presented as bizarre.

“I don’t know if [Palin] has ever spoken in tongues,” Riley told Charisma. “I know she is a very strong Christian.”

In the video, Palin quips about the Charismatic-style worship she experienced at Wasilla AG. She tells the congregation that she jokingly reassured the pastor of another church: “I grew up at Wasilla Assembly of God. … Nothing freaks me out about [your] worship service!”

Following the vice-presidential nod, though, the McCain campaign seemed perplexed by the media attention directed at Palin’s Pentecostal roots. Campaign staff told reporters that Palin—who stopped attending Wasilla AG in 2002—did not consider herself to be a Pentecostal.

In fact, since 2002, Palin has attended several different churches—nondenominational evangelical and Charismatic—in Wasilla and in Juneau, her base as Alaska governor. Most recently, when at home, she has attended Wasilla Bible Church, a nondenominational evangelical congregation with an emphasis on the Word, prayer and—according to the church Web site—fostering a close relationship with God.

How deep do Palin’s Pentecostal convictions go?

“I think it’s important to recognize how [Palin] herself answers questions like this,” says Michael Leahy, author of What Does Sarah Palin Believe? (Harpeth River Press). “She is pretty clear in stating that she does not belong to any particular denomination but is a Bible-believing Christian. I don’t think there is any evidence that she places the same emphasis on the Charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit that some members of the Pentecostal tradition do. On these matters, [Palin] is very private in her thoughts.”

Former pastor Riley has no doubt about the authenticity of her spiritual walk. Asked if he feels God’s hand is upon Palin’s life, Riley responds: “Yes, I very definitely do.”

Other church leaders in Alaska who know Palin or have known her in the past attest to the genuineness of her faith.

Ted Boatsman was a youth pastor at Wasilla AG 31 years ago and remembers Palin as a young teenager in the church. “It was a very active youth group, and she was with the junior high,” he recalls. “I remember this very nice, impressive young lady … one you just enjoyed being around. She had a grounded sense of God.”

That “grounded” faith continues today, Boatsman says, as is evidenced by her words and actions. Boatsman, who went on to become district superintendent for the Assemblies of God in Alaska, told Charisma that last April Gov. Palin attended the denominational banquet.

“She shared a little bit about her faith and some of the issues she was going through,” he recalls. “We were thrilled to be able to pray with her. She seemed very comfortable with that and she said, ‘I could always use your prayers.’ I asked the Lord to protect her and keep His hand upon her.”

Boatsman says Palin’s faith is real. “Her faith is very consistent, and she does not go off on tangents,” he says. “She has taken her honesty and lack of arrogance and turned them into real strengths. She’s the same person now as when she was Wasilla’s mayor. She treats people just the same … and she is completely comfortable around prayer.”

David Pepper, pastor of the 1,500-member Church on the Rock in Wasilla, told Charisma that Palin was a regular attendee at the Charismatic church in 2005, before she ran for the position of Alaska’s governor.

“My take is that she is a Spirit-filled believer,” 41-year-old Pepper says. “She was very comfortable in the environment of our church.” That environment, Pepper explains, sometimes involves dancing before the Lord and other Charismatic expressions of worship. “She still comes here occasionally,” he added.

Pepper grew up in Wasilla and remembers Palin as a senior in high school when he was a freshman. “I’d say she is very genuine, very authentic, and her values resonate with so many of us,” he says.

Pepper told Charisma that although Palin did not teach a Sunday School class or lead a Bible study, he believed she was involved in ministry “beyond being just an attender,” although he did not elaborate.

“I believe there is definitely a sense of destiny over her life,” Pepper says of Palin. Taking a line from the biblical story of Esther, Pepper adds: “There’s a sense that she is here for such a time as this.”

A Modern-Day Esther?

Palin’s sudden appearance on the national stage during the campaign excited many evangelicals who viewed her as a present-day Esther—hand-picked by God for “such a time as this.” The comparison between Palin and Esther—the Old Testament queen chosen by God to save the Jews from genocide—was made by several church leaders interviewed by Charisma.

Prophetic minister Barbara Yoder, senior pastor of Shekinah Christian Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, says: “I believe this is a time of incredible breakthrough for women. I am simple enough to believe that we don’t know everything about the way God moves and that [Palin] just might be an Esther.”

Mark Arnold, a Charismatic pastor in Hamilton, Ohio, would have to agree. In fact, he felt the Holy Spirit had given him a message for Palin about being an Esther, but he had no idea how he would deliver it. His opportunity came at a McCain-Palin campaign stop in Ohio last September. Incredibly, Arnold found himself just feet away from Palin and McCain at the podium after being asked to escort a group of Boy Scouts to the front—even though he was not a Boy Scout leader.

What happened next was remarkable. “[Palin] was on her knees, hugging a lady who had lost her son in Iraq,” Arnold told Charisma. “She spun around, looking right at me, and I told her: ‘God wants me to tell you that you are a present-day Esther.’ She began to cry and shake my hand in an affirming way. She said, ‘Yes, I receive that. … Please keep praying for me,'” says 47-year-old Arnold.

Barbara Wentroble, founder of International Breakthrough Ministries, describes Palin as “a picture of what God is doing with Christian women” as He calls them to positions of influence. “We need Christian women to make a bold stand for righteousness,” she says.

Others point to Palin as a woman of prayer.

Mary Glazier heads an Alaska-based prayer ministry called Windwalkers International. Charisma caught up with her on her way to a prayer meeting in Anchorage, the purpose of which was to pray specifically for Palin. This is nothing new, according to Glazier. “We actually began to pray for [Palin] before she became mayor of Wasilla,” Glazier says. “We felt then that she was the one God had selected.”

For several years, Glazier and other members of Windwalkers have prayed for Palin regularly—first when she was the mayor, then when she was the governor of Alaska, and when she was a vice presidential candidate. Last spring, Palin called Glazier and asked her to pray with her over the phone, and they met at the governor’s prayer breakfast.

“She asked me to pray with her for wisdom and direction,” Glazier recalls. “I sensed a real heart of surrender to the will of God in her. God often chooses the least likely people to be at the forefront, and I do believe that God has equipped [Palin] for this hour.”

Glazier told Charisma that members of Windwalkers had received words of knowledge about Palin being “called to impact the nation.” At that point, they had no idea she would be running for the office of vice president of the United States.

Palin’s public prayer life in the Pentecostal arena caused a stir when a video surfaced that showed her being prayed over by a Kenyan bishop. In the video, Bishop Thomas Muthee is seen laying hands on Palin in 2004 and asking God to protect her from “every form of witchcraft.” Liberal commentators and bloggers described the video as “terrifying” and claimed it made Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s controversial ex-pastor, appear “pretty mainstream” in comparison.

The episode reinforced the fact that Palin’s faith, and Pentecostalism especially, is at best misunderstood and at worst deliberately ridiculed by a large segment of the media.

A Bright Future

Palin certainly needed prayer warriors during the grueling months leading up to Election Day. She was vilified by angry abortion activists (one blogger wrote that Palin’s son Trig probably wished he had been aborted), and voters criticized her for using GOP funds to buy a $150,000 campaign wardrobe.

She was also torpedoed by journalists. The New York Times admitted after the election that a report of Palin’s alleged ignorance of African geography was traced to a policy adviser who does not exist.

Many voters turned against Palin because of her pro-life stance, her eagerness to drill for Alaskan oil or her embarrassing interview in September with Katie Couric of CBS. Some evangelical leaders also opposed her, including theologian John Piper—who chastised Palin because he believed she neglected her domestic role.

The question in the minds of millions today is obvious: Where is Palin’s political career headed? For now she will remain Alaska’s governor, but her name has been floated as a possible GOP nominee for president in 2012. She had considered running in a special election to replace U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska—who was convicted of ethics violations—but he was defeated by his Democratic opponent.

Biographer Joe Hilley says Palin’s faith is intertwined with every aspect of her life—so her faith will determine her future.

“[Palin’s] commitment to Christ forms the core of what I refer to as her moral center,” says Hilley, author of Sarah Palin: A New Kind of Leader (Zondervan). “Around that core are three basic beliefs: the authority of Scripture, a clear sense of justice and an unavoidable ethic of personal responsibility.”

Hilley told Charisma that Palin’s relationship with Jesus is an integral part of who she is. “One could not adequately define her commitment to Christ without including family and politics, nor could one define her political life without including her relationship to God,” he says.

Moreover, some black and Hispanic Charismatic leaders say Palin’s passionate faith appeals to minorities in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements.

“It’s huge,” says Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of the 3,000-member Hope Christian Church near Washington, D.C. “[Palin’s rise] marks the fact that Charismatics have become mainstream.” And even though McCain lost the election, Palin’s candidacy was “a watershed moment for our movement,” Jackson adds.

California-based Sam Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, told Charisma: “Hispanic Pentecostals are excited about Palin. … She resonates with us. She understands what it is to have a Charismatic experience.”

Describing Palin as a “kindred spirit,” Rodriguez says many Hispanics identified with the news that Palin’s 17-year-old unmarried daughter was pregnant. “We understood her journey,” Rodriguez says. “We identify with what she’s going through.”

Palin herself told journalists after the election that she’s looking for divine direction. In an interview with Larry King on CNN in November, she said her life is in God’s hands.

“If He’s got open doors for me that I believe are in our state’s best interest, the nation’s best interest, I’m going to go through those doors.”

Certainly, those who know Palin best believe she has the resolve—and the faith—to go as far as God ordains.

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Julian Lukins is a writer based in Sequim, Washington, and a former daily newspaper reporter in the U.K.
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http://www.charismamag.com/articles/?id=18348


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