Whether it’s really a Chinese curse or not, you can’t say we don’t live in interesting times.
Two weeks ago, I was reporting from the Democratic National Convention; the Obama bounce looked solid, and on Thursday night, following the Mile High Annunciation, things were looking pretty grim for the Grumpy Old Man and the GOP. Of course, by Friday morning, things were looking rather different — Sarah Palin was announced as the vice presidential choice, political junkies were seeing their chiropractors about their whiplash injuries, and suddenly a new fresh face was in a free-fire zone.
Now, make no mistake, I like Sarah Palin a lot; in many ways she’s closer to my politics than anyone I’ve seen in a long while. I voted for her in the PJM Veepstakes, multiple times. That was all based on what I’d read, at Beldar‘s blog and others, and a little bit I’d heard from my relatives in Alaska. Of course, most people know that what immediately followed the Palin announcement was a prodigious swarm of new rumors; it seemed that, failing any useful opposition research, people were just making things up about Palin. After I had received thirty or so of them from left-leaning friends, I got a little tired of it, and wrote an email with a bullet list of some of the things I’d read, true, false, and simply ludicrous. I sent this to a private mailing list of some friends, and then it occurred to me to create a post on the Palin rumors.
And, as Bart said, “The rest was history.”
So this is the complete list of Palin rumors, at least as it stands about midnight Mountain Time on September 7, 2008. (The link will take you back to the complete and current list on my blog Explorations.) I make a point of the time because the list has been growing by around seven rumors a day; there’s at least one in my queue that I haven’t been able to completely track down yet.
Warning: some parts of this are jokes. On purpose.
Sarah Palin Rumors
- Yes, she is governor of Alaska. No, she’s not the lieutenant governor. No, she’s not currently mayor of Wasilla. Yes, she was mayor of Wasilla, some years ago.
- Yes, as governor of Alaska, she’s the commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard. And yes, her professional military subordinate is quite impressed with her in that role.
- And yes, the New York Times says the job of governor of Alaska is one of the harder, and more powerful, jobs in state government.
- Yes, there are people in Alaska who think she’s too liberal.
- Yes, she did giggle when someone called Lyda Green a “bitch.” Yes, Lyda Green is a cancer survivor. Yes, it was the same Lyda Green who tried to force a scheduling conflict that would make Palin miss her son’s high school graduation. Yes, this would also be the Lyda Green who complained no one had asked her about Palin during the vetting process.
- Yes, she did push for and approve the Wasilla Sports Center. Yes, it did cost a lot of money. (People keep saying $20 million, that article says $14.5 million, but then they also added a $1.2 million dollar food service/kitchen piece. This year, after Palin was out of office as mayor.) Yes, the city went into debt to do it (how did you buy your house, bunkie?) and raised the city sales tax from 2 percent to 2.5 percent to pay for it. Yes, the city is paying it off early. Yes, there is an ongoing dispute about title (following a struggle with the Nature Conservancy and another buyer. And yes, at the time it was built, Wasilla had a federal judge’s decision that they had title to the land.
- Yes, she did want authority to have wolves culled from the air, because they were taking too many moose and caribou. Which people hunt for food in the back country in Alaska. No, she isn’t shooting them herself. I mean, not that she couldn’t, but I’m sure she doesn’t have time.
- No, the Downs baby (Trig) isn’t Bristol’s kid, and no, the kid wasn’t born with Downs because (a) Palin flew on an airplane (b) went home to have the baby after an amniotic leak (c) because he was the result of incest between Todd Palin and Bristol.
- No, Track (the kid who is leaving for Iraq) didn’t join the NG because he was a drug addict. He may have joined the NG because he was tired of people saying his Mom was getting him into the good hockey leagues. (Yes, that one was original reporting. I’ve got sources in Wasilla.)
- No, Willow and Piper aren’t named for witches on TV. Among other things, Willow was born before Buffy came on TV, and Piper was born before Charmed.
- Yes, Trig’s name may be misspelled. Isn’t it usually “Tryg” as in “Trygve”? In any case, I doubt he’s named for the secretary general of the UN (1948-1952), either. But at least that was before he was born, unlike the others. (Thanks to Chris, via his blog.)
- Yes, it appears that she has a Big Dipper tattooed on her ankle. She lost a bet.
- No, she’s never been in any porn as far as anyone can find (and God knows I get enough Google hits on those very topics). I would think the Big Dipper tattoo would be a giveaway.
- No, no one seems to be able to even find swimsuit pictures of her from her beauty queen days; God knows I looked. The bikini pictures that are around are photoshopped, just like the Vogue cover I have up.
- No she wasn’t a member of the (wild-eyed libertarian) Alaska Independence Party, although her husband once was.
- No, neither the (Canadian) National Post, nor Marc Armbinder at the Atlantic have troubled themselves to issue a correction. Yes, the New York Times did finally correct their story of September 1 — on September 5. And on page 14. This was after Elizabeth Bumiller was quoted by Howard Kurtz as saying she was “completely confident about the story.” Yes, that was after the New York Times‘s source retracted the story. Yes, this should embarrass the Times, Bumiller, and Howard Kurtz. No, there have been no signs of embarrassment.
- No, she was never a Pat Buchanan supporter; even when Buchanan claims she was, she was on the board of Steve Forbes’ campaign in Alaska. Yes, Palin was a Steve Forbes supporter in 2000.
- No, she’s not anti-semitic. In fact, she has an Israeli flag in her office. (Contrary to popular belief, the usual evangelical thinks Israel has a right to exist, granted by God.)
- No, I don’t think she’s being “indoctrinated by Lieberman and AIPAC as we speak”; I don’t get the feeling that being indoctrinated is something that Palin does well.
- Yes, it seems unlikely that she’s going to be in hiding for the next two weeks, seeing as she’s been in rallies twice in the last two days. Or at least it’s going to be real rough, given that she has three media interviews scheduled today (September 6) alone.
- Yes, it does appear that Palin’s local pastor preached about an end time when God will judge everyone, even Wasilla, Alaska, and the United States. Duh. This is called the Book of Revelations, and while I don’t believe it personally, I don’t see it as a disqualifier for the hundred million or so Baptists, Methodists, Evangelicals, Episcopalians, Catholics, Assembly of God, Presbyterian, Lutherans (traditional and Missouri Synod), African Methodist, and so on Christians in the United States.
- Yes, I do sometimes wonder about the state of Andrew’s health.
- No, she’s doesn’t believe that the Iraq War was directed by God. Yes, she did pray that proceeding with the war was God’s will: “they should pray ‘that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God, that’s what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan, and that plan is God’s plan.'” (Ever hear the phrase “Not my will, but Thine, be done”?) Yes, this apparently freaks some people right out.
- No, Buchanan doesn’t support her now; in fact he’s supporting Obama. (Buchanan did think her speech was amazing, but then so do 80 percent of the people who saw it.) Or maybe not. Buchanan sure doesn’t like McCain though.
- Yes, she was apparently pregnant when she got married
- No, so far there’s no confirmation she had an affair while she was married, and they’ve denied it pretty strongly. No, she wouldn’t be the first Christian woman who got a little on the side, if it were true.
- No, she wasn’t named as a co-respondent in a divorce; there’s no evidence she had an affair with her husband’s business partner. The partner tried to have his divorce records sealed because he was being harrassed by journalists who used them to get his phone number.
- Yes, barring
immaculate conceptionvirgin birth (whatever), Bristol appears to have had sex with her fiancee. No, Bristol didn’t receive only “abstinence-only” sex ed. (The biggest item of controversy in this whole process has been, of all things, details of Christian doctrine and sectarian differences.)
- Yes, I have it on reliable report that
SarahLevi’s mom has been heard screaming “Way to go Levi!” at her future son-in-lawson. No, it doesn’t appear to have been when Bristol broke the news to her family. Note: I originally understood this story to be about Sarah, not Levi’s mom, in the context of hockey games. As such, it’s shouldn’t be in a Sarah Palin rumors story, but I like the story too much to delete it.
- Yes, her 17 year-old-daughter is pregnant; no, the baby’s father is not an eighth grader; no, having sex at 16 is not statutory rape in Alaska. And no, there’s no way that a 17 year old can be 5 months pregnant as a result of having sex before she was 16. Learn to count for God’s sakes.
- Yes, she did fire the public safety guy — but he said in the Anchorage paper that, for the record, she never, and no one else in her administration ever, tried to make him fire her ex-brother-in-law.
- And yes, the state trooper (her sister’s ex-husband) she was worried about did: tase her 10 year old nephew; drive his state patrol car while drinking or drunk; did threaten to “bring her down”; and did threaten to murder her father and sister if they dared to get an attorney to help with the divorce.
- Yes, the state trooper was suspended when he was put under a court protective order.
- No, the trooper wasn’t fired.
- Yes, she did fire the Wasilla police chief asayor; yes, it was because he was lying to the city council.
- Yes, she did try to cut her own salary as mayor by $4000 a year; yes, she had voted against the $4000 a year raise while on the city council.
- No, she didn’t cut funding for unwed mothers; yes, she did increase it by “only” 354 percent instead of 454 percent, as part of a multi-year capital expenditures program. No, the Washington Post doesn’t appear to have corrected their story. Even after this was pointed out in the comments on the story.
- No, she didn’t cut special needs student funding; yes, she did raise it by “only” 175 percent.
- Yes, she did try, clearly unsuccessfully, to get Bristol married off to her fiancee before the story came out.
- Yes, she did ask the librarian if some books could be withdrawn because of being offensive; no, they couldn’t; yes, it was “rhetorical,, at least as was reported contemporaneously in 1996 (and thanks to Cecil [email protected] Just One Minute for this); yes, she did threaten to fire the librarian a month later; no, that wasn’t over the books thing but instead over administrative issues; no, the librarian wasn’t fired either; yes, the librarian was a big supporter of one of her political opponents; yes, the librarian was also a close friend of the chief of police mentioned above; no, this is not the first time in the history of civilization that someone has been threatened with being fired over a political dispute.
- No, the list of books she wanted to ban that’s being passed around isn’t real; among other things, it includes a number of books published after her time in office there.
- No, that hasn’t actually deterred people from claiming it really is true even if the list isn’t correct. For example: “This list might not in fact reflect the books Sarah Palin wanted banned. As more than one person in Comments has pointed out, some of them were not published when Palin was in office. It is my hope that the mainstream media will not let this story drop and that at some point an actual list will surface. The very thought of having someone who once advocated book-banning possibly occupying one of the highest offices of our land fills me with profound dread. It should fill you with dread too.”
- No, I don’t understand why a fake list is supposed to fill me with dread, either.
- No, it
wasn’twon’t be [bad tense, hasn’t happened yet] a shotgun wedding; Bristol and Levi been engaged for a good while according to Levi’s mother. It was either an accident or just an unconventional order.
she’s anwas an Assembly of God holy roller. No, she doesn’t attend an AoG church now. Yes, she did leave the AoG because they were getting too weird for her.
- No, she’s not anti-Mormon. No, not all AoG churches are anti-Mormon. (AoG is even more hard-core about allowing each pastor and congregation to make their own decisions than the Baptists are.) (Thanks to AnonAmom in the comments.)
- No, she’s not from another planet.
No, I haven’t actually heard that one yet, but you wait.Okay, I have now heard it.
- Yes, she apparently believes in some variant of intelligent design.
- No, she didn’t try to force the schools to teach it; she said if someone brought it up, it was an appropriate subject for debate.
- No, she doesn’t believe in “abstinence only” education. Yes, she thinks abstinence is an effective way of preventing pregnancy. Duh. Yes, she believes kids should learn about condom use in schools.
- Yes, she did smoke marijuana, when it was legal in Alaska. Yes, she apparently did inhale.
- Yes, she kills animals and eats them, and wears their skins.
- Yes, she was a beauty contest contestant.
- Yes, she was once a sportscaster.
- Yes, she has a college degree in journalism, but I won’t hold that against her, as she seems to have found honest work as well.
- Yes, she sometimes wears her hair up; no that’s not a “beehive.”
- Yes, her husband is not a white person. (He’s a Yup’ik; an Eskimo but not an Inuit as my Inuit cousins have taken some pains to explain.)
- Yes, she has on occasion, as mayor, tried to get money from the federal government.
- Yes, she did finally turn down the money for the bridge. Yes, that meant changing her mind about it.
- Yes, she was vetted extensively, not just in three days — I’ve got links to press reports about people coming to Wasilla on May 29, and we had her on our Veepstakes at PJM from the first day we ran it.
- Yes, she want to a bunch of colleges before getting a degree. No, that’s not illegal. Yes, she seems to have made something of herself anyway.
- No, they didn’t talk to a lot of the R’s power structure during the vetting; that probably has to do with the fact that she beat them in elections and sent a bunch of them to jail.
- Yes, Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech was written by a speechwriter. Duh. No, none of Obama’s, McCain’s, nor Biden’s speeches were impromptu off the cuff things either.
- Yes, she did put the governor’s plane on eBay. No, that’s not how it was finally sold. Yes, McCain did say it wrong. Bad McCain.
- No, Sarah Palin doesn’t have such control of Alaskans that people are afraid to say bad things about her. (What, are you nuts? Look at this list.) No, I don’t think it’s likely that she called Obama “Sambo.” (Good God, man, I’m ten years older than she and I barely remember “Little Black Sambo.”) Yes, it seems unlikely to me that she’d be a real racist and marry a Yup’ik (or a part Yup’ik). But yes, people are capable of amazing things. Yes, I’m sure there are people who don’t like her — I’ve talked with some myself. And no, I don’t think this waitress would have been thrilled to be called an “aboriginal.” And yes, if she called Hillary a “bitch,” I’m pretty confident is wasn’t the first time anyone in politics has said that.
- No, she’s not a “global warming denier,” and when the crush dies down remind me to explain why the very phrasing “global warming denier” is anti-scientific, anti-intellectual, and a clear sign of a desire to impose your beliefs by coercion. But in the mean time, while I do believe that she has expressed some skepticism that warming is wholly human-caused, the existence of the Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet and the Alaska Climate Change Strategy work demonstrate that she’s considering the problem and has brought together people more expert than she to advise her.
- Yes, Todd Palin did have a DUI. Twenty-two years ago. Get a grip.
- No, Sarah Palin’s brother isn’t in jail. No matter what the commenter at Anderson Cooper’s page says. (Thanks to Galynn in comments.)
- Yes, Sarah Palin’s pastor apparently does believe that gays can “repent” and be cured of homosexuality. No, believe it or not, even fundamentalist Christians don’t have to believe every little thing their pastor believes. Yes, Palin seems to be more libertarian about this.
- Yes, contrary to press reports, Sarah Palin’s mother-in-law plans to vote for her and the R ticket (on Inside Edition this evening).
- No, the fact that some 17-year-old was arrested for malicious mischief at the right time doesn’t mean Track Palin was. Goddamn, Josh, have you no shame at all?