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Are Palin’s Ghostwriters Messing with Her?

November 19th, 2010 at 8:23 pm David Frum | 75 Comments |

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I’ve now had a chance to read quite a lot of Sarah Palin’s new book, and I must say: I’m quite enjoying it. It’s like a huge irony fiesta, a huge display of non-self-knowledge. For example, on p. 111, Palin approvingly quotes a paragraph from a letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams. It has no footnote, so I don’t know if the quote is accurate, but still – listen:

“It should be your care, therefore, and mine to elevate the mind of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue.”

Yes, truly, if there is anything I associate with Palin more than excellence in every capacity and faculty – more even than her contempt of meanness and abhorrence of injustice – it is her commitment to industry and plain hard work.

You are left to wonder: are Palin’s ghostwriters making fun of her?

Recent Posts by David Frum

75 Comments so far ↓

  • nuser

    Palin is the Wizard of Oz.
    We just have to wait a while, for the not so bright to discover that.

  • drdredel

    Man, you Libs just can’t contain the hate you have for this women and her daughter.

    Is that some sort of indictment? I don’t think of myself as liberal, but if you’re going to start pointing fingers and accusing people of hate, there’s more than enough of that to go around. I don’t know that I actually hate anyone, and I can’t imagine hating someone who hasn’t done me any personal harm. But I will gladly admit that I hate the attention this woman receives and would be very happy if she got run over by a bus, seeing as how that would really be the only way that I’d get to stop hearing about her. But you shouldn’t mistake that for hate. It’s more the way I feel about flies, or stray cats in heat. As for her daughter… who the hell is her daughter?

  • sdspringy

    LOL Dredredel, you would be happy if she got run over by a bus, but you don’t hate her. Well Thank Goodness for that, I would “hate” to read what you would prescribe for her if you actually hated her. WOW.

    I’m sure Annie feels perfectly objective about her feelings towards Palin however Freud might disagree.

  • politicalfan

    Great post Frum. Have you ever read her FB posts and the comments that follow? I often think that the agressive swipes are amateur and counterproductive. I would not define a strong leader by their ability to have a comeback for every petty criticism.

  • easton

    “Easton you fail because of your extreme ideology prevents you from interrupting what’s being posted.”

    I have no idea what this sentence means. And what extreme ideology do I possess? I supported the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, favor a gradual privatization of Social Security, would love to see Medicare vouchers tried out, favor school vouchers, am pro-life. Do these things make me an extreme Liberal? Certainly most of these put me to the right of the political spectrum (though personally I think pro-life is neither Liberal nor conservative). On a number of other issues I am certainly to the left, I favor a public option for health care, for example. But you can not assert because I disagree with you about Palin that I am some left wing liberal. It is absurd. The difference between you and I is that you are a reactionary, I am a thinker. You react to criticism of Palin as somekind of threat instead of thinking about it and deciding whether it is valid or not. There are many invalid criticisms of Palin, like she left Hawaii in college because she couldn’t handle the diversity, it was far more likely she couldn’t handle the radical change and so I found that criticism of her to be, simply put, wrong and calumnious.

  • easton

    by the way, seriously sdspringy, what the hell does that sentence mean: Easton you fail because of your extreme ideology prevents you from interrupting what’s being posted.

    Prevents me from interrupting what’s being posted. Is this somekind of code with which you communicate with your imaginary alien overlords? Honestly, I take it you meant “understanding” instead of “interrupting”, but how you could possibly mix up the word interrupt and understand is beyond me unless English is not your first or even second language. They did bring back the modify button, I urge you to reread what you write and use it when you utter bizarre sentences like the one above. You definitely should be aware of your paraphasia

  • sdspringy

    Well again Easton you are not reading my posts. We agree that Palin should not be President. Again that is not the subject of my posts, though I am pleasantly surprised at some of your positions.
    My posts concern the Frum/Palin dynamic. I don’t care if she is criticized, although Annie appears over the top, because I don’t consider that the issue.

    Can’t wait to be on the same side on some issue in the future.

  • PatrickQuint

    sdspringy, if I may:

    “Easton you fail because of your extreme ideology prevents you from interrupting what’s being posted.”

    I think what sdspringy is saying is that you have a strong bias that prevents you from filtering nonsense out of your posts. He claims that an objective person in your position would stop and re-write the offending posts.

    To a certain degree we are all victims of bias, but I don’t see it as notably pronounced in you, easton.

  • anniemargret

    Springy: Yes, I am ‘over the top’ with Palin because I see her as hypocritical. She is supposed to represent ‘family values’ no?

    She has encouraged her daughter, a person who had a child out of wedlock and from a mother who admitted she ‘didn’t know Bristol was having sex’ and then supports that same unsupervised daughter to go on national TV and wear sexy outfits and dance in sex’d up dances. You see, as a liberal woman and mother, I have my conservative streak.

    My criticism is about Palin, not Bristol. Of course any mother or father can raise their children the way they like, but Palin has to spare us the ‘family values’ thing. I would think most mothers, conservative or liberal, would agree that it would be wiser to be teaching her daughter to use her brain instead of her bod to make money and attract fame.

    And I ask again…if Bristol is dancing on TV and worrying about her dancing ratings, who’s watching her child? It’s not Palin, right? Family values, indeed.

    I admire any woman who brings a disabled child into this world. And I have one, too, so I am very sensitive to this. And I see many, many women struggling to juggle children, work and family, including those who have disabled children. They are the ones that should be honored, because they get no applause for it.

    I brought out the point that Palin made a ‘decision’ to have Trig. That is admirable. But will Palin deny that ‘decision’ to other women perhaps not in the same fortunate circumstances that her child has?

    Will she encourage responsible sex by using birth control now that her daughter mothered a child and is now in a divorced family? Or will she continue to pretend that just ‘saying no’ will be the answer to the thousands of children born to unwed parents every year in this country, some of whom are children themselves?

    I don’t apologize for these criticisms. As a ‘family values’ person that she claims to be, she should use her very powerful public forum to speak more honestly about these issues that are affecting many people and families across America – instead of cheering Bristol on for sexy dancing. My opinion only but I suspect I am of one thousands who might feel this way.

    So don’t put words into my mouth, please. I think “Amazed” said it well, too.

    And my other questions to Palin I reiterate. Instead of seeing her entire family all over TV, to garner money and fame, Palin ought to be telling America what she sees as our role in the Middle East, our military and’/or future wars, our economy and how she would create jobs, her opinion on what she would say to the thousands without the fortunate healthcare she has for own family, now denied to millions. What would say to the unemployed and to those now facing loss of unemployment benefits.

    Less family drama, less reality shows to self-aggrandize, more policy opinion, and more than two paragraphs on Fox or Twitter or Facebook.

  • easton


    You are certainly correct that I am as subject to bias as anyone else, but when you detect it call me out on it. I am far more oriented towards policy than towards people and I wish this site had more substantive policy discussions and not personality driven ones, such as this one, but the whole point it to draw in eyes, discussing the finer points of currency valuations isn’t very exciting for most people. The best thing about policy is it can be proven to be successful or a failure when it is tried out.

  • sdspringy

    Couple things Annie:
    1. A mother who admits she didn’t know a child is having sex. Really thats unheard, never happens in Liberal households.

    2. Teach her daughter to use her brains, implying Palin has instructed her daughter otherwise. Really, so all the pagent queens, Hollywood actresses are fools and have bad mothers.

    3. Whose watching the baby, maybe the same person who would watch it if she was in school or working.

    4. Bristol Palin never married so she is not divorced, does not reside in a divorced family as if that is a terrible thing. She has done PSAs on abstinence, doubt if that satifies your requirements.
    And she is allowed to promote her beliefs free of you ridicule.

    And apologize you should for these really outlandish statements.

  • nuser

    What outlandish statements?
    Since when is the truth , outlandish statements.
    Why are you posting on this site?
    You have very little intelligence, if any.

  • greg_barton

    springy, right now you say Palin is unqualified, but I predict, based on your unswerving defense of her, that in two year’s time you will be behind her presidential nomination 100%, and will be arguing that she’s as qualified as Obama.

  • nuser

    Dear anniemargret.
    Do you remember :” I can’t believe I ate the whole thing?”
    Well,I can’t believe some people ate the whole Palin thing!
    Please do not respond to the sdspringy , he is not worthy of
    any reply ,at best he is incoherent. I fear there is something lacking

  • anniemargret

    springy: Yes, some Hollywood stars and celebrities have terrible mothers. I uphold my own opinion that encouraging and supporting her daughter to do sexy dances on national TV is not exactly symbolic of ‘family values.’ But the dishonesty that is rampant in the right wing holds no bounds.

    If either of Obama’s daughters had gotten pregnant without being married, or gone on DWTS in sexy outfits, the right wing would have a field day saying it ‘proves’ he has no ‘family values.’ Get my point here?

    There are good and bad mothers/fathers everywhere. I can only judge Palin on what I see, and what I see I don’t like. I don’t like her holding up Trig to cheers and applause as if he’s a prop for political brownie points. I would have more respect for her (as a mother) if she fiercely – like a Mama Grizzly – protected her children from the klieg lights and harsh atmosphere of TV, talk radio, Internet and tabloids.

    But it’s really about Palin isn’t it? Her judgment?

    My children are from a divorced family. They went through emotional hell so I know of what I speak. True, Bristol never married Levi, probably for the best since he is very immature. But raising a child is grim for the young unwed mothers. Rather than supporting her daughter to go on DWTS, it would have been more conservative if she had encouraged her to get a good education, and spend time with her child, instead of worrying about what ratings she will get on DTWS.

    Abstinence? Hey, I give Bristol kudos for that. But it’s fantasy and everyone knows it. It would be far better if Bristol encouraged other kids her age to abstain from sex but if they were to do so, to use birth control because not all kids are going to be as fortunate as Bristol in coming from a family with fame and money.

    And I’m old-fashioned enough to wish that all our kids had more time to spend with their families and their parents. Because it’s the kids that get the short end of the stick if the parent puts careers first instead of their kids.

    Yeah…I’m that old-fashioned..and ‘liberal’ to boot, with a strong conservative streak about kids.

  • anniemargret

    nuser: Thanks for advice…. but I am done arguing with Springy. We are coming from different worlds, different pov’s and life experiences.


  • Nanotek

    Who are her ghost writers? Googled it but no answers. Anyone know?

  • jimacker

    I just finished an article on Palin in today’s NY Times Magazine – very interesting look into her inner circle of advisers and how she both thinks and operates. The author implied that Palin actually writes a lot of what she says publishes or closely edits it before it’s published. This leads me to think that we’re not getting jobbed by her ghostwriters, we’re getting the thinking of the woman herself.
    I agree with David that the views we are getting about how Palin thinks reveal someone with a amazigly noninclusive view of Americans and America is all about.

  • politicalfan

    Nanotek- mudflats dot net

  • CD-Host

    anneimargeret –

    It would be far better if Bristol encouraged other kids her age to abstain from sex but if they were to do so, to use birth control

    We’ve had some good conversations about her. Its amazing to me how often you your criticism of Palin is fact free just this floating long list of complaints that leaves you completely untroubled when they are refuted. Not only has Bristol taken this position, but she is an official spokesperson Candie’s foundation’s “pause before you play” campaign which encourages exactly the position of abstinence and if not abstinence then safe sex. Which is what you are asking for:

  • anniemargret

    CD: Then I apologize for characterizing Bristol that way, since I did not know that. I am extremely pro birth control and if Bristol is encouraging young people to take a more thoughtful stance on pre-marital sex, then I give her high-fives.

    I don’t think my analysis is ‘fact-free’ – I think yours is overly analytical and with a bent toward giving her a pass which you probably wounld’t do for others.

    My bias is clear and I admit it outright – because I’ve already made up my mind about her – she’s had 2 1/2 years to change that and she still hasn’t. I feel insulted by Sarah Palin and my family feels insulted by her attacks on people not from ‘real America.” My entire family (born, raised and educated in NYC) served in the military – does she think our families don’t include blue-collar workers, religious people, or soldiers and sailors? She’s an idiot for saying such a thing. What will she do now?

    Apologize to the rest of ‘real America’ who are not in small towns across rural America? To me, that comment alone proves her exclusiveness, not inclusiveness, a bad trait for a potential presidential candidate.

    And no, I wouldn’t advise my daughter who just had a baby out of wedlock at the age of 17, to go on DWTS and shake her booty. If Palin is going to put her entire family in the limelight then she can’t have it both ways. She puts them at risk for exposure to a harsh media as well as a harsh critique of her mothering. She’s the one who is using the term, “Mama Grizzly” – which is offensive to millions of women who are doing far, far more than she is everyday.

    We just don’t get applause for it.

  • CD-Host

    If Palin is going to put her entire family in the limelight then she can’t have it both ways. She puts them at risk for exposure to a harsh media as well as a harsh critique of her mothering.

    I agree with you here. But this is a problem with all American politicians. They like to have the family off limits and at the same time use them for policy.
    John McCain uses Cindy on every campaign stop and as a campaign spokesperson so I think he put her clearly in the “fair game” side of things.
    Bill Clinton had Hillary head up major policy initiatives and then play “don’t go after the first lady”.
    Kerry seemed mixed about Teresa finance part of his campaign and talk and then go into hiding once the firing started. I always though he should have had her play a more prominent role, as she compensated for his negatives.

    I thought George Bush was excellent about keeping his family out of the limelight. I always thought the attacks on Jenna were totally out of line and he should have sent her abroad for college or to a very small private school.

    I thought Kerry wasn’t too bad getting an endorsement and then having the daughter’s go back undercover. But having Thersa finance part of his campaign be a spokesperson

    Sarah Palin in Alaska was very bad about having Todd act as Chief of Staff but because he wasn’t on the payroll not subject to any of the ethics rules. But Bristol I think is fair game only in so far as the Candee’s foundation. The attacks on Willow, who the Dems seem to be relishing going after, is not fair game, I’ve never heard her say anything political or much anything at all. Piper is political but I just can’t imagine even the Dems going after a 9 year old.

  • Nanotek

    “Nanotek- mudflats dot net”

    politicalfan … thank you!

  • politicalfan

    Stand corrected it is http://www.themudflats.net
    Check archives

  • politicalfan

    “Sarah Palin in Alaska was very bad about having Todd act as Chief of Staff but because he wasn’t on the payroll not subject to any of the ethics rules. But Bristol I think is fair game only in so far as the Candee’s foundation. The attacks on Willow, who the Dems seem to be relishing going after, is not fair game, I’ve never heard her say anything political or much anything at all. Piper is political but I just can’t imagine even the Dems going after a 9 year old.”

    Agreed but I still didn’t not like the slurs.


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