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Politics, Pop Culture and Ponderings

Sarah Palin’s Dark Universe: Vanity Fair’s Profile

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Sarah Palin is a 21st century enigma.

She posts on Facebook and within minutes hundreds of people have either clicked “like” or left a comment, usually incredibly flattering, about Palin’s message. She Tweets, the media writes.

She has turned a losing vice presidential run into superstardom, becoming a political rock star in the vein of Bill Clinton. Palin could very well be pondering a presidential run. She visits Iowa later this month to headline the Iowa Republican Party’s annual fall fundraiser.

Vanity Fair, a haven for profiles of presidential wannabes, now gives Palin her turn. In the magazine’s October issue, writer Michael Joseph Gross explores the complicated days and nights of Sarah Palin.

Gross had his work cut out for him.

Palin has a circle of defend-to-the-death loyalists, including some of the folks in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, business partners and staffers. Gross writes that people who know her well would not talk about her on the record, some out of loyalty others “because they fear she will exact revenge” as he put it. Some “political strategists, longtime Palin friends and political associates, hotel staff, shopkeepers and hairstylists, and high-school friends of the Palin children” dished about Palin on the condition of anonymity. He wasn’t able to talk with Palin herself.

It’s not a flattering portrait of a woman who may very well want to be this country’s next president.

“There’s a long and detailed version of what they [Palin’s associates] had to say, but there’s also a short and simple one: anywhere you peel back the skin of Sarah Palin’s life, a sad and moldering strangeness lies beneath,” Gross writes.

Some highlights: Palin, always control-happy, has a big temper. She does not tip well, if at all. She has a short attention span. She’s a poseur when it comes to hunting. (Never has hunted, said one family friend.)

Even before she was plucked out of Alaska by presidential candidate Sen. John McCain to be his running mate, Palin had a sense of entitlement “fueled by persistent feelings that she was under appreciated,” Gross writes. She has become accustomed to the glamorous life. She flies in private jets and drives a “gleaming new Escalade ESV with tinted windows.” Oh, and FOX News may be building a studio on her property.

Her political empire is shaped by loyalists who include lobbyist Randy Scheunemann, a director of the neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century, and Kim Daniels, a lawyer with the Thomas More Law Center. Two male staffers who worked for George W. Bush serve as Palin’s confidants and personal assistants. Palin uses a code name, “North Star.” Wherever she stays, hotel personnel know to direct hair stylists to “North Star’s” room and she sprinkles the North Star reference throughout her speeches, which are booked by NorthStar Strategies. Gross writes, “An Amazon.com store called the North Star Group, maintained by a Palin blogger, ‘sells Governor Palin’s books, and numerous products she has referenced or is known to use,’ such as the red Naughty Monkey Double Dare pumps she often wears.”

In Alaska, her relationships with some former aides have either deteriorated or are non-existent although Gross couldn’t land interviews with any of them. Within her family, Palin controls the message. She has told her parents, Chuck and Sally Heath, to never speak to media — ever — without her permission. When Gross attempts to do so at a July 4th parade, he’s quickly told he is not following orders.

On an intimate level, Gross paints Palin’s universe as one with increasing isolation from her friends, family and even her husband, Todd. One frequent former Palin houseguest told Gross that “Todd would often joke, ‘I don’t know how she ever gets pregnant.’ ”

Another friend said Sarah and Todd once got so mad at each other that they took all the canned goods from the pantry and threw them at each other. The refrigerator looked as if “it had got shot up with a shotgun.”

The same friend told Gross, “As soon as she enters her property and the door closes, even the insects in that house cringe. She has a horrible temper, but she has gotten away with it because she is a pretty woman.” The friend also hinted that Palin has used her sexuality to get her way, telling Gross that Palin once told her, “I’m gonna put on one of my push-up bras so I can get what I want tonight.”

Even Palin’s children seem disenchanted by their mother from time to time. A former campaign aide recalled to Gross, “You’re just putting on a show. You’re so fake,” one of the children said when Palin made a point of praying in front of other people. “This is not who you are. Why are you pretending to be something you’re not?”

Gross never meets Palin through his travels with her on the road or in Alaska, but he does end up in front of her house, where a metal North Star on a gate points upward.

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Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 8:56 pm

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