Fact Check

Sarah Palin Editorials

Letters from Alaskans offer viewpoints of Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

Published Sep 14, 2008


Claim:   Editorials by public figures offer viewpoints of 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Status:   Multiple — see below.

Origins:   In the immediate aftermath of the selection of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee came a deluge of Internet-circulated open letters about her, each written by someone from Alaska claiming a direct or indirect connection to the candidate. This was followed by a wave of editorials about Governor Palin penned by public figures, the most widely circulated of which are collected below.

One much-forwarded piece critical of Governor Palin (entitled "Drill, Drill, Drill") was written by Eve Ensler (the American playwright, performer, feminist and activist best known for The Vagina Monologues) and published on the Huffington Post web site on 8 September 2008:

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don't like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story — connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country chose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the presidency with regularity.

[Remainder of letter here.]

Another entry, entitled "Obama and the Palin Effect," was authored by Indian medical doctor/spiritualist Dr. Deepak Chopra:

Sometimes politics has the uncanny effect of mirroring the national psyche even when nobody intended to do that. This is perfectly illustrated by the rousing effect

that Gov. Sarah Palin had on the Republican convention in Minneapolis this week. On the surface, she outdoes former Vice President Dan Quayle as an unlikely choice, given her negligent parochial expertise in the complex affairs of governing. Her state of Alaska has less than 700,000 residents, which reduces the job of governor to the scale of running one-tenth of New York City. By comparison, Rudy Giuliani is a towering international figure. Palin’s pluck has been admired, and her forthrightness, but her real appeal goes deeper.

She is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and turning negativity into a cause for pride. In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of "the other." For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don’t want to express them. He is calling for us to reach for our higher selves, and frankly, that stirs up hidden reactions of an unsavory kind. (Just to be perfectly clear, I am not making a verbal play out of the fact that Sen. Obama is black. The shadow is a metaphor widely in use before his arrival on the scene.) I recognize that psychological analysis of politics is usually not welcome by the public, but I believe such a perspective can be helpful here to understand Palin's message. In her acceptance speech Gov. Palin sent a rousing call to those who want to celebrate their resistance to change and a higher vision

[Remainder of letter here.]

Yet another editorial that drew a good deal of attention was an endorsement of Barack Obama by former U.S. Congressman and New York City mayor Ed Koch, in which he stated it would "scare" him if Sarah Palin "were to succeed John McCain in the presidency":

Ed Koch
Presidential Endorsement
September 9, 2008

The time has come to declare whom I will be voting for.

When I made my decision four years ago and supported the reelection of George W. Bush, I said at the time the overwhelming issue for me was international Islamic terrorism, including al-Qaeda. The goal of Islamic terrorists was and still is to reestablish the Caliphate encompassing most of the Muslims living in a host of nations from Spain to Indonesia and placing them under a single religious leader with full authority over the civil affairs of the countries, in the style of Iran. That goal includes the deaths or forced conversions of Christians and Jews as infidels or the payment by them of tribute, and the elimination of the State of Israel.

In 2004, I concluded that the one person running for president who understood that danger best and was prepared to fight it and defend America and its allies was George W. Bush. Even though he is now at a low ebb in popularity, I have no regrets for having campaigned and voted for him. I said at the time I didn't agree with him on a single domestic issue and so far as I can currently see that is still true with the exception of drilling for oil off our coasts and building nuclear energy plants.

I believe that Bush and Tony Blair, Bush's main international ally with regard to the war in Iraq and against Islamic terrorism, will be redeemed by history. President Harry Truman was reviled when he left office, but is now honored for his courage and vision.

Now, once again, I have to make a decision to either endorse the Democratic ticket of Obama and Biden or support the Republican ticket of McCain and Palin. I am 83 years old. If I am lucky, I may yet vote not only in this election, but in the presidential election of 2012 and perhaps, if luckier, even in that of 2016. I believe I must vote my conscience, and that means for the presidential candidate who in my estimation will best protect the U.S. over the next four years.

[Remainder of letter here.]

The New York Times reported former mayor Koch received quite a response (both positive and negative) to his newsletter mailing:

Not since Edward I. Koch disclosed this year that he was suffering from a serious spinal ailment has his online commentary generated the volume of e-mail messages he received in response to his endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for president.

Most of the 400 or so responses to the endorsement were extremely positive, he said. About three dozen were not; some of them were downright vitriolic.

"I was surprised primarily by those who criticized me with the invective they used," the former mayor said, "but I know those who praised me, had I come out the other way, would have used the same invective."

"There is no acceptance of dissent anymore," he lamented.

A popular positive editorial about Sarah Palin was penned by Michael Reagan, son of former president Ronald Reagan:

I've been trying to convince my fellow conservatives that they have been wasting their time in a fruitless quest for a new Ronald Reagan to emerge and lead our party and our nation. I insisted that we’d never see his like again because he was one of a kind.

I was wrong!

I watched the Republican National Convention on television and there, before my very eyes, I saw my Dad reborn; only this time he's a she.

And what a she!

In one blockbuster of a speech, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin resurrected my Dad’s indomitable spirit and sent it soaring above the convention center, shooting shock waves through the cynical media's assigned spaces and electrifying the huge audience with the kind of inspiring rhetoric we haven’t heard since my Dad left the scene.

[Remainder of article here.]

Last updated:   17 September 2008

  Sources Sources:

    Roberts, Sam.   "Endorsement of Obama Overflows Koch’s In-Box."

    The New York Times.   13 September 2008.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

Article Tags