Cashing In: The Sarah Palin Story

She said she was quitting her job as Alaska governor to pursue some unspecified “higher calling.” Then after her resignation took effect on July 26 Sarah Palin disappeared from public view. Twitter bursts to her followers were the only evidence that she was still around …hunkered down at an undisclosed location (rumor has it it that she was in San Diego with her new book’s co-author).

Beginning in August 2008 with her selection as John McCain’s running mate Palin soared – she went from being an obscure self-described “hockey mom” governor of a remote state to a charismatic national political figure. Less than a year later, Sarah Palin was gone as Alaska governor. And making new plans for her future … BIG plans, it seems.

Since her resignation Sarah Palin has emerged from her self-imposed seclusion only when a financial incentive is offered. For instance she breezed into Hong Kong on September 23 to give a relatively mundane speech hyping Alaska’s natural resources and slamming Obama’s economic policies for a speaking fee rumored to be in the low six figures.

Her various websites (SarahPac, AlaskaFundTrust) are still pleading for donations – allegedly for “legal fees” incurred during her tenure as governor. How much money has flowed into these websites into Sarah’s pockets is not known – there has been no public disclosure or accountability.

Throughout the 2008 campaign – and ever since — Palin has been dogged by charges that she had taken advantage of her position, whether as governor or vice-presidential candidate, for personal gain. Remember the $190K wardrobe provided by the RNC that included silk undies for Todd, a pricey Coach bag for 6-year-old Piper and diapers for baby Trig as well as designer duds for the VP candidate? Then there is the deluge of gifts that poured into the Alaska governor’s mansion and have yet to be accounted for and reported as required by Federal campaign finance laws and/or Alaska ethics laws.

That’s a lot of booty that Sarah Palin has yet to account for. Will we ever know the price-tag for her fame?

Sarah Palin seems to be on a constant quest for new ways to capitalize on her newfound fame as John McCain’s running mate. There have even been been rumors that Palin was attempting to ink a lucrative lipstick or cosmetics deal.

Some insights into the motives behind Sarah Palin’s behavior are offered by the 19-year-old father of Palin’s grandchild in the October 2009 issue of Vanity Fair in an article entitled “Me and Mrs. Palin.”. Johnson describes Palin’s attitude after the presidential campaign ended.

Sarah was sad for a while. She walked around the house pouting. I had assumed she was going to go back to her job as governor, but a week or two after she got back she started talking about how nice it would be to quit and write a book or do a show and make “triple the money.” It was, to her, “not as hard.” She would blatantly say, “I want to just take this money and quit being governor.” She started to say it frequently, but she didn’t know how to do it. When she came home from work, it seemed like she was more and more stressed out.

Sarah Palin with Levi Johnston and daughter Bristol and son Trig

Sarah Palin holding Trig greets Levi Johnston and daughter Bristol during 2008 campaign

Clearly the lucrative multi-million-dollar book deal inked last May provided the impetus for Sarah Palin’s abrupt departure from the Alaska governor post before her term ended. She wanted more money and the book deal offered a way to cash in.

The original publication date for the Palin memoir, entitled “Going Rogue” was set for May, 2010. It looked like she would have to wait a bit for the royalties to start flowing in to her coffers. But Palin got lucky. She developed such rapport with the Lynn Vincent, the ghostwriter hired by HarperCollins to “assist” in producing the opus that the publication date was moved up to November 17 with an e-book to come out on December 26. In publishing terms this is lightning speed.

Besides money, it is likely that the rush to publish was motivated by the perceived need to get her tome into the bookstores before Levi Johnson’s tell-all book hit the stands with potentially embarasssing and/or damaging revelations.

Another factor in the swift publication of “Going Rogue: Sarah Palin’s Life” is the bond that Palin formed with Lynn Vincent, the ghostwriter hired by Rupert Murdoch to work on the book. According to Ben Smith at Politico:

One Palin ally said she and Vincent had bonded over what they had in common as women of similar political backgrounds.

“She’s very conservative, so politically she’s a good fit. And she has demonstrated her ability to tell somebody else’s story,” said Vincent’s former literary agent, Chip MacGregor.

For the past 10 years, she has been working for Christian evangelical World Magazine, from which she took leave to work full time with Palin.

Palin’s choice of Vincent demonstrates that the book will be aimed at the conservative Christian base, not at the broader group of independent voters in the middle who tip the scales in national elections. Vincent has been successful at “telling the story” of other conservative public figures, including controversial General Jerry Boykin, who was seen as inappropriately mixing religion with public policy during his time in the military.

Two other Vincent books reviewed Wednesday by POLITICO reveal a lively writing style and deep roots in evangelical Christianity. Gen. Boykin – who was forced out of the Pentagon … employed her for a book that is part special forces memoir, and part an attempt to set the record straight against what he and Vincent cast as a biased media and a White House that caved to its demands….

A second co-written memoir, “The Blood of Lambs,” tells a very different story from another Evangelical perspective: That of a Muslim convert to Christianity writing under the name Kamal Saleem.

“Many Muslims are kind and gentle people, but about one in ten, according to scholars who study Jihad, have declared war on our way of life,” the book – largely a colorful memoir of Saleem’s life in Beirut — declares on one of its occasional forays into politics.

What both books co-authored so far by Vincent share is an extremely conservative, evangelical worldview that is outside the American mainstream. Vincent has also written a highly inflammatory screed against the Democratic Party titled “Demo Cons”.

Palin’s deep ties to a far-right evangelical brand of Christianity has often been overlooked by the MSM, even if her base understands her dog-whistles directed toward them. The quitter governor is a longtime member of a rightwing evangelical church in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska. It shares many common traits with The Family and the C-Street house in Washington that received media notice and scrutiny after Governor Mark Sanford went “hiking on the Appalachian Trail.” One defining feature in both The Family and the Wasilla Assembly of God church is the belief that certain individuals are “chosen” for special leadership roles by God and therefore are exempt from the rules required of ordinary folk (e.g., not needing to pay attention to commandments against adultery, stealing or lying). These “chosen ones” can do as they please and everything’s OK.

Video of a 2005 ceremony in which Sarah Palin is anointed as a “chosen one” has surfaced. Max Blumenthal describes his experience on Huffpo.

I went specifically to see a pastor visiting from Kiambu, Kenya named Thomas Muthee. Muthee gained fame within Pentecostal circles by claiming that he defeated a local witch, Mama Jane, in a great spiritual battle, thus liberating his town from sin and opening its people to the spirit of Jesus.

Muthee’s mounting stardom took him to Wasilla Assembly of God in May, 2005, where he prayed over Palin and called upon Jesus to propel her into the governor’s mansion — and beyond. Muthee also implored Jesus to protect Palin from “the spirit of witchcraft.” The video archive of that startling sermon was scrubbed from Wasilla Assembly of God’s website, but now it has reappeared….

Behind the Christian right’s enthusiasm for Palin’s conservative credentials is a visceral sense that that she has come from them, not to them. Some right-wing evangelicals even believe she has messianic potential. As former Christian Broadcasting Network vice president Jim Bramlett wrote, “Sarah is that standard God has raised up to stop the flood. She has the anointing.”

The Christian right’s analysis is accurate to a certain degree. While Palin may not be The One, she is certainly one of them. Her social policy views, from her rejection of scientific evidence on global warming to her opposition to publicly funding emergency contraception for rape victims, are explicitly influenced by the sectarian theology she has subscribed to since she was a teenager. There is no better evidence of the depth of Palin’s radical convictions than her startling encounter with the witch-hunter, Bishop Muthee.

The Youtube version is below (Palin appears after about 7:30):

Sarah Palin’s continuing association with this radical branch of evangelical Christianity was demonstrated at Palin’s Wasilla church in June 2008, just weeks before she was picked as McCain’s running mate. On June 7th, 2008 Sarah Palin interrupted her schedule of state business and spent Alaska state taxpayer money to fly up to Juneau to the Mat-Su Valley where she attended on June 8th two religious events dominated by the Wasilla Assembly of God, which is demonstrably Palin’s key Alaska church. The video of these ceremonies is posted below. This is pretty scary stuff IMHO.  The videos are posted at

Read this description of the event:

In one of the two ceremonies Palin attended on June 8, 2008, known as “One Lord Sunday”, a Christian supremacist gathering of Mat-Su valley area Christian church members, Palin was blessed and anointed by Wasilla Assembly of God head pastor Ed Kalnins. A second ceremony Palin attended that day was nationally publicized for footage on the Wasilla church’s website that showed Palin giving a speech in honor of students graduating from the Wasilla Assembly of God’s Masters Commission program. In the speech, governor Palin effused, “It was so cool growing up in this church!” and went on to suggest the US military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan was sanctioned by God, and the governor. And Palin was prayed and blessed over by Ed Kalnins and Wasilla Assembly of God Paul Riley….

Anyone who bothered to do so would have noticed, later on in the ceremony, 1) a speaker addressing Palin from the stage, indicating she was still in the audience and, shortly after, a ceremony in which male 3-year Masters Commission students were presented with Samurai swords, in a ceremony which mentioned the Samurai code of honor….

The one female 3-year graduate of the program present in the ceremony was presented with a western-style broadsword that also was larger than the Samurai swords presented to the male students.

With this background it is easy to see why Palin and Vincent became so chummy that the Palin memoir was able to be produced so quickly. They both sprang from the same evangelical Christian culture.

Ben Smith concludes:

Vincent’s posture on the confrontational, conservative right matches Palin’s post election stand, in which she has powerfully secured her standing as a leading figure of the Republican party while doing little to broaden her appeal beyond the party’s base.

That’s also the posture likely to sell books.

“She doesn’t need a writer who understands government – she needs a writer who understands the Christian heart – that’s what the books going to be about and that’s who the books’ going to appeal to,” said Nelson.

Sarah Palin’s book currently ranks at the top of Amazon and the New York Times bestseller lists even before release so it is possible that Palin’s gamble in ditching the governorship midstream may well pay off, at least in the short term.

The question is whether the money will be well spent.

So where is the money from the book going? Will it be stashed away to pay for college for the Palin brood? Will it be put into a retirement account for Todd and Sarah’s “golden years”?

No. It appears that neither of these long-term goals are under consideration by either Todd or Sarah Palin. It looks like there is a rash of new construction at the Palin compound on Lake Lucille. Take a look at the pictures from the Palingates site: Is that a tower for queen Sarah? Or security structure to protect against intruders?

New construction adjacent to the Palin house on Lake Lucile

New construction is evident adjacent to the original Palin house. Note the round tower.

Another view of the new construction at the Palin site

Another view of new construction at the Palin site

If you compare the above pictures to this pre-2009 photo of the Palin home, you will see that  major changes have occurred.

The lakeside Palin residence as seen before 2009 construction began.

Pre-2009 photo of the lakeside Palin residence shows more trees and no construction

It is rumored that this construction includes an airplane hangar for Todd’s floatplane. More info is available at

Whatever is being built dwarfs the original house – the one rumored to have been constructed with supplies pilfered from the nearby Wasilla Sports Complex that was being built at the same time with taxpayer money. For more info just google “housegate + Sarah Palin” to find a multitude of websites like palingates, immoralminority and divasblueoasis where the charges are all laid out and documented in painstaking detail.

There’s always been a whiff of nouveau riche hillbilly emanating from Palin. If you look back at Sarah Palin’s career it is pretty clear that she has always been “on the make.” It is likely that this rush to spend, spend, spend on an extravagant house located on a polluted lake is just one more episode in her quest for self-aggrandizement.

If Sarah Palin is not careful she will be left with nothing than her glitzy little kingdom on Lake Lucille and no money in the bank to pay the bills. I wonder what she will do when the book money is all gone?


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