I think Alessandra Stanley is onto something when she fastens on the strange words Sarah Palin found coming out of her mouth when responding to a question about Levi Johnston. It was by far the most revealing part of the interview. Here's what Stanley saw:
When Ms. Winfrey asked about her daughter’s ex-boyfriend, Levi Johnston, who has been saying unflattering things about Ms. Palin and may be shopping a book of his own, Ms. Palin tried, and failed, to stay on message. She began by saying that “national television is not the place” to air grievances against the father of her first grandchild, then proceeded to call him “Ricky Hollywood” and say that his plans to pose for Playgirl magazine amounted to “aspiring porn.”
When Ms. Winfrey asked if she would invite Mr. Johnston to Thanksgiving, Ms. Palin gave one of her trademark wandering answers.
“You know, that’s a great question,” Ms. Palin said. “And it’s lovely to think that he would ever even consider such a thing.”
She added: “He is a part of the family, and you want to bring him in the fold and kind of under your wing. And he needs that too, Oprah.”
There was more: “I think he needs to know that he is loved, and he has the most beautiful child, and this can all work out for good. It really can. We don’t have to keep going down this road of controversy and drama all the time. We’re not really into the drama. We don’t really like that.”
Finally Ms. Winfrey cut to the chase, asking, “Does that mean yes, he is coming, or no, he is not?” (Pressed, Ms. Palin said she would extend the invitation.)
Now imagine, for a brief terrifying moment, that you are Sarah Palin. Does her response to the Levi question make sense to you? It doesn't to me. And, as Judge Judy says so often, if it doesn't make sense, it isn't true.
Consider the narrative Palin is asking us (still!) to believe. Just as Sarah was recovering from giving birth to her fifth child, with special needs, young "fucking redneck" Levi gets her teenage daughter pregnant. This event embarrasses the entire family and it unnerves Palin that the McCain campaign found out about it before she told them. It's a big distraction after the veep announcement. Palin is also embarrassed by the fact that Levi's mom, Sherri Johnston, is in trouble with the law on drug-dealing matters. The whole Johnston wing of the family is a big headache and also underlines the "Judge Judy" demographic that is one small step from Palin's glamor-seeking life.
Somehow, she survives the campaign, during which Levi cleans up, keeps his mouth shut and glides through the campaign with a look of dazed amusement on his face. Palin loses, and Levi
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