Sarah Palin got in a nasty confrontation with a local teacher named Kathleen Gustafson while visiting the town of Homer, Alaska, for the TLC nature show, Sarah Palin's Alaska. Palin approached Gustafson to ask about the woman's very large banner reading "WORST GOVERNOR EVER." Their conversation, which was captured on video, began with Gustafson's objections to Palin's resignation and ended, well, awkwardly. Here's the video, a transcript of one interaction, and the reaction so far.
GUSTAFSON: You swore on your precious Bible that you would uphold the interests of this state, and then when cash was waved in front of your face, you quit.
PALIN: OH, you wanted me to be your governor! I’m honored! Thank you!
GUSTAFSON: I wanted you to honor your responsibilities. That is what I wanted. I wanted you to be part of the political process instead of becoming a celebrity so that you could (inaudible). And if that’s the best you could do, then good for you. If that’s the best you could do.
PALIN: Here’s the deal. Here’s the deal. [...] That’s what I’m out there fightin’ for Americans to be able to have a Constitution protected so that we can have free speech…And also there…
GUSTAFSON: In what way are you fighting for that?
PALIN: Oh my goodness!
GUSTAFSON: In what way?
PALIN: To elect candidates who understand the Constitution, to protect our military interests so that we can keep on fightin’ for our constitution that will protect some of the freedoms that evidently are important to you too.
GUSTAFSON: By using your celebrity status, certainly not by political status.
- Why Gustafson Did It Homer local and Huffington Post writer Shannyn Moore reports, "Kathleen Gustafson is a teacher married to a local commercial fisherman. She felt like Sarah Palin had let the state down by becoming a dollar-chasing celebrity and ignoring the oath of office she'd sworn on a Bible. Kathleen was motivated by the fact Palin was using the very place where her family makes a living to fortify the Palin personality cult -- pretending to do the very thing they worked so hard to sustain. Initially, Kathleen just wanted to waste a little of the camera crew's time, since Palin wasted so much of her time purporting to represent Alaska's interests. She didn't imagine Palin would be so easy to draw out."
- Palin Is Too a Celebrity Think Progress's Zaid Jilani writes, "Validating Guastafson’s point, TLC confirmed today that Kate Gosselin of Jon & Kate Plus 8 fame will be making an appearance alongside the former governor on Palin’s documentary series." Media Matters' Oliver Willis adds, "Palin and her daughter claim that she quit being governor of Alaska half way through to be 'representin America' and God knows I bet they really believe this nonsense rather than the reality that she chose to cash in on her celebrity with the teabag crowd when the getting is good."
- Did Palin Mock Her For Being Teacher? New York Magazine's Dan Amira writes, "in all, it's nothing to write home about — except for one moment (which comes at the 1:10 mark). When Palin asks Gustafson what she does for a living, and Gustafson tells Palin she's a teacher, Palin and her daughter groan and exchange eye rolls as if to say, 'Of course, only a teacher would be such a liberal nut.' Belittling teachers? Palin really is a maverick."
- Palin Not So Great Off Facebook Mediaite's Glynnis MacNicol calls this a "preview" of Palin venturing "outside the confines of her Facebook safety zone." MacNicol concludes, "it appears Palin did not acquit herself all that impressively. ... it’s interesting to see Palin involved in an unscripted exchange, particularly with a former constituent, in so far as she did not waiver once from the persona we frequently see pop up on Fox News. If she ever does decide to throw her hat officially in the ring it will be fascinating not only to see if she maintains this facade under more vigorous and public questioning, but also whether the United States finds this facade acceptable."