Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin's spotlight during the midterm elections will likely continue as her TLC show premieres this week and a new book is published in two weeks.
Sarah Palin's Alaska, an eight-part series, premieres November 14 at 9/8c. Her book America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag will be released November 23. But Palin's popularity is divisive for even conservatives, as the anticipation for a 2012 presidential candidate heightens.
Last week on Fox News, Palin praised Geraldine Ferraro for "breaking the glass ceiling," saying that "Neanderthals" focus on issues like whether mothers should work outside the home, which Palin says is "petty, little, superficial, meaningless." Ferraro, who ran for U.S. vice president alongside Walter Mondale in 1984, was criticized at the time by Catholic bishops for her pro-choice stance.
Palin said, "It kind of seems, Geraldine, that some things haven't changed. There are still the Neanderthals out there, who pick on the petty, little, superficial, meaningless things like looks, like whether you can or can't work outside of the home if you have small children. All those type of things where I would so hope that at some point, uh, those Neanderthals, will evolve into something a bit more, um, with it, a bit more modern, and a bit more understanding that, yeah, woman can accomplish much."
Over at the blog Thinking Housewife, Laura Wood isn't too pleased:
Palin says she cheered Ferraro when she ran for vice president, as if every female candidate feels automatic solidarity with any other female candidate. How "great for our nation" it was that Ferraro ran. Golly gee willickers. The supposedly pro-life, small-government Palin applauds the efforts of someone with an entirely different political philosophy simply because she is a woman.
Before the election, Palin also had some strong words for the media, calling some of them "corrupt bastards."
"I suppose I could play their immature, unprofessional, waste-of-time game, too, by claiming these reporters and politicos are homophobe, child molesting, tax evading, anti-dentite, puppy-kicking, chain smoking porn producers …."
Conservative columnist and former presidential speechwriter Michael Gerson penned a Washington Post column on the Republican Party's "Sarah Palin problem," noting her endorsement of Colorado's Constitution Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo.
Either as a power broker or a candidate in the 2012 election, Palin's increasingly erratic political judgment should raise Republican concerns. Palin recently took to Fox Business Network to call establishment Republicans "sleazy." "Some within the establishment don't like the fact that I won't back down to a good-old-boys club," she said. This odd mix of Tea Party Jacobinism and feminist grievance has become Palin's operating style. What many Republicans, establishment and otherwise, don't like is this: The leading figure of the Tea Party movement seems increasingly indifferent to Republican fortunes and increasingly tolerant of disturbing extremism.
Sarah Palin once pursued politics out of a religious sense of calling, and considered her choice as vice presidential candidate by 2008 GOP nominee John McCain part of "God's plan."
But now, as the midterm elections loom and Palin positions herself as the heroine of the Tea Party, Palin has become less vocal about the faith that propelled her onto the political scene.
"She's not even talking much about her Christian faith as a whole, much less as a Pentecostal Christian," says author Stephen Mansfield, who charts Palin's journey through religion and politics in a new book.
As she stirs the Tea-Party pot at rallies across the country ahead of the midterm elections, the former Alaska governor occasionally refers to freedom as a "God-given right" or people with special needs and the elderly as "God's gifts." But her speeches tend to focus more on the economy and small-government populism than faith or social issues.
Time will tell whether Palin alienates a base that might have supported her in the past.