It began in the summer of 1996 with a whispering campaign started at the fundamentalist and evangelical churches around Wasilla, where the young city council woman was building her base:
"Wasilla's First Christian Mayor, Sarah Palin."
Why would she have been Wasilla's first Christian mayor? Well, for one thing, her adherents whispered, "John Stein is a Jew."
Here's how salon.com's David Talbot described that campaign:
when she announced her candidacy for Stein's seat, vowing to overturn the city's "old boy" establishment, a different Sarah Palin emerged. "Things got very ugly," recalled Naomi Tigner, a friend of the Steins. "Sarah became very mean-spirited."
The Wasilla mayor's seat is nonpartisan, and Mayor Stein, a former city planner who had held the post for nine years, ran a businesslike campaign that stressed his experience and competency. But Palin ignited the traditionally low-key race with scorching social issues, injecting "God, guns and abortion into the race -- things that had nothing to do with being mayor of a small town," according to Tigner.
Palin's mayoral campaign rode the wave of conservative, evangelical fervor that was sweeping Alaska in the '90s. Suddenly candidates' social values, not their ability to manage the roads and sewer systems, were dominating the debate. "Sarah and I were both Republicans, but this was an entirely new slant to local politics -- much more aggressive than anything I'd ever seen," said Stein, looking back at the election that put Palin on the political map.
There was a knife-sharp, personal edge to Palin's campaign that many locals found disturbing, particularly because of the warm relationship between Palin and Stein before the race.
"I called Sarah's campaign for mayor the end of the age of innocence in Wasilla," said Carney.
Even though Palin knew that Stein is a Protestant Christian, from a Pennsylvania Dutch background, her campaign began circulating the word that she would be "Wasilla's first Christian mayor." Some of Stein's supporters interpreted this as an attempt to portray Stein as Jewish in the heavily evangelical community. Stein himself, an eminently reasonable and reflective man, thinks "they were redefining Christianity to mean born-agains."
Again, I was there. I certainly heard more than once from adults and kids who attended those fundamentalist and evangelical churches, that Palin would be preferable to "the Jews."
Incident Two: It is on video. In several different interpretations. Most feel it leaves Palin no leeway, and she has never discussed the specifics of the incident. Here's salon.com's Michael Fox's description:
Video has surfaced of Rev. Muthee at Palin’s church – again with Palin present and in the video — telling the congregation that the Christians need to take over control of the business world, especially banking, from the Jews ("Israelites").
Here’s what Muthee said in his sermon where he told the church congregation "the reasons why" they needed to "pray for Sarah":
“The second area whereby God wants us, wants to penetrate in our society is in the economic area. The Bible says that the wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous. It’s high time that we have top Christian businessmen, businesswomen, bankers, you know, who are men and women of integrity running the economics of our nations. That’s what we are waiting for. That’s part and parcel of transformation. If you look at the — you know — if you look at the Israelites, that’s how they work. And that’s how they are, even today. When we will see that, you know, that the top transporters (?) in the lands, we see, you know, the bankers, we see the people holding the parts (?), they are believers, we will not have the kind of corruption that we are hearing in our societies.
It certainly gives a new perspective on how Palin might handle the financial crisis.
David Brickner, the leader of Jews for Jesus, was invited to speak last month to the faithful at the Wasilla Bible Church, Sarah Palin's fundamentalist congregation.
In his talk at Wasilla on August 17, 2008, with Palin in the audience, Brickner described terrorist attacks on Israelis as God's "judgment of unbelief" on Jews who have not converted to Christianity.
"Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television," Brickner said. "It's very real. When [my son] was in Jerusalem he was there to witness some of that judgment, some of that conflict, when a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgment — you can't miss it."
In his Hebrew-laced sermon, Brickner also told the congregation that "Israel is an example of what all humanity has been saying to God since the beginning of time, shaking its fists at the heavens and saying 'You'll not rule over us'."
At the conclusion of Brickner's sermon, the congregation contributed money for Jews for Jesus' mission of converting the Jews and and prayed that Jews would come to accept Jesus.
Brickner, who was not born Jewish, has lead Jews for Jesus since 1996.
Incident Four: Here is the Governor's press release from this morning:
Governor Palin will first attend a dinner at the residence of Fred and Marlene Malek Friday evening. Fred Malek is a prominent business leader and the founder and Chairman of Thayer Capital Partners. In addition to his work in the private sector, Mr. Malek has had a distinguished career in public service. The governor is honored to have received the invitation and to have the chance to speak about Alaska and other issues impacting our state.
Here's Nation author David Corn's description of one of Malek's publicly known political activities for former President Richard Nixon:
The McCain press shop left out an interesting piece of Malek's history: when he counted Jews for President Richard Nixon. Two years ago--when Malek was leading an investment group seeking to buy the new Washington Nationals baseball team, my friend Tim Noah at Slate reviewed Malek's dark past. Here's what he wrote:
It's one of the more gothic stories about Nixon related in Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's The Final Days. As they tell it, late in 1971--the same year, coincidentally, that the Washington Senators moved to Texas and changed their name to the Rangers--
Nixon summoned the White House personnel chief, Fred Malek, to his office to discuss a "Jewish cabal" in the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The "cabal," Nixon said, was tilting economic figures to make his Administration look bad. How many Jews were there in the bureau? he wanted to know. Malek reported back on the number, and told the President that the bureau's methods of weighing statistics were normal procedure that had been in use for years.