Along with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, she is trying to figure out how to become the top recipient of both organizational and individual political contributions, from the huge reservoir of American fundamentalist, evangelical and charismatic Christians. It is a road Palin and Jindal are familiar with, both being products of that culture.
Late this morning, Palin stood on the tarmac at the Wasilla airport. The facility was envisioned and created during the administration of Wasilla ex-Mayor, John Stein.
Palin defeated Stein in 1996, in a campaign that featured Palin supporters claiming her as Wasilla's "First Christian Governor." It was a Gingrich high tide environment that drummed Palin's supporters with questions about Stein's heritage. Churches supporting Palin claimed Stein's name sounded "Jewish."
This morning, Palin stood on the apron outside a hanger where relief supplies had been loaded onto two airplanes owned by the son of Billy Graham, the most famous American evangelist of the 20th Century. She was standing next to Billy's son, Franklin. News people were there. They were supposed to be there. The Governor's office had sent out press releases at public expense, touting the upcoming "relief" trip.
I've already called it a fundraising trip for Palin's new political action committee, SarahPAC. We won't know until the first quarter 2009 financial report on the PAC is available, how successful the trip was for Palin. Graham's non-profit, Samaritan's Purse, claims they are distributing $65,000 worth of food packages, to be handed out to about 1,000 families.
Anchorage Daily News reporter Kyle Hopkins was there to interview Palin this morning. He asked some of the hardest questions I've seen him ask the governor. That isn't saying much. He got some interesting responses, though. Here's the most fascinating exchange:
Q: How would you respond to people who said that you should have made this trip, you know, a month ago or six weeks ago? Why wait until now?
PALIN: Well from the day that Sean Parnell and I got elected, our efforts have been to make sure that we have a revitalized economy in Alaska. And that job opportunities would be seized by all Alaskans. Especially those in rural Alaska to recognize that instead of importing our workforce as we do today, to such a large extent, we want the young people in rural Alaska to get these jobs. That has been our effort from the day we got elected.
Now, as for personally what Sean and I have done as individuals to help in rural Alaska, in faith-based communities, you know I think, well I think Matthew 6:3 says it best. It’s a scripture that says, 'let not your right hand know what your left hand is doing.' If you’re going to do a personal charitable effort ... what we do personally to support and tithe and offer assistance to some of these missions, I’m going to keep that to myself.
Hopkins didn't ask Palin about her personal donations. At that point, he hadn't asked her anything personal.
This happens often recently with Palin. She seems to infer from certain word groups, inflections, or reporter body language, that a question asked of her is far more personal than it is.
And why bring up Matthew 6:3 and 4? I love seeing her quote Verse 3. That's part of what she has been able to get away with for years. Especially with the media.
Alaska media has never been able to come close to adequately and accurately portraying how deep her religious vision actually is, because she has managed to hide it so well over the years. The media's mistake has been in believing her skill at hiding this was evidence her religious agenda is back-burner stuff. It never was and never will be.
The self-serving way Palin brought up the 4th Verse of Matthew 6, should bother genuine Christians:
She's at Wasilla Airport, near where she got her start in politics, taking off from the runway the first "non-Christian" she crushed built for her. She talks with Hopkins about her husband's strong values, derived from his Alaska Native roots. She's there with - in ascending order - Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, whose tongue is hanging out in reverence for
Hopkins' transcription of Palin's reading of Matthew 6:3 & 4, is:
If you’re going to do a personal charitable effort ... what we do personally to support and tithe and offer assistance to some of these missions, I’m going to keep that to myself.
Looking at The Layman's Parallel Bible, she did a decent job of parsing those two verses to her best advantage, without misquoting the passage. However, each standard version of this passage actually rebukes Palin for handling this trip to the lower Yukon the way she is. If you read verses 3 and 4 together a few times, it may become as apparent to you as it did to me, that Sarah Palin missed the import of this passage. Also.
I'm not quite ready to write this episode of Saradise Lost up as a comedic parable. Tempted - yes! Prevo, Palin, Parnell and Graham may end up doing that quite well themselves......also...
Graham, Prevo, Parnell and Palin, in performing this mission so visibly, may be blaspheming Matthew 6:4.
Maybe the Heath parents should spend the weekend calling Bill McAllister, telling him that he has failed
Meanwhile, when you look at the SarahPAC financial report for Q1 2009 (it will be out around April 22nd), check how this weekend went for her. I'll bet it brings her more than $65K. If it doesn't, it failed, because she'll need a lot of money to move to the next level
Update - Saturday 2:30 p.m: Andrew Halcro put up his long-awaited "Black Helicopter" post yesterday. I just got around to reading it. Essentially, Greta van Susteren's husband is a prominent figure in Scientology. Andrew throws out the possibility that Susteren's hubby, John Coale, may have started or help start SarahPAC.
Andrew's blog entry is certainly worth a read, but the picture of Greta's husband, leering at Palin at the Iron Dog finish, is worth the admission price all by itself...
note - I'm not a "Christian." Most likely, I'm a non-Christian Unitarian.