The Man Who Programmed Sarah PalinSSarah Palin burst on to the national scene with that lovely speech about how Barack Obama wasted his time helping "communities" while she personally destroyed the Bridge Over the River Nowhere. Everyone loved it, and the nation fell in love with the cheerfully bitchy makeup-plastered trollop. Ever since that day, every time we see Sarah Palin she is delivering the exact same speech, in the exact same cadence. It was so good she never bothered to find a second thing to read into microphones! But there are some oddities with the remarks that made her famous. Like, who wrote it? Bush speechwriter Matt Scully is credited with it, but some of it seems a bit at odds with his typical work. Like the person delivering it, and the bit with the reactionary old anti-Semite that was thrown in there. Who's Matt Scully? Time explains:
A veteran of the early Bush White House, his specialty was crafting Bush's pro-life message in a way that would not offend soccer moms or mainstream Catholics who get nervous around some of the more extreme Evangelical rhetoric. A former protégé of the late pro-life Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, Bob Casey, Scully has a history of finding rhetorical unity for voters on the right and in the center.
They also say Scully wrote the speech largely before Palin was selected. Which makes sense. But the parts that seemed tailored specifically to her? Who wrote those? Specifically, the line about small towns, and how they grow great people? That line, as was revealed this week, was written by a very bigoted columnist named Westbrook Pegler. That line seems like a landmine of unintentional readings: it was written by a racist, about a man who became president when the old man before him died. Not really a single good interpretation there, right? Well either someone more wacky and right-wing than Scully got a hold of the speech before it was delivered (possible!), or Scully sabotaged her. Hear us out! Scully left the Bush administration pissed off at his fellow speechwriter Mike Gerson and willing to settle scores in the pages of the liberal Atlantic. He wrote a book about animal rights and how he came to be a fairly militant vegetarian. The book is about how we humans have abused our God-granted "dominion" over the animals. He even opposes many hunting practices! Including, say, hunting wolves from fucking airplanes. So. Michael Scully either put his party before his sense of morality and wrote a "red meat" speech for a wolf huntress, or someone else got in there and fixed it before Palin delivered it, or Scully bit his tongue and inserted a line by a long-dead far-right extremist that he found in an ancient Pat Buchanan book. Which, from the guy who crafted the "compassionate conservative" "different kind of Republican" message of Bush's 2000 campaign, seems an odd source to borrow from. Also, when will anyone besides bloggers and Thomas Frank mention the Pegler quote or track down Scully for an interview?