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Sarah Palin and the man who wanted Robert Kennedy dead

Paul Rigby

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Sarah Palin and the man who wanted Robert Kennedy dead

By Daniel Finkelstein

When Sarah Palin used this phrase in her acceptance speech:

We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity

she attributed it to "a writer". And added:

I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind when he praised Harry Truman.

I didn't think much more of it. But now the identity of the writer is causing quite a fuss.

The man in question was called Westbrook Pegler. And a nasty piece of work he was too, given to vitriolic attacks on his opponent.

In a strikingly silly piece in the New York Times Frank Rich takes the Governor to task for quoting Pegler. Rich says:

Palin, who lies with ease about her own record, misrepresented Pegler’s too. He decreed America was “done for” after Truman won a full term in 1948. For his part, Truman regarded the columnist as a “guttersnipe,” and with good reason.

Pegler was a rabid Joe McCarthyite who loathed F.D.R. and Ike and tirelessly advanced the theory that American Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe (“geese,” he called them) were all likely Communists.


Palin did not misrepresent Pegler because she didn't talk about him. The one thing she said about Pegler was that his quote had praised Harry Truman. And it did.

That having been said, I don't think Pegler is a person who should be quoted. And Robert Kennedy Jr shows why in a (Huffington) post so short but so devastating that I will simply reproduce it in full:

Fascist writer Westbrook Pegler, an avowed racist who Sarah Palin approvingly quoted in her acceptance speech for the moral superiority of small town values, expressed his fervent hope about my father, Robert F. Kennedy, as he contemplated his own run for the presidency in 1965, that "some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in pubic premises before the snow flies."

It might be worth asking Governor Palin for a tally of the other favorites from her reading list.

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