Palin’s Flag Pin Problem?

This little tidbit in the Washington Post about Sarah Palin’s “Tea Party Convention” speech caught my eye.

She wore a fitted black suit, black hose and high black platform heels. She had on three opera-length strands of pearls, two white and one multi-colored. In her lapel, a small pin with two flags — for Israel and the United States.

Look, it’s a pretty open secret that Palin intends to run for President in 2012. That being the case, I’m surprised this hasn’t caught more attention. I can’t think of any major politician who openly wears the flag of foreign power–especially to a political event. A little digging indicates that in her brief term as Governor of Alaska, she also displayed an Israeli flag in her office.

Now, I personally don’t have any problem with showing support for Israel, which is, after all, one of our allies. But openly wearing a foreign flag at political events and displaying a foreign flag in the governor’s office does beg the question of whether Palin herself feels that she might feel like she owes loyalty to two different nations–or at the very least, to the alliance of the two countries above.

This is not a dig at Palin’s patriotism, which I have no doubt about, even though my own patriotism leans in the direction of keeping her as far from public office as possible in order to prevent damaging this country. What I do have a question about is that if Palin does achieve an office of public trust, such as the Presidency, how will her open support for Israel translate when making policy decisions where American and Israeli interests are at odds? I know that Israel looks out for itself–good lord, we know they spy on us (and hopefully we spy on them back, but given the general incompetence of the CIA, no guarantees there.)

I don’t know that this means anything about Palin’s decision-making. I just find it strange because I can’t think of any other politician who displays foreign flags so openly. If I’m wrong on this point, please correct me–if it’s more common, then it’s not that big a deal.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, National Security, The Presidency, , , , , , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. sam says:

    Hey, you missed the big story: She uses a handprompter.

  2. Gerry W. says:

    You’ll get another foreign policy president that only adheres to the constitution, tax cuts, and God. Just another nut in a long line of nuts. And our country will fall in neglect as we have already seen.

  3. Herb says:

    Probably the reason this hasn’t gotten more traction is that the whole thing about flag pins is abjectly stupid.

    Besides, many of the folks who think a flag pin is the window to your soul wouldn’t dream of criticizing Sarah Palin over such a petty matter. That you even brought it up is soooooo condescending.


  4. kvc says:

    If you would follow her beliefs and try to get over the fact she is not an “issued from Harvard, cookie cutter politician” . As Christians we are called to support Israel in our lives as well as the United States. It is nice to see someone supporting our only ally in the Mideast. We only see the current administration trying to destroy this country and Israel.

  5. Mr. Prosser says:

    This is a hat tip (lapel flash?) to the Christianists. Support for Israel lasts only until the temple is rebuilt, then Jesus raptures the believers and the rest of us, including Jews, get fried.

  6. Michael says:

    kvc, the question is would Palin allow Israel to screw up our relationship with Iraq, by letting them fly through it’s sovereign airspace to preemptively attack Iran, something that is definitely in Israel’s interests, but not in the United States’ interest.

    Alex doesn’t have a problem with her supporting Israel, his question is which country would have more of her support when it came down to it.

  7. Pug says:

    We only see the current administration trying to destroy this country and Israel.

    Gee, kvc, engage in hyperbole much?

    Not all of us want to declare war on Iran like Sarah Pain does and, if you feel we are called upon by the Bible to support anything Israel does, that’s your interpretation … and Sarah Palin’s. It sure as hell isn’t everybody’s.

  8. Boyd says:

    That’s a lovely new hat you’re wearing, Alex. Did you use the heavy-duty tinfoil this time?

  9. Alex Knapp says:


    So you have no problem with a former vice-presidential candidate wearing the flag of a foreign power to a domestic political event?

  10. anjin-san says:

    a former vice-presidential candidate wearing the flag of a foreign power

    This is a legit question. At very best, it is bizarre…

  11. Wayne says:

    Has anyone ever look for such a thing on anyone else?

  12. steve says:

    She was the neocon candidate. What did you expect?


  13. David says:

    Did anyone notice that the American flag is on the wrong side? Old Glory should have been on the flag’s right and the other flag on Palin’s left. What idiot made this pin?

  14. John Rich says:

    Y’all need to calm down. Dual-flag pins are common enough among allied nations (e.g. Google “U.S.-U.K. Flag pin”), and simply means the wearer supports both.

    As for others who wear them, I couldn’t say, but at least one congressman who attends my church wears one.

    Among evangelical Christians (of which I’m one), support for Israel is biblically and politically sound.