Sarah Palin Teacher Drag Queen Brouhaha

NY Mag‘s Dan Amira wonders, “Did Sarah Palin Roll Her Eyes at Teaching?”

Sarah Palin was up in Homer, Alaska, recently, fishing with her Discovery Channel crew in tow, when she was met with an unpleasant protest: a giant banner reading “Worst Governor Ever,” unfurled nearby by local Kathleen Gustafson. For whatever reason — maybe she wanted to win over a heart and mind — Palin decided to go over and talk to the woman. Part of the conversation was filmed on a camera phone by Billy Sullivan (who owned the property), despite the best efforts of Todd Palin and Palin’s security to block his view. The whole exchange is a little uncomfortable to watch — Gustafson tells Palin she sold out and became a celebrity, Palin offers mock gratitude in return. But all in all, it’s nothing to write home about — except for one moment (which comes at the 1:10 mark). When Palin asks Gustafson what she does for a living, and Gustafson tells Palin she’s a teacher, Palin and her daughter groan and exchange eye rolls as if to say, “Of course, only a teacher would be such a liberal nut.” Belittling teachers? Palin really is a maverick.

Newsweek‘s Ben Adler (“Sarah Palin Gets Snarky on a Schoolteacher“) piles on:

Palin’s dark side came out in full effect this weekend, and this time the victim was not President Obama but a schoolteacher in small-town Alaska. Palin was there to film a segment of a nature program on TLC, and she confronted Kathleen Gustafson who was holding up a sign reading “WORST GOVERNOR EVER.” Palin clearly intended to disarm Gustafson with her charm, but instead got defensive.

[…]

And it’s true, schoolteachers are definitely not a Republican constituency, but anyone, even a Republican, running for president needs to make nice with them on a personal level, just as Democrats do with the military or police officers. This latest incident won’t help Palin’s negative favorability ratings.

Here’s the video:

But MacRanger has been “digging around” and finds that Gustavson’s background is a bit other than advertised:

Seems she’s a personality of sorts on KBBI AM 890 Homer Alaska. Far cry from just being a “school teacher” don’t you think?

Wanna bet she set this up as a publicity stunt. It would appear after getting aptly handled by Sarah she should have stayed at home.

UPDATE: Here’s a story about her singing abilities with a drag-queen band. Whoohoo!

Further updates have her as a “Theater Tech” at Homer High School.

Jim Hoft is focusing on the drag band angle.

UPDATE:  There’s not much to this story, even by the standards of our non-analytical Quick Picks section.

First, Gustavson isn’t a “drag queen.”  For one thing, drag queens tend to be men dressed up as women rather than actual women.   For another, the linked story MacRanger points to makes it clear that Gustavson was the producer for the traveling troupe in question.

Second, Gustavson’s radio gig is at the local NPR station, which appears to be rather artsy-oriented.  So, she’s not some sort of radical activist talk host.

Third, Gustavson is a teacher of sorts.  She’s involved in some capacity with the school’s theater department.

Fourth, aside from being thin skinned about the reactions at a public event, Palin’s reaction isn’t really anything to write home about, either.

So, what appeared to be a “well, this is weird” story turned out to be even less than that.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Of course, whether Gustavson is a teacher or not really doesn’t alter Palin’s responses which were rather mocking, I must confess.  Of course, in the grand scheme of things, this whole thing doesn’t strike me as especially significant one way or another.

  2. Rob in Denver says:

    Sort of reminds me of that time when a candidate named Obama spoke with a plumber named Joe…

  3. John Cole says:

    What exactly will it take for you to stop linking Jim Hoft and idiots like him?
     
    She isn’t a drag queen, she was in a theatrical production.  She teaches theatre.  They’re are insane lunatics that Charles Johnson and most of decent society have recognized as members of the unhinged right, yet reliably, you fall for their nonsense?
     
    How many times do you have to get burned by these guys?

  4. quimby10 says:

    What Cole said. All you’d have to do is click through to the article to see that, far from being a singer in a drag queen band, Gustafson was directing a production of the entirely mainstream and hugely popular show Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
    I expect more from this blog – why help a couple of unhinged lunatics smear a private citizen?

  5. quimby10 says:

    And seriously, can you at least update this post so that readers don’t come away with totally inaccurate information about this woman?

  6. Davebo says:

    “What exactly will it take for you to stop linking Jim Hoft and idiots like him?”

    An act of Reagan.

  7. Eric Martin says:

    What John Cole said. Come on, this site is usually better than this.  You especially James.

  8. giantslor says:

    Hmm, I thought this was a serious blog. Guess not.

  9. mantis says:

    What kind of countertops does she have, James?  Better check and see what Jim Hoft has found out.

  10. Jim Treacher says:

    Did you guys know that Joe the Plumber’s real first name is Sam?

  11. Juneau: says:

    Palin’s dark side came out in full effect this weekend,…
    Hilarious.  And desperate.  This lady literally scares the manure out of the left – they simply cannot pass up any opportunity to belittle her.  Come on libs’, grow a pair and quit sniping at shadows.   You’ve already cried “wolf” so many times that if she does run for President your allegations will just be a continuation of the background noise.

    Maybe if you sneak a camera into her house, you can catch her scooting her cat out the door with her foot .  I can see the headlines now, “Palin abuses kitten, refuses counseling.”

  12. MM says:

    Jim Treacher says:

    Did you guys know that Joe the Plumber’s real first name is Sam?
     
    So are you saying that it’s OK to delve into a private citizen’s life in order to attempt to discredit them, or that it’s not OK?

    Or are you  just pointing and saying “No! You!”?

  13. Jim Treacher says:

    So are you saying that it’s OK to delve into a private citizen’s life in order to attempt to discredit them, or that it’s not OK?

    I’m saying I’m not moved by the crocodile tears.

  14. MM says:

    Jim Treacher says:


    I’m saying I’m not moved by the crocodile tears.
     
    Non answer.  Duly noted.

  15. An Interested Party says:

    “This lady literally scares the manure out of the left…”
    Once again it’s time to call bull$hit to this tiresome lie…far from being “scared” of Caribou Barbie, “the left” finds her a figure of endless amusement, and would just love it if she were the president’s opponent in 2012…
     

  16. […] Palin Mocks Teacher Who Confronts Her with ‘Worst Governor Ever’ Banner (towleroad.com) Sarah Palin Teacher Drag Queen Brouhaha (outsidethebeltway.com) Palin’s run-in with a former constituent (dailykos.com) Sarah Palin […]

  17. Jim Treacher says:

    Non answer.  Duly noted.

    I’m sorry you don’t like the answer, but it’s the answer to your question. You’re welcome.

  18. MM says:

    Jim Treacher says:
    I’m sorry you don’t like the answer, but it’s the answer to your question. You’re welcome.

    No,  it was a dodge because you wanted to appear clever. Either it is acceptable to go after private citizens,  it is not acceptable to go after private citizens,  or it’s a case by case situation and Joe the Plumber’s case is different that Gustafson’s case.

    Any other answer is a non-answer.  Whether or not some liberal you don’t particularly like is being intellectually consistent or not is fundamentally irrelevant.  Whether some liberal you don’t like is sincerely upset about this or is feigning being upset about this is irrelevant.  You’re welcome.

  19. Juneau: says:

    @AIP
    Once again it’s time to call bull$hit to this tiresome lie


    Bull$hit?  Yeah, sure… I always spend enormous energy and time dissecting the words and actions of people that I think are irrelevant, too.    Look!  A squirrel…!   Repeat after me, “she doesn’t mater, she doesn’t matter, she doesn’t matter… ”

  20. Jim Treacher says:

    Any other answer is a non-answer.

    You’re clearly wrong, but I certainly didn’t mean to upset you.

  21. anjin-san says:

    I always spend enormous energy and time dissecting the words and actions of people that I think are irrelevant, too.
    No Democrats I know think Palin is irrelevent – could you show me where that was said? We think she is quite dangerous. Bush proved that you do not need a working brain to be a menace. But her hijinks are pretty amusing. As is your defense of the Earmark Queen.

  22. An Interested Party says:

    re: Juneau Wednesday, August 11, 2010 1:22 

    It’s not that she’s irrelevant…but there is an enormous difference between being “scared” of someone as opposed to just pointing at her and laughing…just like how people of your ilk treated John Kerry or Al Gore…

  23. MarkedMan says:

    I thought it was unfair when Joe the Plumber was initially investigated.  A private citizen expressing an opinion, even in a public place, shouldn’t have their character impugned (there may be exceptions, but Joe/Sam wasn’t one). However, once he started appearing on national TV, becoming an Iraqi war correspondent, etc, then he opened himself up to a thorough vetting for hypocrisy.

  24. MM says:

    Jim Treacher says:

    You’re clearly wrong, but I certainly didn’t mean to upset you.
     
    Argument(s) by assertion. The fact that you are paid for your thoughts and opinions is…remarkable. And as for your 2nd assertion,  I’m not upset.  I just don’t particularly think that that “But so-and-so got away with it” is a valid argument. I stopped using it in 2nd grade, myself and I’m unsure why the pundit class has not stopped using it.

  25. Jim Treacher says:

    And as for your 2nd assertion,  I’m not upset.

    Clearly.