How could I have missed this story? Thomas Frank, writing in the Wall Street Journal, noted that during her acceptance speech at the Republican National convention, Palin quoted classic American anti-Semite, Westbrook Pegler. This is how Frank described it:
“We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity,” the vice-presidential candidate said, quoting an anonymous “writer,” which is to say, Pegler, who must have penned that mellifluous line when not writing his more controversial stuff. As the New York Times pointed out in its obituary of him in 1969, Pegler once lamented that a would-be assassin “hit the wrong man” when gunning for Franklin Roosevelt.
Ben Smith, writing at Politico, notes that Pegler’s N.Y. Times obituary partially describes his anti-Semitic views:
According to his obituary, he’d advanced the theory that American Jews of Eastern European descent were “instinctively sympathetic to Communism, however outwardly respectable they appeared.”
Wikipedia also notes that he called Jews:
“Geese,” because, “they hiss when they talk, gulp down everything before them, and foul everything in their wake,”
Given that Palin apparently endorsed Pat Buchanan’s presidential candidacy, is it any wonder that perhaps the only online source for the Pegler quotation is featured in Buchanan’s books, Right from the Beginning. Would we be surprised to find out that Palin discovered the quotation in Buchanan’s book, which, by the way, features an admiring portrait of Pegler? Buchanan is another who is often described as anti-Semitic.
I wouldn’t expect, given her obtuseness, that Palin would have a clue why any of this matters or is important. But I hope there are others who understand why quoting Westbrook Pegler in a vice-presidential acceptance speech should present a major problem for the Republican ticket, especially among Jews.
Hat tip to John Averosis, for first making me aware of this story.