Sarah Palin has been back in the news lately, which is good for us fans of comedy because it means the return of Tina Fey to Saturday Night Live, but bad for us fans of rational thinking. The 51-year-old former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice president nominee recently threw her support behind presidential candidate Donald Trump, creating perhaps the craziest political duo in the history of American politics (although apparently not everyone feels the same way, since according to polls Trump currently holds a commanding lead in the Republican race).
She gave a lengthy, passionate, loud, and downright bizarre speech to Trump’s supporters in Iowa last week, filled with rants against the Obama administration and some of her good old-fashioned homespun conservative wisdom, such as: “How about the rest of us? Right-winging, bitter-clinging, proud clingers of our guns, our God, and our religion, and our Constitution.”
You might think that you already know everything there is to know about Palin since she was covered so extensively by the media back in 2008, but there are a few things about her that might shock you. And you might as well get to know her, because she might just end up being the next vice president of the United States (second time’s a charm).
15. Track Palin Arrested For Domestic Violence
Palin’s eldest son, Track, recently had a run in with the law. Wasilla Police were called to a home after receiving a 911 call about domestic violence. When they showed up, they found an intoxicated Track with a firearm. Police later confirmed that he had indeed committed domestic assault violence against a woman, impeded her ability to report the crime, and was in possession of a firearm. Sarah somehow managed to turn the whole thing into a “Thanks, Obama” moment by saying: “It’s a shame that our military personnel even have to wonder, if they have to question, if they’re respected anymore. It starts from the top. The question though that comes from our own president where they have to look at him and wonder, do you know what we go through?”
Here’s something else you may not have known about Sarah’s eldest son: Back in 2005, he, along with three other teenagers, were suspected of cutting the brake lines on a school bus.
14. Bristol Palin’s Pregnancies
Here’s one you may already know, since it was often discussed during Palin’s vice president campaign in 2008. Bristol Palin, 25-year-old daughter of Sarah, had her first child when she was just a teenager with her then boyfriend Levi Johnston. Bristol and Levi would go on to separate before getting married, leading to a bitter child support case. This was a big deal for Sarah, because it clashed with her conservative family views.
Bristol announced in June of 2015 that she was pregnant with her second child. Even though she would backtrack and claim that the pregnancy was planned, she initially called it a huge disappointment—what a great way to start your life if you’re that kid, finding out that your mom called you a huge disappointment.
13. Levi Johnston Troubles
Where to begin with Levi Johnston? The man’s been a thorn in the side of the Palin family for years, starting with him getting Bristol pregnant. Since 2008, he’s been involved in a number of feuds with members of the Palin clan. He made several television appearances criticizing Bristol and Sarah for their hypocritical comments on abstinence, claiming that Sarah knew that he and her daughter were engaging in intimate activities. He later went back on his comments and apologized… and then he went back on his apology and doubled down on his original statement.
Johnston would then go on to pose for Playgirl, much to the embarrassment of Sarah and her family, who referred to it as his “aspiring p*** career.” After a career in the adult entertainment industry didn’t work out, he announced in 2010 that he would be running for Mayor of Wasilla, a position previously held by Sarah. He later dropped out after polls indicated that he had a six percent approval rating.
12. Willow Palin Was A Teenage Partier
According to her classmates, Willow Palin, 21-year-old daughter of Sarah, was known to party it up when she was in high school. Apparently, at just 15 years of age she was attending parties, drinking vodka, and smoking weed, which isn’t too out of the norm for rebellious teenagers, but when you’re the daughter of a conservative politician who is strongly against the legalization of marijuana, it can seem a bit hypocritical.
This wouldn’t be the last time that Willow’s drinking got her in trouble. As you’ll see if you keep reading this list, in 2014 she was at the center of a drunken fight that involved her entire family.
11. She Went On A $150,000 Shopping Spree
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Sarah went on a whopper of a shopping spree funded by the Republican National Committee, spending $150,000 on clothing and accessories—roughly $75,000 at Neiman Marcus and a little under $50,000 at Saks Fifth Avenue. Notable purchases included expensive Bose headphones and a birthday dress for her daughter. Although majority of the purchases—some $130,000 worth, in fact—were made by Jeff Larson, a consultant to John McCain, and not Palin herself, many saw the extravagant spending as being contradictory with her campaign’s middle class/blue collar/Joe the Plumber values.
10. She Hated The HBO Movie About Her
In 2012, HBO produced a film based on Sarah Palin and John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. The film, entitled Game Change, didn’t exactly paint the most flattering picture of Palin (i.e. it was truthful). It showed her as incompetent, underprepared, and obsessed with her image. She hated the film, which won three Golden Globes, including Best Actress for Julianne Moore’s performance as the former Alaska governor, and said that it was based on a “false narrative.” Furthermore, Palin said that it twisted the facts and omitted important details “in order to push a biased agenda and drive ratings.”
9. She Originally Wanted To Be A Sports Reporter
Few people realize that Palin’s first ambition wasn’t to become a politician. After attending a number of universities and colleges, Palin graduated from the University of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in communications. She studied journalism and hoped to become a sports reporter. After university, she found work as a sportscaster for an Anchorage news station. It was a short-lived career, however, as she got into the commercial fishing business with her husband shortly after their marriage. Go on YouTube to watch videos of a heavily hairsprayed young Palin during her sportscasting days.
8. Her Husband’s A Snowmobile Racer
I guess it should come as no surprise that Sarah’s husband, Todd, is big into snowmobiling since he’s a native of Alaska. He’s competed in the Tesoro Iron Dog race, the longest snowmobiling race in the world, every year for over twenty years, and he won the event four times. In 2008 he made headlines after he crashed during the race and was thrown off his snowmobile, resulting in a broken arm. Despite his injuries, he still managed to finish in fourth place before being taken to the hospital. Saturday Night Live poked fun at his snowmobiler persona during a weekend update rap by Amy Poehler: “Todd lookin’ fine on his snow machine.”
7. She Has A Child With Down Syndrome
Palin’s youngest child, son Trig Palin, has Down syndrome. Although she learned of her son’s diagnosis when she was four months pregnant, she decided to keep it a secret from everyone but her husband for a long time, saying that it was too painful to talk about. She later said of her youngest son: “Trig is beautiful and already adored by us. We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed.”
6. She Finished Third At The 1984 Miss Alaska Pageant
By now you probably know about Palin’s beauty pageant past, but it’s worth reiterating. Shortly after high school, she won the Miss Wasilla beauty pageant and went on to finish third at the Miss Alaska pageant. For the talent portion of the pageants she played the flute. Portions of the beauty pageant—including a video of her in a bikini and one of her playing the flute—can be found online.
5. She Was The First Female (And Youngest) Governor Of Alaska
Even though she’s often looked upon as an inept politician, she’s actually had quite a bit of success. After serving as the mayor of Wasilla from 1996-2002 she became the first female, and the youngest, governor of Alaska. Not bad for a hockey mom from Alaska who originally aspired to be a sports reporter.
4. She Says That She Was Manipulated Into Doing The Infamous Katie Couric Interview
Remember that infamous interview with Sarah Palin and Katie Couric where Palin had trouble answering even the simplest of questions? Well Palin claims in her memoir, Going Rogue, that she was “manipulated” into doing it by one of McCain’s aides. She goes on to say that Couric was out to get her, calling her “badgering” and “condescending,” and that the interview was edited to make her look bad and advance Couric’s “partisan agenda.” During the interview, Couric asked Palin what newspapers she reads, and the vice president hopeful responded: “I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media… All of them. Any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.” No amount of editing can make a response like that sound better.
3. Sarah “Barracuda” Palin Was A Good Athlete In High School
A lot of people think of her as just a former beauty queen, but it turns out that she was also a pretty good athlete when she was younger. While at Wasilla High School, she was a member of the cross-country team and the basketball team. She earned the nickname Sarah “Barracuda” because of her aggressive style of play and her competitiveness. She was co-captain her senior year and led the team to the 1982 Alaska State championship.
2. She May Have Been Pregnant When She Got Married
There’s been some speculation that Sarah may have been pregnant with Track at the time of her marriage to Todd Palin. They were married on August 29, 1988 in what was described as a rushed ceremony at the courthouse (they neglected to bring witnesses and had to get two people from a nearby nursing home—one person was in a wheelchair while the other had a walker). Track was born April 20, 1989, just seven months and three weeks after the marriage. It’s possible that he was born prematurely, but it’s more likely that he was conceived out of wedlock, which wouldn’t be a big deal if she weren’t such a strong proponent of conservative family values.
1. Her Family Got Into A Drunken Brawl
Back in September of 2014, Sarah and her family got into a good old-fashioned Alaska brawl. The fight took place at a snowmobile party, whatever that is, and led to the police having to come and break things up. Palin’s daughter Bristol and son Track were apparently at the forefront of the fight throwing punches, while Sarah could be heard shouting: “Don’t you know who I am?” Sources claim that the fight began because of an ex-boyfriend of Willow Palin’s who was at the party (although we all know the real culprit was Obama and his liberal agenda—Thanks again, Obama). Alcohol was involved in the incident.