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Palin has a date with Margaret Thatcher

Mama Grizzly may meet the Iron Lady, her political heroine.

June 20, 2010|By Craig Howie and Jimmy Orr

When a Mama Grizzly meets an Iron Lady, you'd expect it to be set against a Godzilla-esque Tokyo skyline, rather than the more genteel surroundings of a London tea house or crumpet shop.

Sarah Palin on Monday said on her Facebook page that she'd "love to" meet with former British Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher after a recent report that she'd made plans to visit Britain and had contacted Thatcher's people about a possible meet-up.

Thatcher, who is nicknamed the Iron Lady after a 10-year premiership that saw her foster a "special relationship" with the United States and Republican President Reagan during the Cold War, is a natural ally of the Republican former Alaska governor.

British newspapers say Thatcher has accepted Palin's request for a meeting. Palin cited Thatcher's upbringing as a grocer's daughter and rise to govern Britain as an inspiration.

In a note titled "Concerning a Possible Trip to the United Kingdom," Palin posts:

"Following an article in a British publication on Sunday, I've received questions about a possible trip to the United Kingdom. I have received an invitation for a visit to London, and part of that invitation included the offer of arranging a meeting between myself and one of my political heroines, the 'Iron Lady,' Margaret Thatcher. I would love to meet her and hope I'll be able to arrange the trip in the future.

"As I wrote last year when I offered her birthday wishes, Baroness Thatcher's life and career serve as a blueprint for overcoming the odds and challenging the 'status quo.' She started life as a grocer's daughter from Grantham and rose to become Prime Minister — all by her own merit and hard work. I cherish her example and will always count her as one of my role models. Her friendship with my other political hero, Ronald Reagan, exemplified the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom."

What the stiff upper-lipped Brits would make of Palin's folksiness remains to be seen. In a Facebook post Sunday advocating drilling along the U.S. coast, she wrote:

"Shoot, I must have lived such a doggoned sheltered life as a normal, independent American up there in the Last Frontier, schooled with only public education and a lowly state university degree, because obviously I haven't learned enough to dismiss common sense (a prerequisite for power in Washington these days).

"Am I the only one who wonders what could possibly be the agenda of any politician who would thwart our drive toward energy independence? Continuing to lock up America's domestic energy reserves, including the energy-rich Last Frontier of Alaska, only equips dangerous foreign regimes as they fund terrorist organizations to harm us and our allies."

Though the former prime minister is frail at 84, she still commands great respect from the Conservative Party, which last month took back power after 13 years in opposition.

A 'compliment' gone wrong

You know when you have to say "I meant it was a compliment" that it didn't come off as a compliment.

Republican Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah is under fire from some in the gay community for saying at a town hall meeting this month that "gays and lesbians don't pay tithing; their religion is politics."

Hatch said he was referring to the organizational strength and activism of the gay community, likening the group to environmentalists and labor unions, and not saying that they weren't religious.

"I was talking about politics and praising them for getting involved," Hatch explained to the Salt Lake City Tribune. "I was making the point that they don't just stand on the side; they actually support their Democratic candidates with their money."

Hatch said he admired that many gay people were "willing to pony up money for politics."

"I don't know how I could have been much more complimentary the way I said it," he said.

Judging from the reaction, maybe by not saying it at all.

He received a gentle reprimand from the Affirmation group, a support group for gay Mormons. The executive director said, "If Sen. Hatch is rewording his statement or apologizing, we're certainly accepting of that apology."

But there was a much stronger rebuke from others. A writer from the LezGetReal blog wrote that if the senator wanted any money from the LGBT community, he "might want to stop acting like a homophobic moron."

craig.howie@latimes.com

Orr writes for The Times. Top of the Ticket, The Times' blog on national politics (http://www.latimes.com/ticket), is a blend of commentary, analysis and news. These are selections from the last week.

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