As the candidate-to-be staffs up, she says her challenge is to find additional "trustworthy" advisers. She keeps close control on the ones she has. Van Flein told Draper, "Think of it as a tape recorder that's on all the time."
As long as she's hiring, Palin may want to budget a companionable nanny for the older children. (The Palins' youngest, Trig, and his baby nephew, Tripp, presumably have paid child care.) Eldest daughter Bristol has said she is lonely in Los Angeles
while she's away from home dancing and practicing with no family around to look out for her, and back in Wasilla (notwithstanding the attention from next-door neighbor Joe McGinniss), Bristol's 16-year-old sister, Willow, doesn't seem to have much supervision either.
This gap was manifested on Tuesday when the gossip website TMZ obtained and published an online chat
that appeared in Facebook featuring a homophobic slur purportedly posted by the middle daughter to put down a detractor (disclosure: AOL owns the web site TMZ and is also proprietor of Politics Daily). The TMZ story
and accompanying documentation features both sisters flaming
the comments of an ill-mannered visitor. (My personal favorite of Sarah and Todd's offspring is Piper, the littlest pixie sister who spit combed her baby brother
on camera during the RNC convention in St. Paul in August 2008.)
Willow, as part of a political/show business/Iron Dog snow machine racing family, is no stranger to the public arena and was recently seen flaunting house rules
and rolling her eyes on the premiere segment of an eight-part family home movie
that launched last weekend at Discovery Channel's TLC. Given the content of the leaked chat, I have a feeling that her Facebook privileges are about to be severely curtailed. The unedited, unscripted moments of a 16-year-old grizzly baby are best left out of the spotlight.
The chat brawl started when, on a page where the subject's daughters would see it, a classmate posted his concise critique of the TLC program, 'Sarah Palin's Alaska' (note to Alessandra Stanley
-- your TV critic job is safe). Within minutes of his comment posting, someone identified as "Bristol" responded to his disparaging remark (setting the tone with a street word) accusing the boy of reaching for a reaction. Soon several participants -- including someone identified as "Willow" -- posted ill-considered and hurtful things about the sexual history and/or weight of other posters. The unruly back and forth continued even after observers added comments that the conversation was "madness."