In the October issue of Vanity Fair, Levi Johnston tells his story–not of his relationship with Bristol, or her campaign for abstinence, or of life, in general, as a traveling spectator of the McCain/Palin campaign–but of Sarah Palin herself, what she’s like at home, what she does, says, and how she treats people. And it is not pretty. Not by a long shot.
It’s a five-page first-person account, told by Johnston, of the way Palin is. Johnston certainly has an axe to grind: since the end of the campaign, it’s become clear that Johnston does not like Sarah Palin very much. He has complained about not being able to see his baby, and he’s alleged that Palin knew he and Bristol were having sex before Bristol got pregnant.
In short, he feels burned by Sarah Palin and the media circus he walked into, by virtue of being her then-future-son-in-law when she was named as John McCain’s vice presidential candidate.
Johnston also has aspirations of a modeling career, and the Vanity Fair spread will include a couple model-esque shots of him to accompany the piece. So he gets that out of it, too.
With that caveat of motive and reliability done out of the way…Vanity Fair forwarded some highlights and excerpts this morning, and here are highlights of those highlights:
According to Johnston, Palin often complained of her job as governor, saying it was “too hard.” Johnston portrays Palin as a bossy layabout who would sometimes come home from work at noon, take an hour-long bath, and lay about the house making Levi, Bristol, and whoever else get things for her.
The Palins didn¹t have dinner together and they didn’t talk much as a family. Throughout the years I spent with them, when Sarah got home from her office–almost never later than five and sometimes as early as noon–she usually walked in the door, said hello, and then disappeared into her bedroom, where she would hang out. Sometimes she’d take an hour-long bath. Other times she sat on the living-room couch…watching house shows and wedding shows on TV. She always wanted things and she wanted other people to get them for her. If she wanted a movie, Bristol and I would go to the video store; if she wanted food, we¹d get her something to eat, like a Crunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell. She’d try to bribe everyone to clean the house, or give us guilt trips. She used to make Bristol feel bad by telling her that she did everything for her. This was unfair because, even before the campaign, Bristol was already the mom in the house, and she got tired of having to take care of her siblings.
He also writes:
Sarah doesn’t cook, Todd doesn’t cook–the kids would do it all themselves: cook, clean, do the laundry, and get ready for school. Most of the time Bristol would help her youngest sister with her homework, and I’d barbecue chicken or steak on the grill.
If you think the Crunchwrap Supreme is indeed the supreme insult of Johnston’s story, you may be right…but he also says Sarah is not much of a reader: he “actually never say Sarah reading much at all…once in a blue moon, I’d see her reading a book, and I’ve never even seen her read a newspaper in her life.” Johnston says he only saw Palin read a book to her eight-year-old daughter once.
And Palin quit her governorship for the money and because she was stressed, Johnston writes–a book or a TV show would be easier more profitable. After the 2008 election ended…
Sarah was sad for a while. She walked around the house pouting. I had assumed she was going to go back to her job as governor, but a week or two after she got back she started talking about how nice it would be to quit and write a book or do a show and make “triple the money.” It was, to her, “not as hard.” She would blatantly say, “I want to just take this money and quit being governor.” She started to say it frequently, but she didn’t know how to do it. When she came home from work, it seemed like she was more and more stressed out. It seemed like she couldn’t handle the job anymore. I think that she was just through with it all or that she’d become used to getting everything she wanted handed to her. She’d rather take the money and keep that kind of lifestyle. When a magazine offered six figures to be at the hospital when Bristol gave birth, she said yes at first but then told us not to do it.
But that’s still not the coup de grace. According to Johnston, Palin initially accepted a magazine’s six-figure offer to be present at the hospital when Bristol gave birth, but then told Levi and Bristol not to do it.
More controversy over the baby: Sarah Palin, Johnston says, pressed Bristol and him at first to let her adopt their son once Bristol gave birth to him, in the hopes of hiding the pregnancy:
She would say, “So, are you gonna let me adopt him?” We both kept telling her we were definitely not going to let her adopt the baby. I think Sarah wanted to make Bristol look good, and she didn’t want people to know that her 17-year-old daughter was going to have a kid.
Also, she didn’t attend her son’s hockey games very often. And she and Todd constantly fought, didn’t communicate well, and sometimes talked of divorce. They slept in separate rooms, even at the Republican National Convention, Levi claims.
Aside from its unverifiable qualities, Johnston’s story is juicy, to say the least.
The Atlantic Monthly