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Thatcher and Palin? Out of frame, out of bounds

There's word rumbling around Great Britain and beyond that Sarah Palin is angling to meet Margaret Thatcher, the first woman to be that nation's prime minister.

It's a photo op that would be a triumph for Palin, an image supposedly showing the solidarity of conservative female leaders.

But it would be bogus. Not photoshopped-bogus, but dishonest nonetheless.

Baroness Thatcher is suffering from dementia, according to her daughter, Carol. Writing in the Daily Mail more than a year and a half ago, Carol Thatcher chronicled her mother's decline: "On bad days, she could hardly remember the beginning of a sentence by the time she got to the end.''

For a woman of Thatcher's formidable intellect and unflagging energy, it's a sad decline. For Palin's camp to use her as a human prop, as in a photo op, it's unforgivable.

For one thing, Thatcher was never about female solidarity. For another, she did not suffer fools gladly; her exacting impatience with anyone not up to snuff was legendary. And what the woman who fought to become prime minister and fought harder to stay there might have said of a governor who walked away from her elected office can be vividly and acidly imagined.

I spent a good bit of time a few years back reading up about Thatcher and talking about her with her former press secretary and with a noted British historian who knew her and her career. I last saw Baroness Thatcher in 2002, in St. Paul's Cathedral for the queen's golden jubilee. Nave and apse alike resonated to the sound of Thatcher's diamond-drill voice, though it had gone a bit quavery, and by her daughter's account, she was already beginning to lose her vise-like mental grasp.

It would be worse than meaningless -- it would be exploitive, to position Baroness Thatcher like a prop next to Palin. If Thatcher even has any idea who Palin is, I suspect the moment would mean as little to her as a casual snapshot does to the movie star ambushed in a restaurant by some random fan who hugs the star like a pal for the one instant it takes to make the picture, and uses it thereafter to show some talismanic connection.

It would be an image that Palin would trot out long after Thatcher had died, as putative proof that some torch had been passed, some mantle had been assumed, woman to woman, leader to leader -- pathetic, manipulative, and unfair.

If Palin comes calling, I hope -- to use a phrase from Nancy Reagan, the wife of Thatcher's political soul-mate, Ronald Reagan -- that someone in Baroness Thatcher's entourage has the wit and the kindness to ''just say no.''

-- Patt Morrison


Comments () | Archives (41)

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Ignoring your thinly-veiled Palin-hate, Ms. Thatcher is still Sarah's hero.


So which one is it? The Sarah Palin that has no clue or the evil monger that preys on the weak and the elderly

so clueless that she could fool margaret thatcher who according to you doesnt know the difference between dog food and brisket, but somehow able to give her opinion on david cameron recently- http://www.people.co.uk/news/tm_headline=baroness-thatcher-s-verdict-on-david-cameron-s-campaign&method=full&objectid=22227897&siteid=93463-name_page.html

and she's able to outsmart Thatcher's people into falling for this "photo op" or is she the one that has no clue who david cameron is?

I have a feeling you didnt have a problem with her meeting Billy Graham recently for another "photo op" even though the same has been said about his decline in health


THANK YOU for putting into words my sentiments exactly! The words *disingenuous,* *bogus,* and *embarrassing* come to my mind as well. It also never ceases to amaze me how much GOOD a woman of her popularity could do, if only she were really in it for someone other than herself.


It's nice Sarah Palin has a hero, but I too think this is a publicity stunt for Sarah Palin to add some kind of credibility to her very thin political resume. Taking advantage of an elderly, senile woman is pretty low; if Sarah truly admires the woman and thinks of her as some kind of role model, she could just explain how the woman's policies and philosophies have inspired and influenced her. That would show some integrity on Sarah's part, and perhaps make her look more serious (and less oportunistic) about her own political future.


Since Palin is not above using her children as props, I'm sure she sees nothing wrong with using an ill woman to prop up her foreign policy 'credential.' I hope this story receives a lot of play...Palin has no business exploiting Margaret Thatcher, and if Thatcher were not suffering from dementia, I doubt she would give Palin the time of day, let alone a photo op. Maybe London will say, "Sarah, stay home." Not that she listens to anybody but her egotist self.

Tim Kelley

Maybe she would just like to meet her...just like I would have like to have met Reagan while he was still alive ...just like the writer of this article would probably like a picture of himself with Fidel Castro before he dies. Just Shut up until you know for sure. You libs are always sniffing crap out..why don't you give it a break and go check on what your boyfriend is up to , or your crack addicted kids, or blah blah blah...who really cares find a REAL story somewhere out there in the world of someone who was hurting and overcame their circumstances through the help of another ...f you want to play GOTCHYA go down to the neighborhood Nursing hime and expose how badly our seniors are being treated. If this is the best journalism CA has to offer then the CA slide to gossip as news continues.


That's assuming Palin's followers even know who Margaret Thatcher is. From what I've gathered, they are neither well-read nor care or know too much about anything that happens outside of their trailerparks.


No surprises here; Palin has shown herself as an 'opportunist' from the get go.

As a citizen of the British Empire, I hope someone has the commonsense to 'protect' Baroness Thatcher from exploitation.


Considering the fact that thruout the campaign, the British press referred to M$ $arah as "Half baked Alaska", I don't think The Iron Lady has much to worry about.

Tim Bowman

Well said; leave useless photo ops to shallow people like the Clintons. As a Republican, I can say that Sarah Palin is not fit to be Margaret Thatcher's handmaiden, much less an equal.

Ron Carter

Thank you for your clarity on this subject. The way the meeting was portraied ("...Palin's handlers were able to secure a meeting with Thatcher..") never gave a hint to Thatcher's mental/medical status. Ms. Morrison, you bring to light more issues of Palin, that make her unqualified for any office ... except pehaps the toilet.

nasser tarrish

please please for the love of God just go stick your head in a grizzly bear and quit trying to be what you are not ,what you are is disengenious and exploitive.. Go home Sarah your 15 minutes of fame are up ..

Viper 1

Joe, you nailed it. The author's incomprehensible disregard for the fact of her RECENT comments to Lord Tim Bell which were comprehensively lucid and characteristically biting and witty is yet another example of the emotional inability of Palin critics like "Amy" and "Fundaphobic" to perceive their own
inconsistency's with respect to Palin.

She's a moron but one who could outwit Lady Thatcher's loyal circle of assistants and advisors.

She's a national disgrace but one who will sit down with one of the 20th Century's great leaders.

This is just further proof that the left is headed the way of the Whigs. I can't wait to see the last one leaving the "party" turn out the lights.


Don't like Palin? Too bad. She's starting to look really really good after experiencing what we have now.

And while you trash Palin, the oil is pumping, the economy is tanking, unemployment is growing, our foreign policy is abysmal, we are losing the war in Afghanistan thanks to his new direction, and Iran will get the bomb, thanks to him appeasing our enemies, and throwing our allies (the ones we have left) under the bus.

Obscure it anyway you want, the real crisis is about this President's lack of ability, knowledge, skill, and experience, to lead.

It is also about the inability of his second echolon of command, those he appointed, who lack the ability, knowledge, skill, and experience, to provide credible courses of action, to articulate and coordinate the sequence of tasks necessary to accomplish the mission, and then to direct the execution of those tasks by the skilled and dedicated people of the federal government that are waiting for good leadership.

It is also about a democrat majority in congress, with nothing but incredibly individual agendas, no sense of common culture and destiny, who's only agenda is to advance their personal agendas, and the agendas of the narrow constituencies that propelled them to office.

This nation, and it's allies, have all the resources, talent, and skill to accomplish any task.

What it doesn't have is a competent head of state that can lead the effort.


"For Palin's camp to use her as a human prop, as in a photo op, it's unforgivable."

Is this what the L.A Times believes that Sarah Palin would use Margaret Thatcher as a prop like the L.A Times abuses Palin on a regular bases?

I believe it is the L.A. Times opinion that is out of bounds, cruel, disrespectful and abusive. What the L.A. Times is promoting in its opinion is unforgivable.



Do you read much?

truth to power

Sarah Palin, it seems, is still emotionally trapped in the summer between her Jr. and Sr. years of high-school.
This fact is, for any adult, as easy to see as the back of their own hands.
What is so perplexing for the rational majority of us members of the human race is that there is ANYONE alive who takes anything this narcissistic, self serving and childish woman says and does as being in anyway worthwhile.


Nemo: It took us 30 years (Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush) to get into this mess. I'm SO sorry Obama hasn't fixed it after one and a half years.

Tim Kelley: Patt Morrison is not a 'himself,' she's a 'herself.' Your utter lack of knowledge about this writer didn't stop you from comparing her to a communist, though. Stay classy.


To Joe, @ 10:31 AM: You're pointing to the May 2, 2010 People.co.uk article as "proof" that Thatcher was giving a cogent, alert, aware opinion on David Cameron?

For one thing, she was totally wrong about "the party leader's ability to deliver victory on Thursday."

"I'd eat all three leaders for breakfast," is just about what I'd expect to hear from an 84-year-old woman suffering from dementia, and who was "living in the past".

The entire article is based on hearsay, a conversation Thatcher supposedly had with "close confidant and former Tory grandee Lord Tim Bell". The reporter, Katie Hind, apparently never interviewed Thatcher herself.


No doubt David Cameron was fully aware of Thatcher's assessment of him, and his invitation to "the visibly frail former premier" who visited only last week, was designed to reassure her, mindful of her current mental status. It was a private meeting, and she made no statement to the press, so it's not known if she had a period of lucidity.


I wouldn't ordinarily care about a "fan" angling for a tete-a-tete, but Sarah Palin is a "user" of people -- so for that reason alone her involvement is shameful.


"according to her daughter, Carol. Writing in the Daily Mail more than a year and a half ago, Carol Thatcher chronicled her mother's decline: "On bad days, she could hardly remember the beginning of a sentence by the time she got to the end.''"

I'm not trying to make a bad joke here, but, honestly, I would swear you were describing Palin's speaking style.

G Holleran

It would be a bit like Einstien meeting Forrest Gump. For he lack of anything Palin has done well, but compared to Thatcher she is such a light weight she blows away in the wind.


I am no Palin admirer and I almost always like Morrison's pieces. But its a bit much to be lambasting anyone for wanting to meet one of the great leaders of the age. Relax. The voters can decide if the lustre transfers.

Onetonn Tomatoe

AWOOOOhLL! What ‘s wrong with eww people! Sar-ugh is going to meet ‘Enry ‘Iggins, the speech professor of elegant phonetician training. She’s going to learn to be lady like and all and put on the royals in a grand show of sophistication.
That back country bumpkin would be too embarrassing in G.B. and no more a fascination than Buffalo Bill (with the tobacco stains on his cheek). Pure cultural shock! She is too long in the tooth for the polish and style. Protocol would have her at coffee with Hillary as she proposed.

As the woman said, “a pig with lipstick on it is still a pig!” Please keep her for a freak show,… over there. “for the yank is coming,… a dumb-dumb running,… to frighten everyone everywhere,… overthere!”


And, anti-Palinism is still the hobby of LA Times writers. Who wudda thunk?

So, Sarah would like to meet an iconic leader who she admires. Of course, it could never be that easy. 'Photo op', 'prop', 'bogus', etc., etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.

Ms. Morrison, when you get a chance to meet Boxer, Pelosi, Obama, Castro - you know, your icons and heros - some might say the same about you. But nobody at the LA Times would go that far. Your last name isn't Palin.

David Nevers

And if Baroness Thatcher should meet you, Patt Morrison? I imagine the words reserved for you "can be vividly and acidly imagined."


It is very troubling that there are still Sarah Palin defenders and fans out there despite all we factually know about this woman, her views and her actions. I understand being a conservative or a Republican, but this is not about party; it's about looking at reality and basic information comprehension. From all we know about Ms. Palin, she is ill-read, incurious, a self-promoter of the highest order, a narcissist (read Todd Purdum's Vanity Fair piece to see close aides confirm this), an egotist and generally not very intelligent when it comes to public policy. But, more dangerously, she perverts religious faith by being a religious zealot who thinks God appointed her to this position. Ego and faith are mixed very dangerously. Such thinking leads to the manipulation and discrediting of facts, data, information. All of the above is true about Sarah Palin. It is not liberal or conservative. Why must the experience of reality and human conciousness, everything there is to know, history, nature, knowledge itself divide between liberal and conservative? Sarah Palin's real legacy might be this: the dismissal of empirical reality as just another opinion.

The Bell

Thatcher is a total ogress. Palin is still just picking up harpy skills – as awful as she seems now, she's liable to get a lot worse before she is done. This stunt is just the beginning of the decline Palin can finally call her own.


Do you think Palin even knows who Thatcher is ?


thank you for articulating the reality behind this cynical stunt. To Palin, a prop is a prop. She uses her special needs baby as a prop to solidify her "pro life" creds while forgetting that she didn't put clothes on the poor fella at a book stop, midnight on a cold night, while everyone had coats on, poor little Trig has just a diaper and shirt, but he's right there on her hip nonetheless; Palin is impulsive, impatient, dishonest and will do anything, it seems, to "win". May she suffer the full weight of consequences that these personality characteristics provide.


Remember during the 2008 Presidential Campaign when the French President Sarkozy called Sarah Palin on the phone? Except is was actually a prank caller. The Thatcher announcement has hints of something similar considering that Mrs. Thatcher has been retired for some time and is said to be in failing health. It's all rather nebulous isn't it -- an invitation from an unnamed person with an offer to make an introduction to Mrs. T. sounds like it could end up as driving by 10 Downing Street and snapping a picture or two with a camera phone.

Derek Pearce

Poor Palin supporters, I almost wish her on you as your President, just to see the fallen faces about 7 seconds after you realize what you've done. Almost, but not quite, I'm not that cruel.


Yo Viper: What, Lord Tim Bell was impressed by Palin? Here's what Lord Bell really thinks of her, and I think he was biting his tongue:

Tim Bell, Margaret Thatcher's adviser, devoted his evenings to coaching the first female leader of the Conservative Party. He taught her to lower her voice and to wear her hair in a helmet but he says he couldn't achieve the same for Mrs Palin. “She doesn't have the intellectual grasp. I didn't have to spell out Margaret Thatcher's own policies to her, I just had to encourage her to use humour and the right amount of aggression. I don't think any amount of preparation could help Palin; it's going to be bloody.”


Yeah Viper - the woman is a female Einstein!


Anyone remember Barry-boy leading a doddering vacuous Muhammad Ali into the spotlight in order to get some sympathy votes?
Do any of you dolts realize that Patt would have absolutely HATED Thatcher while she was in office, but now thinks she's the bee's knees only because Sarah Palin wants a photo with her.
Presumably Patty-cake would find a picture of SP with Mandela shameless, with Barry-boy barfable, with Gore disgusting...not to mention a photo of SP with Netanyahu...!
To compensate and find out how it really feels Patty-baby, maybe you should request photo-ops with Rush, Rove and George W. Then you would learn a lesson that even a nincompoop would absorb...that photos are not always agendas; some are just photos taken with people whom we admire.


On one had I can't imagine anyone being so shallow as to exploit someone in their decline, and then I remember who Palin really is, and I know she'd do it.

And yes, I'm a Republican.


Ms. Thatcher is Palin's hero? Can that blithering idiot/quitter/national embarassment even SPELL "Thatcher?"

Doug Eaton

Cheap shot. There is no evidence Palin wants a photo op. There is no evidence she doesn't know about Thatcher's condition and would not be sensitive to that if given the opportunity to meet her. She wants to honor Thatcher and give her the respect she deserves as the greatest PM since Churchill.

Just more evidence of intellectual vacuity on the left. Here's a suggestion for Patt Morrison: try writing a meaningful column.

Onetonn Tomatoe

Cheap Shot? Palin is trying to publicize her way into the spotlight and homes of famous people. Why not let the event be news after the meeting? A: Because she needs public approval for a selfless cause.

Is it selfless if it’s in the press? Likely not the humble approach. She is trying to be the Jesse Jackson turn-around for the conservatives she panders to. Or do they pander to her? I forget. And while we are on the topic of Bimbos, what does a bimbo and The lady Thatcher have in common professionally? Limo rides? Expense accounts? A wink and a smile? Boobs?

In the stock market it is called “selling your book”. Palin never made it to the Reagan invitational last fall, and why? She dumped a spotlight ‘Pub invitation for what? Nothing! She was told to stay away, just like in Hawaii.

Palin is on her own and trying to pull herself up into popularity by her own bootstraps. If she had the support of the ‘PUBS, they would have her in a much more polished network of design. FOX threw her under the bus the day after the election as did the dirtboy in the wings at FOX: ROVE. If she won’t go away then she is being given all the rope it takes to let her hang herself. The TEA Party is successfully divided, hypocrisy rules the right and few understand it is by design. Even FOX addressed the mythical boob job news, with Palin herself. Talk about a cheap shot! O’Rielly and dirtboy must be wetting themselves with the designed pleasure of it all. Boobgate! HA! I’ll bet someone prompted her on that one for and extra good guffaw.

Kadhafi has more in common with Palin as do the many other narcissistic third-world leader-thugs out there. Palin needs the people in the background as political valets to make her shine. She knows the support staff will do all the work and all she will have to do is wink and smile. The life support system is not there! She is an iconoclastic cheap shot in her own popularity contest of one.

Leg humping is just palin sic


So many adjectives...so little space. Shrewd. Ignorant. Manipulative. Dishonest. Disrespectful. Semi-literate. Hypocritical. Vengeful....

Palin does NOTHING without a self-promoting motive. That this person could have been a heartbeat away from the Presidency boggles the mind.


I declare, If Sarah Palin were to drive by Forest Lawn Cemetary tomorrow it would likely cause an earthquake from the bodies turning over in their graves. Can't you see That she is the only, genuine, Political star since Reagan, and La La Land just can't seem to recognize her as such. Might I, as an aside, point out to Movielandia, that it once produced movies without cars overturning, and bursting into flame. Without vile creatures exiting human orifices. Without someone hanging from a rope twenty stories up, and being miraculously rescued by some unbelievable antic. I blame their overpaid, underachieving, teachers. The writers can't write, the directors are inept, and cowards, except at taking money from their infantile audiences. I submit that the likes of "Roman Holiday", or "The African Queen", will never be made again because of lack of intelligence, pure and simple.


LOL! At all this.


Labour despised her just as much 30-35 years ago, as they do Palin, recall the Monty Python references when she was in the Heath Cabinet. Cameron is of course a pale copy of a Tory, she probably schooled him well. Rushdie has scathing contempt for her at least through the late 80s until the Ayatollah's fatwa
made him reconsider. A grocer's daughter from Grantham, who would have thought, almost as likely as a teacher's daughter from Wasilla



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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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