Monday, November 28, 2011
Cottles and Weddings and Fear, Oh My!
In a comment thread over this past week, someone mentioned that the Palins are very busy. The Cottles’ have a wedding coming up and Palin’s have been invited. (Presumably the Cottles have been invited to Track and Britta’s wedding next month, too, heh?)
Today, someone asked “who are the Cottles?”
This is a quick answer to that, which is too long for a comment thread and might be of interest to general readership.
Colleen Cottle served on the Wasilla town board when Sarah was mayor, and her son is one of Todd’s best friends. Colleen is not a Sarah-bot.
We first heard the name Colleen Cottle a little more than a week after Sarah lit up the stage at the convention. In Newsweek Mag Sept 12, 2008, the article Where the Bars Are Open Till 5 AM by Amanda Coyne included this passage:
That kind of Everywoman attitude made Palin popular here. In 1996 she beat incumbent Mayor John Stein, with 651 votes to his 440. Stein challenged her three years later, and she clobbered him, 826 to 292. Wasilla was enjoying an economic boom in those years, and residents had no reason to change course. Even Colleen Cottle, who consistently voted against Mayor Palin as a member of the city council, says she was an effective mayor. "She got things done," says Cottle.
Two Septembers later, Michael Gross wrote “Sarah Palin: The Sound and the Fury” --a much less flattering piece --after visiting Wasilla. Under a portion subtitled “City of Fear”, Gross reports that when Wasilla residents are asked to comment about their former mayor,
a palpable unease creeps in. Some people clam up. Others whisper invitations to call later—but on this number, not that one, and not before this hour or after that one. So many people answer “Off the record?” to my initial questions that it almost seems the whole town has had media training.
He goes on to tell us that the only person interviewed who allowed their name to be printed was, again, Colleen Cottle. In this 2010 article she is more candid than when Sarah was running with John McCain for the most powerful next-in-line position in the country.
After one local Republican delivers 90 minutes of uninterrupted praise for Palin, I ask whom else I should talk to, and the answer comes so fast it’s like a cry for help—which is how, the next day, I end up in the living room of Colleen Cottle, who is the matriarch of one of Wasilla’s oldest families, and who served on the city council when Palin was mayor. She says she and her husband, Rodney, will pay a price for speaking candidly about Palin. Their son is one of Todd Palin’s best friends. “But it is time for people to start telling the truth,” Colleen says. She describes the frustrations of trying to do city business with a mayor who “had no attention span—with Sarah it was always ‘What’s the flavor of the day?’ ”; who was unable to take part meaningfully in conversations about budgets because she “does not understand math or accounting—she only knows buzzwords, like ‘balanced budget’ ”; and who clocked out after four hours on most days, delegating her duties to an aide—“but he’ll never talk to you, because he has a state job and doesn’t want to lose it.” This type of conversation is repeated so often that Wasilla starts to feel like something from The Twilight Zone or a Shirley Jackson short story—a place populated entirely by abuse survivors.
Colleen also shows up in the 2011 independent film and documentary by Nick Broomfield, “Sarah Palin: You Betcha.” She doesn’t hold back, so I guess she and Rodney survived whatever punishment was dealt. It’s a small town and friends and family circles overlap. Sometimes you just have to make nice whether you want to or not. Like at the weddings coming up.
So, that’s some background on the Cottles.
Again, why do we care about these things?
Here’s what Michael Gross said in September 2010 - long before we read it in books by Dunn, Bailey, or McGinniss:
"This is a person for whom there is no topic too small to lie about," he said. "She lies about everything."
"If we decide to let her keep lying and getting away with it, she's gonna still be around," he said. "But if we start returning to the standard that a politician has to talk with people, and a politician has to tell the truth, then she's outta here, because she can't stand up to that."
That, my friends, is why we continue to search for the truth, to question Palin logic, illogic, and lies, and to expose contradictions as we find them.
("Consious at last"- I'm so glad you asked ! )