Iron Ladies—they’re just like us! Well, Sarah Palin thinks so anyway.
The former governor and vice presidential contender offered up her thoughts on the passing of Margaret Thatcher—Britain’s first and only female prime minister—in the National Review Monday. And while Palin never said so explicitly, it’s clear that she sees a lot of similarities between the Iron Lady and Mama Grizzly.
“[We’ve] lost one of the great champions of economic freedom and democratic ideals,” wrote Palin, no quiet champion herself when it comes to loving freedom and democracy. (Remember her most recent “free stuff” vs. “freedom” one-liner, or her “Obama lies; freedom dies” zinger?) “Thatcher not only broke a glass ceiling,” Palin wrote. “She broke a class ceiling.”
The former governor first referred to herself as a ceiling breaker back in 2008, when she stepped out as the first woman ever on a Republican presidential ticket. During an Ohio rally—her first public appearance as a veep candidate—one of Palin's biggest applause lines came after she said: “Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America, but it turns out the women of America aren’t finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all!”
Palin also found common ground with Thatcher in the negative media attention both women faced, and in what she views as their shared distaste for newspapers. Palin writes:
Sir Archie Hamilton once recounted how he asked Thatcher whether she read the daily newspapers. “‘Oh no!’ she replied, ‘They make such hurtful and damaging remarks about me and my family, that if I ever read the papers every day, I could never get on with the job I am here to do.’” I know exactly what she meant.
Even the title of Palin’s article, The Grocer’s Daughter, seems to be a veiled reference to her own humble beginnings. As the daughter of a science teacher and school secretary, Palin remained a self-described "hockey mom," despite having risen through the ranks to become chief executive of the state of Alaska and a vice presidential nominee.
“[Thatcher] was a grocer’s daughter from the back of beyond who advanced to the height of power in a class-conscious society,” wrote Palin. “Like her friend Ronald Reagan, she was an underestimated underdog and political outsider. “ Sound familiar? Palin’s been blasting the “political class” as a populist outsider since she first rose onto the national stage.
It's obvious from her article—packed with signature words like "liberty," "trailblazer," and "patriot"—that Palin had great respect for Thatcher. But it's unclear whether the feeling was mutual.
Though the two never met, an unnamed Thatcher "ally" didn't have the kindest words for the former veep nominee back in 2011, according to The Guardian. "Lady Thatcher will not be seeing Sarah Palin," said the anonymous person. "That would be belittling to Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts.”
The Telegraph, a conservative paper, later reported that the attack on Palin did not come from Thatcher's office, and was not a reflection of her views.