When aides to Margaret Thatcher reportedly dismissed Sarah Palin as a wacko


The NEWS this morning that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died at the age of 87 brings to mind an episode of a few years ago when Sarah Palin tried to arrange a visit with Thatcher.

A leading British newspaper told the story THUSLY:

A firestorm on the US right has erupted after the Guardian reported that Sarah Palin will be denied a meeting with Lady Thatcher on the grounds that it would be “belittling” for her to meet the darling of the Tea Party movement.

Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio host, devoted the opening section of his radio show to denouncing the “preposterous” Guardian report, as Palin supporters accused Thatcher’s circle of disgracing the former prime minister.

The US conservative right reacted furiously after the Guardian reported that Thatcher’s aides had decided it would be inappropriate for her to meet Palin, who is planning to visit London next month en route to Sudan. Palin has been touring US historical sites (an excursion that saw her slip up this week on the subject of Paul Revere, the American patriot who made a famous “midnight ride” to warn of approaching British forces).

One Thatcher ally told the Guardian: “Lady Thatcher will not be seeing Sarah Palin. That would be belittling for Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts.”

Another British paper said THIS at the time:

So why, 36 years later, are aides suddenly wary of a visiting American conservative? It could be an aversion unique to Palin, but it’s hard to imagine any of the Tea Party or religious right receiving a warm reception in the UK. The British groups that have embraced the Tea Party tend to be rather fringe. And the English Defence League is not a particularly welcome endorsement.

So what divides the British and American right? According to David Cameron, it is the perception of cultural difference. “How shall I put this?” he wondered aloud in an interview. “We seem to have drifted apart… there is an element of American conservatism that is headed in a very culture war direction, which is just different.” Cameron’s Tories redefined themselves as a caring, cosmopolitan party by embracing causes like gay rights or environmentalism.