Scott Conroy, journalist for CBS and co-author of Sarah from Alaska, interviewed me and several Palin supporters and published his story today on CBSNews.com. His story relied mainly on interviews conducted with members of 1) Hillbuzz, the ardent Hillary Clinton and now Palin supporters and 2) Conservatives4Palin, for which I also write.
Given the fact that it's CBS, one should take note of how fair the overall piece is. It details the Governor's appeal to a diverse population of Americans and captures the ability she possesses to inspire them to action.
From the C4P family, he interviewed Nicole Coulter, Sapwolf, site co-founder Rebecca Mansour, who now works for Governor Palin, and yours truly.
The article is quite long, so I will give you an overview. I encourage you to click here to read Conroy's full piece.
Most importantly, there may be no other politician who retains the level of devotion that Palin enjoys among millions of Americans. They may be in the minority, but they are certainly not lacking in zeal.
"We would literally walk across hot broken glass for this woman," says Nicole Coulter (at left), a frequent contributor to the most prominent pro-Palin web site, Conservatives4Palin.com, which serves as an up-to-the-second source of news and analysis of all things Palin. "She represents something very powerful. It's deeper than politics. It's much, much deeper than politics. It's cultural. It's just this zeitgeist of raw emotion, kind of what our country is all about."
Of course, other national politicians attract passionate support, but with Palin's biggest fans, the devotion to the former Alaska governor resides on a deeply personal level that seems unique in American life.
"She's our family, and you protect your family; it's like the mafia," Coulter says. "She's just one of us, and when they insult her, they're insulting millions of us."
Thirty-nine-year-old seventh grade English teacher Adrienne Ross (at left) started her pro-Palin web site, MotivationTruth, soon after Election Day in 2008. In July of 2009, Ross left her home in Hudson, New York, for a month-long trip to Alaska. It was a Palin pilgrimage of sorts that doubled as a sightseeing trip.
"I was really drawn to go," says Ross, who is also a member of the Federal Election Commission-registered 2012 Draft Sarah Committee. "This might seem kind of strange, but I just felt to go. I felt like I was supposed to go."
Ross marched in the Fourth of July parade in Wasilla with Palin's parents and daughter Piper and was there at the picnic in Fairbanks when Palin handed over the state's reigns of power to incoming Gov. Sean Parnell.
"She is a big part of my life," Ross says. "I spend a lot of my time on Palin-centered things."
Ross and other prominent members of what might best be described as the "Sarah Palin community" reject the notion that they are blind followers in a political cult of personality. They are clearly sensitive to being painted with a label that they instead attribute to President Obama's biggest fans.
"I'm sure she's had some impact on it, but I wouldn't go as far to say she's changed my life, and I'm suddenly hearing music and the light from above is shining on me," says Josh Painter, who manages a Palin blog roll and edits Texas4Palin from his hometown of Bryan, Texas. "That's Barack Obama territory-he's 'The One.' Sarah Palin is just a woman we relate to."
Of all the pro-Palin blogs, Conservatives4Palin consistently has the biggest impact and reach. Its influence is evident in that it is the only online destination specifically devoted to supporting a potential 2012 candidate to make a recent list of the 100 most popular conservative web sites.
Most of Conservatives4Palin's contributors are not shy about their desire to see Palin run for president in 2012.
Palin herself long ago took notice of the site, giving it one of her patented shout-outs in her best selling book. She even scooped up two of its founding contributors last year and hired them to paid positions on her political staff.
"She's always said the best ideas don't come out of Washington, DC, and so there's no reason why she wouldn't follow that belief in choosing her staff," says Rebecca Mansour, one of the former Conservatives4Palin bloggers turned current Palin staffer.
Thomas Chanteloup, a 45-year-old consultant for a software company consultant who blogs under the moniker "Sapwolf" on Conservatives4Palin, vows that he will quit his job to take up temporary residence in Iowa next year on Palin's behalf.
"When she's criticized, it's like that person is showing unfair criticism or vitriol against my mother or daughter," says Chanteloup, who says he has seen Palin speak in person about a dozen times and has shook her hand on about six occasions. "I take it personally."
It certainly is true that Governor Palin's army is far-reaching, unapologetic, and relentless. With innumerable lies and attacks on her and the Palin family, her "loyal online defenders," as Scott Conroy coins us, are committed to being voices of truth and pillars of support upon which she can lean. And should she take the plunge into running for the presidency in 2012, she will certainly not be lacking people who will go to proverbial hell and back on her behalf.