Connie Schultz | Sarah Palin’s Novel Life

When Sarah Palin was a little girl, her family crossed the border from Alaska into Canada for the quality health care they couldn’t get back home.

This was in the 1960s, when her parents boarded a train from rural, small-town Skagway, Alaska, and headed for capable doctors in Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon.

How do we know this?

Here’s an excerpt from her speech delivered last weekend in Calgary, Alberta, and reported by The Associated Press:

“I remember my brother, he burned his ankle in some little kid accident thing,” Palin told the audience of 1,200, who paid $150 to $200 per ticket to hear her speak. “My parents had to put him on a train and rush him over to Whitehorse, and I think, isn’t that kind of ironic now? Zooming over the border, getting health care from Canada?”

This would be the same Sarah Palin who, in recent months, insisted that Canada’s current health care system should be dismantled.

This is also the Sarah Palin who described President Barack Obama’s health care reform efforts as “downright evil.”

And this is the Sarah Palin who was the ringleader in efforts to mislead elderly Americans with scary stories about mythical government “death panels” that would dump them into early graves.

Now here she is, hobnobbing with our neighbors to the north and admitting her own family turned to Canada for quality health care. Just the funniest little story ever.

In typical Palin fashion, she has offered at least two versions of the same story. In 2007, she told The Skagway News that her family took the ferry to Juneau, not Canada, to seek treatment for her brother’s burned foot. But when the AP contacted her father, Chuck Heath, on Monday, he said that his family probably boarded the train to Whitehorse twice — when a daughter had rheumatic fever and when his son’s severely burned leg became infected.

“Even though they have socialized medicine,” Heath told reporter Dan Joling, “I still had to pay the bill, being an American citizen.”

The fantastical adventures in Palin World are seemingly endless. The night before her speech in Canada, Palin told an Ohio Right to Life audience in Columbus that her critics got it all wrong, wrong, wrong when they accused her of a double standard after she ridiculed Obama for using a teleprompter but then was photographed with crib notes scribbled on her palm for a speech at last month’s tea party convention.

She assured the Ohio audience that she was just emulating God — and that she had the Bible verse to prove it.

“I didn’t have a good answer to that criticism because I thought it was so ridiculous,” she told the audience. “But then somebody sent me the other day Isaiah 49:16.”

The crowd was eating it up, so she kept shoveling.

“Hey,” she said, “if it was good enough for God, scribbling on the palm of his hand, it’s good enough for me, for us. In that passage, he says, ‘I wrote your name on the palm of my hand to remember you.’ And I’m like, ‘OK, I’m in good company.'”

I am so tired of Sarah Palin’s version of America.

I don’t think she’s stupid. I don’t think she’s evil, either. But I do think she’s as cynical as they come, winking and ka-chinging her way through one gig after another by spinning a narrative that gets progressively loonier with every misstep.

Palin is making a fortune on the backs of those who think she represents deliverance from everything they hate about today’s America. This includes but is not limited to women’s reproductive freedom, affordable health care for all and Barack Obama’s U.S. birth certificate.

Ah, well. I’ll give Sarah Palin this: She’s not one to let facts get in the way of a good story.

One humdinger at a time, she’s writing herself out of politics for good.

I always have loved a happy ending.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and the author of two books from Random House, “Life Happens” and “… and His Lovely Wife.” She is a featured contributor in a recently released book by Bloomsbury, “The Speech: Race and Barack Obama’s ‘A More Perfect Union.'”

Copyright 2010