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Palin Hires Veggie Chief of Staff

How politics makes strange bedfellows

Vegetarian Michael Glassner is Sarah Palin’s pick for chief of staff

Sarah Palin’s latest hire, political strategist Michael Glassner, has left animal protection groups scratching their heads.

While Palin is infamous for shooting wolves from helicopters, as well as clubbing fish to death and shooting elk on her reality TV show, Glassner, her new chief of staff and a long-time advisor to the likes of Bob Dole and John McCain, is a vegetarian.

In fact, Glassner’s veggie diet is not so much an ethical choice, and more to do with health and fitness. (Either way, that’s OK with the animals!)

But when it comes to truly strange bedfellows, a considerably more unlikely hire for Palin was when she signed up author Matthew Scully as a speechwriter during her vice-presidential run.

While Scully is also a strict vegan, in his case it is for purely ethical reasons. He is heavily involved in animal rights, and author of the book Dominion: The Power of Man, The Suffering of Animals, and The Call to Mercy, a passionate defense of animals and one that examines the whole issue of our relationship to other animals from the viewpoint of a committed Catholic conservative.

Scully carefully compartmentalizes his concern for animals with his political career. He worked in the George W. Bush White House as a speech writer before stepping down to write Dominion. And while his book carefully avoids criticism of the former president, he describes in detail the hunting activities of Bush associates – especially those who served with W.’s father, George H.W. Bush.

Former colleagues of Glassner describe him as a “fitness nut.” He first met the Palins when he joined the McCain campaign as director of vice presidential operations, responsible primarily for scheduling and logistics.