Anchorage police have confirmed that the family of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was at the scene of a brawl in Wasilla late Saturday night that involved some 20 people, although no charges were pressed or arrests made. But boy, is the full story a jaw-dropper.
Here's what happened, according to local politics blogger Amanda Coyne:
There's some sort of unofficial birthday/Iron Dog-type/snowmachine party in Anchorage. A nice, mellow party, until the Palins show up. There's beer, of course, and maybe other things. Which is all fine, but just about the time when some people might have had one too many, Track Palin stumbles out of a stretch Hummer and immediately spots an ex-boyfriend of Willow's.
Track isn't happy with this guy, the story goes. There's words, and more. The owner of the house gets involved, and he probably wished he hadn't. At this point, he's up against nearly the whole Palin tribe: Palin women screaming. Palin men thumping their chests. Word is that Bristol has a particularly strong right hook, which she employed repeatedly, and it's something to hear when Sarah screams, "Don't you know who I am!" And it was particularly wonderful when someone in the crowd screamed back, "This isn't some damned Hillbilly reality show!"
No, it's what happens when the former first family of Alaska comes knocking. As people were leaving in a cab, Track was seen on the street, shirtless, flipping people off, with Sarah right behind him, and Todd somewhere in the foreground, tending to his bloody nose.
Another local blogger reported that Todd Palin had "puffed up his chest and made some threatening remarks," adding that the "'C' word" may have been used at some point during the exchange. The owner of the house, Chris Olds, claims Bristol Palin personally struck him several times.
It's important to keep in mind that not all of these details have been confirmed, but damn — even if the stories are only partially true, it certainly sounds like some intense family drama.
Until Thursday, no official had confirmed that the possibly booze-fueled slugfest between the Palin tribe and various interlocutors had really happened. But police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro told the Anchorage Dispatch News that 20 people had gotten their hands dirty during the incident:
"A preliminary investigation by police revealed that a party had been taking place at a nearby residence and a fight had broken out between multiple subjects outside of the residence," she said. "None of the involved parties wanted to press charges at the time of the incident and no arrests were made at the scene. Alcohol was believed to have been a factor in the incident. Some of the Palin family members were in attendance at the party.
"We are still reviewing the case, along with our municipal attorney's office to determine whether any charges will be filed."
A neighbor at the party, Charles Fryer, told the paper that the event was a joint birthday party for four people including Todd Palin before things got weird around 11 p.m., saying the fight was a dog-pile "just like you see in a football game." ("I'm too old to fool with that stuff," he added helpfully.) USA Today's Ann Oldenburg adds that Bristol Palin had been in fights before, like a 2011 bar fight that involved accusations of homophobia.
While it's not really fair to take too much schadenfreude in this embarrassing family incident, keep in mind that there was a point when the Republican Party felt comfortable putting Sarah Palin a single heart attack or assassin's bullet away from the presidency of the United States.