Ex-Gov Palin Blasts Levi Johnston, Talks 'American Idol' in New Book

Ex-governor also takes on "American Idol" culture.

November 17, 2010, 5:06 PM

Nov. 19, 2010— -- Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin goes after the father of her grandson in her new book and also makes surprising comments about why some contestants go on the hit reality show "American Idol."

The book, "America by Heart : Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag," is set to be released Tuesday. It's said to range widely over American history, culture and current affairs.

But according to excerpts obtained by the website Palingates, the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee also rips Levi Johnston, with whom her daughter Bristol has a son, Tripp.

Johnston has capitalized on his connection to the family and has spoken out against his famous ex-mother-in-law-to-be, and that earned a harsh rebuke from Palin.

"We all had to bite our tongues -- more than once -- as Tripp's father went on a media tour through Hollywood and New York, spreading untruths and exaggerated rhetoric. It was disgusting to watch," Palin writes.

Johnston and Palin's daughter twice have been engaged but are no longer a couple.

Palin describes the competitors on Fox's "American Idol" as victims of "the cult of self-esteem. No one they have encountered in their lives -- from their parents to their teachers to their president -- wanted them to feel bad by hearing the truth."

Instead of being responsible and facing tough economic reality, Palin says Americans are convinced "someone else will provide for them."

Bristol Palin, 20, is praised by her mother for the way she has cared for her year-old son, Tripp.

"She went to college. And worked full-time. And took care of a needy, colicky baby through many, many sleepless nights, doctor's appointments, and lonely, cold car rides to and from babysitters," Palin writes, according to the excerpt.

The book comes out amid a Palin media blitz, including her reality TV show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," on TLC, her appearances on Fox News, her frequent tweets and her daughter Bristol being voted to the final three on ABC's TV dance competition "Dancing With the Stars."

Given that Bristol Palin's performances consistently earn low scores from the show's judges, critics have speculated her success is due partly to ballot stuffing by Sarah Palin supporters.

Ron Brownstein, editorial director and columnist for the National Journal, weighed in on the former governor's prominence.

"She is ubiquitous," he said. "There is no political figure in the country that is more in our face, more often and across a broader bandwidth of programming."

Could Exposure Harm Palin's Political Chances?

The former governor this week said she is seriously considering running for president in 2012, but Brownstein said her constant presence actually could hurt her ambitions.

"The cost of that is that you are sort of devalued, in a way, because you're seen more [as] a cultural figure than a political leader," Brownstein said.

Palin also has questioned the value of being in the spotlight.

"There were times when I wasn't sure; when it was everything Todd and I could do not to lash out at the forces threatening our family," she writes. "More than once, I thought, 'How could this be worth it? Let's just go back to Wasilla and stop feeding the media beast. Let's give ourselves and our family a break.'"

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