Reading Rogue: St. Sarah Of Wasilla

>> Wednesday, December 02, 2009

On page 321, Mrs. Sarah Palin says it again:

But as I realized back in my Wasilla mayor days, life is too short to hold a grudge. If I ever see [McCain campaign manager Steve] Schmidt again, maybe I'll bring him a pretty white Peace Lily.

Considering that the last time Mrs. Palin gave somebody a Peace Lily it involved making a man with a broken knee hobble over painfully to answer his front door, I have to figure that getting a Peace Lily from Sarah Palin is something like getting a kiss from a Mafia Don. But in any event, the quotation is basically a self-evident lie--Going Rogue is a shitlist, a catalogue of grudges along with accompanying payback. Perhaps Mrs. Palin is indeed sincere about the notion of being a rogue who owes expects and owes nothing to her party, because in describing the 2008 campaign, she leaves few bridges unburned.

As I noted yesterday when describing the first half of chapter three (with the self-referring title "Going Rogue"), everything that went wrong for the Republican party in the 2008 presidential campaign was everybody's fault except Mrs. Palin's. The Katie Couric interview went badly because of Katie Couric, because of the way McCain's campaign failed to prepare her, because the media in general was against her. The remainder of chapter three continues to catalogue others' failings, conspicuously singling out the above-mentioned poor Mr. Schmidt again and again, who found himself tasked not only with running the campaign of a candidate who became a whipping boy to a historical moment, but also with trying to make a silk purse of a bulldog's ear. Palinistas will surely eat it up.

Anyone else, of course, is going to recognize the obvious: that if Sarah Palin didn't cost John McCain the election (he ultimately was running against American history, again, and good luck with that), she absolutely didn't actually help and certainly cost him votes. I personally know lifelong Republicans who voted for a Democratic candidate for President for probably the first time in their lives almost entirely because Sarah Palin made a ridiculously poor showing on the campaign trail; so badly, indeed, that not only were many longtime conservatives terrified of a Palin presidency should something have happened to a President McCain, but her very presence on the ticket made Senator McCain look bad, demonstrating that he was in fact a poor judge of character and/or so desperately cynical and desperate to win he'd choose an obviously unqualified, ignorant, vain and inexperienced running mate in an attempt to woo--well, somebody, although that, too, remains a historical puzzler. Most likely, there was some thought that then-Governor Palin would draw the PUMA contingent of Clinton supporters, except, of course, that the PUMA contingent was going to inevitably split between females who'd get over themselves and return to the Democrat fold and women who would have voted for Senator McCain out of spite, regardless; indeed, it's possible then-Governor Palin even drove some of the PUMAs back to the fold.

Naturally, Mrs. Palin isn't going to admit to any of the above. Nor, it turns out, is she going to accept any responsibility at all--at every turn, we discover, she was trying to be grassroots, and folksy, and smart, and feisty, and commonsense, and down-to-earth, and competitive, and [INSERT OTHER GOOD QUALITY NOT POSSESSED BY WASHINGTON INSIDERS HERE]. Mrs. Palin isn't going to concede even the least little bit of responsibility for the McCain/Palin debacle at all, unless it's that she failed to go with her instincts to be even more super than she already was, if you can believe that, and of course no reasonable or informed reader will, which makes the exercise a waste of time. It may even be a waste of time for her fans, actually, since they all already know how wonderful and made of unicorns she is and are only reading the book to have their adoration and dislocation from reality reaffirmed.

If it seems like there's little of substance in this portion of my review or liveblogging or whatever you want to call it, it's because there's little of substance in this portion of the book. The various "revelations" are widely disputed by other principals, with no way to corroborate Mrs. Palin's version above others, and some reason to remain skeptical of an account that is so heavily contrived to be a hagiography of St. Sarah The Misunderstood Candidate, who was martyred by the Emperor Schmidt by being fed to the media lions after performing campaign miracle after miracle, like the Drawing Of The Crowd Of Thirty Thousands (pp. 265-266) and The Sermon Sans Teleprompter (p. 242).

If I were a credulous man, I might no doubt be worshiping at the altar. At this point, I hate to bring work into the blog, something that I generally avoid, but I have to point out what regulars already know (or should): I'm a trial attorney. This means, among other things, that I am very used to reading testimonials--witness statements, police reports, confessions--and listening to people's stories in my office or in a conference room or while they're under oath, and applying a certain amount of cynicism and skepticism. You might find that hard to believe--I'm an assistant public defender, right, and we're all natural social workers who will believe any sob story we're told and all that. Sure. That's me, alright, a firm believer in Santa Claus and good investment deals on New York City landmarks. No, actually, what being a trial lawyer and an assistant public defender in particular means is that being lied to generally bores the hell out of me; it also means I'm unfortunately adept at knowing when I'm being lied to even when I don't know what the truth is--I almost hate to write that, because it's not as good a thing as it might sound, for one thing (it's a sign of being awfully jaded) and, for another thing, I don't want to sound infallible (I'm certainly capable of being conned and certainly have been). But the real point of all this is to say that chapter three of Going Rogue has been very, very boring, and I think you can infer plenty from that.


Jeff Hentosz Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 12:29:00 AM EST  

Do you think we're getting near the point where you are the one, single, foremost person on Planet Terra who has most thoroughly ruminated this book?

And, since you brought in the religious imagery, does this series constitute what they call an "exegesis?"

Eric Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 11:21:00 AM EST  

I've probably put more thought into it than Lynn Vincent or the book's editors. But probably less thought than Sarah Palin, if a lifetime spent "just you wait 'til I get so-and-so, they're gonna be SORRY" counts as thinking about the book. (It's definitely one of the book's overarching themes to the extent that Going Rogue has themes. I started to say the theme, but the primary theme may be "love me, adore me, support me.")

mikkyD Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 3:48:00 PM EST  

I will never read the book (I don't want to give her any money but that statement, "Just you wait til I get so and so.." Was the exact statement made by dishonoured and yet to be jailed former conservative MP Lord Jeffrey Archer (the crappy novelist and professional liar) I am sure you could see the video clip somewhere. He was later jailed for perjury during a court case brought by him. If Palin is going down that road she better supply her own soap and also get a bamk account 'off-shore'

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