Thanks to a friend at an on-line book seller, on Friday morning a courier delivered a preview copy of Going Rogue, Sarah Palin’s latest gyration in her bizarre, ongoing odyssey into fringe folk-lore, self-promotion, and an increasingly pathological need to keep yelling “Look at me! Look at me!” like a whiny eight-year-old trying to get attention in a room full of grown-ups.
“If anyone else had written this,” read a note from my friend that I found in the envelope, “they’d be shipped off to a shrink and put on heavy meds. Instead, Palin is getting rich. Life’s not fair!”
The book is as unevenly written and, in parts, mysteriously unfathomable as Palin herself – despite having wordsmithing help from a sub-editor of an evangelical religious magazine. For example, the very first paragraph of the book includes a sentence declaring, “I breathed in an autumn bouquet that combined everything small-town America with rugged splashes of the Last Frontier.” Huh? I hope publisher Harper-Collins didn’t pay ghost-writer Lynn Vincent much money for whatever it is Vincent did with Palin’s text.
More to the point, beyond turning on the same McCain campaign that plucked her from obscurity and propelled her to the infamy that led to a $5-million advance for her memoirs, Going Rogue reinforces the well-earned perception of The Wicked Witch of Wasilla as so devoutly anti-intellectual, so thoroughly uncurious about the world, and so totally convinced that the fake blue collar image of her life means she knows all there is to know and only God knows all the rest, as to make her popularity among the remains of the Republican Party truly frightening.
Sadly, the book only increases her appeal to that very base of the shrinking GOP while leaving moderate Republicans, independents and anyone else who actually thinks about things out in the Alaskan cold.
Aside from the snippets of her life in Alaska – much of it true, some of it clearly part of the carefully-crafted storyline created about her by Palin’s handlers in the McCain campaign – the book is mostly a loosely-linked chain of self-aggrandizing, petulant slams at McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt and a handful of other professional pols who were trying to get their ticket elected against very long odds.
She comes across as an eager player in a blame game – something she’s been doing ever since high school, according to published accounts of people who’ve known her since her prom queen days.
Equally important, she polishes her campaign persona of “hockey mom” triviality. She confesses to being unfamiliar with the Middle East, the Iraq war, Afghanistan or Islamic politics. “I knew the history of the conflict,” she writes at one point, “to the extent that most Americans did.”
Oh? Better tell that to Rush Limbaugh, who claims Going Rogue is one of the best policy books he’s ever read. I gather this means what it implies: He doesn’t read many policy books.
And, anyway, “most Americans” don’t want to be vice president of the United States and aren’t manoeuvring to become a major party’s nominee for president next time around.
Just as astonishing, Palin argues without explanation that “there’s no better training ground for politics than motherhood.”
Palin writes that she and Todd are perfect to represent America’s Joe Six-Packs because that’s who they are themselves.
“We know what it’s like to be on a tight budget and wonder how we’re going to pay for our own health care, let alone college tuition,” she boasts. “We know what it’s like to work union jobs … We felt our very normalcy, our status as ordinary Americans, could be a much-needed fresh breeze blowing into Washington, D.C.”
One problem: The very economic policies she touts in the book, at her Facebook page, when she Twitters little nothings in the ears of her followers, and on the stump during the campaign have been killing union jobs and ordinary Americans since the days of Ronald Reagan.
Elsewhere, she writes about creationism, proudly confessing that she doesn’t hold truck with “the theory that human beings — thinking, loving beings — originated from fish that sprouted legs and crawled out of the sea” or “monkeys who eventually swung down from the trees.” She knows as much about anthropology as she knows about the Middle East: Monkeys climbed into trees first, before learning to walk upright. Oh, and studies have shown that nearly all primates are “thinking, loving beings.”
But to Palin, God is in charge of everything in her life, a sort of personal concierge. “My life is in His hands,” she testifies. “I encourage readers to do what I did many years ago, invite Him in to take over.”
I doubt whether Palin knows it, but that statement is the best argument I’ve read to support atheism. Surely, a caring, loving, all-knowing and all-seeing God would never give a Sarah Palin such a platform so there’s almost a prima facie case that a God doesn’t exist.