SARAH PALIN: “Going Rogue”
Spurn After Reading
When it was first announced back in 2008 that we were going to have a woman as the Vice Presidential candidate on a major party ticket, no one was more excited than me. I’ve always been an advocate for feminizing power and electing women as leaders. But once Miss Wasilla 1984 opened her mouth (and never closed it), the excitement fizzled faster than Jessica Simpson’s music and film career. American women and men are entitled to a better role model and leader. But I have to hand it to Sarah Palin: She singlehandedly got my brother (a straight Republican hanger-on, natch…) interested in politics. He would be glued to the TV when she was on, waiting for a subway grate to hopefully blow her skirt up, a la Marilyn Monroe in “The Seven Year Itch”. How disappointed he was, not only that she lost as Veep, but that Palin would not be stopping in New York City (nor San Francisco, nor L.A., nor Philly, nor Seattle. I can’t imagine why…!) on her current book tour. Oh well. She WILL, however, stop to sign books in Coeur d’Arlene, Idaho, where there are presumably no subway grates.
But about the book: Never before have I been verbally assaulted by so many of my fellow commuters for daring to read “Going Rogue” in public on the subway. I respond with “Well, you gotta know your enemy!” That was partially true, but I was also motivated by pure curiosity. I soon discovered that this 413-pager is actually two distinct books merged into one. The first book (Let’s call it “Little House on the Iceberg”) is a memoir of Palin’s life from Wasilla to Washington: growing up in a tiny Alaska town, getting involved in local politics, and eventually becoming a popular Governor before picked by McCain to be his running mate… and being somewhat exploited in the process. I have to admit, even if this woman is exaggerating her achievements in The Last Frontier State, she did make some admirable gains there. Later on, she is curiously critical of not only the 2008 McCain campaign, but also of the big, shady, expensive American political machine itself. This part of “Going Rogue” legitimately seems sincere and is, admittedly, quite interesting. The second book (Let’s call it “Canned Chicken Soup for the Republican Soul”.) is nothing but a GOP manifesto, a carefully-worded prospectus for another run for the White House which seems like it was written by a team of political analysts. There’s absolutely nothing “rogue” about Palin’s current political orientation. She’s a right wing conformist all the way. Her book is peppered with dozens of disses at President Obama and “liberals”, and praise for “Joe the Plumber” types.
Palin obliquely tells her side of the assorted embarrassments of her candidacy (Almost 10 pages are spent on the Katie Couric interview…), and her predictable views on assorted issues. Readers are likely to be bewildered about her stance on environmental issues, and vegetarians in particular will be pissed off altogether when she declares “I love meat!” and reminds us that “there’s plenty of room for all Alaska’s animals– right next to the mashed potatoes.” Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Sarah Palin is still an unapologetic homophobe. In one chapter, she reports how she vetoed a reactionary right wing-propelled bill banning benefits for same-sex partners of State employees in 2006 (in the interest of upholding the Alaskan Constitution), but that she bit her tongue in the process because she vehemently opposes gay marriage or benefits for gay couples. In another passage, she takes the “sympathy for the deviates” road by telling us about her high school friend/college roommate “Tilly”, who apparently had come out as a lesbian. As much as Palin states she “loved Tilly dearly”, here’s where the “I have my eye on the right wingers’ vote” semantics come into play: “Tilly…decided to openly live the lifestyle she CHOSE with her partner.” Choosing to be gay? For how many decades now, even in Wasilla, has that theory been discredited? And Levi Johnston? He’s only fleetingly mentioned once (negatively, natch…), not even by name.
I don’t believe for a minute that Sarah Palin doesn’t have her eye on the White House in 2012. Considering the fallout from her 2008 run, I predict that the Not-So-Divine Ms. P. WILL run for President… but as an Independent, not a Republican. Two thousand twelve is only four years away. Be afraid… but be prepared for a very amusing election year too, filled with priceless dumb quotes, memorable situations, and more silly rumors (Maybe Sarah’s husband Todd will pose for “Playgirl” next…)!