Poor Sarah Palin.
After accepting Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) invitation to hop on the Straight Talk Express and serve as his vice presidential nominee, you betcha she thought she was going back to a quiet life in Alaska as a regular ol’ Jane six-pack (oh, and governor) after defeat at the polls.
But those coastal elites with their big fancy degrees and jobs workin’ for the liberal media just kept pokin’ their nose in everyone’s business way up in Alaska, and before long, Palin just wanted out. As Palin puts it, she got a “thumpin’.— Not just by Barack Obama and Joseph Biden, but by the biased, scandal-hungry media in the aftermath of the election.
So, tired of the limelight and the media attention, she quit as governor and wrote “Going Rogue: An American Life,— embarking on a national promotional tour and a media rollout with appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show— and “The Sean Hannity Show— — and a brand-new Twitter account with 22,000 followers along with a newfound fondness for Facebook, with her 1.1 million “friends.—
But don’t think “Going Rogue— is really going to offer any new or interesting insights into an enigma of a woman who seems to evoke either scorn or adoration — but nothing in between.
From the folksy beginnings of “Going Rogue— through the folksy description of Palin’s life and campaigns to her folksy conclusion, this book glosses over everything in Palin’s life and career.
In fact, there’s something in Palin’s tone in “Going Rogue— that’s deeply chilling — namely, that this is a woman without any fundamental doubts. In the book, Palin has righteous certainty about her own political and moral mission. Never is Palin seen wrestling with a difficult decision or espousing regret. Even in discussing the touching and confusing moments in her life — her two miscarriages and delivering a baby with Down syndrome — there’s a bizarre messianic certainty in the inevitability of the outcome.
Her youth was carefree — an all-American girlhood in the wild reaches of Alaska. Her coming of age wasn’t exactly seamless — she bounced from college to college for a while — but it seems as if the biggest regret of her entire life was the D she got in one of her college courses. Her husband, Todd, was the only man for her — “Divorce Todd?— she writes at one point about false tabloid rumors. “Have you seen Todd?—
She vehemently denies banning books as Wasilla mayor. She marginalizes accusations of abuse of power involving the firing of her public safety commissioner over a family dispute — even though she is correct that legally, he was an at-will political appointee. She blames the McCain campaign, CBS, the liberal media, the Obamas — basically everyone except herself — for her performance on the stump for the Arizona Republican. In fact, the title of the book is drawn from anonymous McCain campaign advisers grumbling to the press that she was off message and “going rogue.—
Throughout her narrative, Palin nurses an acute paranoia of elitism — which in Palin’s world mostly takes the form of vegetarianism or veganism. She describes one of her aides as a “bunny-hugging vegan.— She jokes that there’s “plenty of room for all Alaska’s animals — right next to the mashed potatoes.— And in one particularly strange passage, Palin writes, “If any vegans came over for dinner, I could whip them up a salad and then explain my philosophy on being a carnivore: If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?—
Still, there are some interesting tidbits. Palin reveals that she almost ended up in the U.S. Senate twice. When then-Sen. Frank Murkowski (R) won the Alaska governorship in 2002, Palin was on his short list of candidates to replace him. According to Palin, she lost the appointment because Murkowski questioned whether she could handle raising a family and a demanding legislative schedule. Then Palin supporters briefly encouraged her to run against Murkowski’s daughter Lisa in 2004.
Palin’s book also sheds light on some of those weird names: Her oldest son, Track, was so named because he was born during track and field season. And here’s another tidbit: Palin’s children decided to name their puppy Agia after a piece of legislation, the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act.
Ultimately, Palin’s book is schlock. It’s the “Da Vinci Code— of political memoirs: poorly written, overly long and like a car crash — hard to tear yourself away.