So what if Sarah Palin didn’t write this book? Even God used earthly scribes to write the Bible.
This was better than any of the Harlequins I’ve read so far this year. I only found two spelling errors in the whole thing.
Tag: "Sarah Palin"
I realize this is a pedantic complaint, but would it be possible for Sarah Palin to launch her chapters with epigraphs that aren’t of dubious origin?
The first chapter, for example, opens with a quotation from Lou Holtz that the former football coach apparently wrote exclusively for this book. (Alas, as it turns out, Palin and her ghostwriter were simply mangling a nearly identical aphorism that — while always attributed to Holtz — never leads back to an actual source and only appears in “inspirational” books of quotations.)
Chapter Two is introduced by a fake quote from Aristotle, who never in fact wrote that “Criticism is something we can avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, being nothing.” Instead, such banalities are more properly credited to a book called Seeds of
Change Greatness by Denis Waitley, a hack motivational speaker and author who once served as an executive for a skin-care Ponzi scheme.
So far as bungled epigraphs go, the third chapter is arguably the winner so far, attributing this nugget of wisdom to the renowned former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden:
Our land is everything to us…. I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember than our grandfathers paid for it — with their lives.
Now, if that’s not the sort of thing you’d expect a hall of fame basketball coach to say, that’s because, of course, he didn’t. Students of American Indian history might recognize that passage as belonging instead to John Wooden Legs, the post-WWII Northern Cheyenne tribal leader who — though a contemporary of John Wooden’s — was not the same guy.
Yes, yes — it’s absurd to expect much from Sarah Palin, but imagine if these sorts of gaffes had appeared in books by Hillary Clinton or Obama himself.
OK, moving onward.
In brief, chapter 3 is a cumbersome, hundred-page turd that covers Palin’s campaign for the governor’s office; her first 18 months as chief executive, including her push for ethics reform and a natural gas pipeline; all the people who were mean to her for one reason or another; her last pregnancy, including the letter Palin wrote to her family in which she pretended to be God; and her family’s random exploits from 2006-2008, including Todd’s 4th place finish in the Iron Dog snowmachine race and Bristol’s 1st place finish in getting knocked up.
Like much of the book so far, there’s almost nothing in this chapter that readers wouldn’t already have known if they’d closely followed the campaign last fall. With the exception of Palin’s gossipy, adolescent snark about colleagues she now hates (e.g., her first legislative director, whom she describes, with devastating wit, as a “BlackBerry games addict who couldn’t seem to keep his lunch off his tie”), there’s not much news about Palin’s public record. She warbles at length about her own mavericity — taking on “Big Oil,” deleting line items from the state budget, clucking her tongue as one state legislator after another was loaded into the paddy wagon — but we’ve suffered through this exaggerated folktale too many times already. The overriding lesson from this chapter is quite simple:
- Alaskan politics was a Roman orgy of corruption before 2007
- Sarah Palin (and the few people who remained loyal to her) restored purity to state government.
- Well, OK, Jesus Christ — whose spirit was conveyed through the righteous work of Sarah Palin — restored purity to state government.
What’s more interesting, certainly, are the details about her early governorship that Palin decides not to mention. Though she discusses the “reassignment” and resignation of Walt Monegan, for example, she neglects to explain why she and her husband had been badgering the commissioner about State Trooper Mike Wooten (Palin’s former brother-in-law) since the day she came into office. Though she defends her decision to leave Juneau at the start of the ’08 legislative session to attend her son’s graduation from boot camp, she chooses not to address the matter of why she stayed away from the capital city for nearly half of the days the legislature was in sesssion during her first two years in office.
Indeed, anyone halfway connected to Alaskan politics will read this chapter with slackened jaws, stunned by Palin’s ability to claim for herself a leadership role that she doesn’t actually deserve. It’s the sort of performance that left the boys from the Weekly Standard squirming uncomfortably in their chairs — for which, I suppose, in a strange way we should all be grateful — but it’s still quite maddening to watch.
….and here’s some bonus material from chapter the third, in which Palin suggests that the Obama folks ripped off her campaign theme:
Every part of our campaign shouted “Change!” A change in campaign financing: we ran on small donations from all over the states, mostly from first-time political donors, and we turned back some large checks from big donors if we perceived conflicts of interest. A change from photo-op stops to honest conversation with actual voters. A change from emphasizing politics to emphasizing people. A change from smooth talk to straight talk — even then.
We were amused a couple of years later when Barack Obama–one of whose senior advisers (come to think of it) had roots in Alaska — adopted the same theme. Kris [Perry, her campaign manager] and I joked about it: “Hey! We were change when change wasn’t cool!”
Because really — after six years of George W. Bush, no one was really thinking a change of direction would be a good idea.
The funniest sentence thus far in Going Rogue occurs about a third of the way through the second chapter when our heroine — speaking through the Palinese translator Lynn Vincent — declares that “life is too short to hold a grudge.” This is a warm piece of advice that Sarah Palin predictably spends much of her time ignoring as she recounts her contentious early years in local and state politics. Few pages are allowed to turn without our deposed governor reminding us of the bêtes noires who interfered with her efforts to bring “common-sense conservatism” — a phrase she’s been loading into the wingnut beer bong for the past few days — to the people of Wasilla and, soon enough, their fellow Alaskans. As Palin revealed in her first chapter, the first “big word” she learned how to spell was “different.” And because different people are sometimes scary — perhaps not President Black Man Terrorist scary, but scary in that ordinary, non-Negro way — Palin knows that she’ll have to deal with resistance along the road to glory.
Among the roster of liberal fascists, “good ol’ boys,” and uncooperative, low-level public employees with who find their way into Palin’s esurient maw, we find the former Wasilla mayor John Stein, a man whose name Palin admits she can’t pronounce and whose terrifying agenda seems to have rested entirely on the well-known communist wedge of building codes and land-use restrictions. Palin, by contrast, envisions Wasilla as a Hayekian paradise, where “laissez-faire principles” might crush liberalism as surely as her husband Todd scotched small woodland creatures with his snowmachine. Though she neglects to mention her campaign’s emphasis on gun control, abortion and the cleansing magic of Christ’s blood, Palin describes her eventual victory as a mandate for “no more politics-as-usual” — by which I suppose she means badgering librarians, firing museum directors and police chiefs, and initiating regressive sales taxes to fund a costly sports complex on land for which the city had no clear title (land titles presumably being a big-government conspiracy to deprive The People of their squatters’ rights). Along the way, Palin helps to turn her town into the “Honorary Duct Tape Capital of the World,” an award bestowed by Wal-Mart in recognition of Wasilla’s bone-deep commitment to not paying overbearing, know-it-all liberals to fix your shit. (Wasilla, you see, is an independent-minded place. “No community organizers necessary,” she explains. Which is funny, because she’s talking about President Barack Fanon Senghor!)
The rest of the chapter proceeds in the manner of skeet shoot, with Palin bitching about nearly everyone she encounters in public service, including her fellow candidates for the lieutenant governor’s office in 2002, Frank Murkowski (her predecessor in the Governor’s office), fellow commissioners on the oil and gas commission, and an unnamed array of “good ol’ boys,” corporate lobbyists and fat cats who would forever serve as foils for Palin’s simulated populist tirades. Along the way, she wears her contempt for legislators proudly. Brutalizing the English language to convey her disdain, she describes them as people who “scratch disagreeable backs” for a living and who work in an environment where “the trading of favors [seems] to run through the ventilation system as a substitute for air.” Indeed, for someone who professes several times in the book to having “Jeffersonian” views of government, she’s awfully dismissive of republican institutions; with her belief that only the “lead dog” is able to have a clear view of public affairs, Palin unwittingly reveals herself in this chapter as someone who actually loathes collaborative public service. When fellow officials are unwilling to “get on board,” she fires them (as she does in Wasilla) or shits on the floor and goes home (as she does with the oil and gas commission).
Unfortunately for the rest of us, Palin continues to believe that she has an open WATS line to Jesus, and when Chapter 2 ends, she’s rocking her latest seedling and yammering away in prayer, asking for a sign from on high that she should return to public life and fuck some more things up.
This comment from Dave’s thread (also appearing here) deserves the full blog treatment:
First let me say, great blog! Second, let me say I wish I had read it first before buying this book.
I stood in line to get my copy of this book from the local bookstore fearing it might be sold out early. Hot chick on the cover, so far so good. Then I opened it and started reading.
To my chagrin it didn’t start out well. I thought well at some point this has to get better. But guess what it doesn’t! There’s nothing at all about dex rolls, dps builds, searching for traps, sneak attacks, assassins, +4 daggers or anything!
All it is some woman whining about how everyone in her party wouldn’t let her make any decisions, about how something called a Couric made her look like a complete idiot (I couldn’t find it in the monster manual but, I’m guessing it must be like a Sphinx), and how her group leader McCain wouldn’t let her be rogue enough.
Well, I don’t even know where to start addressing this stuff. She doesn’t even have any daggers! I mean, that’s hardly the group leader’s fault! She should have loaded out before the quest started!
Plus, on every single page she bemoans her 8 INT build and blames her horrible playing on everyone else! It’s her fault for putting all her stat points into Charisma!
To sum up, this book is terrible. It’s anti-rogue if anything. If you want a book on how not to be a rogue this has got to be the bible.
I’m going back to the store now to see if I can get my hard earned cash back for this awful drek.
I should note at the outset that Going Rogue is substantially worse than even I could have predicted. The opening chapter is clearly supposed to bear several loads, including (1) establishing Palin’s geographic and cultural bona fides; and (2) conveying her abiding love for Jeebus, family and Ronald Reagan. In each case, the results are pretty unimpressive.
For starters, Palin’s ghost-polished descriptions of Alaska’s landscape and cultural peculiarities are delivered with roughly the same verve as I’d expect to find in a mediocre historical novel written by someone who, at most, had visited the state on a cruise ship. We learn for example, the astonishing and widely-underpublicized fact that Alaskan nights are incredibly short during the summertime,
creating a euphoria that runs through our veins. Hour after hour, there is still more time and more daylight to accomplish one more thing. If we told our kids to be home before dark, we wouldn’t see them for weeks.
Perhaps I haven’t had enough experience with the “euphoria” of “accomplish[ing] one more thing” recently, but there’s something really underwhelming about Palin’s trek through the list of Generically Oddball Stuff about Alaska. Yes, people up here shoot a lot of megafauna; yes, people up here chop a lot of firewood; yes, people up here can grow gigantic heads of cabbage; yes, people up here are impressed by grazing sheep. But people up here also do tons of meth, beat the shit out of their kids, and half-purposely ram their cars into trees. When you remember that Sarah Palin is earning well over $1 million for this book, it’s hard not to feel cheated when she reminds everyone that Alaska has glaciers bigger than Delaware.
Moving beyond the scenic and cultural moorings of chapter 1, we learn a bit — all of it vaguely detailed — about the roots of Palin’s political beliefs. In a passage whose goofiness resists description, for example, we read about Palin’s childhood immersion in the minutia of the Watergate investigation:
It amazed me that the whole country seemed riveted, unified by watching the events unfold. It was the first time since the moon landing that I’d seen that, so I knew Watergate had to be big. When Gerald Ford took over, I knew who he was because I remembered reading about him and seeing him a picture in a scholastic magazine. He’d been America’s vice president then, sitting parade-style atop the backseat of a convertible, waving at the crowd. Now he was our president!
I’ll concede that Sarah Palin was ten years old when Nixon resigned, but this is a brainless waste of a paragraph. When we consider that Palin traces her awareness of “the skewed priorities of government” to a ticket she received for underage snow-machining, one has to marvel at Sarah Palin’s inability to say anything interesting about the most grotesque political conspiracy in the nation’s history. She manages to write as if she’s responding to a question from Charles Gibson, except that Charles Gibson is nowhere to be found.
Her ode to Reagan is similarly inept, larded with bog-standard wingnuttia like “[he] won the Cold War without firing a shot” and “[he] restored our faith” in America after the Carter interregnum. Reagan, we learn, “radiated confidence and optimism” and “had a steel spine.” He believed in “ideas” like “cutting taxes” and “building a strong national defense.” It’s pretty vacant stuff all around, but I’m sure the second chapter will be a thousand times better.
(…having missed Scott’s post on this…)
Matthew Continetti’s piece in today’s WSJ is completely insane, but I’d hate to discourage him from believing that Sarah Palin can somehow turn herself into something other than a toxic joke on the Republican Party. The longer people like Continetti chase after Palin — frantically shouting along the way, “It’s just a little dirty! It’s still good, it’s still good! It’s just a little slimy! It’s still good! It’s still good” — the more satisfying life will be for the rest of us when GOP primary season begins.
That said, Continetti’s reasons for optimism are bizarre. Citing Palin’s abysmal (and worsening) public opinion data, he argues — in all seriousness — that she will somehow be able to reverse her low standing among independent voters by turning her book tour into a prolonged disquisition on the economic liabilities of the current administration. Given that Palin is a virtual lock to make absolutely no sense when trying explain economics (or much else for that matter) I eagerly hope Palin takes Continetti’s advice. For some reason, Pro-Palin wingnuts appear convinced that her abdication of the governor’s office — a decision by which they seem strangely unperturbed — has afforded her the time she needs to learn her alphabet and multiplication tables. They forget that her political and intellectual instincts are so poorly evolved that she’s far more likely to continue her practice of making hilarious Bachmannite arguments about atheist coins, piled on top of her usual dystopian predictions about President Blacula’s heath care policy.
And when she inevitably makes a fool of herself, she’ll soon enough blame the media. In which case, she’ll have to write a new book complaining about the mistreatment she received from the people who interviewed her about the book written in part to complain about the mistreatment she received from the people who interviewed her during the 2008 campaign. Which is just another way of noting that Sarah Palin’s aggrieved ego represents an exemplary case of fractal geometry.
Shorter Verbatim Matthew Continetti: “An October Gallup poll put Ms. Palin’s favorable number at 40%, her lowest rating to date. In a November Gallup survey, 63% of all voters said they wouldn’t seriously consider supporting her for the presidency. Yet Ms. Palin isn’t as unpopular as John Edwards.”
Yes, if there’s a more promising basis for a national political career than being marginally more popular than a failed presidential candidate who fathered a child with a woman who was not his cancer-stricken wife, I don’t know what it could be.
Wow. I doubt that we’ve yet fully grasped the enormity of the Sarah Palin VP pick, but the fact that she apparently was considered ill-prepared by George W. Bush is certainly a fascinating piece of the puzzle:
“I’m trying to remember if I’ve met her before. I’m sure I must have.” His eyes twinkled, then he asked, “What is she, the governor of Guam?”
Everyone in the room seemed to look at him in horror, their mouths agape. When Ed told him that conservatives were greeting the choice enthusiastically, he replied, “Look, I’m a team player, I’m on board.” He thought about it for a minute. “She’s interesting,” he said again. “You know, just wait a few days until the bloom is off the rose.” Then he made a very smart assessment.
“This woman is being put into a position she is not even remotely prepared for,” he said. “She hasn’t spent one day on the national level. Neither has her family. Let’s wait and see how she looks five days out.” It was a rare dose of reality in a White House that liked to believe every decision was great, every Republican was a genius, and McCain was the hope of the world because, well, because he chose to be a member of our party.
I suspect this revelation will only accelerate efforts to write George W. Bush out of the history of American conservatism. The wingnuts love them some Sarah…