Sarah Palin's Going Rogue is a campaign book delightfully free of boring old policy and so is a sure fire dog whistle to her adoring base. It reinforces why she should never be President, but who the heck does the Republican Party have as an alternative candidate vaguely as charismatic as Caribou Barbie?

Every now and then we face really tough decisions…I mean capital ‘T’ tough. This week’s was whether or not to spend $34 on Sarah Palin’s God-bothering, petty and vindictive score-settling payback and thereby contribute to ‘the cause’ so to speak. Did I? You betcha!

To save you all the bother, I forked over the cash for the much anticipated Going Rogue: An American Life which could also be titled Gone Feral: A Subject-Approved Hagiography – bearing in mind that true hagiographies are supposed to be ‘critical’ studies of the saints involved. That it is not.

For your money – although I see it is already on a 40% discount in North America – you get 403 pages of Planet Palin which is all at once an escape from reality and an invitation into the selective musings and untold “I remember(s)” of Saint Sarah, the losing Vice Presidential candidate who is incapable of hiding her contempt for anyone who dares to question her.

In an excruciating effort to define herself as the quintessential anti-politician, Palin applies the same finesse that it takes to blast a grizzly or a moose off the face of the great state of Alaska to the pointy headed liberals of the new Sodom, a.k.a. Washington. She hates that place (although was desperate to get there) and all the “liberal elites” and their “Hollywood liberal” friends who frequent it. This despite how busy she must have been sweeping the floor to gather all the names she drops throughout her missive – Warren Beatty, Gary Sinise, Kelsey Grammer, Wolf Blitzer, Matt Lauer, Bono and co. Not to be confused with the label-dropping of this consignment store diva – a little Anne Taylor to show how fiscally conservative and unaffected by fashion she is, although her Theory pants and the D&G pink number can’t be left out.

Nor can God. The poor guy never gets a break. He is dragged in to absolutely everything which is all well and fine, but hardly bodes well for America’s division of church and state. On her daughter’s “shocking news” pregnancy which “truthfully” devastated the then Governor Palin, she writes that “yet when God presents those doors, we think, yes, this is right, this fits”. When the anti-abortion Palin toys with the idea of an abortion to take the “easy way” of dealing with her own “problem”—that she is pregnant with a Down’s Syndrome child—enter God, again. This time in a way that is, well, a little disturbing for someone who wants to run America. Palin writes herself a letter about the baby and signs it from God. Well actually from “Trig’s Creator, Your Heavenly Father”. Hmmm.

While most of us don’t have a problem with people turning to their God at any time in their lives, Palin’s constant references to God’s will and guidance and teachings smacks of a blatant appeal to a political base in America’s evangelical Bible-belt – enough so to make her fellow GOP members more than a little uncomfortable. Perhaps that’s why they don’t want her anywhere near their upcoming convention, nor will any of the GOP hierarchy come out and say she’s qualified to be President. The clearest response has been from McCain who said she’s lying in her book when she claims his campaign billed her for $50,000 for the process of vetting her candidacy. The 50 grand was her own legal costs for all the strife she was in up north – ‘Troopergate’ and the like. To borrow the former VP candidate and former Governor’s phrase, “Holy Geez”.

Little Miss I-am-not-vengeful seems to save most of her venom for…ta-dah…the liberal media and dirty filthy bloggers (my adjectives but I betcha they’d have earned a Palin “shout-out” whatever the hell that is).

Top of the list of course is Katie Couric who Palin still seems to think gave her a tough time…wow she should have been on the BBC’s Hardtalk and then she’d have known what a tough interview was. However I digress. Palin claims she conceded to the Couric interview out of sympathy because this woman (Couric) was actually in need of a career boost, had low self esteem, was going through a rough time, just felt she couldn’t trust anybody, and wanted Palin to like her! Palin was led to believe the interview would be “pretty mellow…short and sweet”. Couric was 25 pages later referred to not by name but as “the lowest rated news anchor on network television”. Oh, hear those nails down that screen!

Couric’s sin as we all know was to dare to ask the VP candidate what she read to keep in touch with world events etc. Palin couldn’t name a damned thing. Palin writes that was because Couric’s condescension irritated her so much she didn’t name anything. No newspaper. No book. No nothin’, Ma’am. Of course to make up for that irritation-induced deer in the headlights moment, Going Rogue is littered with book references, with newspapers, with wise words of philosophers that Palin leads us to believe she spontaneously “remembers”. You know “different” was the first “big word” Palin learned to spell…and she “would only put down one book just long enough to pick up another…(the) library was her summer hideaway”. Calling all libraries.

It is extremely easy to pull the wings off this Palin fly but as the McCain camp – who coined the “going rogue” phrase when she was spinning off message – would say, she’s spared little in her smears of them, their operation, and any politician she doesn’t agree with.

Her whirlwind book tour that has begun in the US smacks of a campaign tour so she’s commenting on everything…even the Fort Hood massacre which she believes is a slam dunk for profiling…as in racial profiling…as in flying while Muslim is the new driving while black.

Palin has a qualified gripe with it comes to some of the coverage of her family – but you know, when you put your kids up on a national, let alone an international stage – they become part of the package. Note to Rogue – they are vulnerable to any criticism or inquiry when they are pregnant and only 17 and prima facie evidence that some of their mother’s ideals are fine in theory but obviously not easy to live up to.

Sarah Palin is very likely to be the huntin’, shootin’, fishin’, runnin’, God-fearin’ “grizzly-bear mom” her American life story presents her as. People love her. Her family loves her and she no doubt loves them. Why didn’t she just leave her story at that? Now she comes across as a holier-than-thou, petty whinger who can’t face reality, and it is in her words, not something she has been tricked in to saying or misquoted or distorted. “Unfiltered” she calls it.

Going Rogue is a sure fire dog whistle to Palin’s potential presidential electoral base. However, like Nixon, she is obsessed that the “elite” is out to get her and believes without a bat of an eyelid that those elites and their PC ways will destroy the country if they are not stopped. What she doesn’t seem to realise is she is a mesmerizing train-wreck that political junkies and many who are not even so remotely interested just can’t stop from watching. Will she crash? When? How badly? What will the damage be? That does not mean she is qualified to be a president.

Maybe if she’d written something about policy and direction the nice fat conductor may have averted the train-wreck. Alas no for Ms – sorry Mrs as she has no time for “radical mantras of early feminists” – Palin, policy is not yet her thing. Perhaps the Republicans will realise what happened when they last elected a President who everyone thought was a great guy but clearly lacked any intellectual curiosity. Hint: financial chaos and war.

So was the $34 worth it? You betcha it was. Bring on the campaign. Until then observe very closely how the Republicans who are sorely lacking any charismatic or logical candidate to take on Obama in 2012 squirm and panic as they try to concoct an heir apparent who can outshine – and out shoot Caribou Barbie.

Comments (10)

by Graeme Edgeler on November 23, 2009
Graeme Edgeler

but you know, when you put your kids up on a national, let alone an international stage – they become part of the package

I disagree.

And I kinda like how our Broadcasting Standards do too:

"5. It is a defence to a privacy complaint that the individual whose privacy is allegedly infringed by the disclosure complained about gave his or her informed consent to the disclosure.  A guardian of a child can consent on behalf of that child.

6. Children’s vulnerability must be a prime concern to broadcasters, even when informed consent has been obtained.  Where a broadcast breaches a child’s privacy, broadcasters shall satisfy themselves that the broadcast is in the child’s best interests, regardless of whether consent has been obtained."

by Jane Young on November 23, 2009
Jane Young

Graeme I agree in terms of the Broadcasting Standards in NZ...however my point is that politicians - and Palin is by NO means the only guilty party here - are very happy for the media to pay attention to their children when those children are an implied endorsement of the candidate or politican's abiliies as good parents - ergo wholesome politicians.  That's supposed to be part of the "American life" Palin subtitled her book. However when the families turn out to be more like the average American sit-com familiy the politicians become quite feral in terms of the media. Hence they are asking for coverage so long as it goes their way. The irony for Palin is most of the "liberal" media she so despises couldn't give a toss about her daughter becoming pregnant because that's life. It was Palin's pushing of abstinence as the proper sex education and her opposition to actual sex education in school, and then her young daughter's pregnancy that made this newsworthy. It was compounded by the McCain camp immediately presenting the reluctant 'fiance' and an announced wedding for two kids who hadn't graduated high school that gave the story legs.  Palin complains in her book that that was not the way she wanted to handle the sitiation but just one more example of how she was dictated to by McCain's evil minders. In my view that is either an implausible excuse on her part, or yet more proof she is not strong enough to be considered a viable presidential candidate.

In terms of children you also have to take note of how Palin went everywhere with her new baby on her hip and used him as a prop for her endorsement of special needs programmes even going as far as to say the Obama health care plan would deny medical assistance to her Trig. She also refers a couple of times to her daughter Piper as having been a "poster child for pro-life" - she was not so named by the media but by her mother to push a political cause.

- sorry to have gone on so long!


by Graeme Edgeler on November 23, 2009
Graeme Edgeler

Politicians may be very happy to use their families for perceived political gain. However, this does not mean we should:

1. let them get away with it.

2. use their families to their perceived detriment.

I don't care what use a politician has made of his or her family, they don't become political until they themselves choose to enter the arena.

It was Palin's pushing of abstinence as the proper sex education and her opposition to actual sex education in school, and then her young daughter's pregnancy that made this newsworthy.

I disagree here too. A teen pregnancy does not become public business because the teen's mother has a certain political view. That Palin has used her son, daughter and grandchild for political purposes is sad, but it still doesn't excuse our doing the same. Just becuase it's wrong for Palin to do it, doesn't make our politicising of politicians' families right.

by Eleanor Black on November 23, 2009
Eleanor Black

So Graeme what do you make of Levi, Piper's babydaddy? He chose to leap right into the media glare by going on talk shows and even appearing shirtless in Playgirl I believe it was. Are we supposed to ignore him too?

by Graeme Edgeler on November 23, 2009
Graeme Edgeler

I'm not sure he's all that newsworthy. And if we ignore him maybe he'll go away ... so I guess while I've a problem with the coverage of him, it's not really out of concern. If that's what counts as news these days, more power to the media :-)

by Andrew Geddis on November 23, 2009
Andrew Geddis


"I don't care what use a politician has made of his or her family, they don't become political until they themselves choose to enter the arena."

Well, I guess that makes Bristol fair game, then ...

"Since the birth of her son, [Bristol] Palin has spoken out on a number of occasions against teens having sex and teenage pregnancy. In 2009 she worked with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and the Candie's Foundation to encourage young people to avoid teen pregnancy."

by Graeme Edgeler on November 24, 2009
Graeme Edgeler

Andrew - I'm not sure that charity work was what I meant by 'entering the arena'.

And I also came back here to add that just because someone is posing topless in a magazine doesn't mean that person loses their right to privacy.

by Andrew Geddis on November 24, 2009
Andrew Geddis


Perhaps it would be simpler if you listed all those situations in which it is acceptable to make any public comment whatsoever about someone who shares genetic material with a politician. Seeing how there appear to be basically none.

by Graeme Edgeler on November 24, 2009
Graeme Edgeler

there appear to be basically none

Pretty much. I think I recall making a comment (kiwiblog?) at the time the left-wing birther movement was in full force (alleging that Sarah Palin was actually Trig's grandmother) that even if it was true it wasn't so much news as gossip.

That said, I think the discussion moved at some point here. Public comment about a person is different from public comment about a person's private affairs.

Thus, I probably wouldn't have problem with public comment about Bristol's advocacy of teen abstinence (assming it was ... an organisation with that name could just as easily be promoting contraception - though I suppose that would be why the name was chosen). However, I believe that comment can be properly made without tying it back to her personal life (or at least without tying it back to part's of her personal life she herself isn't using).

One can attack abstinence advocacy by a person by arguing about how such advocacy doesn't work very well - or may even be harmful - without one's comments being personal to the person advocating the message.

by Jana W. on November 30, 2009
Jana W.

I see your point Graeme but what about credibility? How would you feel if you found out that your preacher at church was spreading a really good message of love and acceptance but was molesting children in the back room? I am not trying to discredit the message in that situation, but I would recognize the irony in the scenario. No one is saying her message is wrong or anything, just that she has become actively involved in something she doesn't model. If anything, she only serves as a cautionary tale in which she treats her child like a "problem" she had to "deal with" (Remember she is advocating that what she did with her life is NOT okay in the eyes of God). You can't blame people for being interested especially since it appears to be a blatant PR move.

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