Sarah Palin's 'Going Rogue': A powerful testament to a good woman's endurance in a mean world of politics
"Reviewing" Sarah Palin's new book is quite an assignment. There are a lot of pages. And not many pictures. But here goes:
Despite the involvement of a professional ghostwriter, Republican ex-Gov. Palin has penned one of the most powerful pieces of personal or political literature in a generation of American books. It's "Going Rogue: An American Life" (HarperCollins, $28.99).
Her behind-the-scenes memoir -- you may have noticed a photo of the cover above -- is flying off store shelves across the country even as you read this. (Now, see video below.)
It's a 413-page masterwork of personal and political insight that makes Dick Cheney's upcoming memoir look like a Golden Book. Based on the first 48 hours of....
... sales reports, HarperCollins has already ordered additional printings. And Palin is destined to become a millionaire. Again.
With her trademark down-to-earth tone and gee-gollys, Palin takes her readers inside a compelling personal quest from her loving family's upbringing through the....
But Palin says she felt there was more to life, more for her to give back to her community and country. So despite all the pressures of motherhood and wifedom, she ran for the Wasilla City Council. And won!
And then the mayor's office and on to a state commission and the corrupt state government that's been dominated by her own party for so long. And then her successful Sarah vs. Goliath struggle to win the GOP gubernatorial nomination and then taking down a popular Democratic opponent in a general election upset as big as that big state.
And political partisans she came to know who've both inspired and disgusted her in the smelly meat market of rhetoric and mean-spirited medianess that American politics have become in the 21st century.
Suddenly, during the summer of 2008, Palin comes to know John McCain, the red-blooded American war hero who's served in the U.S. Senate for a generation and has, as Republican presidential hopefuls usually do, impatiently waited his turn for the party nomination.
Now, he has that nomination in his grasp. And, gee whiz, McCain wants the little-known, reform-minded former city councilwoman to be his partner as vice presidential nominee on a maverick ticket for the party of Lincoln.
At first Palin is reluctant, she thinks. But after five or six seconds of reflection she agrees to join the old guy on his one last bid for the gold cup, the shiny key to the White House that those goldarned Bushes occupied for 12 years. The Titanic has sailed.
It won't ruin the book's ending to reveal here that the McCain-Palin GOP presidential ticket did not win on that grim Nov. 4, 2008. Not only did it not win, it got clobbered by a $750-million Democratic steamroller coming out of Illinois with the Windy City at its back.
Along the way Palin experienced the same kind of insidious sexism that afflicted Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries. The same kind of media intrusion into her family's life that would never be laid upon, say, Al Gore's speeding son with the prescription drugs in his car or those tabloid allegations about John Edwards' infidelity.
The Associated Press assigned 11 reporters to fact-check Palin's book, but did not bother combing through, say, Obama's books.
But is Palin daunted? You betcha not. Indeed, "Going Rogue" is clearly just the beginning of the national journey for this new grandmother.
The strength of her moral character and the clarity of the down-home vision she outlines for tax cuts and a smaller federal government empowering the people themselves to carve their own futures from the firm bedrock that is America paints a compelling image for Americans to follow in the next few years.
One thing is clear: No one can say today with any certainty what lies ahead in national politics for the hockey mom and Todd's biggest snow-machine racer fan.
Now, one minor disclaimer: We haven't actually read Palin's new book. Not one single page. We have a copy. We intend to read it. And we imagine it's fairly entertaining, perhaps revealing, as self-serving inside political stories go. We may even autograph it to ourselves from her.
Also, hopefully, it's short on exclamation marks!!!
But after reading the Washington Post's review of "Going Rogue" the other day and the reviewer's candid confession that she hadn't really had time to finish the book that she was writing so authoritatively about, we realized this is the latest thing in U.S. society and journalism.
Why bother reading any of it? Just talk about it.
Millions of Americans won't read "Going Rogue" and will think it's pretty good because they like SP. And millions more, like the Washington writer, are just as certain that it's conservative pop garbage, same as her. And they know this without cracking the thing open or turning page after page to the very end.
You don't even have to buy the book to know any of this.
So, a reviewer can just write what he/she thinks the book is or heard it is or wants it to be. And if no one else reads what they're writing about or reads anything they disagree with, who can challenge anybody on anything?
It's perfect for a hurried society, like Washington every day or the modern quadrennial presidential campaigns. People reciting at each other things they've heard from others.
This way nobody has to learn anything new or adjust what they're already certain of. Dumb is the new American smart.
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Photo: Joseph Kaczmarek / Associated Press; Getty Images; HarperCollins.