Archive for June 2011
If I could summarize my 2008-2009-2010 research in Alaska about Sarah, I’d say the most surprising thing I found was that those who know her best like her least.
Perhaps I should amend that now to say that those who know Sarah best dislike her most.
It’s only the outliers, who know little or nothing, who cling to their fantasies about the woman who never was.
And this poll was commissioned by right-wing Alaska radio talk show host Mike Porcaro. Commenting after seeing the results, Porcaro said, “the surprising result is she has become highly unpopular in her home state.”
Porcaro is a good guy and a reasonable man. But if he considers the result of his own poll “surprising,” it shows he hasn’t had his fingers on the same statewide pulse I detected last summer, and even in the fall of 2009 when I was researching THE ROGUE in Alaska.
In any case, now no one can deny the reality: Alaskans would rather re-elect an African-American Democrat than see their ex-Governor in the White House.
My first alert to the fraudulence of Sarah Palin came in June, 2008, and it came from a conservative, my friend Tom Brennan, the ex-newspaperman and p.r. man and present-day author, about whom I write in Going to Extremes. I was thinking of revisiting Alaska to write about the changes since the mid-1970’s, the period about which I wrote in Extremes.
That’s when I learned that Alaska had its first woman governor. Because she was described as a conservative Republican, I wrote to Tom, thinking he’d tell me that she was a brilliant crusader for all that was right (as in “right wing”) and that I should make her the centerpiece of my new book about Alaska.
Well, she has become the centerpiece, but not in the way I first intended. Tom wrote back that she was an ignorant nitwit. He quoted a high-ranking military friend who’d met her as governor and who’d said she had “less depth than a worn-out dime.”
That was my first clue that there was trouble in paradise. I started to pay attention to Palin. What I sensed from the start, and later verified through extensive research, was that by late summer of 2008 Sarah was already sourdough toast in Alaska.
As I write in THE ROGUE:
“As August waned…Sarah found herself at the low point of her political career. Former supporters, both Democrats and Republicans, turned against her. After promising honesty, transparency, and the highest ethical standards, she found herself accused of lying, cover-up, and actions that seemed, at the least, a grievous ethical breach.
Autumn is a mere blink of an eye in Alaska, and looking beyond it, Sarah would not have been able to see anything other than a long, dark winter of turmoil, acrimony and discontent. Then, like an angel on a mission from her Heavenly Father, John McCain swooped down to tap her with his magic wand.”
The rest is history.
And now more Alaskans would vote for Obama than for Sarah.
Repudiation–and that’s with a “p”–does not come in a stronger dose.
To put it another way to Palin supporters: Refudiate this.
So desperate is Sarah for cheap and easy publicity–and a few extra bucks–that, as Associated Press reports, on Wednesday, she’ll be horning in on her daughter’s first “book” tour appearance at the Barnes & Noble in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Pure coincidence, of course, that Michelle Bachmann (aka “The Sarah Palin of 2011/2012”) is from Minnesota.
Someone less cynical about the Palins than I am might look at this as a manifestation of motherly love and show of support for a daughter whose “screw & tell” memoir hasn’t even cracked the amazon.com top 500 list despite Bristol’s appearance on Good Morning America today.
As I’ve made clear in earlier posts, I simply do not care about Bristol. Nor about any of Sarah’s other children, except for continuing to wonder who really gave birth to Trig.
I care about the phenomenon of Sarah only because–by many light years–she was the least qualified and most deranged person ever nominated for the presidency or vice presidency of the United States, and because she continues to successfully seduce the Beltway chattering class.
“To be or not to be,” is no longer the question. Now it’s, “Will she or won’t she?”
Like water, however, trash seeks its own level. Sarah’s appearance alongside her no-talent daughter at a Minnesota shopping mall is the clearest indicator yet that the 2008 Republican candidate for vice president of the United States is finally becoming not the national leader she never could have been, but part of our national landfill.
And in case you were wondering, no, I won’t be bringing Levi along on my own tour for THE ROGUE in September and October. (Media appearances already arranged in New York, Washington, Toronto, Alaska, Seattle and Los Angeles.)
Honestly, I’m not desperate enough to sit behind a table in a Minnesota shopping mall.
Here’s a difference between McGinniss books and Palin “books.” Joe Jr. and I write our own: Sarah and Bristol aren’t able to do that.
I was there, in the company of my great friend Ray Hudson, of Newcastle, England, who after a brilliant career as a soccer player has become the world’s best soccer announcer for whom English is a first language. In his recent extraordinary profile of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Jere Longman of the NYTimes made clear how Ray and only Ray can transliterate Messi’s genius into English. If anyone thinks world-class soccer is boring (I readily concede that the sub-standard version played in the U.S. is yawn-inducing), please check out this one clip among dozens on YouTube wherein Ray Hudson demonstrates that it’s not. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyEls-EqdOY
Ray flew up from Fort Lauderdale so I wouldn’t have to endure the Palin appearance at The Villages, an hour north of Orlando, on my own.
And thank God he did. Even in his great company, it was an ordeal.
But I snapped out of my torpor and into parent/grandparent mode when I saw how Sarah mistreated Trig.
As I write in THE ROGUE:
She emerges [from her bus], holding Trig. Once the TV cameras and still photographers have had their fill, she hands him off to an assistant, who soon puts him down on the asphalt parking lot and lets him crawl. The lot is covered with broken glass, cigarette butts, and old chewing gum, and Trig is barefoot. Eventually, Piper comes along and puts him in a stroller.
This is almost the full monty, family-wise. Chuck and Sally and old Aunt so-and-so, plus Piper and Trig. Chuck and Sally work the crowd. Leaving Trig in the stroller, so does Piper. She’s eight years old and has the fake smile of a ten-term congressman. For some reason this sticks with me as the saddest sight I see all day.
And now, on Wednesday, in a Minnesota shopping mall, patrons will get a twofer: Sarah and Bristol showing off their fake, smarmy smiles side by side as they peddle their fake books.
Sarah: where’s Trig?
Bristol: where’s Tripp?
Can either of you care about anybody but yourselves?
p.s. I’ve said I don’t care about Bristol or Levi and I don’t. But when they start poaching on my turf–taking up space in book stores with their whiny, self-aggrandizing, adolescent tripe–I’d be remiss not to point out the difference between thoroughbred race horses (i.e. Geoffrey Dunn and myself) and the steaming piles of shit said horses leave on the ground behind them (i.e. Sarah, Bristol, etc.)
It’s tough to catch lightning in a bottle.
Equally tough to recapture the sound of thunder once someone else has spirited it away.
Sarah Palin’s endless, erratic dithering about her 2012 intentions has created a vacuum on the evangelical right that Michelle Bachmann has been quick to fill.
Who was all over the Sunday talk shows today? Bachmann. Suddenly, the press is all about her.
Just look at this.
Through her fear of engagement with America’s opinion-makers, and movers and shakers, Sarah has painted herself into a corner at which fewer and fewer people even bother to glance.
Bachmann has effortlessly slid into the groove that Sarah once occupied.
Suddenly, it’s Bachmann who is the “serious” female candidate for the GOP nomination.
Suddenly–or not so suddenly–Sarah has been shoved to the sidelines, from which her shrill cries can barely be heard.
I start the last chapter of THE ROGUE by writing:
The time has come to strike the tent.
That may seem like a strange thing to say in the last chapter of a book about the star performer of the circus. But no matter how much my book sales might benefit from a Palin presidential campaign in 2012, I sincerely hope that the whole extravaganza, which has been unblushingly underwritten by a mainstream media willing to gamble the nation’a future in exchange for the cheap thrill of watching a clown in high heels on a flying trapeze, is nearing the end of its run.
Someone who knows Sarah better than I do told me recently that the only thing that would propel her into the 2012 race would be a credible Michelle Bachmann candidacy. Because Sarah couldn’t bear to yield the limelight to another woman.
Yet it’s happened. I’d always thought Sarah would run for president because to not do so would destroy her credibility even among the cretins who would have supported her.
But she just didn’t have the guts, or the commitment, to do so. She’s always been a phony and a bully.
Because of John McCain’s desperate and deeply unpatriotic inanity, she got in over her head in 2008.
She’s been treading water ever since. Now she’s about to sink out of sight.
To switch the metaphor back to the circus, she’s skulked away from the center ring, conceding it to Bachmann without a fight.
A venal, lying, avaricious quitter she always was, and a venal, lying and avaricious quitter she’ll always be.
Goodbye, Sarah, “The Oft-Defeated.” We knew ye all too well.
The movie about herself that Sarah will travel to Iowa to watch on Tuesday–unless she cancels her trip–is called “The Undefeated.”
How could a serious person, even a serious conservative, use that title for a movie about Sarah?
She was defeated, most famously, in her run for vice president in 2008.
Prior to that, she was defeated in her run for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor of Alaska in 2002.
Those are two defeats in tries for elective office.
But Sarah’s history of defeat is much more extensive.
She was defeated in the Miss Alaska pageant.
She was defeated in four different attempts to graduate from college before she finally managed it at University of Idaho.
She was defeated in her attempt to get a creationist majority elected to the Wasilla School Board in the early 1990’s.
She was defeated in her attempt to have abortion banned at the Mat-Su Valley hospital.
Before her election as Wasilla mayor, she was defeated when she applied for a position as dispatcher with the Palmer, Alaska, police department and was not hired.
After her election as Wasilla mayor, she was defeated in her attempt to appoint Alaska Independence Party and John Birch Society member Steve Stoll to the city council.
As mayor, she was defeated in her attempt to fire Wasilla librarian Mary Ellen Emmons in 1997, a move that nearly led to her recall.
As mayor, she was also defeated in the courts when she tried to build a new sports arena on land the city did not own—a defeat for which Wasilla is still paying.
She was defeated in her first attempt to hold down an appointed job, when she had to bail from her post on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in 2004, due to her inability to grasp the complexities of the commission’s work.
Mike Miller, the ultra-right wing candidate she supported against Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the 2004 GOP primary for U.S. Senate, was defeated.
As governor of Alaska, she was defeated in her attempt to have her ex-brother in law Mike Wooten fired from the state police.
Also as governor, she was defeated in her attempt to require teenagers to obtain parental consent for abortions.
Also as governor she was defeated in her attempt to have the state pay the expenses involved in her bringing her children with her on political trips, and her image suffered an even greater defeat when it was disclosed that she’d been billing state taxpayers a per diem charge for the more than three hundred days she spent at her Wasilla home while serving as governor.
Her reputation as an ethical reformer suffered another defeat when a state-appointed investigator found that she’d abused the power of her office in her attempt to have Wooten fired.
In 2009, she was defeated in her attempt to install her former personal attorney, Wayne Anthony Ross, as Alaska attorney general.
Subsequent to her resignation, it’s become clear that her strongest initiative as governor–the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA)–has proven a costly failure.
And last summer Sarah was defeated in her attempt to bully me into vacating the premises I’d rented next door to her on Lake Lucille.
Not to mention how many Tea Party candidates she supported last fall were defeated. (Anybody remember Christine O’Donnell? How about Joe Miller, in her own (former) state of Alaska?)
How many defeats is that?
More than enough to make an utter mockery of the title of the hagiographic propaganda film that she hopes–and no doubt prays–will pull her national political career out of its terminal free-fall.
There are many bloggers–and, as I’ve seen recently–commenters keenly interested in Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston.
I am not one of them.
I’d appreciate it if you could keep your comments related to the topic of the post on which you’re commenting.
Because nothing I’ve posted relates to Levi/Bristol gossip or snark, no comments about them or their ghostwritings are relevant.
Many other online venues will welcome your opinions about them.
Frankly, I couldn’t care less.
I don’t like to delete comments and I’ve very seldom done so, but fair warning: this is not a site about Bristol and Levi.
They bore me. And I don’t want the comments section to bore others who feel as I do.
Please: if you have to vent about Bristol and/or Levi, do so on one of the many blogs that eagerly report on their latest doings.
But not here.
I was called for jury duty in May, 2010. Because I knew I’d be in Alaska, I requested a postponement, which was granted automatically.
I was called again for May, 2011. I arrived at the courthouse at 8 a.m. and sat in a room with other prospective jurors for two and a half hours. Then a judge came in and said she’d just dismissed the case our panel had been scheduled to hear. I was home by 11 a.m. and not subject to being called again for at least three years.
Sarah can’t go to Sudan because she’s been summoned for jury duty?
The lies just get bigger and bigger. She’s living inside a hot air balloon for which she supplies the hot air.
But you know what?
I’ll be back in Wasilla in September, Sarah. Maybe I can drop by to say hello and grab a piece of that blueberry pie you promised me via Facebook last summer. If you lock the kids in the basement, they’ll be safe. We can chat about how your jury duty went.
Among other things…
As the Washington Post reports, Sarah has cancelled her ill-advised journey to Sudan for the July 9 independence ceremony of South Sudan.
And as was widely reported earlier, she’s also abandoned her U.S. bus tour after just the one leg that ended with her embarrassing blunder about Paul Revere’s ride.
The excuse, such as it is, seems to be that it’s prime fishing season in Alaska.
But that makes no sense. Sarah hates fishing, and only pretends to like it when in front of a television camera.
And it’s not like Alaska’s current nineteen hours of daylight per day is a new phenomenon she just felt she couldn’t pass up.
Something has thrown her badly off course, and it’s not just publication of Bristol’s trashy ghost-written “memoir.”
All guesses as to what it might be are welcome.
Hey, wait a minute, do you suppose she’s p-r-e-g-n-a-n-t?
In any event, at least this summer she doesn’t have to worry about me watching her mow her lawn with Trig on her back.
Instead, I’m planning to attend next week’s Rosanne Cash concert at Bard College.
This devastated nation is in turmoil and anguish for reasons far too complex for Sarah to understand–or be interested in.
And it’s getting worse day by day, as NY Times reports here.
Admittedly, I don’t give Sarah credit for much empathy or integrity, and not even for having common sense.
But surely, even she will recognize that a money-making, self-aggrandizing, evangelically-sponsored jaunt in July to the most acutely suffering country on earth would be an unforgivable affront to human decency.
I predict, therefore, that even though she has publicly stated she plans to visit Sudan in July, she’ll cancel the trip.
Surely, she can find another way to enrich herself next month. Even she wouldn’t seek to profit from the blood being shed by the helpless, defenseless and innocent victims of this most horrid of civil wars.
In fact, Sarah, here’s a personal request: announce that you’re canceling your trip, and don’t give some phony excuse. Just say, “There’s nothing I can do to help these poor people, and any attention paid to me being in their midst would only distract attention from their misery.”
As they see even what used to be her base losing interest in Sarah as Queen Esther–and as a presidential candidate–her shrinking hard core of unblinkingly blind zealots is praying out loud that the propaganda film made by one of their own can somehow overcome all that Sarah herself has done over the past two-and-a-half years to make herself irrelevant, laughing all the way to the bank.
The serious neo-cons, such as Kristol, Barnes and Krauthammer, whom she so successfully seduced in 2008, have abandoned her.
To them, she’s become a dirty joke they wish they hadn’t told.
Most of the Tea Partiers have given up on her, too, transferring their affections to Bachmann, while dreaming of Perry.
This leaves Sarah increasingly isolated, no more a “Mama Grizzly,” but a polar bear marooned on an inexorably shrinking ice floe (but one, she will assure us, that isn’t melting because of man made global warming.)
God used to open doors for her. Now she needs a deus ex machina just to keep herself afloat.
The dwindling few who still proudly proclaim themselves as cult members see “The Undefeated” as their last best hope.
See this frantic call to arms–or at least to the box office–at The Daily Caller.
As if a propaganda film could save her now.
For the record, Sarah Palin is not undefeated. She was not only defeated as McCain’s running mate in 2008, but she was defeated in her race for lieutenant governor of Alaksa in 2004.
“The Twice-Defeated” would be a more accurate title.
Not that accuracy has ever mattered to Sarah.
Johnny Cash was and is one of my few heroes. My admiration for him is based not only on my appreciation of his unique talent as singer, songwriter and performer, but on the courage he showed as a Nashville heavy hitter who stood up for Bob Dylan way back when Bob was considered a commie jew anti-war hippie by the country music establishment, and for Johnny’s overcoming substance abuse problems to create a whole new oeuvre in his later years, and for his being a man who never tried to shove his Christianity down anyone’s throat, and who, throughout his life, opposed needless war, imperialism, racism and insensitivity to the less fortunate among us.
In October, 2008, she wrote a brilliant commentary in The Nation, called “Why I’d Be a Better VP than Sarah Palin.
Contained therein is her straight from the shoulder shot about Sarah being pregnant with Trig in Dallas and taking the wild ride to Wasilla:
Finally, there is one subject in which I find I am even more conservative than the Governor, and that is in the area of neo-natal responsibility. The Governor was eight months pregnant and in Texas to give a speech, when her water broke. She reportedly made her speech and then traveled eleven hours, dripping amniotic fluid, bypassing Seattle and Anchorage (major cities with world-class hospitals) to travel to a small hospital in Wasilla that had no neo-natal intensive care unit, and gave birth there. Call me a wimp, call me insecure, but you had better also call me a maverick, because I would have said “Damn the schedule! Damn the speech and the airline ticket!” If this had been me, as soon as my water broke, I’d be at the closest hospital and that baby would have been born in Texas!
This is from a mother of five whose career has taken her to far more places around the world than Sarah’s has.
It’s a question of priorities.
What matters more: the life and well-being of your Down Syndrome baby, about to be born prematurely, or your image?
The estimable Ms. Cash makes clear the choice she would have made.
Which is the choice any sane and caring woman in that circumstance would have made. And the choice her husband–if he were caring–would have insisted on!
This leaves us with only two options:
a) Sarah is/was either not sane, or was so uncaring that she was more concerned about her image than about the life she was carrying inside her.
b) She wasn’t pregnant.
I just don’t see a third alternative.