Why my next book will be about Bruce Springsteen

No, I’m not happy about the concessions President Obama is making to the right wing in a last, desperate attempt to save us all from a constitutional and financial meltdown whose consequences most of us can’t even imagine.

The belligerent–and (though I think it’s juvenile to make fun of people’s names) boehnheaded Republican leadership represented by John Boehner (and cheered on from afar by newly-minted millionaire Sarah Palin, who wants to keep all she’s got) would be willing to sink the ship on which we all find ourselves in 2011 in order to drown the president in 2012.

There’s a word for that. The word is “treason.”

President Obama has been forced to abandon his hopes of moving us forward. Now it’s all hands on deck to save us from drowning.

Among those whom I’d guess are sickened by the way the Republican right has dragged us all into this Sargasso Sea of self-destructive selfishness is Bruce Springsteen.

It was my admiration for the way Springsteen has maintained his artistic integrity over forty years–even as he matured and came to see that rock and roll was not in and of itself a cure for the human condition– that first interested me in writing about him.
Not to mention my flat out love for his music, both with and without the E Street Band.

But what’s come to interest me about him more, the more I’ve learned, has been my growing awareness of his unwavering concern about the gap–now a chasm–between the glorious promise that America once offered and the sordid reality of 21st century capitalism and the blighted political system that supports it.

The extraordinary journalist/essayist Mikal Gilmore interviewed Springsteen almost twenty-five years ago for a story included in Night Beat: A Shadow History of Rock & Roll.

Here’s what Bruce Springsteen said, in 1987:

“The idea of America as a family is naive, maybe sentimental or simplistic, but it’s a good idea. And if people are sick and hurting and lost, I guess it falls on everybody to address these problems in some fashion. Because injustice, and the price of that injustice, falls on everyone’s heads. The economic injustice falls on everyone’s head and steals everyone’s freedom. Your wife can’t walk down the street at night. People keep guns in their homes. They live with a greater sense of apprehension, anxiety, and fear than they would in a more just and open society. It’s not an accident, and it’s not simply that there are ‘bad’ people out there. It’s an inbred part of the way that we are all living. It’s a product of what we have accepted, what we have acceded to. And whether we mean it or not, our silence has spoken for us in some fashion.”

How much worse is it now, almost twenty-five years later?

Boehner says sink the ship and Sarah says reload.

And even those of us who can converse on the internet are not the real victims.

The real victims are those who cannot.

The Problem Sarah Can’t Solve: Sarah Palin

She speaks with forked tongue.

And she can’t keep herself from stepping on both forks.

Consider just recently:

–her comments after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was almost assassinated in Arizona.

–her idiotic bus tour, which culminated in her astonishingly ignorant remarks about Paul Revere.

–her insistence that she had been right about Paul Revere: yes, really, he was shooting his gun and ringing his bell to warn the British that the Americans were coming!

–her embarrassing cancellation of the rest of the bus tour.

–her insistence that she had not cancelled the bus tour.

–her cancellation of her trip to Sudan because of nonexistent “jury duty.”

–her support for the hugely embarrassing movie about herself. “The Undefeated” could be the worst movie ever made about a politician, which is fitting, because she could be the worst political figure ever to etch her way into the national consciousness. Only fitting that it was made by a guy who made his money at Goldman Sachs, ripping off real Americans while he enriched himself. And they have the gall to call themselves populists!

The list could go on, and Sarah herself will assure that it does.

It also goes way back in time. Trust me, Sarah’s history of stepping all over her forked tongue all her life is documented in THE ROGUE.

I’ll never forget the first time I heard her voice. I was considering a new book about Alaska, a sequel to GOING TO EXTREMES. I heard that Alaska had a woman governor. That intrigued me. I googled her. Then I youtubed her. Fifteen seconds after first hearing her voice, I knew she wasn’t somebody I wanted to write about.

Then McCain chose her as his running mate. Which meant that this blithering idiot came close to holding a national office that could have been the Presidency.

And so I felt I had to write about her.

I still tremble when I think about that. Do any of you realize how close we came to the destruction of the United States of America, and its replacement by the Christian States of America? For those of you who believe in him, thank God for Barack Obama. May we never have to learn what he saved us from.

Every day for the rest of our lives every one of us should let John McCain know what a traitor he was to the country he once served so bravely.

Meanwhile, Sarah lives on as a national political figure, enabled by the very mainstream media that ridicules her.

Breathlessly, the Beltway Bunch awaits her decision…

Sarah has already laughed all the way to the bank.

Now she may swoop in again and try to steal our country and present it to her cult–the Christian Dominionists, whose top priority is to destroy separation of church and state.

Sarah tried that in Wasilla. It didn’t work. That doesn’t mean she’s not planning to try it again, on a much larger scale.

With every word her forked tongue allows her to utter, she tries to play down her ties to Evangelistic Extremism, but in her heart she knows they’re right.

Actually, God is getting the last laugh here.

Because with every word she utters in live time (and this excludes her ghost-written Facebook posts), she trips all over the tongue God gave her but forgot to tell her how to use.

In THE ROGUE, I write about my visit to John Stein, the man Sarah unseated as mayor of Wasilla in 1996.
You can read about Stein’s integrity and honesty and self-effacing sense of humor in the book, but I’ll include this brief exchange with him here to give you a sense:

“My question about Sarah,” he says, “is if God wants her to be president, why didn’t God equip her with education enough to have at least basic knowledge of geography, science and social systems?”

“You mean so she wouldn’t say she could see Russia from her house?”

“She never said that,” he says, smiling. “She said she could see rush hour.”

Meet the new Sarah Palin: Nikki Haley of South Carolina

As Sarah’s free-fall into political irrelevance accelerates, Bachmann has already replaced her as the right-wing Republican woman who might matter in 2012. But it’s Nikki Haley (pictured with Sarah above) who threatens to erase all memories of the Wasilla Weirdo.

[By the way, thanks to commenters and others who worry that nobody will care about THE ROGUE when it is published on September 20. Worry not. My publisher, Crown, is not concerned. In fact, the people at Crown are wildly excited about the book’s prospects, and growing more so every day. THE ROGUE contains enough startling new revelations–as well as my first-person account of what it was like to live next to Sarah last summer–to assure the sort of national interest that previous books about Sarah did not achieve. Major national media attention is already guaranteed, although I’m not permitted yet to get specific.]

But think longer term: Bachmann will burn out this year and next because she’s just as dopey and as enslaved to Dominionist Christianty as is Sarah.

Obama should be so lucky as to have Bachmann as his 2012 opponent. (No, he couldn’t possibly be so lucky as to have Sarah to wipe up the floor with next year: if he did, he might win all fifty states.)

No matter who it is, he’ll be reelected. Yes, you heard it here first. No matter how short the odds, bet Obama in 2012.

Current odds from Ladbrokes in the UK:

Barack Obama
Mitt Romney
Tim Pawlenty
Rick Perry
Jon Huntsman
Michele Bachmann
Sarah Palin
Rudy Giuliani
Herman Cain
Ron Paul
Newt Gingrich
Rick Santorum
Gary Johnson
Thaddeus McCotter

If you bet $1,000 on Obama to be reelected, you’d receive $1,500 the day after election day, 2012.
That’s a fifty percent return on your money in sixteen months.

I personally, of course, do not endorse wagering in any form.

Nonetheless, you might be interested in Ladbrokes’ take on the GOP nomination:

Mitt Romney
Tim Pawlenty
Rick Perry
Michele Bachmann
Jon Huntsman
Sarah Palin
Rudy Giuliani
Herman Cain
Newt Gingrich
Ron Paul
Rick Santorum
Gary Johnson
Thaddeus McCotter

Rick Perry, who hasn’t even said he’ll run, is 5/1, while Sarah, slipping fast, is 14/1 for the nomination.

But let’s look beyond the easy money Ladbrokes is putting on the table. Let’s look to 2016, by which time Sarah will be only that bad taste you might burp up if you ate too much pizza last night.

The GOP/Tea Party/hot chick meme will still be out there. There will be no incumbent President.

Beware Nikki Haley of South Carolina. The New York Times has just anointed her as the future of the Tea Party here.

And the Haley piece was written by Kim Severson, formerly of the Anchorage Daily News.

So she knows how this stuff can happen.


It’s not only Sarah Palin who cares about you.

Whatever is or isn’t in them, Palin emails will be BIG NEWS because MSM says so. UPDATE//Yo, these aren’t the Pentagon Papers!


There hasn’t been such a mass mobilization of mainstream media resources in anticipation of a single event since President Obama’s inauguration.

And The New York Times and Washington Post want readers to help sort through the whole mess.

It’s like a contest where the winners get to work for big, rich media organizations for no money.

You, too, can be an unpaid intern for a day or two or three.

I have no idea what they’ll find, nor how much redaction there will be in the 24,000 pages, but I am certain that the nearly 2,400 pages that are being withheld by the state of Alaska would make for far more entertaining reading.

In any event, plenty of media fodder to fill a slow weekend in June.








How over the top is this media frenzy about emails from the administration of a half-term governor of a state with three electoral votes who was a defeated candidate for vice president and who has not held any elective office for almost two years?

It’s mass media hysteria.  I’ve seen nothing like it in regard to government documents since Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers forty years ago.

And as The New York Times wrote at the time, the Pentagon Papers “demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration had systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress, about a subject of transcendent national interest and significance”: the Vietnam war.

Here’s the irony: the very same mainstream media whose paid pundits tell us over and over again how inconsequential Sarah Palin has become are treating the release of Palin administration emails as an event of transcendent national interest and significance.

The New York Times and Washington Post (see above) are asking members of the public to work without pay to help them sort through the emails, looking for nuggets of gold amid the dross.

MSNBC, Mother Jones and ProPublica have together hired technological experts to help them create a full database of the emails asap.

The ghost of Paul Revere set out on a midnight ride tonight to warn, “The emails are coming!  The emails are coming!”

My question:  given that almost everyone has agreed that Palin has become as irrelevant to our national discourse as a third tit on a mule, why–especially in this age of journalistic decimation–are so many major MSM outlets pouring so many resources down a dry hole?

The New York Times and Washington Post putting out help-wanted ads in order to attract volunteer labor to work on this story of transcendent national interest and significance?

Think about that for a moment:  those twin pillars of MSM have never tried to shanghai crews of amateurs in advance to help them with any other story.  But for the Palin emails it’s all hands to the pump.


All the experts tell us Sarah will not run for president next year.

If she doesn’t, her political career ended on July 3, 2009, when she resigned as governor of Alaska.

Yet the political chattering class can chatter about little else but Sarah, Sarah, Sarah.  They remain obsessed.

As I write in THE ROGUE:

Sarah Palin practices politics as lap dance, and we’re the suckers who pay the price.  Members of our jaded national press corps eagerly stuff hundred dollar bills into her g-string, even as they wink at one another to show that they don’t take her seriously.


Anybody who thinks I exaggerate need only witness the spectacle about to unfold over the weekend.

Howard Dean Warns: Sarah Palin Can Beat Obama








We can laugh–and we do–but others worry.

Howard Dean says, “I think she could win.”

Meanwhile, at Daily Beast, former Bush and Rumsfeld speechwriter Matt Latimer opines that Sarah has already won her war against mainstream/lamestream media, and that her victory could herald big things in next year’s GOP primaries.

Latimer writes:

Last week saw yet another example of the Alaskan’s unmatched skills in media manipulation. All Palin needs do is get on a tour bus and head east and Washington’s most elite scribes fall over themselves to find out where she’s headed, what she’ll say, what she’ll do. All of it was meaningless, of course…

Unfortunately, it’s not meaningless if MSM coverage leads the great unwashed (i.e. those of us who are merely citizens, and not members of the elite Beltway press corps) to believe it has meaning.

It’s a nasty, sordid back street affair that mainstream media is having with Sarah.

As I just wrote in the final chapter of THE ROGUE,

SARAH PALIN practices politics as lap dance, and we’re the suckers who pay the price. Members of our jaded national press corps excitedly stuff hundred dollar bills into her g-string, even as they wink at one another to show that they don’t take her seriously.”

We sneer at her and write her off now.

And we might still be sneering–but also fearing–as Sarah rides a Harley up Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, in January, 2013, to be sworn in as President of the United States.

Yeah, right, we all say: and pigs can fly.

But Howard Dean has actually played the game, not just commented on it from the sidelines.

Laugh him off–and Sarah–at your peril.

Sorry, make that “our” peril. I live here, too. And I’m not laughing.

Sarah Palin and The Seven Dwarfs: Clear-eyed view from across the pond//UPDATE: sending a message?

I often think that Beltway pundits are so close to the screen that they can’t see the picture for the pixels.

And once they reach a collective opinion (i.e. the conventional wisdom from mid-January to April that Sarah’s disastrous plunge into the pool of Narcissus following the Tucson shootings of January 8 had finished her as a force in American politics), they cling to it the way Obama said that embittered poor whites in Appalachia and the Rust Belt “cling to guns or religion.”

Granted, Richard Adams works in The Guardian‘s Washington bureau, which puts him technically inside the Beltway.
Coming from England, however, he’s also a foreign correspondent and thus–unlike the blind men in the Indian fable— able to see the whole elephant.  

In today’s Guardian, Adams points out that there are two strong indicators that Palin will run for president: “everything she says and everything she does.”

Including the fact that her bus tour will take her to New Hampshire this week and to Iowa next month.

You can’t hardly get much more definitive than that.

As Adams writes:

Palin would be crazy not to run for the Republican nomination. Just look at the rest of the field.



Nothing subtle about this:

New York Times calls Sarah Palin: “The Woman Who Might Be President”

She shows up in black leather with a Harley helmet on her head, and, yes, her talking points written on the palm of her hand, and mainstream media—-as exemplified by this story in The New York Times, (featured at the top of their home page, which is equivalent to above the fold on page one, back when anybody actually read the print edition)—-rolls over giddily and begs her to scratch their collective belly.

For sheer mastery of celebrity theater, Sarah Palin cannot be beat.

Ms. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, let the anticipation build for hours on Sunday in the Pentagon’s North Parking Lot, where thousands of bikers (and their rumbling Harleys) had gathered for the annual Rolling Thunder rally ahead of Memorial Day.

And then, suddenly, there she was: Ms. Palin, with her husband, Todd, and the rest of the family. Wearing matching black Harley-Davidson helmets, they rode motorcycles toward the front of the procession through a crush of cameramen, photographers, reporters and leather-clad bikers, all jostling for just a peek at the woman who might be president.

It’s long past time for those of us who believe that Sarah continues to represent a real threat to the (largely) rational discourse that has been a hallmark of our democracy for 235 years to keep blaming her and recognize that it’s the enabling by mainstream media, desperate for page views as print circulation plummets, that keeps her not only afloat, but aloft.

MSM argue that they have to cover her because everything she says and does is “news.”

But it’s only news because they make it news.

Granted, as a candidate for vice president in 2008, Sarah was news. But since November, 2008–and even more so after she quit as Alaska governor in 2009–it’s been MSM’s presenting her as a serious person, even while deriding her in the snobbish fashion that allows her to call them “lamestream”–that has kept the helium in Sarah’s balloon.

What’s clear from the weekend is that nobody has learned a thing.

She starts a “bus tour”—one for which her organizers refuse to say where she’ll be tomorrow— on the back of a motorcycle, and she’s hailed for her “mastery of celebrity theater,” and praised for outFoxing (pun intended) the MSM journalists who chase after her, tongues hanging out.

Okay, but cover her in the entertainment section. Even as the solemn debate about whether she’ll actually be a candidate next year continues, The New York Times calls her, without apparent irony, “the woman who might be president.”

And Chris Matthews, who stated the obvious last week by saying, “she’s profoundly stupid,” said more recently:

“She is really good . . . she’s fantastic on a stage. When she walks out on that stage there’s something kinetic happening. She looks great, look at her, she’s alive, she’s smiling, she’s doing stuff, she’s moving around. You can’t take your eyes off of what she’s doing.”

God help us, his leg is tingling again.

And both John McCain and Andrew Sullivan said yesterday that given the right set of circumstances she could beat President Obama next year.

Hey, if exchanging nasty comments about Sarah on this or any other blog makes you feel good, by all means keep on doing it.
But don’t kid yourself that it’s having any effect in the real world, where media memes are created, where elections are decided, and where the moral, ethical and political contours of our country are being shaped.

Seeing the gleeful embrace that MSM is giving Sarah as she returns from self-imposed, post-Tucson exile, I don’t quite despair, but I worry.

And in my head, I replay Bob Dylan’s lyrics from “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” which he wrote and first performed in 1965, in the wake of the John F. Kennedy assassination:

You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last
But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast
Yonder stands your orphan with his gun
Crying like a fire in the sun
Look out the saints are comin’ through
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue…

The empty-handed painter from your streets
Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets
This sky, too, is folding under you
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue

Sarah hops on a Harley at the Pentagon and MSM falls back in love with her again.

Happy Memorial Day.

“THE OFT-DEFEATED”—the OTHER Sarah Palin movie coming in June










SCENE 1: 1984

The film opens at the finals of the Miss Alaska Pageant, 1984.

LONG SHOT of contestants on stage.

VOICEOVER: “And the winner is……..”

CLOSEUP of expectant SARAH Heath

VOICEOVER: “Maryline Blackburn!”








CLOSEUP of SARAH whispering to GOD: “I froze my ass off for you in Big Beaver or Little Beaver or one of them Beaver lakes when I got immersed for you in 1976.  Don’t you ever let some black bitch beat me again!”


SCENE 2: 1997

Mayor SARAH sits with supporters at Wasilla Assembly of God church, looking at newspaper headlines proclaiming that the Alaska Supreme Court has just permanently prohibited Wasilla’s Valley Medical Center from banning second-trimester abortions.

SARAH: “That’s why we need Christian judges: so no branch of any federal or state government will ever bitch-slap Jesus again.”

OTHERS: “Amen! Amen, Sister Sarah! Amen, Queen Esther!”

Others leave. SARAH returns to her MAYOR’S OFFICE. She places a call.

SARAH: “Hey, Savior-Man, what’s up? You just slammed another door in my face.”

GOD: “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, Sarah. I’m trying to toughen you up for bigger fights ahead.”


SCENE 3: 2002

Election Night at “Palin for Lieutenant Governor” headquarters. Early vote totals make it clear that SARAH will lose.

CLOSEUP of SARAH, now speaking on cellphone:

SARAH: “WTF, Big Guy? How tough do you think I need to be? If you’re going to have some dude make a movie about me nine years from now and call it The Undefeated, it might be nice if you’d let me win something for once.”

GOD: “I only want the best for you, and I only give my best. Remember though:  My ways are not your ways, my thoughts are not your thoughts…for as the heavens are higher than the earth, my ways are higher than yours! I wrote that all down for you in the Good Book! Look it up!”

SARAH: “Hey, chill a little. You’re God. You don’t have to use so many exclamation points.”

GOD: “Sorry, daughter, sometimes I get carried away. In any event, don’t sweat it. I’m going to send you a Down Syndrome baby who will make you the Republican nominee for vice president in 2008. And when you write Going Rogue you can quote me. You can even say, ‘I decided to write the letter as though it were from Trig’s Creator, the same Creator in whom I had put my trust more than thirty years before.’ You cool with that?”

SARAH: “Sure, but won’t there be copyright problems?”

GOD: “Not if you credit me properly. What do you think, I’m gonna sue?”


SCENE 4: 2008

LONG SHOT of McCain headquarters in Arizona. Cactuses wilt. Gila monsters curl into fetal positions. Rattlesnakes cry.   Slaves escape from the compound.  It’s obvious the McCain-Palin ticket has lost.

CLOSEUP of Sarah, talking to MCCAIN.

SARAH: “I wanna make my own speech.”

MCCAIN: “It’s just not customary. I can’t let you do it.”

SARAH: “Fuck you!  It wasn’t customary to pick an ignorant, narcissistic backstabber to run with you in the first place.  So don’t give me that ‘customary’ shit!

MCCAIN: “Listen, bitch: you dragged me down. You put that black Muslim in the White House. But I’m not going to let you steal my last act tonight.”

SARAH: “Let me tell you something, you wet old fart. If you’d have let me go rogue”—

INTERRUPTION as we hear “Onward Christian Soldiers” playing as a cell phone ring.

SARAH: “Excuse me, I’ve got to take this……Hello? Yes, this is her. Oh, God, good to hear from you. Hey, buddy, you didn’t open that door quite wide enough…..What’s that?……Yeah, yeah, that’s easy for you to say, but I’ve been defeated one more time, pal, and now I have to go back to effing Alaska. What circle of hell is that?!……Yeah, right, but you know what?  You sound like the Brooklyn Dodgers, always saying ‘wait till next year.’…….What’s that? You’ve got me a deal on a one-point-seven million dollar house in Scottsdale?……You’ve got me the presidential nomination in 2012?……Okay, okay, but not so fast. What about the 2012 election? I lost to that black bitch Blackburn for Miss Alaska back in the day, and everytime I see Michelle Obama all I can think of is that. So no deal, Bro’, unless this time you’re gonna take me all the way…..What? What’s that?……Sorry, you’re breaking up……


NY Times Front Page: “Signs Grow That Palin May Run”

Nothing I haven’t been saying all along, but it’s suddenly the new mainstream meme.

Read it here.

Are there still doubters?

“The Undefeated”: 2-Hour, $1Million Palin Commercial to Premier in June–in Iowa!









Scott Conroy, co-author of the 2009 quasi-bio Sarah from Alaska:  The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar, announces on RealClearPolitics that a film described as “Sarah’s Secret Weapon” will premiere in Iowa in June.

The film has been financed and produced by Stephen K. Bannon, an ex-Goldman Sachs investment banker previously known for In The Face of Evil: Reagan’s War in Word and Deed, and such other right-wing red meat feasts as Fire from The Heartland and Generation Zero.

Bannon clearly has money and anger to burn, and he’s now all-in with Sarah.

Laugh him off at your own (or our) peril.

Conroy, who obviously has gained membership in Sarah’s current coterie, tells all about the upcoming epic. I won’t even attempt to summarize. Read about it here and don’t blame me if you gag.

My friends and readers, I’ve said all along–and you can go back and look at earlier posts here–that Sarah will run for president next year. Some of you have accused me of taking that position only in an effort to hype THE ROGUE. Those sentiments were not even worth responding to.

I urge one and all to read Conroy’s story, which obviously was written with Sarah’s approval, and perhaps even at her behest.

Can anyone who reads it, and who is aware of Sarah’s move to Scottsdale, seriously doubt that she plans to take down President Obama?

If so, please explain your thinking, because, to me, the writing on the wall could not be clearer: JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO FORGET HER, SHE’S BACK IN YOUR LIVES AGAIN.

For “your,” read “our.”

The drums of ugliness may seem faint and in the distance now, but they’re going to grow louder and closer.

And don’t laugh them off, as Bill Maher, David Letterman and Rosie O’Donnell are shown laughing off Sarah in this film.

Her people are out there, they are numerous, they are angry: and there is not another credible Republican candidate in the race.

Up to this point, Sarah has laughed all the way to the bank.

Now she hopes to laugh all the way to the White House–swept there by a tidal wave of “real” Americans who don’t like elitist liberals (i.e. for a start, anyone with a college education) portraying them as racist, pitchfork-carrying buffoons.

Neither Romney nor Pawlenty can active them, but Sarah can.

And she plans to. Because God is telling her to do so.

Oh, man, this makes what I’ve written in THE ROGUE about how steeped she is in Christian Dominionism all the more relevant. She truly believes her “prayer shield” will keep her invulnerable to attacks between now and election day 2012.

After that, she’ll lay down the shield and pick up the sword of fire with which she’s waiting to smite all of us who do not see her as Queen Esther.

We laugh at her and call her a joke, but she’s serious. And she has big bucks behind her, and nothing to lose.

We’d better stop laughing now, or she’ll have us all crying out for mercy on Inauguration Day, 2013.