“America is looking for answers. She’s looking for a new direction; the world is looking for a light. That light can come from America’s great North Star; it can come from Alaska.” ~Sarah Palin
One thing we’ve known about Sarah Palin since she burst on the national stage was that she was not academically talented. And from the time she opened her mouth, the wish was Please hush. Her voice did her no favor. I wondered why a candidate was let loose on American life before she was ready for public display. Why didn’t someone groom her? the way Rex Harrison did Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady (1964)? Didn’t these people have handlers?
Yes, they did. And that is much of what Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue: An American Life (2009) is about: her handlers—though it’s almost an embarrassment to say one actually picked up the book and read it—though, at its worst, it is still Americana compared with Hillary Rodham’s It Takes a Village, a Leftist piece of propaganda I’ve never stooped to read and never will—and though all this took place two Presidential elections ago. Palin is with us still. And from what she tells us, Sarah’s problems in the 2008 Presidential campaign were largely her handlers. They either let her down or intentionally sabotaged her.
We knew McCain, at least the public McCain. We knew his voting record, his ad libs to the chronic mic thrown in his face, his Leftist views, and the fact that we didn’t like him because he was a RINO. Too Liberal for Conservatives. We didn’t need or want another Democratic party or a Democratic candidate in the GOP. We wanted an old-fashioned Conservative party and an old-fashioned Conservative candidate. So, we assumed McCain picked Palin, a female, to be politically correct, to threaten Hillary, to balance the ticket, or because the decision was made for him by his handlers. That Palin was photogenic (eye candy), feminine, and noncerebral was counterproductive: the message it sent was that all women were good for was their looks, which probably didn’t win him a lot of female votes.
Reading Going Rogue is much like hearing a child’s eye view of the campaign, which a more mature reader can then translate into adultspeak. Sarah’s personal handler did her no favor, for instance, when she sicced Katie Couric on her. Anyone with any sense would have known to stay away from Couric: one morning on NBC-TV’s Today Show I watched Couric badger then-President George HW Bush on Iran-Contra and wondered how she could get away with it. She was not an elected official, he was, yet she was making the President of the United States, head of the free world, answerable to her. If Conservatives are alkaline, the rabid Liberal Couric is acid. Was the ambitious, smothering handler, who coerced Palin into the interview, a mole in the McCain camp or was this the way the campaign was meant to be staged?
Who are these handlers, anyway? Young, inexperienced airheads? or crafty, conniving exploiters? On one occasion, when Sarah was handed an official statement, written for her, that was to appear with her byline, she rewrote it and sent it back for correction. What was aired was the original statement, unedited. She was told, “Stay with the script.”
When she asked questions, she was told what “headquarters” wanted or didn’t want. Who was “headquarters”? the RNC? McCain? something else? Was McCain also answerable to “headquarters”? Was McCain the fall guy? Was McCain-Palin designed to fail?
“Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men’s views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.” ~Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom (1913)
Ever since learning that William Jennings Bryan, three-time candidate on the Democratic ticket, lost every national election (1896, 1900, 1908), I have been skeptical of the election process. How did an orator, a statesman, and a populist three times win the candidacy and yet lose the national election? Evidently something was crooked way back then, and has been crooked ever since: people in the backroom ignoring the votes, stuffing ballot boxes, and calling the election themselves or a force behind the scenes deciding the outcome.
After the 2008 election, which the McCain-Palin ticket lost, Sarah was hit with frivolous lawsuits, most of which were thrown out of court and only one of which remained ambiguous. To avoid the hassle, she settled out of court that one, having to do with the transportation of her children. One thing the book shows is an enmeshed family. To this day, I don’t know the names of McCain’s or Obama’s children; but I’ve known Palin’s ever since the campaign. Why is that? Media exposure. Now book exposure. Palin has a problem with boundaries. She doesn’t draw a line between her private and her professional life. Her top advisers are family and friends. She doesn’t leave her work at the office or her kids and husband at home. If she really wants her kids spared, she herself needs to shield them.
Another thing Sarah tells us is that after the election the nonscandal Troopergate was promoted by Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama. Why? The election was over. She’d lost. Revenge? Insurance against a later run against Hillary? Or control of Alaska’s vast natural resources? Being “Emanuelized” or “thumped”—the Chicago treatment—was the Democrat’s way of opposing the GOP. After paying her attorney’s fees out of pocket, Sarah decided, “To do this job, you have to be either rich or corrupt.” As evidence of corruption, Obama’s chief of staff Pete Rouse, a senior adviser to the Obama campaign, who lived in DC and kept an Alaska address (Main Street, Juneau), was the one demanding an investigation into Troopergate. Kim Elton, who once shared Rouse’s Alaska address (Main Street, Juneau), had also moved to DC, was playing a key role in advancing Troopergate, and had joined the Department of the Interior as director of Alaska Affairs. Clearly, these “Alaskans,” with Obama and Emanuel, wanted the governor out of office.
Alaska’s oil had made oilmen rich. As governor, Palin, with the help of the FBI, had gotten rid of “the good old boys,” so that there were fewer corrupt politicians to protect the giant oil companies. She then found a way to channel some of the oil profits from the oilmen to the citizens of the state, scratched 85 percent of the pork, and trimmed the state budget. She found a way to get a natural gas pipeline built that would be the biggest private construction project in the history of North America. Because it was doing nothing with the land, she kicked Exxon out of a long-held lease to begin drilling. So, you can see why the Obama team at the Department of the Interior were eager to chasten her, if not evict her, from office, which they finally succeeded in doing. She resigned the governorship.
Of course, Palin’s not out of it. She’s still hanging out with the media and keeping herself in the public eye. She may be good for Alaska. I don’t know that she’s good for the country. She calls herself Christian and talks about praying, but, to me, CINO (Christian in name only): there’s still the cussin’, chewin’, tattoos, SNL, and rock music. When the situation with her daughter came up, she was concerned not with the morality of it, but the girl’s future. And when legislators came up with a bill against giving homosexual partners spousal benefits, she vetoed it, because of a court ruling, not realizing that it was within her power to side with the legislature against the court, as well as vice versa, and showing how dependent she is on legal advice.
If the world wants a female head of state, and I don’t see the point, surely they can find one more qualified.
“When oil and gas prices went up dramatically and filled up the state treasury, I sent a large share of that revenue back where it belonged—directly to the people of Alaska.” ~Sarah Palin
Copyright © 2013 Alexandra Lee