Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Review of "Going Rogue" by Sarah Palin

This is not a formal review but just a few random reflections on the book. It was an enjoyable read and those who read it will find it hard to hate this person, (which, I suspect, is precisely why many liberals will not read it and work hard to keep others from doing so.)

1. Sarah Palin comes across as a happy person. She seems to be enjoying her life; there is no bitterness or resentment and not a hint of the whining professional victim image that some women in politics display. She seems grounded in family, friends and community and secure in her own skin. A lot of the venom directed her way by feminists seems to be rooted in jealousy. But look at her family; no wonder man-hating, childless careerists are jealous.

2. The book is light on policy and philosophy and written in a folksy and engaging way. No wonder it has sold 2.7 million copies in less than 2 months and become one of the best-selling political autobiographies of all time. Those who criticize her for not writing it for the policy-obsessed, professional politician crowd may criticize her for ignoring their priorities, but it must grate them that she is basically talking over their heads to the voters. My impression is that she knows her audience very well and talked to the kind of middle-class, religious, family-oriented person she was trying to reach. The thing the liberals need to remember is that America is a center-right country in which liberals are a minority. She knows this.

3. Some reviewers accused her of being defensive and whiny about the campaign. But I thought that, given what she went through, she was extremely positive and upbeat. She reiterates over an over again her respect for John McCain and she obviously knows that she owes him an awful lot. Conservatives don't share her enthusiasm for McCain, but they do respect loyalty and will respect her for treating John McCain as a hero and a patriot, which after all, no matter what you think of his various policy positions, he is.

4. I thought her explanation of why she resigned as Governor made perfect sense. It is very interesting that the coordinated, professional, well-funded attacks on her using the state freedom of information and ethics legislation were attempts to destroy her politically by liberal interests. She wanted out of the straight jacket of elected office so she could make money to pay of campaign and legal bills, be an independent voice and support whoever she wants whenever she wants. It might have been wiser for her opposition to have left her alone in Alaska.

5. It is clear that the left fears and loathes her and regards her as the one Republican who could defeat Obama in 2012 (although it may require sodium pentothol to get them to admit it). All that propaganda about how she is unelectable, not presidential material, too dumb to be president etc. is their first line of defense. They hope she never runs for anything again. But political professionals know that she is dangerous for several reasons:

(a) She is a woman and therefore able to attack a black president more easily than a white male could do. (She proved that she could insert the knife with a smile on her face and look innocent doing so in her convention speech.) This means that she would be free to go negative when a Huckabee or Romney or whoever would hold back, just as McCain did in the campaign.

(b) She is a populist capable of rallying the base against Obama, who will not be able to pretend to be a centrist next time around after governing from an ultra-left position. This means that conservative leaning independent voters are ready to embrace an alternative; the question is if they will listen to the Democratic politics of destruction unleashed on Palin or if they will embrace her as the anti-Obama. Polls right now show independents flocking to the Republicans.

(c) Like Ronald Reagan, she projects an attitude of real optimism about the future, which may well appeal to a country snowed under excessive debt, struggling to emerge from recession and suffering from a loss of confidence on the world scene. She genuinely likes America and Americans; many Americans sense that Obama is more of an internationalist with an American base. Ironically, she may well steal the "Hope" theme that Obama used successfully last time.

(d) She also embodies decisiveness in foreign policy and a resolute determination to confront the enemy of global terrorist networks in a way that Obama struggles helplessly to project.

6. I thought that her account of the campaign made sense and rang true. Many of the kind of people who supported and worked for McCain were uncomfortable with her and one can see why. But she proved to be a team player and one got the sense that she was not nearly as vindictive as she could have been. She kept McCain from being humiliated in a year that was not to be for the Republican Party.

The book was definitely lightweight when compared to many other conservative political philosophy and policy books, but it was clearly written by a populist politician rather than a policy wonk. Maybe after four years of policy wonks running Washington, the American people are going to be looking for someone as different as possible from Obama in 2012. Will it be Sarah Palin? Maybe, maybe not. But I don't think anyone should hyperventilate about the possibility. America could do worse - much worse - and the truth of that proposition is being hammered home day after day. It is hard not to conclude that anyone who despises and hates Sarah Palin hates and despises Americans in general and that means that, regardless of elite opinion, she cannot be lightly dismissed.


Anonymous said...

"The Politics of the Cross Resurrected." That's the title of your blog. When, under that title, you file some extremely generous reflections on Sarah Palin's book and overall career, you take the risk of giving the impression that you are an unWallis, unwittingly cloaking an extremely conventional partisan line in sanctimonious language.

To clarify: it's not that a Christian can't have a good opinion of Sarah Palin or admire her as a politician. It's not that the book is bad instead of good. It's not that anything you've said is demonstrably false. It's that you, as an extremely ambitious political/theological blogger (i.e. this is not about using the internet to keep your inlaws apprised as to their grandkids' latest antics, you are pontificating on the most profound topics imaginable for as wide a world as possible) are indulging yourself in an irresponsible way by musing on how wonderful Sarah Palin is under the the extremely potent title you have appropriated for yourself. Please cut it out.

slaveoftheking said...

That's an interesting comment.

Is it okay if I ask the commenter to cut out his condescending pontification?

Craig Carter said...

That is the voice of "liberal tolerance."