Seeing red

Posted on 30 Nov 2009 at 11:42am

sarah palin going-rouge

Oprah skimmed it. You know you want to too.

After all, what’s more entertaining than a speech by Sarah Palin?

On my radio show (Lambda Weekly, Sunday at noon on 89.3 KNON-FM) we predicted Palin would be the VP pick the week before her name was announced. And after hearing her answer reporters questions at the convention, we also knew she would implode.

How did we know she’d be the pick?

McCain needed to do something bold to counteract Obama. Picking a woman would be just the thing. And he needed someone high profile. Nothing less than a governor or a senator.

There are Snowe and Collins of Maine. Too liberal. Hutchison of Texas. Too Texas after eight years of Bush. Murkowski of Alaska. Too scandal-ridden. The rest of the women in the Senate are Democrats.

The only female Republican governors are Rell of Connecticut (too liberal), Linda Lingle of Hawaii (too Jewish) and Sarah Palin of Alaska. Bingo!

How did we know she’d implode?

After her knock-their-socks-off speech at the convention, the media asked her a question.

“How will you handle the job of governor with a special needs infant?”

Her answer: You wouldn’t have asked me that if I were a man.

Even though she was right, it was the wrong answer. Or at least only a partial answer.

If Palin were smart enough to think on her feet, after telling the snotty, chauvinist reporter that he would never have asked a man with a special needs child the same thing, she should have said something like this:

You know, I was just appointed to the ticket and we haven’t completely figured out all the details. But Todd is coming with me to Washington. So are the kids. And as a family we’ve always pulled together.

That answer gives her “family values” cred. And is more accurate as a partial ‘I don’t know’ and a partial ‘How does any family deal with things?’

But she wasn’t applying for a promotion at her company where her boss was afraid she’d take too many days of personal leave. She was running for Vice President of the United States. So here’s what I’d really have liked her to say:

“You know, I’m going to be Vice President of the friggin’ United States. Who’s gonna take care of the kid? Do you think Hillary drove Chelsea to school every day? We’ll hire someone to do take care of the damn kid.”

But she didn’t say anything like that. She froze.

In her book, Going Rogue: An American Life, she spends an entire section blaming Katie Couric for a gotcha interview. An interview is only gotcha when you’ve got no answers. When she was asked what paper she reads, a completely appropriate answer would be The Anchorage Daily News, her state’s biggest paper. Surely she heard of it.

So why is Going Rogue topping the bestseller list? Even without the Oprah bump she’d be there. My long introduction is an example of why the book is selling. Palin, love her or hate her, evokes a reaction. Nobody is neutral.

She’s attractive. Her husband’s hot. Levi’s hot. She’s athletic. She shoots moose. Her rambling speeches are entertainly funny … if it wasn’t so scary that she might have become vice president and now is a serious contender for the 2012 nomination.

But for an inciteful commentary about Palin, read Going Rouge: An American Nightmare, edited by Richard Kim and Betsy Reed. Similar cover.

My favorite section is a fact and fiction section, which compares Palin quotes with facts. Sources are cited. Another is a list of her top 25 Tweets.

In an interesting analysis of her governing style, Patricia J. Williams talks about how Palin deals with her brother-in-law. Williams compares Palin to Lorena Bobbitt. Rather than work to pass laws that deal with domestic violence, she said, as Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden did, she “did the vigilante thing — apparently taking the law into her own hands, using her role as governor to pressure and ultimately fire the head of her public safety commission. However sympathetic one might be to her sister’s plight, what Palin is alleged to have done is corrupt.”

Going Rouge is the interesting look at Palin. Who knows what Going Rogue even means.

And for the record, she never said her most famous line – that you could see Russia from her front porch. The more-qualified-to-be-Vice-President Tina Fey did.

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