2 December 2009
This was a fun book to read. Especially if, like me, you were alive and paying attention to the peculiar presidential political melee during the summer and fall of 2008. There were a lot of dogs that didn’t bark and thus the whole thing was more than a little puzzling. This book appears to be an effort at explaining some of those puzzles. It does not speak to the main puzzle however, which was the almost total absence of any journalistic efforts to tell us commoners who Barack Obama was, other than he was somewhat black and spoke like a white man most of the time.
The main-stream media masters that I have heard, and their lesser kin out in the boondocks, obviously did not read this book. They say she didn’t write the book; that one of her editors did. And yet, the book sounds very much like Governor Palin talks, whether you like that or not, and as far as I know, almost every writer except for a few politicians always give credit to their editors.
Governor Palin is a journalist in the sense of writing journals for much of her life. She draws on these for a summary of her earlier life: Normal kid growing up in normal places, and yet they were exciting places—at least in her memories and in her journals, and would probably be that way for the rest of us if we had been smart enough to write in them and keep them for later use—weren’t all of our childhoods exciting places and times? Then she got interested in local politics after a normal education and a normal early family life. Eventually she became the mayor of Wasilla Alaska. Then, a little later she ran for governor against the good old boys of Alaska, and she won.
Probably the high points of the book are her descriptions of her feelings when she discovers she will be the mother of an extra-chromosome baby boy (Down Syndrome) and then soon after, another bolt of lightning strikes when John McCain picks her for a short and tumultuous life as a vice-presidential candidate.
I thought at the time it was a brilliant choice because Joe Biden had already been chosen to be the Democratic choice for vice-president. What a splendid contrast: old Senator Jack S Phogbound from one of the corrupt one party states of the East versus the bright young reformer Sarah Palin from small town western America. While writing the last sentence it suddenly occurred to me that just as we have heard some institutions are “too big to fail,” maybe there are some states that are too small to avoid corruption, in that their cities and the lordly people that congregate in them tend to over balance the more ordinary rural folk, where much of the common sense of the country resides.
But even better, of course, was the fact that the vice-presidential candidate for the Republicans had more real experience at governing than the presidential candidate for the Democrats. This was delicious irony or so it seemed to me. Of course, with our main-stream media (MSM) in bed with Obama it was difficult to make that clear, though Palin did make an effort at the convention when she likened being mayor of Wasilla as something similar to a “community organizer, though with actual responsibility.” That might have been the best line of the campaign. No wonder our MSM types really had to scramble to put down this upstart nitwit from fly-over country. Well, you know what I mean.
The peculiarities and deficiencies of the campaign, which made some of us wonder who was actually playing the part of The Manchurian Candidate, are explored, at least from Palin’s point of view. We are all waiting for some explanation from the McCain point of view. Well, maybe not.
8 December 2009
I meant to get up early today but I forgot to set the alarm last night. So it wasn’t until about 8:30 am that I got over to Borders’ book store to check out the crowds coming to see Sarah Palin, perhaps give her some encouragement, and get their copy of her book signed.
The crowd seemed fairly normal and moved along steadily and cheerfully I thought, with a few signs, but mostly just bundled up against the bitter cold temperatures. If nothing else these temperatures may well have kept at least some of the riff-raff huddled in the nearby coffee-shops. At 8:30 am the crowd, about 3-4 abreast stretched back from the front of the Borders store to the entrance to the IHOP restaurant. It may have gone back even further than that before they started moving around 8 am when the store opened.
It looks like a lot of Billings people are going to make room on their mantles this Christmas for a copy of Governor Palin’s book, alongside the Bible and their guns of course. Or maybe they will put a small bookshelf alongside the gun rack in the back of the pickup.