Friday, September 3, 2010

Going Rogue by Sarah Palin

Going Rogue: An American Life
I thought when I saw the title of this one that Going Rogue referred to Palin's career giving speeches for conservative politicians and causes, after her unsuccessful vice-presidential run and leaving office as the governor of Alaska. That wasn't the case. It actually refers to what she was accused of by McCain's campaign staff whenever she would stray from the scripted message that they were trying to deliver during the 2008 campaign. She definitely had some philosophical differences with the team that was running things for The Maverick.

Most of this book is a relatively prosaic tale about Palin's childhood and family life. Her father moved his family to Alaska to teach school when she was very young, and she grew up in a very rustic background, with fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. I liked one of her quips, "I always remind people from outside our state that there's plenty of room for all Alaska's animals -- right next to the mashed potatoes." Sounds like Idaho, another place Palin spent quite a bit of time in, while attending the University of Idaho.

I think I'd like to chat with Mrs. Palin sometime, as she appears to be a lifetime avid reader. She says that the library on Main Street was one of her summer hideaways. In fact all of her family were readers, with their noses tucked firmly in a book or magazine, especially during those long winter nights.

On state government spending, Palin puts it quite well. "...lessons learned on the micro level still apply to the macro. Just as my family couldn't fund every item on our wish list, and had to live within our means as well as save for the future, I felt we needed to do that for the state." I only wish more of our congressional masters felt this way.

As one of two female governors in the country back in 2008, Vogue magazine did an interview and photo shoot of Palin. While Palin kept trying to make the interview a serious one about national security and energy independence, the writer was "doing her best to write for readers who cared only about the latest Fifth Avenue styles and probably wouldn't be caught dead in a pair of Sorels." I'm not sure about that, some of those New York soccer moms that drive Hummers probably wear Sorels to go with them.

It sounds like supper table conversations in her household growing up were quite interesting. Her father leavened his lessons in all subjects with uniquely Alaskan subject matter, and enjoyed discussing what he was teaching with his kids. I think anyone who underestimates Sarah Palin's intelligence and intellectual curiousity is in for a rude surprise. The media like to make fun of her, as if she's some sort of ignorant rube, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Eventually, Palin decided to resign from her position as governor by the flood of frivolous ethics lawsuits brought against her. By a peculiarity of Alaska state law, anyone can file an ethics charge, free of charge, and the accused must spend their own money on legal fees to defend against it. Between these harassments and another flood of FOIA requests by the same group of people, she and her staff had little time left for the job of governing the state and working on their legislative agendas, so she stepped down. Amazingly, the ethics charges dried up when she did.

No astonishing revelations, no tell-all scandal, no fear and loathing on the campaign trail. Just an informative book about one of the major political figures of our time.

1 comment:

Karen and Gerard said...

Gerard read this and liked it. Here's a link to his review if you're interested: