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Going Rogue: An American Life

Sarah Palin speaks out.

By David Holahan / November 24, 2009

Very early in Going Rogue: An American Life, Sarah Palin’s memoir, the reader learns that she has had “a drive to help, an interest in government and current events since I was a little kid” and that in grade school she was fond of the Pledge of Allegiance. Ronald Reagan, one of her heroes, makes his first of numerous cameos on Page 3. Palin reveals that she was something of a bookworm growing up, and she even names several publications that she read regularly. 

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Further along in Chapter 1, Palin recounts an incident, a quasi-epiphany, when the heavy hand of government first revealed itself to her, as she and her brother were pulled over by an Alaska State Trooper for driving a snowmobile on a public road: “A couple of kids on a snowmachine up against a big dude with a gun and a badge. I couldn’t help wondering about his priorities, if he really didn’t have more important things to do, like catching a bad guy, or maybe helping a poor old lady haul in her firewood for the night. Looking back, maybe that was my first brush with the skewed priorities of government.”

Perhaps as telling as what Palin asserts in her memoir – and she asserts many things, quite frequently throughout, often with few if any supporting details – is what is not mentioned until the second page of the “Acknowledgments”: “Thanks as well to Lynn Vincent for her indispensable help in getting the words on paper.” Vincent has been described officially as Palin’s “collaborator” and unofficially as a coauthor, but she doesn’t rate more than this vague description that could apply to a stenographer. It’s an odd decision by the author, who bills herself as “an everyday American” who is not driven toward “power or fame or wealth.” She is all about other people, family, friends, public service, what’s good for Alaska and America.

Indeed, she resigned as governor a year before her term was up for the sake of Alaska, which, she writes, was beset by politically motivated and frivolous Freedom of Information requests and ethics complaints that were costing both her and the state time and money: “Financial hardship is painful but bearable. Loss of reputation I can take. But I could not and cannot tolerate watching Alaska suffer.” She would carry on the fight outside of government.

Earlier in her career, she made a very similar decision, to resign as chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, a regulatory body, because she didn’t feel she was getting the necessary support from her superiors on ethics issues and because she was under a gag order: “I knew what I had to do, so I resigned – stepping away from the ethical lapses and hierarchical blinders to effect change where I could – on the outside.”


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