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Going Rogue: An American Life

Sarah Palin speaks out.

(Page 2 of 2)

The assertions keep coming. Despite all her reading, she writes: “Everything I ever needed to know, I learned on the basketball court.” Of her hero, she opines, “Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot.” Some American servicemen who defended their country from 1945 to 1989 might take exception to that statement. When she has vegans over to dinner, she tosses a salad and lectures them gently, “If God had not intended us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?” This, of course, serves equally well as an argument for cannibalism. “If tea parties had been in vogue back then, I would have thrown the first one...” is a phrase worthy of a certain Hall of Fame catcher.

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Yogi-isms aside, at times the facts clearly get the better of the author. For example, when she is being quizzed by Steve Schmidt, John McCain’s senior campaign strategist, about her knowledge of the Middle East, she writes: “He wanted to know whether I understood the origin of the conflict, the history of the Middle East, and how thirteenth- and fourteenth-century differences had evolved into today’s murderous rivalry between the Sunni and Shia [Muslims].” The bloodletting began in the 7th century.

What is most surprising about Palin’s account of the 2008 presidential campaign is how infrequently she went “rogue,” and how dutifully she did what she was told, said what was written for her, and wore the clothes that were purchased for her. We know she didn’t like it because she describes what she was thinking while she was following orders. If this were a novel, suspense would be building for the great moment when she would confront John McCain, for whom she has nothing but praise: “John, call off the dogs; I gotta be me. I can help you win this thing.” The moment never comes.

For a person who has served on regulatory boards and in various government positions since 1992, Palin is not fond of regulations or government. In fact, she asserts that the recent financial crisis was not caused by Wall Street, but by government “meddling.” Then, on the next page, she seems to temper that statement by quoting another of her heroes, Margaret Thatcher, who described capitalism as being beset periodically by “gales of creative destruction.” Thatcher continued, “To lament these things is ultimately to lament the bracing blast of freedom itself.”

If Palin were president, it is clear that she would let the financial north winds blow and blow until they blew themselves out, all in the name of helping.

David Holahan is a freelance writer in East Haddam, Conn.


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