Tag Archives: pallin’ around with terrorists

The Pit Bull in the China Shop

Sarah Palin vs. Pit Bull

Sarah Palin vs. Pit Bull

At last the American right and left have one issue they unequivocally agree on: You don’t actually have to read Sarah Palin’s book to have an opinion about it. Last Sunday Liz Cheney praised “Going Rogue” as “well-written” on Fox News even though, by her own account, she had sampled only “parts” of it. On Tuesday, Ana Marie Cox, a correspondent for Air America, belittled the book in The Washington Post while confessing that she couldn’t claim to have “completely” read it.

Going Rogue” will hardly be the first best seller embraced by millions for talismanic rather than literary ends. And I am not recommending that others follow my example and slog through its 400-plus pages, especially since its supposed revelations have been picked through 24/7 for a week. But sometimes I wonder if anyone has read all of what Palin would call the “dang” thing. Some of the book’s most illuminating tics have been mentioned barely — if at all — by either its fans or foes. Palin is far and away the most important brand in American politics after Barack Obama, and attention must be paid. Those who wishfully think her 15 minutes are up are deluding themselves.

The book’s biggest surprise is Palin’s wide-eyed infatuation with show-business celebrities. You get nearly as much face time with Tina Fey and the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in “Going Rogue” as you do with John McCain. We learn how happy Palin was to receive calls from Bono and Warren Beatty “to share ideas and insights.” We wade through star-struck lists of campaign cameos by Robert Duvall, Jon Voight (who “blew us away”), Naomi Judd, Gary Sinise and Kelsey Grammer, among many others. Then there are the acknowledgments at the book’s end, where Palin reveals that her intimacy with media stars is such that she can air-kiss them on a first-name basis, from Greta to Laura to Rush.

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Palin and America’s Paranoid-Style Politics

Sarah Palin exemplifies all the worst traits of paranoid politics found within America today.

Sarah Palin exemplifies all the worst traits of paranoid politics within America today.

Forty-five years ago this November, political historian Richard Hofstadter published a provocative essay in Harper’s Magazine entitled “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” in which he argued that our nation “has served again and again as an arena for uncommonly angry minds.”

Hofstadter, a widely celebrated professor at Columbia University who had just won a Pulitzer Prize for his book “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life,” was then confronting both the ghosts of McCarthyism and the more immediate significance of Barry Goldwater’s candidacy for president of the United States. Hofstadter was particularly concerned about assessing “how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority.”

“I call it the paranoid style,” Hofstadter wrote, “simply because no other word adequately evokes the qualities of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind.”

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Sarah Palin’s Obama Obsession

Sarah Palin during her speech at the Republican National Convention.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin ranting to the crowds during her speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Today [Saturday] marks the one-year anniversary of John McCain’s introduction of Sarah Palin to the international stage, in Dayton, Ohio, a political battleground that the Republicans desperately needed for another shot at the White House. They lost Ohio big (by more than 300,000 votes), and they lost the election even bigger–mostly thanks to Palin’s erratic, if not downright bizarre, performance as the vice-presidential nominee.

In many ways, it seems longer than a year. Much longer. Palin went back to Alaska, where her life turned into a nasty soap opera. There were revelations from McCain’s staff about her behavior on the campaign trail; she was hit with a myriad of ethics charges (some of which, contrary to Palin’s claims otherwise, stuck); she bailed on her relationship with the state’s legislators and played politics with the federal stimulus plan; she got into a dog fight with Levi Johnston; she began a series of odd Twitterings, replete with a six-part ramble on Mommy Bear; she resigned amid chaos and deception, only to return as a diva on Facebook.

And through it all she has been obsessed with Barack Obama.

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