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The Rogue: Searching for the real Sarah Palin (book review)
By David A. Schwinghammer   

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McGinnis spends too much time covering
himself.

The main problem I had with McGinniss’s book on Sarah Palin is that he’s almost as much a focus as she is. As we know, he moved in next door to the Palin residence, which stirred up a hornet’s nest on conservative blogs, radio shows and Fox News.

McGinnis says he got all kinds of death threats and that Alaskans who sympathized with him kept trying to give him guns. He also says it was cheaper to live there than any other place he could find in Wasilla, only $1,500 a month. Only? I think I could’ve found a motel for less than that. So let’s just admit it, Joe. You did it for publicity purposes. We all know that.

I happen to like Joe McGinnis. One of the most riveting non-fiction books I’ve ever read was FATAL VISION about the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case where a the Green Beret doctor murdered his wife and family and tried to blame it on hippies. So, when I heard he was going to write a book about Sarah Palin, my reaction was, “Give her hell, Joe.”

Sarah Palin provides enough journalistic ammo without starting some vendetta against her. If Joe had stuck to journalistic integrity, this book could have been quite instructive. For instance, Sarah first ran against a man named John Stein who had been mayor of Wasilla for nine years and had a degree in city planning. He passed a city sales tax and instituted the city’s first police force. Apparently there was a meth epidemic in Wasilla, and there was a wild west mentality. He also solicited Sarah to run for a seat on the city council. She stabbed him in the back and ran for mayor primarily on the platform of keeping the bars open until five A.M. Stein wanted them to close at two and save a few lives. She won with a little help from conservative activists. She immediately fired the police chief and replaced him with a libertarian yahoo. She then realized she knew nothing about being a mayor and hired a city manager, costing the city more bucks.

McGinnis also has the annoying habit of jumping around in time. One minute he’s talking about her time as mayor, the next she’s governor, a few pages later she’s running for vice president, then she’s resigning as governor and taking five million to have a book written with her name on it. So, let’s see what she did as governor, shall we? McGinnis concentrates on Troopergate for the most part. Mike Wooten was a highway patrolman married to Sarah’s sister, Molly. They were divorcing and the Palins wanted him fired. They had a list of grievances against him that they wanted Walt Monegan, her public safety commissioner, to investigate. Wooten was cleared of all charges and Monegan told her he couldn’t fire Wooten. She fired Monegan instead. One of her biggest screw-ups as governor was to pay a Canadian company with no access to natural gas to build a pipeline.
That cost the state 500 million. She also lied on a deposition concerning Mike Wooten; it was caught on tape. That was when she was tapped to be McCain’s running mate.

McGinnis also spends quite a bit of time discussing Palin’s reasons for running for office in the first place. She didn’t want to be simply governor of Alaska or vice-president of the United States; she wanted to be president to institute the dominionist Christian philosophy. In other words institute a Christian government, something the First Amendment is supposed to protect us against.

Perhaps the strangest indictment McGinniss makes is that Trig, Sarah’s Down Syndrome son, is not her child. She never looked pregnant. During a governor’s meeting in Texas, apparently her water broke; yet, she delivered a speech at the conference hours later and flew all the way back to Alaska to have the baby. Kind of hard to believe that somebody who couldn’t (according to McGinnis) be bothered to raise her own kids, would raise somebody else’s special needs child.

McGinnis also doesn’t have anything nice to say about Palin’s parents, Chuck and Sally Heath. Chuck was a sixth grade teacher who never bothered to teach math, science, English, or any of that other pedestrian stuff and Sally spent all of her time at the Seventh Day Adventist church, Sarah and her siblings being raised by Sarah’s older sister Heather.

This book is not another FATAL VISION. I say skip it. Palin’s fifteen minutes are up anyway. 


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