Friday, October 16, 2009
Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue:" Soap-Opera or Inspiration, it's a Bookseller's Dream
Now the first printing of 1.5 million copies, not even available until November 17, is in such demand that pre-orders on Amazon kicked it to number 5, and Wal-Mart is furiously serving the bargain market with $10 pre-orders.
Perhaps because by violating my conservative values, she's getting what she wants. Which appears to be loot, suggests Ron Bonjean, Republican pundits' spokesman. "She obviously has designs on 2012, but her immediate concern seems to be making lots of money quickly off of the support she has out there."
This troubles me because fundamental conservative values include honoring commitments, never quitting, and focusing on the long-term. This lady, physically attractive and congenial as she is, was elected by Alaska citizens to serve as governor. Without that office, John McCain would never have selected her as his VP candidate. In her campaign, it was her experience in Juneau that she drew upon to show her national and international qualifications--even though at the time, she'd served for just a year and a half. And after her loss, she looked around and saw that even if the tundra was cold, the iron was hot. She left office, disappointing those of us who felt that any future career required a brilliant performance as governor to bolster her tissue-thin resume of PTA mom, City Councilman (in a victory of 512 to 310 votes) and until 1992, Mayor of Wasilla (population 5,469 in the 2000 census).
If her new book zeroes in on her values and what Alaskans are all about, great, but the same message by one less colorful would flop cold. Just a couple days after her gracious acceptance to Sen. McCain's VP selection, she announced her 18-year-old unmarried daughter Bristol's pregnancy, flummoxing supporters. Throughout the campaign, Bristol and fiance Levi Johnston were shown publicly holding hands; they broke up before marrying and he now provides amusement to detractors by disparaging the Palins and posing for magazines like GQ and Playgirl.
Given all the stories about Palin hunting moose, approving a plan to cull wolves by aerial gunshot, switching colleges four times, winning third-runner-up in the Miss Alaska pageant, sportscasting on local TV...there's bound to be plenty in the book to criticize and with which to sympathize. Despite its stated goal, what Gov. Palin won't do in her memoirs is convince anyone that conservative values are the most direct path to a satisfying and productive life.
Though I have sympathy for the lady, and admiration for her spunk and independence, on the international stage, she's not only an unsophisticated neophyte, but target of snickers and chuckles. She reminds me of Chauncey the gardener in Jerzy Kozinsky's Being There, thrust into prominence with no basis, because the suit makes the man, much like Sarah Palin's glasses and upswept hair make the intellectual-looking woman.
Still, I wish her well, and hope her book bolsters booksellers so they consider conservative titles all the more worthy of touting and celebrating. And Going Rogue might even be a Horatio Alger story of sorts, reminding us that in this great nation, you don't need a Harvard education to command the national spotlight.