Sarah Palin isn't a policy wonk or an expert in metaphor. But Going Rogue, which I read last night, reveals what she's really good at: dissing people. After the jump, jabs at Ashley Judd, Vogue, liberals, and yes, Levi.
Palin's Oprah appearance was in some ways disappointing, as she buttered up her host and hewed closely to talking points already leaked from the book. Things really only got interesting when she let her guard down and started calling Levi "Ricky Hollywood." Going Rogue is much the same story. Don't read the book for Palin's lengthy descriptions of Alaska energy policy (short version: she believes she helped usher in a "mutually beneficial relationship between government and industry") or for her recommendations for the future of America (short version: Reaganomics). Don't read it for her justifications of her resignation (we've heard them all before) or even for her explanation of how she would have managed her role in the McCain campaign differently (even she acknowledges that they probably still would've lost). Read it for the insults. Or, better yet, just read the insults, and save yourself $28.99.
On anti-corporate liberals (aka Commies):
In national politics, some feel that Big Business is always opposed to the Little Guy. Some people seem to think a profit motive is inherently greedy and evil, and that what's good for business is bad for people. (That's what Karl Marx thought too.)
On Ashley Judd:
One animal rights group recruited a perky, pretty celebrity to attack our scientifically-controlled, state-managed wolf-control program. It was ironic that she opposed using guns to kill predators that would cause Native people to starve, but apparently not opposed to taking movie roles in which she'd use guns to kill predatory people.
On John Kerry:
I recalled Senator John Kerry's comment to California college students in 2006: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
What a loon, I thought. What an elitist loon.
On Vogue readers:
We were bombarded with interview requests, including, believe it or not, a Vogue magazine profile of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and me in a fashion shoot. [...] Since fashion trends weren't my top interest, I kept bringing the Vogue writer's questions back to national security and energy independence. That made it tough for her, as she was doing her best to write for readers who cared about the latest Fifth Avenue styles and probably wouldn't be caught dead in a pair of Sorels. She finally had to stop me and nicely say she had heard enough about energy. I just couldn't pivot from hydropower to high fashion, so the interview wasn't that great for her readers, I'm sure.
On Katie Couric:
By September 29, the day of the bailout vote, we had fallen behind. That bracket of time also included my seemingly endless serial chat with the lowest-rated news anchor in network television, CBS's Katie Couric. [...]
Katie asked me if I thought it was possible to "pray away gay" — to convert homosexuals to heterosexuality through prayer. Hmmm, I thought. Odd question. I don't think she really wanted to hear my answer because she interrupted me five times as I tried to give it. The badgering had begun. This is really annoying me, I thought. Then she asked me about abortion and the morning-after pill twelve times. Twelve different times.
I answered as graciously and as patiently as I could. Each time, I reiterated my pro-life, pro-woman, pro-adoption position. But no matter how many ways I tried to say it, Katie responded by asking the question again in a slightly different way. I began to feel like I was in the movie Groundhog Day. [...]
I felt sick about the depths to which some in the press had apparently sunk, not because it was unfair to me and John, but because it was unfair to the American electorate.
On cap-and-trade policies:
As more and more Americans understand that cap and trade is an environmentalist Ponzi scheme in which only the government benefits, they will refuse to tolerate it.
On Levi Johnston:
[Track Palin] talked about watching his sister be humiliated on national television as her former boyfriend went on his fact-free kiss-and-tell media tour. Track knew the kid was making things up.
On the Democratic party:
There are many fine Democrat public servants, but sadly many in the party have moved increasingly to the left, and often the beating heart of their political warfare has been the personal destruction of their enemies. Generally speaking, after decades of failed social policies and weak national security positions, the party doesn't have a strong base of success from which to win political arguments. So it targets people instead of ideas.
And finally, epically, on the media:
[...] I will state this complaint for the record: what used to be called "mainstream" national media are, in many respects, worthless as a source of factual information anymore. The sin of omission glares in their reporting. Perhaps national press outlets just don't have the resources anymore to devote to balanced coverage. Perhaps they've all just given up on themselves, so we've given up on them too, except to treat their shoddy reporting like a car crash — sometimes you just have to look. The time has come to acknowledge that it is counterfeit objectivity the liberal media try to sell consumers. A period in the great American experiment has passed. We are moving into a new, more intelligent realm to gather information differently in order to hold our government accountable. Thank God there are still a few credible broadcasters on cable news, plus informative talk radio, common sense blogs, and some fine, fact-based print publications. Beware of the left's attempt to silence these — as they have already with the bogus "Fairness Doctrine," which attempts to blunt the force of conservative talk radio — and join me in being all over it when censoring efforts crop up.
Of course, there's more in Going Rogue, from a detailed list of complaints against McCain staffers who attempted to police Palin to an argument that parental notification laws for abortion offer young girls "support and protection" to an explanation of Palin's views on evolution (she believes in it, sort of). But really, her constant criticism of the "liberal media" for its attacks on her is somewhat hypocritical, since attacking others is actually her best skill. Of course, it's hard to tell where Palin ends and ghostwriter Lynn Vincent begins, but ever since her comment that "a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities," she's set herself up as a contemporary poet of the dis. She doesn't always have her facts straight, but she knows how to turn the knife, and it's when so turning that she seems most authentically herself. On Oprah, Palin didn't rule out starting her own talk show, and perhaps she'll yet become the next Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly, offering her sharp if oddly-hewn barbs in response to what she sees as liberal media attacks. Because even though she says she wanted to give a message of unity in her nixed concession speech, what Sarah Palin really excels at is good, old-fashioned mudslinging.