Could Sarah Palin Actually Benefit From A Hatchet Job?

A highly determined hatchet job on Sarah Palin in Vanity Fair is already controversial: Roger Ebert called it "devastating" and "a scorcher." But others, notably several women in media, worry that the piece is playing into Palin's hands.

Palin's animosity against the "lamestream media" is practically canonical, and the piece itself notes that fact. That's unlikely to end now that Michael Gross has obsessively — and breathlessly — reported the following:

1) Palin is a bad tipper. Unless people are watching. "Warm and effusive in public, indifferent or angry in private: this is the pattern of Palin's behavior toward the people who make her life possible."

2) She has a "horrible temper, but she has gotten away with it because she is a pretty woman." So says a "friend." Also, "Palin lashed out at the slightest provocation, sometimes screaming at staff members and throwing objects." She and Todd allegedly would have fights where they threw canned goods at each other and dented the fridge.

3) She uses her sex appeal! Says the same "friend," "Once, while Sarah was preparing for a city-council meeting, she said, ‘I'm gonna put on one of my push-up bras so I can get what I want tonight.' That's how she rolls." Also, she buys "Spanx girdles"!

4) She's not really a hunter, and she doesn't help with the fishing. Another unnamed authority: "This whole hunter thing, for Sarah? That is the biggest fallacy...That woman has never hunted. The picture of her with the caribou she says she shot? She got out of the R.V. to pose for a picture. She never helps with the fishing either. It's all a joke."

5) She hired a blogger who possibly writes her Facebook posts.

Uh yeah. We're all for shoe-leather reporting, but at this point, this seems like a rather barren field to tread. A strong denunciation came early from Clara Jeffrey and Monika Bauerlein, co-editors of Mother Jones, on Twitter:

Could Sarah Palin Actually Benefit From A Hatchet Job?

Here's something actually interesting and potentially revelatory that Gross turned up: many of the local "grassroots organizations" that invite Palin to speak around the country (and paid her six figures for the trouble) seemed to barely exist before the press release announcing her visit. Gross speculates that "Timothy Crawford, the treasurer of Sarah-PAC, presumably has some responsibility for the byzantine structures undergirding Palin's travels. Before joining Palin, Crawford was the interim finance director of the Republican National Committee." It's not clear what the ultimate motivation behind all this is, unless it's to pretend that a handful of deep-pocketed supporters, who, per Gross, keep Palin in backyard chateaus and Gulfstreams, actually represent comprehensive political support or action.

Meanwhile, Meghan McCain, making the rounds for her book, described "conflicting feelings" about the woman her father made a national figure. She said,

"A lot of things happened but I think that is how campaigns are in general, no matter who comes. And you know I respect her as a feminist, a Republican feminist, and going out there and working for women, especially Republican women."

At least they agree on reclaiming the word from that cackle of rads.

Sarah Palin: The Sound And The Fury [Vanity Fair]
Meghan McCain: I Have Conflicting Feelings About Sarah Palin [ABC News]