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Monday, September 22, 2008

New clueless anti-Palin meme: She's a black widow who'll turn on John McCain

I have another guest post up at HughHewitt.com.

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[Copied here for archival purposes on November 5, 2008, from the post linked above at HughHewitt.com.]

(Guest Post by Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar)

Back on June 29th, I wrote a lengthy book review on my own blog of the only hardcover biography of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Kaylene Johnson's Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska's Political Establishment Upside Down. To read Ms. Johnson's book, I'd temporarily set aside Sen. Barack Obama's first autobiography, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, and I was much struck by the contrast between not only the two books but their respective subjects:

[A]lthough both books purport to cover the early lives of these two young politicians, Johnson's book contains more in the way of objective facts, pertinent anecdotes, and relevant information in 137 pages (plus a fine set of source notes and a serviceable index) than Obama managed to do for himself in 442 pages of vague, breezy, touchy-feely, and wholly unsourced (indeed, admittedly sometimes fictionalized) narrative.

Given the choice between brisk and factual, on the one hand, and deep and muddled on the other, I'll take brisk and factual any time.

Johnson's writing is blessedly free of angst and existential philosophizing. She doesn't need that — for she has, in Sarah Palin, a compelling tale to tell that's based on the remarkable accomplishments of a remarkably normal person. Indeed, although they're products of, respectively, the forty-ninth and fiftieth American states and both grew up outside the continental 48, Sarah Palin's personal history is as familiarly American as Barack Obama's is exotic and strange... It's basically the Ward and June Cleaver family, albeit transplanted to the last American frontier. Sarah Palin didn't need to indulge in intercontinental travel and cosmic soul-searching to find out who her father was, or where her roots were, or where she fit into her own family and community. She knew where she and her family fit in.

As an early supporter of Gov. Palin as a possible Veep nominee for John McCain, one of my several motivations for ordering, reading, and then reviewing Ms. Johnson's then-obscure book was, frankly, to see how the Obama campaign might try to turn it against Gov. Palin. After all, details, even neutrally or favorably reported, can be twisted or taken out of context to provide ammunition for smears.

But somewhat to my surprise, the Obama campaign and its allies have not made much use of Ms. Johnson's book. And in fact, an essay by Jeremy Lott on Politico.com is the first extended discussion of the book I've seen from any left-leaning source. Mr. Lott's theme is suggested by his essay's title: "In 2012, will it be McCain vs. Palin?" [# More #]

Savvy readers [of the Johnson biography of Sarah Palin] might find cause for concern in Palin’s burning ambition, her ruthlessness or her complete lack of loyalty to political patrons. One sensible reason for Sen. Barack Obama's not choosing rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as his running mate was the real worry that she would undermine and run against him. Palin has already done that to her patrons — twice.

Mr. Lott goes on to discuss the Johnson's book's treatment of Sarah Palin's successful run against the incumbent mayor of Wasilla and then her successful run against incumbent GOP Gov. Frank Murkowski, both of whom had previously encouraged her ambitions for lower political offices than their own. His concluding paragraphs:

Palin had her reasons but the pattern is clear. She is invited in by well-established pols, doesn’t get her way and ends up running against the “good old boys” and defeating them handily. Would she do the same against McCain four years from now if he decides to run for reelection?

These days, the notion that a sitting vice president might challenge the president is a distant memory. It hasn’t been attempted since John Nance Garner’s halfhearted efforts against FDR for the 1940 Democratic nomination. My guess is that wouldn’t deter an ambitious Vice President Palin. She posed the rhetorical question during her inaugural gubernatorial address, “Why not Alaska leading the world?”

This is, to put it mildly, monumentally clueless. Sarah Palin — as revealed by her own family background, her rhetoric, and, most importantly, by her entire history as a campaigner and elected official — is not an enemy of "good old boys." There are tens and probably hundreds of thousands of "good old boys" and "good old gals" in Alaska who are among her admirers, in large part because they relate to her and they're sure that she relates to them. What Sarah Palin is all about is tackling corrupt good old boys.

As she and John McCain have both candidly acknowledged, they've had to agree to disagree (for now) on some issues, most prominent among them whether to open up a tiny portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve for energy exploration and drilling. Her conservative supporters do indeed rely upon her demonstrated history of respectfully standing up to authority figures, and indeed, even to John McCain, when she believes they're wrong. Indeed, we're counting on that, because on a whole host of domestic issues, her instincts and record are more reliably conservative than his own.

But as long as John McCain stays clear of corruption, he has nothing to fear from Sarah Palin. She's a young woman whose political career is almost entirely in the future, and although she's not without ambition, she'd be glad to have two full terms as vice president before exploring the possibilities for any other or higher elected office. That someone like Mr. Lott would feel obliged to paint her as a black widow, about to devour John McCain at her first opportunity, is just another example of the entertainment value that's inherent in the Left's reaction to this remarkable woman.

UPDATE (Mon Sep 22 @ 10:25pm CST): The Anchorage Daily News reports that Ms. Johnson's book, which had an original printing of 8000 copies, is now at No. 3 on the New York Times' paperback nonfiction best-sellers list.

— Beldar

Posted by Beldar at 10:15 PM | Permalink

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Comments

(1) Milhouse made the following comment | Sep 23, 2008 1:41:13 AM | Permalink

You really think she wouldn't challenge McCain if she saw an opportunity? Bummer. I don't know why Jeremy Lott thinks his article is a criticism of Palin; to me it sounds pretty good, and one more reason to vote for the ticket that she's on.

"Why not Alaska leading the world?" Indeed, why not?

(2) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 23, 2008 3:46:58 AM | Permalink

I know you know, Milhouse, that McCain was not my first choice, or my second or third or fourth for that matter. But to paraphrase legendary Texas football coach Darryl K. Royal, I'm pretty sure that Sarah Palin is the kind of gal who will dance with who brung her. I do think she'll argue with McCain, but I don't think she'll threaten. And the fact that he picked her, even if his original instincts were to pick someone very different (like Joe Lieberman) gives me hope that he might actually listen.

(3) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Sep 23, 2008 5:57:33 PM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: If you say so. But she'll spend a lot of time hissing, "Stop stepping on my feet, dummy! I told you we should be break dancing instead of waltzing..."

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

(4) Milhouse made the following comment | Sep 23, 2008 6:54:15 PM | Permalink

You're probably right, but I can still wish. My point, though, was that lefty commentators who write such things think they're saying something bad about her, that will dissuade people from voting for the ticket; so it's funny when, viewed from outside the lefty looking-glass-land, they're actually praising her and giving us more reasons to support her.

Even when they lie about her, often the terrible accusation they fling at her is something that I wish were true. If she had fired that police chief for having opposed Concealed Carry, that would have made me think even more highly of her. I also wish she'd actually said our armed forces' mission was from God; and that she'd actually ordered Monegan to pull Wooten's gun and badge, and fired him for refusing.

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