Where do the fact checkers begin?
Sarah Palin’s highly anticipated book “Going Rogue” is set for release tomorrow and it already has the media in a frenzy. Some contend that the book is a symbolic decree that Palin will seek the presidency in 2012, one commentator calling it “a shot at redemption and revenge.” Others argue that Palin penned the book as a means to generate some revenue from her prolonged 15-minutes of fame. Whatever her intentions, there is no denying that the book has people talking, and in most cases, for all the wrong reasons.
Palin makes some serious accusations in “Going Rogue,” including the claim that the McCain campaign billed her $50,000 for the cost of her vetting, botched the handling of her daughter’s pregnancy announcement, and refused her access to the media. She takes shots at certain members of the media, including Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric, who both played a role with their interviews in deflating the McCain/Palin popularity surge in the polls. She does, however, thank certain members of the media in her acknowledgments when she thanks them “for not taking our Freedom of the Press for granted, you bold and patriotic, fair and balanced media folks.” These “professionals” include Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Kristol, Glenn Beck, Greta Van Susteren, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
Hey Sarah, did your nose just grow?
The Associated Press snagged a copy of the book prior to release. Here is an excerpt from the AP’s review:
“Ignoring substantial parts of her record if not the facts, she depicts herself as a frugal traveler on the taxpayer’s dime, a reformer without ties to powerful interests and a politician roguishly indifferent to high ambition.”
Included in the review is a rundown of some of the more “blatant” factual liberties taken in the book. Among them:
- Palin claims frugality was always a key concern when traveling as governor. She fails to mention the four nights she and her daughter spent at a $707 per night hotel in New York while visiting for a five-hour women’s leadership conference. She also billed Alaska more than $20,000 for her children’s travel, including events where they hadn’t been invited.
- Palin claims she ran her campaign for governor on small donations, turning back checks from big donors. Apparently she does not consider the $76,000 donated by Republican Party committees, representing more than half of her campaign funds, to be a big donation.
- She vehemently opposes taxpayer-financed bailouts, attributing all of them to Obama. This, in direct contradiction to a statement she made during the vice presidential debate, where she said “it is a time of crisis and government did have to step in.” In fact, it was McCain who claims to have helped lay the groundwork for the $700 billion federal bailout, which was approved under the Bush Administration.
- Palin is critical of Obama’s handling of the recession, suggesting he should consider strategies Ronald Reagan used to get the country out of the recession in the early 1980s. Those strategies, she claims, include “cut(ing) capital gains taxes and slay(ing) the death tax once and for all.” She fails to consider the fact that the estate tax, or death tax, was not repealed under Reagan, and capital gains taxes are lower now than they were under Reagan.
- Describing her state as “a practical, libertarian haven of independent Americans who don’t want ‘help’ from government busybodies, Palin expresses her opposition to federal stimulus programs. She neglects to include the fact that Alaska receives $1.84 for every dollar it pays to Washington in taxes, and is one of the states most dependent on federal subsidies.
Mussolini, Kennedy… Palin?
The cult of personality that is Sarah Palin has blinded too many for too long. Gone are the days where she can badger media personalities for misrepresenting her words; written statements that have been scanned by countless editors pretty much guarantees that Palin said what she meant to say. That is what makes this book so disturbing. It reads like a 400 page excuse. Palin blames everyone else for getting it wrong, yet ironically fails to fact check while casting countless aspersions.
I find myself dumbfounded that “going rogue” has become Palin’s catchphrase. Does anyone remember the original context of the attribution? Palin was said to be going rogue when pundits criticized her off-the-cuff, damaging statements that contributed to the demise of the McCain campaign. Saturday Night Live satirized it during McCain’s appearance on the show, when Tina Fey (portraying Sarah Palin) proclaimed “I’m going rogue,” and began campaigning for the 2012 presidential election even as the 2008 election was yet to be decided.
Webster’s dictionary defines a “rogue” person as “dishonest or worthless, mischievous, and an individual exhibiting a chance and usually inferior biological variation.” Palin confounds messages and misrepresents the truth. Going rogue is not a positive thing in politics for a reason: extremism isn’t popular. There is a reason only 9 percent say they would definitely vote for Palin in 2012. Simply stated, she just can’t be trusted.