SEVENTY-TWO

On p. 72 of GR, Sarah is discussing the time that followed her election as Mayor of Wasilla. She writes, "The day after I got elected, I put in my time in Track's first-grade classroom--I had previously committed to volunteering that day--and then went down to City Hall.

"I wasn't sure how the transition of power would work, so I just showed up and wanted to know, well, who's going to show me where the light switches are, and let’s get this show on the road. But no one jumped out of their swivel chairs to say, 'Welcome! Here's what you'll do when you take over.' It was a pretty cold reception in the mayor's office…

"When I was finally sworn in a couple of weeks later, I walked into my first staff meeting and saw all of the department heads sitting around a long table….I knew that most of these folks , along with some council members like Nick [Carney], had campaigned vigorously against me. And they'd had every right to do so.

"But the campaign was over now, and it was time to get to work on the changes that the voters had just mandated. They sat with their arms crossed, staring at me. Some of them had been in government about as long as I'd been alive. Their collective stare transmitted a single message: 'YOU'RE going to tell US what to do?' (italics in original)

"I attempted to turn them into allies. 'Thank you all for coming,' I began. 'I know you guys weren't really rooting for me, but I'm anxious to work together. Are you ready to go, team?'

"Yeah, right."

I think we witness in the young Sarah Palin here (not that she is "old" now!!) certain qualities that have remained with her to this day, albeit modified by the hard and bitter experiences that she has undergone in the "big leagues" of hardball American politics.

What we see, first, is a Sarah who stands by her commitments, and is always willing to try to work with people, even individuals who have been her opponents. Behold how she fulfills her promise to volunteer in Track's first-grade classroom. A small thing? Perhaps. But I think that many newly-elected mayors, governors, etc. might have "blown off" the obligation. Not Sarah.

Next, notice how she enters a "lions' den" of people who, frankly, hate her guts, and shoot icy stares at her. She stretches forth the olive branch to them. It is not her fault that the olive branch is broken into pieces and cast back in her teeth!

I think that Sarah still retains this fundamental characteristic of willingness to offer a gracious hand to all. What has changed, IMHO, is that a certain mantle of wariness, maybe wisdom would be a better term, has descended onto her shoulders. She has won and gained this protective and shielding mantle as a bitter but beneficial fruit of her searing experiences during and since '08.

Behold the eloquent brevity of the two words with which she concludes the passage I have just cited: "Yeah, right."

I think that Sarah, strong and tough and resilient as she has always been, was not quite prepared for the storm and whirlwind that was unleashed against her after Sarah Palin Day, both from the hateful Left, but also from the GOP establishment. Remember how the McCain team treated her, how "Headquarters" treated her.

The name of Steve Schmidt, the McCain campaign manager, is just one name of many on a shameful list of ostensible and apparent "friends" who were really not in her corner. I think Sarah learned much from the horrific sixty-seven-day maelstrom of her VP campaign. In words that go back at least to the immortal Greek dramatist Aeschylus in their eternal verity, out of pain was born wisdom for our Sarah.

The Sarah of today is still willing, I believe, and always will be ready to stretch out a hand of reconciliation and peace to those who truly want to help her and help the nation. However, I believe that she is today a wiser and more wary stateswoman than was the VP candidate of '08.

Let me conclude these brief remarks by citing a bit of JFK's inaugural address, and then applying it, mutatis mutandis, to Sarah.

I cite from memory, so it may be a bit off: "Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, and unwilling to witness or to permit the slow unraveling of those human liberties to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we stand committed today, both at home and around the globe.

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we will pay any price, bear any burden, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of Liberty."

We may justly and rightly apply this to Sarah, after her painful experiences of the last three years:

"Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new kind of leader, born in the far reaches of the Final Frontier, tempered by life in the cold and glorious Great Land, disciplined by a hard and bitter national campaign, and unwilling to witness or to permit the slow unraveling of that Constitutional Order to which this nation has always been committed, and to which she stands committed today in the hearts of all true patriots.

"Let all Americans know, whether they be Republicans, Democrats, or Independents, that we, the friends of Sarah, will pay any price, bear any burden, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of that Constitutional Order to which Governor Palin has always been committed, and to which she stands committed today, in heart and in soul."

Read It For Yourself:

Other Great Sarah Books:

Palin Essentials:

Credits:

All sidebar photos are from Wikimedia. I have tried to post all royalty-free images or to get permission, but in a few cases I could not locate the original source of a photograph or find a way to ask permission.


Contact info: bbrianus@gmail.com.

Other Great Going Rogue Reviews:

Jedediah Bila:

"Palin’s inviting first-person narration that is sometimes whimsical, often confident, and always patriotic...Going Rogue is truly one of those reads in which you put the book down after your eyes graze the final lines and you somehow feel like the writer is someone you’ve known all your life."
John Ziegler:

"I was simply blown away by Going Rogue on almost every level. For many reasons, this is by far the best book and greatest literary achievement by a political figure in my lifetime..."
Brigadier General Anthony J. Tata:
"Her book washes away all doubts that any reader might have had about her readiness to be president. She comes across as exceptionally bright, dedicated, and passionate about public service. Her moral compass is strong, pointing true North in this case. And she has a wicked sense of humor."
Don Surber:
"Conservatives know why Palin is still standing — and standing taller today than those who tried to bring her down. What does not kill you makes you stronger. Thank you, Tina Fey."

Sarah Palin is Coming to Town

Review by Stanley Fish:

When I walked into the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan last week, I headed straight for the bright young thing who wore an “Ask Me” button, and asked her to point me to the section of the store where I might find Sarah Palin’s memoir, “Going Rogue: An American Life.” She looked at me as if I had requested a copy of “Mein Kampf” signed in blood by the author....


A few days later...I had begun reading Palin’s book, and while I wouldn’t count myself a fan in the sense of being a supporter, I found it compelling and very well done....

First, the art. The book has an architectonic structure that is built around a single moment, the moment when Palin receives a call from John McCain inviting her to be the vice-presidential candidate of the Republican party. When we first hear about the call it is as much a surprise to us as it was (at least as reported) to her, because for six pages she has been recounting a wonderful family outing at the Alaska State Fair. When her phone rings, she hopes it might be a call from her son Track, a soldier soon to deploy to Iraq, but “it was Senator John McCain asking if I wanted to help him change history.”

And that’s the last we hear of it for 200 pages. In between we hear a lot about Wasilla, high school, basketball, college, marriage, children, Down syndrome, Alaska politics, the environment, a daughter’s pregnancy. The re-entry of John McCain into the narrative on page 208 introduces Palin’s account of the presidential campaign and its aftermath, especially her decision to resign the governorship before the end of her term....


Paradoxically, the effect of the neatly spaced references to the call is to de-emphasize it as a dramatic moment. It is presented not as a climax, but as an interruption of matters more central to Palin’s abiding concerns — her family, Alaska’s prosperity, energy policy. (She loves to rehearse the kind of wonkish details we associate with Hillary Clinton, whom she admires.)

Indeed, it is a feature of this narrative that events we might have expected to be foregrounded are elided or passed over. Palin introduced herself to the nation with a powerful, electrifying speech accepting McCain’s invitation to join the ticket. It gets half a sentence (“I gave my speech”)....


The only event that receives an extended discussion is her resignation. It is important to her because as an act it reflects on her integrity, and she has to be sure (as she eventually was) that she was doing it for the right reasons.

Resigning was a moral act for which she was responsible. The vice-presidential candidacy just happened to her; her account of it reads like an extended “what-I-did-on-my summer-and fall-vacation” essay.


For many politicians, family life is sandwiched in between long hours in public service. Palin wants us to know that for her it is the reverse. Political success is an accident that says nothing about you. Success as a wife, mother and citizen says everything...

I find the voice undeniably authentic...It is the voice of small-town America, with its folk wisdom, regional pride, common sense, distrust of rhetoric (itself a rhetorical trope), love of country and instinctive (not doctrinal) piety.

It says, here are some of the great things that have happened to me, but they are not what makes my life great and American. (“An American life is an extraordinary life.”) It says, don’t you agree with me that family, freedom and the beauties of nature are what sustain us?


And it also says, vote for me next time. For it is the voice of a politician, of the little girl who thought she could fly, tried it, scraped her knees, dusted herself off and “kept walking.”

In the end, perseverance, the ability to absorb defeat without falling into defeatism, is the key to Palin’s character. It’s what makes her run in both senses of the word and it is no accident that the physical act of running is throughout the book the metaphor for joy and real life. Her handlers in the McCain campaign wouldn’t let her run (a mistake, I think, even at the level of photo-op), no doubt because they feared another opportunity to go “off script,” to “go rogue.”

But run she does (and falls, but so what?), and when it is all over and she has lost the vice presidency and resigned the governorship, she goes on a long run and rehearses in her mind the eventful year she has chronicled. And as she runs, she achieves equilibrium and hope: “We’ve been through amazing days, and really, there wasn’t one thing to complain about. I feel such freedom, such hope, such thankfulness for our country, a place where nothing is hopeless.”

The message is clear. America can’t be stopped. I can’t be stopped. I’ve stumbled and fallen, but I always get up and run again. Her political opponents, especially those who dismissed Ronald Reagan before he was elected, should take note. Wherever you are, you better watch out. Sarah Palin is coming to town.

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