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Sarah Palin would fit in well in Louisiana!

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Did you actually read Sarah Palin’s new book, Going Rogue?  Sure it’s a national best seller.  I had no plans to buy it.   Nothing against Sarah.  I really liked the Newsweek cover with Sarah in her jogging shorts. (She’s running-probably for President.  Get it?)  I wasn’t planning to shell out $28.99 to have Sarah talk me through a moose stew, but a friend gave me the book.  So over a quiet Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I plowed through the numerous unique insights of this controversial lady.

First of all it was no surprise that Sarah didn’t actually write the book.  Few celebrities do these days.  Writing a book of personal experiences is a long and drawn out labor of love.  I know well from my own undertaking.  The breezy Palin memoir was written by former Bush speech writer Lynn Vincent, but there are still enough “you betchas” in the book to give the lady’s special Alaska flavor.

Wanting to read all the juicy tidbits first, I immediately went to the index to get an idea of what Palin listed as being of particular importance.  But surprise!  There is no index in the book.  So no choice for me but to wade on through.  I did make a few page number notations so I could share with you, my loyal readers, some of the more relevant parts of the book. Key words that should wet your appetite for more.

First, a stop on page 102 is a “must read” just for the lyrical prose.  Here’s a tid bit:  “As the soles of my shoes hit the soft ground, I pushed past tall cottonwood trees in a euphoric cadence, and meandered through willow branches that the moose munched on.”Â  Hemingway would have been impressed.

There were questions during the campaign of Palin’s reading habits.  Who can forget her non answer when Katie Couric asked her what she liked to read.  She cleared up any uncertainty by listing such titles as cookbooks (p. 15), Reader’s Digest (P.15), Sports Illustrated (P. 27), The Wonderful World of Oz (p. 16), and, my favorite, Ranger Rick (p. 27).

Then of course there is Palin’s vivid description on page 302 of praying in the shower with Rev. Rick Warren.  I kid you not.  OK, maybe I inferred too much.  She was in the shower when the California Evangelist called, so she pulled in the phone to join him in prayer.

And  food?  She makes no bones about how she loves and cooks Alaskan edibles.  Her specialties include halibut tacos (p. 1), reindeer sausage (p. 1) and caribou lasagna (p. 218).How on the day she got married “we stopped by the Wendy’s drive-thru for our wedding dinner.” (p. 49).  Palin also makes it quite clear that “I love meat,” particularly “the seared fatty edges of a well-done steak.”Â  (p. 18).  She follows this homily with one of the book’s more deep and poignant quotes:  “If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat? “(p. 133) Nuf said.

She says that:  “I love to write, but not about myself” (p. 409), although her book is almost entirely about herself. Hey, I’m not really knocking her for her effort, for she does have quite a story to tell.  After all, how many women have won a local beauty contest finishing  runner-up in a state pageant, been a TV sports announcer, then gone on to be Mayor, governor, raising five children, be a vice presidential candidate of one of the two major parties, and helped in write her story that has become a huge book store hit?

In Norman Mailer’s best seller, “Advertisements for Myself,” he professes “a desire to inflict my casual opinions on a half-captive audience.”Â  Palin is in that number, and she is doing, on her book tour, what she does best:  draw crowds, create controversy and stir up the conservative base.  She, like Mailer, has become a bestselling author and seems destined to make a lot of money.  But will this celebrity status transfer into political success?

I don’t think Sarah Palin is all that much of a light weight.  Right now, she is the leading Republican for her parties’ nomination in 2012.  This week’s Washington Post poll concludes that 18 % of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents cited her as the person most representative of the party’s core values, the highest percentage among prominent republican figures.  Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was at 1%.  Sportsbook.Com lists Palin’s odd to get the party nomination at 7-2, with Mitt Romney second at 4-1, and Mike Huckabee coming in at 5-1.  Jindal is listed right now at 6-1 odds for the nomination.

Palin has two perceived problems in building a viable and growing political base.  First is her knack for self-pity; that fact that throughout her book, she plays the victim. The liberal press, in her words “the lame stream media” that is always out to get her.  Her opposition didn’t play fair, and she has many scapegoats for mistakes and foul-ups that invariably happen in any major campaign.  She rehashes numerous insults and indignities, portraying herself through the book as an abused woman.

 To many readers, so what!  Right or wrong, that’s the price the populous extracts from their national political candidates.  What was missing from the Palin narrative was the voice of a leader.  What did she learn from the campaign, and what would she do to address the major issues facing our country today.  She has lots of “former” titles in her past.  Where will she, and the country, be heading in the future?  A real opportunity missed.

Her second problem is how to be t taken more seriously.  There is no doubt Palin has sealed her identity as a culture-wars lighting rod who can both inspire hysteria from liberals and adulation from conservatives.  But will celebrity status alone persuade non committed moderates to trust her with the reins of government?   So far, she seems to have chosen personality over substance.  Like Walter Mondale said back in 1988-where’s the beef?

So how would Sarah Palin fair in Louisiana?  Actually, quite well.  The deepest of the deep southern states shares much in common with Palin’s home state of Alaska.  Oil and gas production and seafood are major forces in driving the economy in both states. Obama hardly scratched in gaining any reputable number of voters in Louisiana. 

 And sure she’s a bit quirky, but how about Louisiana women politicos?  Kathleen Blanco cried on national television, and Mary Landrieu has been accused of prostituting herself by none other than Palin shill Rush Limbaugh.  So if Sarah is asked whether she can make political hay in Louisiana, her answer would be forthright and simple.  “You betcha cher!”


Absolutely. Yup, yup.” –Sarah Palin after being asked by People magazine if she was ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown 

Jim Brown’s weekly column appears in numerous newspapers and websites throughout the south.  To read past columns going back to 2002, go to www.jimbrownla.com.  

15 Responses
  1. Stan Gavin

    I like the twist on the word “Rogue” (first line of the article by spelling it “Rouge.” I am certain that it was intentional! 😉

  2. Good column, Jim. The book stands by itself. Folks can make their own decisions about Palin with the advice and consent of Rush Limbaugh. After all, if God had not wanted Rush to express opinions, why would he have given him such a big mouth (and girth).

  3. Ray

    ..Anything would be better then this creep we have for a governor! Between destroying Health Care and Education with his hired “Goons” on the Steamlining Commission and siding with Sen. Landrieu on her economy-crippling vote on Obama Care, I can’t wait until his re-election run, then we can get rid of this political parasite and elect someone of integrity..be it a Republican or Democrat, anything but Jindal!!

  4. Edward Daigle

    It seems Jim Brown of all people might have a little more perspective on the Palin book. It seems what I read, and I read the book, and what Brown was able to gleen from a few short verses are two entirely differnet scenarios. She is certainly more qualified than the current president (at election time) and is by no means any less qualified than some former presidents. I guess it is how you perceive “intelligence”. If you talk with an accent or did not go to an Ivy League university, you must be dumb—Jim should read another book, Good to Great and get a feel for the real world of intelligence—-but again, having a bias may fit his particular agenda.

  5. Glad you picked up on the play on words. She
    s a runner, both fro exercise and for office. Rogue in Alaska, Rouge in Louisiana.

  6. Hello, Jim,

    I would call but I seem to have lost your number. So I am emailing on behalf of Governor Blanco to express disappointment over your column today, referring to her emotional moment as “quirky.” Personally, I find it absolutely appropriate and natural and somewhat expected that someone would have that reaction to seeing stranded citizens and a flooded and damaged post-Katrina New Orleans for the first time. As I’m sure you know, other public officials, including Gov. Haley Barbour, cried as well. I was a reporter at the time and indeed was in the press room covering her news conference when that happened, and I thought “wow, it must be bad if the Governor is getting teary.” Her reaction simply underscored the seriousness of the situation. The sentiment that her display of human emotion was somehow weak was a reaction from those looking to portray her as weak, and I sincerely hope you’re not in that crowd. It may seem like a small issue, but the repeated depiction of her handling the historic disaster as weak rather than what it was – a leader facing a never-before-seen crisis with tirelessness and determination – only serves to cement a false legacy in the public’s mind. She, and I, take every casual comment very seriously, knowing the hard work that was done by Governor Blanco and so many who coordinated the response, and yet is repeatedly painted as unorganized and overwhelmed.

    Thanks, Jim,

  7. your Palin column should be sent on to the national media. You have put it all together in a compendium thought about this woman who proves that a fool can go a long way on a false front of intelligence. e

  8. Michael B.

    Honestly, even though I enjoyed the book, I still would not vote for her. As you mentioned in your column, she blames everyone else for everything that could have went wrong in her VP campaign. I was really turned off by her lack of responsibility for some of her own actions during the campaign. As far as getting a major share of the Louisiana electorate in a Presidential race, she would more likely than not get a significant share of votes. If she ever cooks at my dinner table though, she can keep the halibut tacos.

  9. Fran Bussie

    Jim, Being a long time pro ponet of women holding political office, I am reevaluating my position after watching Palin on TV and during the presidental campaign. Like you I will not spend a penny on buying her book there is nothing she could write that would interest me. Thanks for your review, Fran B

  10. Jim Huff


    I am from an old Ferriday native like you now living in Baton Rouge. Yes,Sarah would fit in very well in Louisiana.

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