Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I dunno, is it just me? Todd Purdum's new Vanity Fair article on Sarah Palin contains, I'm told, 9,823 words (Chris Cillizza, Washington Post) and has "nuggets galore" (The Hill), but I was unimpressed. Here's a "nugget" -- one of her advisers was Mark McKinnon. Mark McKinnon! Nobody knew that! Wowee zowee! Tell Drudge to put up an extra red siren!

Yeah, it's semi-interesting that Palin blew off prep for the Katie Couric interview because she was inordinately fixated on answering a questionnaire from The Frontiersman, an Alaska newspaper, but it's long been established that Palin doesn't like studying issues in depth (see this New Republic article from last fall), and we knew she refused to prepare for Couric (Carl Cameron of Fox News told us that in November), so who cares why? If it hadn't been that questionnaire, surely she would have blown off the prep for some other reason. That's Palin.

Even this anecdote, which The Hill calls an "eye-popper," doesn't impress me much:

When Trig was born, Palin wrote an e-mail letter to friends and relatives, describing the belated news of her pregnancy and detailing Trig's condition; she wrote the e-mail not in her own name but in God's, and signed it "Trig's Creator, Your Heavenly Father."

First of all, this isn't a scoop -- the Anchorage Daily News reported it just after Trig was born, in the spring of '08. And while I fully agree that Palin's a narcissist, I'm not sure this is as megalomaniacal as it seems. Here's more on the e-mail, from the ADN:

In a letter she e-mailed to relatives and close friends Friday after giving birth, Palin wrote, "Many people will express sympathy, but you don't want or need that, because Trig will be a joy. You will have to trust me on this." She wrote it in the voice of and signed it as "Trig's Creator, Your Heavenly Father."

"Children are the most precious and promising ingredient in this mixed-up world you live in down there on Earth. Trig is no different, except he has one extra chromosome," Palin wrote.

Maybe I've just lurked at too many right-wing Web sites, but this seems like garden-variety Christian-right inspirational schmaltz. Even the first-person aspect of it seems no weirder than, say, those God Speaks billboards.

I'm not saying it's a bad article, just that I'm not sure it reveals much we didn't already know.


I do think Purdum is right when he says this:

... no political principle or personal relationship is more sacred than her own ambition.... Palin has always been a party of one.

It makes me realize that Palin reminds me of Madonna. In much the same way that Palin has shot to the top without seeming to have a true political purpose -- a real set of well-developed ideas or issues or policy goals -- Madonna succeeded without seeming to have any great skill at what was apparently her job: singing. But both of them are extraordinarily good at making people pay attention to them (and making people keep paying attention to them). Both of them have an extraordinary sense of will. Both act as if they're physically stunning even though they're not really beautiful -- and as a result, people think they're beautiful. (Purdum certainly thinks Palin is beautiful -- he calls her "the sexiest brand in Republican politics" and "by far the best-looking woman ever to rise to such heights in national politics," adding, squirm-inducingly, that she is "the first indisputably fertile female to dare to dance with the big dogs.")

Purdum ends his article by speculating that Palin may not have much of a future in GOP politics -- she doesn't have the right advisers, country-club Republicans don't like her, and so on. In this, he sounds like every music fan from the mid-1980s on (myself included) who found Madonna resistible, and therefore assumed she just had to be reaching the end of her 15 minutes of fame -- and kept saying that for the 20 years she was one of the biggest stars in the world.


UPDATE: Oops -- I'm being thanked for this post by William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection, of all people. Thanks, Bill. Too bad I still think you're an ass. Oh, and I love what one of his commenters says, apparently (to judge from the commenter's profile and blog) in all earnestness:

Palin/Keyes. Libs are scared to death of them. Neither backs down, both are knowledgeable and versed in public speaking, and Keyes is a damned genius. I would love to see the Keyes treatment of Biden in a Veep faceoff.

Oh, me too. Me too. Only one other ticket could top that one.

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