Monday, November 16, 2009

Book Update: Critics Attack Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue" Book


Although, the new book "Going Rogue" was recommended by me as a pretty good historical document on the 2008 campaign this past week, new critics are starting to emerge for Sarah Palin's new book. Chief critic has been Steve Schmidt, John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign manager, who termed the new book by Sarah Palin as a work of "total fiction". Even some say that John McCain is privately "surprised and a bit disappointed" by the book, while refusing to make any public comments on the book.


Schmidt was angry at some accounts by Palin such as her claim of him using obscenity in the presence of her 7 year old daughter. Schmidt claims that no such event ever happened. Further, other former McCain staffers dispute the claims of Palin being an unwilling participant in the $150,000 spent on wardrobe for her by the campaign or the Republican Party. One former McCain aide claimed that all that this book does is to portray Palin as who she really is, "Dishonest, small and petty".


Further, Associated Press has examined many of the claims of Palin in this book, and has knocked down a number of her assertions with a "facts check" feature. For example, Palin used Ronald Reagan as an example and falsely asserted that Reagan faced a greater recession in the early 80's and "showed us how to get out of one. If you want real job growth, cut capital gains taxes and slay the death tax once and for all". However, there are many factual problems with this assertion. For one thing, the early 80's recession only lasted 16 months. This is a far deeper global recession that has lasted at least 23 months so far within the United States alone. Further, Reagan never ended the estate tax. And capital gains taxes are now at lower rates than under Reagan as well. While unemployment did peak at 10.8 under Reagan, the current October 2009 high rate of 10.2 is expected to only worsen in coming months, before any decline is noted. While Wall Street is running at a higher level recently , this market performance usually runs ahead of unemployment by about six months. About all that one can take from Palin's spin of the facts is that she desperately wants to appear to be far better informed and more intelligent than she actually is.


Palin further exaggerated the financial health of Alaska, claiming how "independent" the state is from Washington. However, the Associated Press own "facts check" investigation found that Alaska actually receives far more in federal money than taxes it pays. Alaska receives $1.84 from Washington for every tax dollar it pays. On assertion after assertion, Palin made bold comments that simply wilt under the facts. It's almost pathological to claim how independent from Washington Alaska is when it actually requires nearly two tax dollars from Washington for every dollar it sends there. But such is the mythical world of Sarah Palin. Her fans hang on her every word, even if it's only complete fantasy.


THE NEW YORK TIMES also had a less than glowing review of the book as well, summing it up as "part cagey spin job, part earnest autobiography, part payback hit job".


Yet despite the critics, the book is still written by a major figure involved in the 2008 campaign, and this fact alone makes the recollections in the book worthy of a read. Maybe the honesty of this book is questioned by others involved in the 2008 McCain Campaign. And maybe the facts prove that many of the assertions of Palin are complete works of fiction and not really supported by the true facts. Yet this book is Sarah Palin's own document. And because this book is newsworthy makes it must read. I stand by my recommendation here.

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