Going Rogue, Chapter 2

>> Thursday, November 19, 2009

The funniest sentence thus far in Going Rogue occurs about a third of the way through the second chapter when our heroine -- speaking through the Palinese translator Lynn Vincent -- declares that "life is too short to hold a grudge." This is a warm piece of advice that Sarah Palin predictably spends much of her time ignoring as she recounts her contentious early years in local and state politics. Few pages are allowed to turn without our deposed governor reminding us of the bĂȘtes noires who interfered with her efforts to bring "common-sense conservatism" -- a phrase she's been loading into the wingnut beer bong for the past few days -- to the people of Wasilla and, soon enough, their fellow Alaskans. As Palin revealed in her first chapter, the first "big word" she learned how to spell was "different." And because different people are sometimes scary -- perhaps not President Black Man Terrorist scary, but scary in that ordinary, non-Negro way -- Palin knows that she'll have to deal with resistance along the road to glory.

Among the roster of liberal fascists, "good ol' boys," and uncooperative, low-level public employees with who find their way into Palin's esurient maw, we find the former Wasilla mayor John Stein, a man whose name Palin admits she can't pronounce and whose terrifying agenda seems to have rested entirely on the well-known communist wedge of building codes and land-use restrictions. Palin, by contrast, envisions Wasilla as a Hayekian paradise, where "laissez-faire principles" might crush liberalism as surely as her husband Todd scotched small woodland creatures with his snowmachine. Though she neglects to mention her campaign's emphasis on gun control, abortion and the cleansing magic of Christ's blood, Palin describes her eventual victory as a mandate for "no more politics-as-usual" -- by which I suppose she means badgering librarians, firing museum directors and police chiefs, and initiating regressive sales taxes to fund a costly sports complex on land for which the city had no clear title (land titles presumably being a big-government conspiracy to deprive The People of their squatters' rights). Along the way, Palin helps to turn her town into the "Honorary Duct Tape Capital of the World," an award bestowed by Wal-Mart in recognition of Wasilla's bone-deep commitment to not paying overbearing, know-it-all liberals to fix your shit. (Wasilla, you see, is an independent-minded place. "No community organizers necessary," she explains. Which is funny, because she's talking about President Barack Fanon Senghor!)

The rest of the chapter proceeds in the manner of skeet shoot, with Palin bitching about nearly everyone she encounters in public service, including her fellow candidates for the lieutenant governor's office in 2002, Frank Murkowski (her predecessor in the Governor's office), fellow commissioners on the oil and gas commission, and an unnamed array of "good ol' boys," corporate lobbyists and fat cats who would forever serve as foils for Palin's simulated populist tirades. Along the way, she wears her contempt for legislators proudly. Brutalizing the English language to convey her disdain, she describes them as people who "scratch disagreeable backs" for a living and who work in an environment where "the trading of favors [seems] to run through the ventilation system as a substitute for air." Indeed, for someone who professes several times in the book to having "Jeffersonian" views of government, she's awfully dismissive of republican institutions; with her belief that only the "lead dog" is able to have a clear view of public affairs, Palin unwittingly reveals herself in this chapter as someone who actually loathes collaborative public service. When fellow officials are unwilling to "get on board," she fires them (as she does in Wasilla) or shits on the floor and goes home (as she does with the oil and gas commission).

Unfortunately for the rest of us, Palin continues to believe that she has an open WATS line to Jesus, and when Chapter 2 ends, she's rocking her latest seedling and yammering away in prayer, asking for a sign from on high that she should return to public life and fuck some more things up.


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