An American Life
by Gov. Sarah Palin
(Click for Amazon book review)
BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:
This book sent Palin on a nationwide book tour, including numerous media appearances which greatly raised her profile. The result of the book tour has established Palin as the frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. There's a long time until the election, but for now, Palin is more popular than Huckabee, Romney, Gingrich, and all the other likely prospects.
Since the 2008 campaign, Palin has been a polarizing figure, but some of that came from her assigned tasks in the McCain campaign. For example, she was assigned the task of delivering the campaign opinion on Bill Ayres, which was that Obama was "palling around with terrorists" (pp. 306-7), although Palin suggested then and now that McCain should have made more of the Ayers association. She also was the primary campaign spokesperson regarding "Joe the Plumber" (pp. 304-5), although she was certainly a willing and enthusiastic spokesperson, on that topic and on all polarizing issues. In other words, Palin's polarization is well-deserved, and she seems to welcome the label. Palin does not, however, welcome media attacks on her, of which there are very many. This book gives Palin a chance to respond to the media attacks.
The title of the book comes from a McCain staffer who accused Palin of "going rogue", by giving her own opinion on issues on which the McCain campaign had not authorized her opinion. Palin is not one to withhold her opinions on anything, McCain's desires notwithstanding. Palin's book focuses on three of her most strongly-held opinions:
Democrats may reconsider their low opinion of Palin after reading this book--if not on policy grounds, then on grounds of her book tour popularity. OnTheIssues.org recognizes Palin's popularity because the day she was nominated, we received 835,000 viewers, the most of any day in our history. We also recognize Palin's political accomplishments--she took on the Republican establishment head-on and beat them. I'm a progressive in Massachusetts, another one-party state in which the establishment party deplores us as outsiders, and Palin accomplished what it has taken a movement in Massachusetts a decade to do. She has earned her place as a political leader; read this book to get her side of the story!
- ENERGY: Palin claims that Alaska can supply most of America's energy needs, if only we would "drill, baby, drill" (that's the title of Chapter Three). Prior to being governor, Palin was appointed as Alaska's Energy Czar; as governor, her proudest accomplishment was completing the AGIA project (a 1,700-mile gas pipeline, pp. 127-8 and 156-7). Energy is Palin's greatest passion; but she'll surprise environmentalists by having pushed a goal of 50% renewable electricity, a higher goal than Obama's 20% renewable target.
- GUNS: Palin is equally impassioned about guns. We don't use the usual phrase "gun rights," because that's not her passion--it's guns themselves, or more specifically hunting and fishing. She refers to those activities repeatedly as obtaining "local organic protein sources," although one doubts that will seduce many vegetarians into voting for her. And she alienates vegetarians with phrases like "I love meat" (pp. 18-9, by which she means HUNTING for meat). Palin includes lots of pictures of her bagging moose; skinning fish; and enough to indicate it's not just for photo ops.
- ETHICS: Government ethics is Palin's professional passion--it's how she got elected, having ousted the incumbent Republican governor on grounds of questionable ethics (pp. 112-3) after having resigned as Energy Czar on grounds of the energy agency's bad ethics (pp. 96-9). Palin's focus on ethics, and campaign reform, and government transparency, and so on, is the reason McCain chose her for V.P., since McCain has the same focus.
- RELIGION: This is NOT Palin's passion--although the media portrayed Palin as if she were a Jesus-freak. She's certainly proudly a Christian, and pro-life and anti-evolution and all the other stances that implies, but she focuses her attention and her basis for policy decisions elsewhere. Typical of her attitude is how she met her husband Todd: she describes him as a cussin' non-church-goer, but acceptable because he had been baptized (pp. 33-7). McCain's other reason for choosing Palin as V.P. was that she brought with her an army of a million Christian conservative volunteers. The Christian conservative movement adores Palin, but for those who want a preacher, Mike Huckabee is their candidate, not Palin.
-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, Nov. 2009
| OnTheIssues.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
Sarah Palin: Daughter Piper is poster girl for Alaska Right-to-Life.
Sarah Palin: Choose life even in case of rape or teenage pregnancy.
Sarah Palin: Protect our daughters with parental notification law.
Sarah Palin: Fleetingly considered abortion at 43; understands sentiment.
Sarah Palin: Chose judges who were strict Constitutional constructionists.
Budget & Economy|
Barack Obama: OpEd: Stimulus trillions must be borrowed, printed, or taxed.
Sarah Palin: Live within our means; save for the future.
Sarah Palin: Vetoed $25M stimulus earmark; Alaskans don't desire "help".
Sarah Palin: Economic mess from gov't interference in mortgage market.
Sarah Palin: FactCheck: Praised Bush $700B bailout; opposed Obama's $787B.
Sarah Palin: FactCheck: No, Alaska doesn't deny federal stimulus help.
Sarah Palin: Respected court ruling allowing same-sex state benefits.
Sarah Palin: College roommate openly lives in same-sex marriage.
Sarah Palin: Criticism of $150K wardrobe was deliberately sexist.
Sarah Palin: Fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Sarah Palin: Small businesses have to be brave enough to fail.
Sarah Palin: Forward Funding: let districts plan based on advance budget.
Sarah Palin: Supports microevolution, but not that humans came from fish.
Sarah Palin: Supports abstinence ed plus contraception vs.explicit sex ed.
Energy & Oil|
Frank Murkowski: Ushered ANWR bill through Senate, until vetoed by Clinton.
Frank Murkowski: Petroleum Profit Tax: companies share oil profits with state.
Frank Murkowski: Fined ExxonMobil $20M for not drilling next to ANWR.
Joe Biden: 1970s: Voted against the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.
Sarah Palin: North Slope could supply 10 years' energy for entire country.
Sarah Palin: 2006: Replace secret gasline deal with open competition.
Sarah Palin: Natural gas mantra: good for Greenies, Grannies, and Gunnies.
Sarah Palin: Open gasline process, but $500M inducement to oil company.
Sarah Palin: ACES: equitable share of oil profits go to state.
Sarah Palin: Renewable Energy Fund for hydropower, wind, biomass.
Sarah Palin: Sued ExxonMobil to drill next to ANWR, or give up lease.
Sarah Palin: Cap-and-Trade is a Cap-and-Tax program.
Sarah Palin: FactCheck: Gas pipeline deal was not open & competitive.
Sarah Palin: FactCheck: Yes, Obama climate law costs consumers $145/year.
Sarah Palin: Exxon Valdez spill was environmental & economic disaster.
Sarah Palin: 20 years to recover Exxon Valdez damages for people of AK.
Ted Stevens: Author of Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Sarah Palin: FactCheck: Praised $500M for Valdez victims; but wanted $2B.
Families & Children|
Sarah Palin: Bumper sticker: My kid has more chromosomes than your kid.
Sarah Palin: Daughter & teen mom Bristol helping prevent teen pregnancy.
Sarah Palin: You CAN see Russia from Alaska, but handled topic poorly.
Sarah Palin: Bothered by China's bid to control Alaska gasline.
Frank Murkowski: OpEd: Appointed & protected corrupt Oil & Gas Commissioner.
John McCain: Picked Palin because she took on entrenched bureaucracy.
Sarah Palin: 2006: Small donors;returned checks with conflict of interest.
Sarah Palin: Conflict of interest in fellow Councilor's garbage proposal.
Sarah Palin: 1996: Promised to cut her own pay as mayor; then did so.
Sarah Palin: Resigned as AOGCC chair to protest its corruption.
Sarah Palin: Ran 2006 campaign against "Corrupt Bastards Club".
Sarah Palin: Refused per diem expenses for housing and First Family.
Sarah Palin: Put state checkbook online, for budget transparency.
Sarah Palin: Criminal penalty if vote traded for campaign contribution.
Sarah Palin: As Gov., avoided "high-end, robe-and-slippers" hotels.
Sarah Palin: Complaint filed about kids' travel; all dismissed or settled.
Sarah Palin: FactCheck: Yes, usually chose frugal travel, but not always.
Sarah Palin: FactCheck: Over half of her campaign funded by large donors.
Sarah Palin: FactCheck: Criticized conflict of interest, but did the same.
Sarah Palin: Plenty of room for all animals--next to mashed potatoes.
Sarah Palin: Hunting provides organic protein sources.
Barack Obama: OpEd: accused of palling around with terrorist Bill Ayers.
Ronald Reagan: America is the abiding alternative to tyranny.
Sarah Palin: No apologies for saying Obama pals around with terrorists.
Sarah Palin: Husband Todd focused on vo-tech ed for workforce development.
Principles & Values|
Frank Murkowski: Rejected Sarah Palin for Senate, in favor of his daughter.
John McCain: OpEd: Independent & passionate, but also willing to have fun.
Newt Gingrich: OpEd: Frivolous ethical complaints reached critical mass.
Ronald Reagan: Pick your core agenda issues and focus on those.
Ronald Reagan: Freedom is always just one generation away from extinction.
Sarah Palin: Father rejected Hollywood upbringing for sports & outdoor.
Sarah Palin: Family moved to Alaska when Sarah was an infant.
Sarah Palin: Raised as Assembly of God member; then nondenominational.
Sarah Palin: Decided at youth camp to put life into God's hands.
Sarah Palin: First interest in politics was Watergate, at age 10.
Sarah Palin: Invaluable life lessons from running a 3:59 marathon.
Sarah Palin: Fell for Todd at first sight; clinched when he was baptiz.
Sarah Palin: 2002: Ran for governor to take on political back-scratching.
Sarah Palin: Son, Track, so named because born during spring track season.
Sarah Palin: 2002: Lost unenergetic campaign for lieutenant governor.
Sarah Palin: Relieved when sister Molly divorced state trooper husband.
Sarah Palin: 2005 gubernatorial race: Ambition drives; purpose beckons.
Sarah Palin: 2006 ad campaign: Little House on the Tundra.
Sarah Palin: Followed Reagan's advice of sticking to core agenda.
Sarah Palin: McCain chose me to shake things up.
Sarah Palin: Proud of Bristol but not happy that she's an unwed teen mom.
Sarah Palin: Katie Couric interviews were edited to show worst moments.
Sarah Palin: Dressed up as Tina Fey before Saturday Night Live show.
Sarah Palin: Election day speech: thank you for honor of a lifetime.
Sarah Palin: Resigned because relentless tabloidizing prevented work.
Sarah Palin: Commonsense Conservative: respect for history & tradition.
Sarah Palin: OpEd: Darling of the Democrats for taking on GOP incumbent.
Sarah Palin: FactCheck: Autobiography sounds like presidential ambition.
Barack Obama: OpEd: Answer is always to grow government & raise taxes.
Barack Obama: "Joe the Plumber": tax businesses earning $250K per year?
Ronald Reagan: OpEd: Cut capital gains to end worse recession than 2008's.
Sarah Palin: 1992: First campaign focused on reducing property taxes.
Sarah Palin: To end recession: slay the death tax and cut capital gains.
Sarah Palin: FactCheck: No, Reagan didn't end 1980s recession by tax cuts.
Sarah Palin: As mayor in 1990s, got Wasilla roads paved.
Sarah Palin: Established office for oil pipeline maintenance.
War & Peace|
Sarah Palin: Pray that we're on God's side in war; not that He is on ours.
Sarah Palin: Responsibility to complete mission until we win.
The above quotations are from Going Rogue
An American Life
by Gov. Sarah Palin.
Gov. Sarah Palin's documents & debates:
- Palin vs. Michele Bachmann On the Issues, by Jesse Gordon, Jan. 2012
- The Rogue, by Joe McGinnis, Oct. 2011
- America By Heart, by Sarah Palin, Nov. 23, 2010
- Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin, Nov. 17, 2009
- The Faith & Values of Sarah Palin, by Stephen Mansfield, Oct, 2010
- V.P. debate, Washington U. in St. Louis, Oct. 2, 2008
- Wasilla resident's view: Palin's mayoral constituent
- Sean Hannity interview: on Fox News "Hannity & Colmes", Sept. 2008
- Katie Couric interview: on CBS News, Sept. 2008
- Republican Convention, Sep. 2-4, 2008
- Gubernatorial documents
: Palin's resolutions and proclamations
- New Energy for Alaska, 2006 campaign booklet
- Debate against Gov. Tony Knowles
, 2006 general election
- 2006 Candidate Profiles, in Anchorage Daily News