The XX Factor

Going Fake: Sarah Palin Attempts To Rewrite History

Emily Y., Emily B ., Hanna , and Jessica : You’re all so on point with your observations of Sarah Palin. Like Emily Y ., I would like to see her go away, but not before I add my voice to the chorus of why I believe she is a fraud.

I watched Palin on Oprah yesterday afternoon. I wanted to hear what she had to say, since I have no intention of reading, let alone buying, her book. There are enough published excerpts of Going Rogue that I’ve already gotten my fill.

Although there were no major new revelations, the Oprah interview was interesting because it showcased Palin’s depth of intellectual dishonesty. When Oprah brought up Palin’s embarrassing, cringe-worthy interview with Katie Couric and asked Palin why she simply didn’t cite a few of the many newspapers and magazines that she claimed to read regularly, Palin said she could have but didn’t because she was “annoyed” with Couric’s badgering line of questioning.

She said Couric approached the interview as if she was talking about “a nomadic tribe” of out-of-touch Alaskans who didn’t read. “I’m a lover of books,” Palin insisted.

Palin also said that Couric had a political agenda and treated Joe Biden with kid gloves when she interviewed him. “Joe Biden made mistakes,” but Couric didn’t bore in on him or ask him the same questions repeatedly, Palin said. “She moved on to substantial issues.” Palin neglected to add that these same substantial issues tripped her up and revealed her to be seriously uninformed, reinforcing public perceptions that she was unqualified to be vice president.

“Do you think that was a seminal, defining moment for you, that interview?” Winfrey asked.

“I did not,” Palin responded. “And neither did the campaign … .The campaign said, right on. Good. You’re showing your independence.”

“No sentient person would look at that and say that,” one former senior McCain campaign official told the Washington Post . (Check out this fact-check of things Palin said in her book : Lies, lies and more lies.)

I love that Palin also offers up some armchair psychoanalysis in her book and diagnoses Couric as suffering from low self-esteem. That’s priceless, given that Palin could just as easily be accused of suffering from delusions of grandeur.

And Rachael, while you may find Palin’s “energy and ambition” admirable , and have every right to, a lot of folks find her ambition shameless and self-serving. From the first day she appeared on the national stage, it was not about serving the country, it was about serving Sarah Palin and turning herself into a bankable brand. And that “thick-as-hell-skin” you speak of sure seems to be absent in the I-am-a-victim-of the-meanie-members-of-the-media-who-dared-to-ask-me-tough-questions narrative displayed in the published excerpts of the book. And when she’s not blaming the media, she’s blaming the McCain camp for every mistake she made, which is curious because she paints herself as a helpless puppet whose strings were pulled by McCain operatives yet at the same time wants us to believe she is a smart, strong, independent thinker who would make a fine vice president, maybe even president.

If “the sneering condescension she encounters from liberals” drives you right into Palin’s arms, what do you say of the Republicans and conservatives- David Brooks, Peggy Noonan, Kathleen Parker , just to name a few-who have also justly criticized her? And what do you say of the 44 percent of Republicans who don’t support her and don’t find her as infinitely admirable as you do? Are they sneering haters too?

You write:

It’s as if people can’t disagree with her on the issues and yet acknowledge that she made an incredible journey from “hockey mom” to small-town mayor to vice-presidential nominee. At least not without mocking her kids’ names or the clothes she wore before the infamous convention makeover.

Come on. The criticisms of Palin were not that overly simplistic. People also objected to her hyprocritical stance on sex education, her cluelessness about foreign and domestic policy, her inability to articulate her stand on the issues in one-on-one interviews? That’s what made her journey from hockey mom to vice-presidential nominee so incredible. And let’s not forget how she fired up those angry crowds during the presidential campaign and worked them up into a lather by using racial code words. Remember her more recent comments about death panels? So very responsible.

So I agree, Rachael, that your support of Palin does not “project cool-headed logic.” It suggests selective memory and a bit of Palin-like revisionism.

Richard Cohen rightly calls Palin an irresponsible “demagogue” in his colum today . “The Palin Movement is fueled by high-octane bile, and it is worth watching and studying for these reasons alone,” he says.

Unfortunately, he’s right. The very thing that makes Palin so repellent to people like me is what drives the public’s fascination with her and guarantees that she will not be exiting the stage she loves any time soon.