Writing in The Washington Post, Reason's Nick Gillespie reviews two new books about everybody's favorite/most-hated pol, Sarah Palin. A snippet:
No recent political figure has ignited the fury of the chattering classes like former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Shortly after she injected signs of life into the zombified McCain campaign with a rousing speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention, the little-known figure was dissed by Salon's Cintra Wilson as a "power-mad, backwater beauty-pageant casualty" whose conservative ideology made the liberal, feminist writer "feel as horrified as a ghetto Jew watching the rise of National Socialism."
Martin Peretz, the editor in chief of the New Republic, sniffed that the candidate "was pretty like a cosmetics saleswoman at Macy's" and that it was "good to see that the Palin family didn't torture poor Bristol [unmarried, pregnant and 17 at the time], at least in the open."
The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan, a self-identified conservative who calls his Daily Dish "the most popular one-man political blog site in the world," persistently claimed that Trig Palin, the governor's then-4-month-old baby with Down syndrome, was not Sarah's biological child and requested the full release of her obstetrical records, stopping just short of demanding he be sent the placenta for genetic testing. (If President Obama is hounded by a small group of reality-challenged "birthers," who doubt he was born in Hawaii, Palin is certainly the only politician to have given rise to what might be called "after-birthers," who doubt that she delivered her own children.)
Even Palin's defenders had issues with modulation and mental balance. Watching last year's vice presidential debate, National Review's Rich Lowry squealed that Palin's smile "sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America."
[Sarah from Alaska and The Persecution of Sarah Palin…] attempt to explain why the hockey mom from Wasilla, Alaska, drives both detractors and fans alike to something approaching insanity. Each is serious, well researched and well written, but neither quite fully explains the oversize reaction to Palin.