Nick Gillespie on Joe McGinniss' Sarah Palin Bio in the Washington Post


My Washington Post review of Joe McGinniss' new biography of Sarah Palin, The Rogue, is online now.

Here's how it starts:

In an America where a whopping 66 percent of adults hold an unfavorable view of 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin (according to a recent Bloomberg poll), author Joe McGinniss has done something truly remarkable. He actually makes the short-serving former Alaska governor and widely panned reality TV star a slightly more sympathetic character, at least for the regrettable time one wastes reading "The Rogue," his sketchily sourced compendium of low blows and inconsistent accusations.

To see how it ends, go here.

I wrote about Sarah Palin in the March 2010 Reason, in an article called "Myth Alaska: Sarah Palin Bounces a Reality Check."


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  1. Rumors abound that Palin, whose spring bus tour fizzled every bit as much as Charlie Sheen’s

    Really? I thought she drew huge crowds where ever she went. How did it fizzle? Seriously, the women had huge crowds and was in the news every day for about a month. I don’t see how that is a fizzle.

    1. I think he meant that it did not lead to a competitive position in presidential primary polls.

      That was the intent of the Tour to push for a presidential bit, and the tour was unsuccessful at hitting that mark….fizzled is a perfectly legitimate description of that outcome.

      1. She still does reasonably well for a woman who is not running. I don’t see how you can say it fizzled. I mean what was supposed to happen, the country rise up and draft her for President?

        1. She still does reasonably well for a woman who is not running.

          Dude she is running…she may never announce she may never debate…but she is running…or should I say she was running.

          Also I give her political cred for being smart about her “whisper” campaign. She kept people guessing and she got the information she needed to get to see if she had a chance…hell she probably actually made money by campaigning this way and probably will wield some power as King maker in the elections.

          Newt and Cain and Huntsman and Santorum…yeah compared to them Palin is a political genius.

          1. Considering the fact that she could out poll everyone in the Republican race besides Romney and Perry, without even running, I don’t see how you can call the bus tour a fizzle. She could jump in right now and be a solid third in the polls before she even started. That isn’t bad.

        2. not running? john, the teaparty’s already elected her to grifter-in-chief.

    2. In as much as her bus tour was meant to be a springboard for a presidential campaign…the bus tour was a failure.

      Her poll numbers slid downward throughout the bus tour period to the point now where she has little chance of being the nominee (if she wanted to be, which she appeared to be aiming for earlier in the year).

      1. Joe musta thought she’d be announced by now, the profit potential of this book is not nearly as good until/unless she announces.

  2. If her tour fizzled Nick, what does that say about you and Welch’s tour?

      1. Damn…the spam bots are getting better at Jokes then most commenters.

        The singularity is here!!!

        1. Anonymity guy has won a couple threads – he’s in a different category than most bots.

    1. This word “fizzle.” I don’t think it means what you think it means.

  3. At least she believes in vaccination right?

        1. why else would she be so “freaked out” after sleeping w/ a black guy?? HPV causes AIDS right?

  4. To be honest a Republican Women no matter how competent cannot win the presidency. Not when the left leaning national news media can take sexist pot shots at them with impunity.

    Feminism has come a long way baby…right up to the cliff’s edge and into the hole of left wing hackdom.

    1. I think it will be another few decades before a woman actually has a serious run at the Whitehouse in general.

      I think the past election cycle showed that no matter how liked or favored a female is (ie Hillary) that the voters will still shy away in the long run. Not to mention a woman in politics will be crucified for many things that a male opponent would never suffer criticism for.

      1. As long as women hate each other, there will never be a woman President. It is other women who go after Palin with the worst sexist remarks. It is women who comment on Hillary’s clothes and hair and other irrelevant and catty shit. Female journalists are the absolute worst.

        1. It is other women who go after Palin with the worst sexist remarks.

          Chris Mathews is a women?


          yeah you are right it is other women.

          Note: this joke may or may not have worked better using Maddow.

          1. But women tolerate Mathews saying the horrible shit he does as long as it is about a woman they don’t like.

          2. Chris Mathews is a woman?


            Note: this joke may or may not have worked better using Maddow.

            Who is no more a woman than Chris Matthews.

        2. Ann Coulter and all those other Fox broads?

          1. I fail to see how getting on TV for your boobs and ability to wear a short skirt sitting sideways to the camera advances the cause of women in politics much.

            1. “Boobs” The secret word for today! Tell him what he’s won Nick.

          2. Ann Coulter isn’t good looking enough to be threatening.

            1. Not as sexual competition to another woman, anyway.

              1. But she’d make a great mistress/dominatrix though

                1. “But she’d make a great mistress/dominatrix pterodactyl though”

            2. It’s the Adam’s apple.

      2. Not to mention appearances. All a male candidate has to do is shower and not roll around in mud and no one will criticize how they look.

        1. I disagree.

          A male candidate must “look presidential” in order to have a shot. That’s why guys like Perry come out of the gates hot and guys like Paul are seen as weird old guys.

      3. Stealth choice for first female VP: Sussana Martinez. Hispanic, Female, Republican, from a swing state (New Mexico) and if she gets through her term without a major corruption scandal, that’s amazing for New Mexico governor.

        1. Goldwater,

          I keep forgetting that you’re from NM. We should get a beer sometime or something.

          … “Jemez” Hobbit

      4. I don’t think so. If the media did its job and outed Edwards earlier Hillary would be president. And anyways, many of her faults were particular to her, and not women in general.

  5. Well said, Nick. Once again, the South Parkian middle ground is a good one. You don’t have to love Sarah Palin to hate Joe McGinniss and vice versa.

    Although, this NYT article about Palin has me viewing her in an improved light. I would be very interested if she continues down this path.

    1. That’s the kind of talk that gives me hope she could endorse Ron Paul.

      1. I would find a Paul endorsement by Palin more of a pleasant surprise than a “shocker”.

  6. It’s all about the jiggly bits.

    1. I like a woman with a little meat on her bones!

  7. How is Palins bus tour anything but a win/win/win?

    Liberal dems get to work their two minutes hate against an approved target. Joe McGinniss gets to go on a book tour that no one cares about and Sarah Palin makes a crap load of money…none of it obtained in Solyndra like fashion…and laughs all the way to the bank…not the Whitehouse.

    What’s not to like?

    1. But that evil woman is supposed to a failure and unhappy. She can’t be rich and happy and enjoying her life. The media has decreed it. And she left public office. There is no greater sin in journoland than leaving public office. Even the Libertarians can’t forgive her for that.

      1. john – are u like OCD on palin? and im not the only one to post that either

        1. And you are full on retarded. And I am not the only one to post that here. I guess we all have our flaws.

          1. Gardasil shot?

          2. defensive are we?

            1. Stop stalking me you little fucking weirdo.

        2. He likes her jiggly bits.

          1. and how

            1. Any time Palin comes up, John goes full retard. I’ll bet he has a life-size poster of her on his bedroom ceiling.

  8. You still care what the MSM thinks? Shit….she doesn’t and good on her for that! There is something blessed about a person who can stir up democrats like she can…..feminist harpies and effeminate beta boys all reduced to impotent paroxysms due to the mere suggestion that she might be interested in the job.

    I love her (although I’d never consider casting a ballot for her) simply for that alone. That she is hot in a MILFish way a just the cherry on the sundae!

    1. I still think she’s ultimately a go-along-to-get-along type. Just like Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, the last 6 years of Reagan, Carter.

      At least Ford had the nerve to veto. Showed what a complete fraud democracy really is – the only POTUS who did not seek the job and really didn’t campaign all that seriously to keep it.

      1. I still think she’s ultimately a go-along-to-get-along type

        Yeah but as long as she’s out of government what do we care? She’s not going to be president and she serves so well as a democratic punching bag…serves by making the left look batshit crazy…that her continued presence around the campaign is a benefit to us all!

      2. I still think she’s ultimately a go-along-to-get-along type…

        I probably would have agreed with you – but read that NYT article Bee Tagger posted.

  9. She wasn’t disappointed that Glen Rice was a black man. She just thought he was Tony Gwynn.

  10. Well written piece.

    Maybe you could send a copy to Sullum.

  11. And what the hell does that mean?

    and her disturbingly narcissistic reaction to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona raise serious questions about her capacity to govern effectively.

    The left/media hysteria after the Arizona shooting was one of the most despicable events in the US politics lately. And Palin was deliberately targeted by the vultures. Not you, Nick. Palin’s response to this “blood libel” was eminently moderate and reasonable.

    1. Good catch. Reason really can’t think straight when comes to Palin. Ultimately Nick and the lot of them have no balls. It takes balls to defend Palin in their circles. And none of them have any. So they always have to throw in some stupid cheap shot so none of their colleges think they might like her or something. It is pathetic really.

      1. NO media folk think straight about Palin. The left pours ink by the barrel to convince us (itself?) how inconsequential liberals believe her to be; the right is driven by an equal and opposite imperative to defend her; and, libertarians don’t want to argue her strengths with their liberal friends or debate her weaknesses with their conservative friends.

        1. They have no problems pointing out and debating her weaknesses. Reason does it all of the time. That is easy. Defending her takes balls. And that is not something Reason has.

          1. You know who else can’t think straight when it comes to Palin?
            Defending her takes not listening to your gonads for once.

            1. er, “not” defending her takes not listening to your gonads.
              I also go full-retard when the topic of Palin comes up.

    2. Yeah, I have some issues with Palin but blaming _her_ for what went on after the Giffords shooting is ludicrous. If a large group of people went on TV to blame me for mass murder (including a 9 year old child), I sure as hell wouldn’t be as measured in my response as she was.

  12. I have no love or hate for Sarah Palin. I do, however, love her two main contributions to America as a whole. First, she revitalized the career of Lisa Ann. Second, she reveals the statists’ need for an Emmanuel Goldstein figure to heap their derision, loathing, and blame for the flaws and failures of their ideas.

  13. A previous poster mentioned the Giffords thing. Here are a couple other things which Gillespie accuses Palin of doing:

    “lapses in judgment, including a push to fire her former brother-in-law, who was a state trooper”

    Then Gillespie links to an article which reads like a Balko expose of police abuse. Palin sent the following email complaining about her trooper brother-in-law, and the email is clearly true, because if it wasn’t the media would have refuted it by now:

    [quoting Palin] “Wooten’s words were, ‘I will kill him [Palin’s father]. He’ll eat a [expletive] lead bullet, I’ll shoot him,’ if our father got the attorney to help Molly,” Palin said in an e-mail she wrote in August 2005 to the chief of the state police. “I heard this death threat, my 16-year-old son heard it (Track Palin), Molly heard it, as did their small children. Wooten spoke with his Trooper gun on his hip in an extremely intimidating fashion, leaving no doubt he is serious about taking someone’s life who disagrees with him.”

    Then there was a complaint by Palin’s father, summarized in the article as follows:

    “On the day that the governor’s younger sister filed for divorce — April 11, 2005 — Palin’s father, Chuck Heath, a retired teacher then in his late 60s, called state police to file a complaint about Wooten. He handed the phone to his daughter Molly, who told state police that her husband had threatened her father’s life and had drunk beer while driving his police vehicle home. Later, she told police that Wooten had shot a “cow moose” without a license and Tasered his 10-year-old stepson.”

    “the most bizarre and self-pitying exit speech since Richard Nixon promised in 1962, after losing the California governor’s race, that we wouldn’t have him to kick around anymore.”

    Not a good example if you’re trying to prove that Palin has no future in politics!

    1. It’s true that Palin was a public official and as such could get more attention to her complaints about police abuse, but as I recall, the same could be said Cheye Calvo (sp?), whose cause Reason championed. Was Calvo guilty of a “lapse in judgment” when he complained about cops who at least didn’t issue death threats, taser young kids, or drink on the job?

  14. Did you really hasve to review this book? Really?

    I’m trying to decide if it’s masochism or sadism.


    1. I’m jealous of foxy Sarah and don’t wanna hear about her.

  15. As I have said before, it is far, far more important for us to focus on who Palin may or may not have slept with than on which Obama contributor receive half a billion in federal money for his “green” business that everyone knew would fail.

    It is far, far more important to obsess on Palin allegingly snorting something than to think about the implications of Obama arrogating the power to order the killing of Americans oversees as “terrorists.”

    And it is far more critical for us to wring our hands over Palin thinking that Paul Revere warned the British than it is for us to even consider that Obama, a constitutional law instructor, once claimed that the Lochner decisions was the equivalent of the Dred Scott case.

    Let’s keep our priorities straight, shall we?

    1. To be clear, I am not criticizing Nick for writing the review or Reason for posting it. I am referring to the liberal media and people like McGinniss who are more concerned about someone who holds no political office (and likely never will) than on issues that really matter.

    1. Especially on Halloween.

      1. Too witty for me. Stop. Please.

        1. Palin supporter brain full. Brain hurt. Asks “please, set mah brain free.”

          1. You’re forgetting the first rule of holes: don’t be one.

  16. I hope she does enter the race. Then Bachmann and Palin can battle it out, the cat fight heating up to the point they both eventually burst into flames. Paul or Johnson could then rise from the ashes.
    Obama’s been a disaster and Palin would be another disaster; she’s demonstrated time and again a lack of character, judgement and basic intelligence. Anyone who can’t even handle a softball Katie Couric interview is just a piece of fluff. “What newspapers and magazines do you read?” “All of them.” I bet she’d quit the presidency within the first two years because she couldn’t handle the heat.

    1. Anyone who can’t even handle a softball Katie Couric interview is just a piece of fluff. “What newspapers and magazines do you read?” “All of them.”

      Perhaps she did not care for Couric’s condescending or patronizing attitude is why she answered “All of them.” Personally I’d be more interested in what a candidate thinks instead of whether she’d read the “acceptable” periodicals and newspapers. I wonder what Couric reads anyway.

      1. BTW, I don’t remember any of the other candidates being cross-examined about what they read.

      2. “I wonder what Couric reads anyway.”

        Lame. Couric is not a candidate for the highest office in the land. Secondly, asking what newspapers or magazines someone reads is hardly a “cross-examination.” Really, just a cut above “what did you have for lunch?” And other candidates have been asked similar questions plenty of times before – what books are you reading now, a favorite book, philosopher, etc. And what does it have to do with the “acceptable” (your quotes) magazines and newspapers. She could have said the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Reason, Christian Science Monitor, NYT, etc.

    2. Dude, all catfights inevitably lead to lesbian sex. I saw it in a movie once.

  17. Palin has positioned herself to be a kingmaker in Team Red. She can raise money and draw fire away from any candidate. In another 4 or 8 years she can remake herself as a serious candidate, since she seems to realize she needs more seasoning (bus tour). She’s dumb like a fox.

    1. “she can remake herself as a serious candidate”
      Yes, a brain transplant might be possible then.

  18. What Eduard van Haalen said. Nick the shameabout the brother in law is that he wasn’t locked up. If I drove to Sarah’s sisters house drinking a beer, tazered Sarah’s nephew, and, while armed, threatened to shoot her dad, would that be OK with you? Why is it all right then when a cop does it?


    I just visited Barry’s Attack Watch website. This was my first contribution:

    “Hi Mr. President.

    I was at Starbuck’s, and there were these 2 ladies in line in front of me, and I heard them talking about Michele, and they were both going on about how she is fat AND ugly, and I just couldn’t stand it and I told them she isn’t fat! I think the one on the left with the big tits was named Shelly. I hope this helps. Also, Can you get ear reduction surgery or something ? that would help a lot. ”

    Attack Watch is creepy beyond belief. I predict this “call to snitch” is going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. And by “camel’s back” I mean ” Obama’s re-election chance” I’m just saying.

  20. “Sarah Palin Bounces a Reality Check.”

    I see what you did there.

  21. This flawed book makes me wonder if Jeffrey MacDonald really IS innocent! So she dated a hot college athlete … shocker. And what is this guy’s problems with black guys anyway? Get out of your own head and take a look around — interracial relationships are kinda common (yawn). I thought that was a GOOD thing!

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