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Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin speaks at a dinner celebrating former U.S. president Ronald Reagan. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin speaks at a dinner celebrating former U.S. president Ronald Reagan. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

KONRAD YAKABUSKI

'Well of affection' shields Palin from muckraking bio's blows Add to ...

This should give them something fresh to talk about at the Values Voter Summit.

A muckraking new biography on an allegedly coke-snorting, Todd-cheating and self-serving Sarah Palin arrives just in time for U.S. social conservatives to digest its salacious details before their annual pow-wow.

The Family Research Council may need to squeeze another breakout session on to the agenda of its early October conference, in between “Exposing Planned Parenthood” and “How the Welfare State Erodes the Family.” They could call it “Sarah’s Supposed Sins.”

Who knows if there is any truth to the unsubstantiated gossip that author Joe McGinniss is spreading about the Republican (Christian) rock star and most talked about non-candidate for President? Mr. McGinniss, who famously moved in next door to the Palins in Alaska to research his book, does not appear to be overly preoccupied with the facts.

The few media outlets that were provided with review copies in advance of Sept. 20 publication date of The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin have not been impressed with the book that husband Todd Palin Thursday called “full of disgusting lies.”

“I have no doubt that McGinniss’s view of Palin is accurate: That she is narcissistic, undisciplined and unqualified for public life,” Los Angeles Times critic David L. Ulin wrote. “Still, I want more than innuendo to make the point.”

Only the most sheltered of American voters would be shocked by Mr. McGinniss’s allegations that the 2008 GOP vice-presidential nominee sniffed cocaine almost three decades ago (on a snowmobile trip, no less); that she had a one-night stand with a college basketball star before her 1988 marriage; or that she had an affair with her husband’s business partner in revenge for Todd Palin’s infidelity.

In D.C., that would be called a quiet weekend.

In one of his own books, Barack Obama confessed to having done “a little blow” and it did not stop him from becoming President. Granted, Ms. Palin courts a different part of the electorate. But isn’t it supposed to be the most forgiving part? Besides, what voter doesn’t love a redemption story?

Were The Rogue about almost any other U.S. political figure, it would likely be ignored by most of the “lamestream media” Ms. Palin decries (wink, wink), all while courting every byte of attention they give her.

But Ms. Palin is as much an obsession for her haters – and Mr. McGinnis makes no secret that he is one of them – as she is for her fans. No crumb about her goes unprinted or un-posted.

Indeed, Ms. Palin, much more than Mr. Obama, is a perfect political symbol for our reality-TV times. She animates a profound debate about the moral meaning of America, yet feeds on the nihilism of its popular culture.

“I am a huge fan of Sarah Palin,” ex-Fugee Wyclef Jean told Women’s Wear Daily on Wednesday. “Cause she’s rad. She’s shrewd. She’s cool.”

Ex-NBA star Charles Barkley was jealous when he heard Mr. McGinnis’s allegation that Ms. Palin had a one-night stand with ex-Miami Heat player Glen Rice when he played college ball and she was a sportscaster.

“If that story is true, more power to Glen Rice,” he told ESPN radio on Thursday. “I think she’s hot. I wouldn’t vote for her, but she is hot now.”

According to a Bloomberg poll released Thursday, Ms. Palin is the most loathed major politician in the country. Fully 66 per cent of Americans view her unfavourably.

Yet, poll after poll also shows that, even at this late date, she would still give Mitt Romney and Rick Perry a run for their money were she to enter the Republican nomination race. No one seems to believe she will run but everyone agrees that dismissing her is simply too risky.

“We’re talking about THE Sarah Palin who still outdraws any Republican in the country and has a very deep well of affection stored up for her among the masses,” former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele wrote in an online discussion posted on the Politico website.

The 16 academics, politicians and consultants who discussed the McGinniss tome on Politico all felt differently about Ms. Palin and the book. But they concurred on one point: Its contents will not make a whit of difference to her political career.

Because, you know, she’s rad.

 

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