Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Book Reviews: From political histories to bad comics, to bad comics of political histories. And the occasional rant about fiction and writing.

Mimsy Review: Sarah

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, July 1, 2014

Ms. Palin, the former mayor of Wasilla, stands stands out in a state that has seen few fresh faces in politics. She is untainted by government scandal and unburdened by political debt.—The New York Times

Published while Governor Sarah Palin was just Governor Sarah Palin and not the 2008 Vice Presidential nominee for the Republican Party, this is a fascinating look at the pre-media frenzy governor.

RecommendationSpecial Interests
AuthorKaylene Johnson
Length158 pages
Book Rating6

Sarah is an amazing book simply because it was published in April 2008, a scant four months before Governor Palin became the Vice Presidential nominee who threatened Senator Obama’s presidential bid. Back then, the media and fellow Democrats supported Palin as a maverick, fighting corruption in a nonpartisan matter, including in the Republican establishment. There is no hint in these pages of the media savaging in store for Governor Palin.

In her first year as governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin has plunged ahead with the fearlessness of a polar explorer.—Associated Press

She had a tough-girl Alaskan résumé that most politicians could only dream of—the protein her family eats comes from fish she has pulled out of the ocean with her own hands.—Vogue

In Alaska, Palin is challenging the dominant, sometimes corrupting, role of oil companies in the state’s political culture.—Newsweek

[Governor Palin] stands out in a state that has seen few fresh faces in politics. She is untainted by government scandal and unburdened by political debt.—New York Times

This book is very short. It’s just a simple outline of then-Governor Palin’s life story, the basics from her young life in Alaska, through college, a few words about her and Todd Palin’s courtship, and, mostly, but still abbreviated, her political career first in Wasilla and ending in the governorship of Alaska.

Throughout the book we see Palin without the partisan lens that came after 2008. We see the kind of centrist conservative the country needs: a principled politician who can work with the other side of the aisle and still not discard her principles. A Republican politician who can work with, and be admired by, Democrats.

For example, after Palin resigned from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to protest the corruption there[as a member, she was forbidden to talk about anything that went on at the AOGCC], she worked with Democrat Representative Eric Croft to investigate corruption by the Republican governor’s crony, Gregg Renkes. The party line was that, because Renkes owned only .02% of stock in a company, there was no conflict of interest during negotiations with the company. It turned out, that .02% was worth $120,000.

And when Palin challenged incumbent Governor Frank Murkowski, she received support from Democrats as well as Republicans, including Fairbanks Democrat John Reeves.

“I knew from the moment I met her that she was going to win,” said Reeves, who switched parties in order to support Sarah.

“So many people from all walks of life came together and said, it doesn’t matter what party, Sarah is what we want,” Reeves said.

This is a fascinating look at Sarah Palin before the storm, and worth picking up if you see it just for that. I probably wouldn’t go looking for it, though, just because it predates the most interesting parts of her career.


Kaylene Johnson

Recommendation: Special Interests

If you enjoyed Sarah…

For more about Alaska, you might also be interested in Going Rogue: An American Life.

For more about media bias, you might also be interested in Florence Foster Jenkins is Hillary Clinton, Resistance to media bias is unexpected, A horse chestnut or a newspaper or a news show?, World News Tonight vs. the Sirens of the Internet, Divisive double standards, The ruling class’s unexpectedly old clothes, There will be lies, End of media; to delete this media…, Greta Van Susteren calls out media on hypocritical misogyny, The institutional forgetfulness of the press, Trickle down lying: What Wisconsin teaches us about the national news media, The Make-Believe Media’s New Normal, The media’s lies work, Why the New York Times can’t see 120 million homes, Has Trump forced the media into a Kobayashi Maru?, The media machine is calling me an asshole, How biased is Fox News?, (Joe) Scarborough Fair, How much is the media ignoring Elizabeth Warren’s problems?, Why don’t gun owners trust the left?, Why isn’t Bob Filner resigning?, Remember this when the New York Times criticizes conservatives, Evil and religion in the modern media, Confirmation journalism and the death penalty, California drought caused by lack of rain and progressive government, but mostly progressive government, Trump and the media, the sequel, The candidate we deserve, Two lessons for the price of one, for the Republican Party, Voting Nobody in 2016, How the left transformed vulgarity into courage and elected Donald Trump, An outdated code of conduct, How many fingers, America?, Advice to Sarah Palin From the Know-It-Alls, Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, Death-page 2000, COVID Lessons: Journalistic Delusions and the Madness of Politicians, Hillary Clinton and husband accused of sexual assault, The Hillary Clinton e-mail ‘scandal’ that isn’t, and Clinton calls for institutionalizing, curing, Trump supporters.

For more about Sarah Palin, you might also be interested in Resistance to media bias is unexpected, Blaming the financial crisis on the reformers, Branchflower’s misleading headlines, This wasteful political bloodsport, Truly principled politicians don’t split the baby, The anti-politician, It is widely believed that the news media is clueless, Voting for Nobody in New York, Why I don’t write about people not writing about Sarah Palin, That my child may have peace, No free shots, Institutional memory in political campaigns, The other British are coming!, You can’t play an honest media, What is the purpose of a politician?, Sarah Palin’s Gordian Knot: Slicing crony capitalism, The endless campaign, Governor Perry and the role of government, Who is the fiscally-sane candidate?, President Obama pokes the bear, Nothing to fear but a brokered convention, Advice to Sarah Palin From the Know-It-Alls, Going Rogue: An American Life, and Dana Milbank escapes rehab.