It is fair to say that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would rather go vegan than say something nice about President Obama.
The 2008 Republican nominee for vice president has, in many senses, become the face of anti-Obama sentiment, referring to the president’s policies as “downright evil” and picking up on tea-party talk about the president leading American down the red road to socialism. She has even gone so far in her campaigning against healthcare reform to suggest that “Obama’s ‘death panel'” might have targeted her Down Syndrome baby.
And Palin’s new book, Going Rogue: An American Life takes the Obama-as-threat-to-babies theme even further, renewing her 2008 campaign-trail charge that Obama engages in the “real extremism” of wanting to do in “babies born alive after botched abortions.”
Never mind that Obama never expressed such a view, never mind that Time magazine fact-checked this claim a year ago and found it “misleading,” never mind that Obama has actually disappointed many abortion rights advocates with his failure so far to fight to assure that any health care reform guarantees women access to reproductive health services. Palin is going rogue with the facts when it comes to Democrats she dislikes.
But that doesn’t mean that Palin dislikes all Democrats.
Going Rogue is actually kind of sweet on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Should Secretary Clinton and I ever sit down over a cup of coffee, I know that we will fundamentally disagree on may issues, but my hat is off to her hard work on the 2008 campaign trail,” Palin says in the book that will officially be released Tuesday. “Compared to the guys she squared off against, a lot of her supporters think she proved what Margaret Thatcher proclaimed: ‘If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.'”
Palin even sort of apologizes to Clinton for ridiculing the former first lady and senator’s complaints about her treatment by the press.
“I wasn’t really accusing her of whining,” observes Palin. “Still, before criticizing her on this point, I should have walked a mile in her shoes. I can see now that she had every right to call the media on biased treatment that ended up affecting her candidacy. In fact, I should have applauded her because she was right…”
Though the former governor trashes writers for NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in Going Rogue — accusing them of presenting her with a script that “wasn’t all that funny” and saying that when she appeared on the show she thought: “C’mon, New York talent, we can do better than that” — this rumination is something of a reprise of a 2008 campaign-season skit that had cast members Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as Palin and Clinton, respectively.
That skit included this exchange:
Palin (Fey): “You know, Hillary and I don’t agree on everything…”
Clinton (Poehler): “Anything!”
On the eve of Palin’s publication date, Clinton’s being gracious.
Asked on ABC’s “This Week” about the kind words from the first woman ever to run on a Republican ticket, the woman who wanted to head the 2008 Democratic ticket said:
“Well you know, I’ve never met her, and I’d look forward to sit down and talk with her. Obviously we’re going to hear a lot more from her in the upcoming week, with her book coming up and I would look forward to having a chance to get to meet her.”
It is hard to imagine that Palin and Clinton have moved far beyond the “don’t-agree-on-everything/anything” stage. After all, Clinton is, if anything, more pro-choice than Obama. And Clinton, because of her work in the 1990s, is at least as associated as Obama with the sort health-care reform advocacy that Palin so derides. And, of course, there is the inconvenient detail for those who would seek to divide and conquer that Clinton serves in Obama’s administration.
But their coffee date would, undoubtedly, be more friendly than a get together between Palin her former running-mate, John McCain, whose former aides and allies are doing a lot more griping about Going Rogue than the Obama or Clinton camps.
For more about the former governor of Alaska, check out GOING ROUGE: Sarah Palin – An American Nightmare, a terrific new collection of essays on the woman from Wasilla (including two by this writer), which has been ably edited by The Nation‘s Richard Kim and Betsy Reed. Going Rouge is the really rogue book for Americans who think “maverick” is a state of mind — not a political slogan.