There has been a surprising litany of criticism from the left of Joe McGinness' book of smears against Sarah Palin. Many liberals have apparently realized how damaging the 315-page hate-filled rant is to the "progressive brand" and are making a real effort to do damage control. Establishment Republican Matt Latimer (he wrote speeches for George W. Bush) has added his voice to the chorus, for an entirely different reason. Latimer, you see, is horrified that deranged Palin-haters such as McGinness are "the only people who are really keeping Palin relevant—and rich," and if the PDS-afflicted would only shut up about the former GOP vice presidential candidate for a while, she would fade into obscurity -- at least according to the beltway GOP's way of wishful thinking:
Well, the former governor surely has enough money now, and you’ve had enough fun. Palin haters, it’s finally time for some tough love. You need to stop encouraging this. It’s really time to move on. If The Rogue proves anything, it is that this advice is sadly overdue.Latimer is shocked -- shocked! -- not so much that McGinness' book aims to tear down Gov. Palin, but that "a literary endeavor can go so terribly wrong." The Bushie Republican laments the fact that the McGinness effort lacks "meritorious revelations" and only offers a "litany of revulsions (sic)." In other words, if you're going to try to destroy Sarah Palin, he wants you to do a better job of it while not sounding as unhinged in the process as McGinness. Latimer would no doubt find much more to like in such a book of personal destruction if only it had been written by Kathleen Parker or David Frum, just to name two cocktail party Republicans who know how to eviscerate Reagan conservatives while not seeming quite as deranged as those on the left who share their Palin-hatred.
A word about the author of this masterpiece of meanness, Joe McGinniss. This is not some low-rent gossip columnist or celebrity stalker. He is a veteran journalist and critically acclaimed author whose various writings have appeared in practically every highbrow magazine there is. Clearly a man who values his reputation and follows his every mention in the media, he has many friends within the Boston–New York literary establishment. That only makes his latest enterprise that much more depressing. This is the kind of book McGinniss thinks his tony Manhattan audience wants to read. Even more alarming, perhaps it is.
What more really needs to be said about a screed so lazily sourced and innuendo-filled that even The New York Times felt the need to step away from it? A book whose author made the creepy and in retrospect, incredibly foolish, decision to move into the house right next door to the Palins and then had the nerve to feign surprise when the Palins were more than a little teed off. (If you think the Palins were rough on you, Mr. McGinniss, then I suggest you try pulling that move on Tom Cruise some time. By the time his lawyers are through with you, your great-great-grandchildren will owe him damages.)
Is anything in this book true? Who knows? And in this book’s view, who cares? It is so lazy that it doesn’t even bother with an index. But it will fit well on the bookshelves of those unthinking idiots who buy tomes saying that Barack Obama is a closet Muslim who invites terrorist attacks or that Dick Cheney is the root of all evil in the modern world.
I’m sure this book will be fodder for late-night comedians and anti-Palin pundits on MSNBC, but I hope maybe a few of them might for a moment stop and wonder if even someone as horrible as Palin might deserve a little bit of temperance and discretion. That maybe when we talk about changing the tone of our politics, we could start by changing the way we talk about our opponents. And even if you don’t buy that, you might at least consider that you are only making your enemy even stronger and richer.