The Prolonging of Palin

Books, like men
their authors, have no more than one way of coming into the world, but there
are ten thousand to go out of it, and return no more.

Jonathan
Swift, A Tale of a Tub, dedication

Books, like men
their authors, have no more than one way of coming into the world, but there
are ten thousand to go out of it, and return no more.

Jonathan
Swift, A Tale of a Tub, dedication

It's not the same as learning that
just in time for the holiday season, a heretofore-unpublished novel of
Dostoyevsky will hit the stores to great excitement and acclaim, but it's not
much less exciting. It's the news
that Sarah Palin's memoir with the catchy title "Going Rogue: An American Life"
will arrive at bookstores on November 17th. Its advent has produced more of a buzz
than did the news of Joe the Plumber's book, earlier this year, with the
fetching title of "Joe the Plumber: Fighting for the American Dream."

Joe's fight began with the
utterance of 12 words he spoke when introduced to Presidential Candidate Obama
during the 2008 campaign. Those words were: "Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn't it?" With
that cogent inquiry Joe became an instant hero to the right wing and finally
gave John McCain something to talk about.
It was, of course, a miracle as great as any in memory, that such an
utterance should be considered fighting for the American dream. Until then, Joe's fighting for the
American dream consisted of not paying taxes he owed and practicing plumbing
without a license. That redemption
could be achieved with such an utterance is indeed proof that in this country
incompetence is no bar to success.

Joe's fight continued after the
election when Joe became a correspondent for Pajamas TV. As correspondent he went first to
Israel where he reported on what he thought Israel's response to the proposed
cease fire with Hamas would be based on his perceptive conversations with
"regular Israelis" (as distinguished from the other kind that more
sophisticated reporters rely on).
From that assignment he went on to "investigate the Obama stimulus
package", an assignment he completed
on February 11. His last
appearance for Pajamas appears to be
March 3, 2009
, probably because he got involved in writing his new book
that was published later in the year.
(Of course he did not write it himself. He wrote it with the help of someone who was able to put
Joe's few thoughts into words and embellish them to book length.) Sarah Palin's book is more eagerly
awaited than was Joe's and, if advanced reports are believed, will have
considerably more success.

Like Joe, (and unlike Dostoyevsky
who did all his own writing and in Russian at that, which Sarah, having lived
practically within earshot of Russia would be the first to tell you, is a
considerable challenge) Sarah, too, had help. Her co-author was Lynn Vincent
who spent the entire summer helping Sarah write her 400-page book. Ms. Vincent has written her own books
as well as co-authored books for other public figures who lack the ability to
do their own writing. A HarperCollins
spokeswoman
said the book would be "a memoir of Governor Palin's life" but
refused to discuss the role of Ms. Vincent saying the publisher did not
"participate in stories regarding collaborators." According to Politico,
however, Ms. Vincent is "a staunch conservative, devoted evangelical Christian
and intensely partisan Republican." (Her partisanship is well illustrated by a
book she wrote entitled "Donkey Cons" which, among other things, describes the
Democratic party as "pro-gangster" and the "party of treason and subversion",
descriptions that resonate in the hearts of those who can hardly wait for the
Palin book to hit the stores.) Its
conception aside, the book promises to be a real boon for booksellers around
the country.

According to a report in the Wall
Street Journal its initial press run will be 1.5 million copies, the same as
the first press run of the memoir of another famous American, Edward M. Kennedy
published in late September.
Retailers are hoping the book will boost the fortunes of booksellers
around the country. Edward
Ash-Milby, a buyer for Barnes and Noble is quoted in the WSJ as saying that
"It's going to be a No. 1 best seller, the hottest book in the country when it
comes out. She has a lot to say
and a lot of people will want to hear it." It is reassuring to learn that Ms. Palin, who was repeatedly
stumped by questioners when interviewed during the 2008 campaign, has found a
brain and a voice and now has a lot to say. Some were amazed at Joe the Plumber's popularity with a
large segment of the American public when his accomplishments were essentially
non-existent. It is even more
amazing to think that Sarah Palin's book will become a best seller. The only question that is left is
whether the promised popularity of her book says more about her or about those
who buy her book. Readers can
reach their own conclusions.