Opinion piece in the South Bend Tribune:
There goes the neighborhood. We do not know if that was Sarah Palin's initial response to the news that a journalist writing a book about her had rented the house next to hers in Wasilla, Alaska. But who could blame her if it was?
As it is, the response Palin did share on Facebook seems tellingly uneven, as if Joe McGinniss' decision to move in next door had knocked her off her game. One moment, she's chirping with trademark insouciance about how she might bake him a blue-berry pie to welcome him to the neighborhood. The next, she is talking about raising the fence between her house and his.
In the same Facebook posting, Palin also suggested, with smarmy innuendo, that from his new home, the author could see into her daughter's bedroom. Palin did not explain why he would wish to do so.
McGinniss' move has stirred controversy beyond Wasilla. A posting on Slate.com strongly defended his "immersion" journalism. At the other end of the opinion spectrum, the author has received death threats from angry Palin fans. Among McGinniss' more hinged critics, the word "creepy" gets used a lot. Even in defending him, the piece on Slate.com likened him to a stalker.
For his part, McGinniss told NBC's "Today" show that "creepy is as creepy does" — whatever that means — and portrayed his decision to rent the house next door as coincidental. He needed to live in Wasilla for the summer while doing his research, it was a great house at a great price, and it just happened to be next door to the woman he is writing about.
If ever there is a Museum of Disingenuous Explanations, that one will deserve its own wing. And here, let us stipulate three things:
One, McGinniss is pulling an obvious stunt that ultimately benefits both parties: It helps him sell books; it helps her sell herself as a victim of the "lamestream" media.
Two, McGinniss is perfectly within his rights to rent this house — or any other he desires.
Three, Palin is, of her own doing, a public figure and as such, must accept intense, even intrusive, media scrutiny.
But even stipulating all that, it's hard to be sanguine about the uncomfortable nearness McGinniss has foisted upon his subject. Not that you can't understand why he'd want to write about her. Palin is, second only to the president himself, the most compelling figure in American politics — and the most polarizing. For some, she is the folksy, straight-talkin' avatar of conservative principles, while for others she is the leader of an intellectually incoherent movement that has no idea where it's going but seems in a hurry to get there.
Under neither interpretation, however, does she forfeit her humanity or her right to expect that she will be treated with basic human decency. And stalking another person — sorry, but when even your friends call you a stalker, you're a stalker — violates that expectation. This is not immersion or even intrusion. This is invasion.
Unfortunately, invasion has become the media's default means of covering the rich and famous. Ask Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Tom Cruise. They all enjoy the mixed blessing of being celebrities in an era where lines of propriety have been all but erased and too close is never close enough — an era where you are never out of camera range and folks seem to think themselves entitled to your deepest feelings, failings, secrets and fears, as if public people had no right to private lives.
Indeed, if I were Pitt, Bullock or Cruise, I'd make offers on the houses next to mine just in case McGinniss has given somebody ideas.
We have, many of us, chosen to forget this, but the mere fact of being well known does not make an individual abstract or theoretical, nor does it absolve us of the obligation to treat them as we'd wish to be treated. People have the right to live peaceably and privately within their own walls.
Even Sarah Palin.
Ya know, I honestly think there should be laws against some of what the paparazzi does. I've heard stories of how people from TMZ have almost caused car accidents in their attempts to get stuff. I personally think it's disgusting that a celebrity can't go to a deli without having fifty pictures taken of them.
Shocker of shockers, Bill Maher and Van Jones are on Palin's side too:
Where was all of this "Parent's Party" thing during the 2008 election?
Here's an interesting take on Palin's Branstad endorsement:
Sarah Palin Iowa 2012? Palin Endorses Terry Branstad – Sarah Palin endorsed moderate Terry Branstad yesterday in the race to be Iowa’s governor. Palin had previously been known to only endorse candidates that shared her values, and also candidates that she thought were on the rise and could help her in the upcoming presidential election. While she has not yet announced that she is running, she has made it very apparent through her actions.
Some have speculated that if she would like to win the election in 2012, she would need Iowa to do so. By supporting the candidate that is most likely going to win in the state, she is setting herself up for the victory there. She will be able to say that she supported him all along, and will be able to win the favor of the citizens within the state through her endorsement of the most popular politician in Iowa.
It is surprising that Palin would choose to side with someone that does not share her political views. Both Palin and Branstad have very different ideas on public programs, immigration, the tea party protests and how the country should be handling their economic problems.
With many considering Iowa to be the key to the upcoming presidential election, Palin is making strides toward setting herself up for her run. Through her constant presence giving speeches, through her very public endorsements, Palin is building her self a solid foundation of favors for the upcoming presidential election.
Well, at least Terry read her book...
And finally, a rehash of yesterday's fun at the Belmont Stakes:
You weren't going to get Sarah Palin to talk politics on Belmont Stakes Day. The former Republican vice presidential candidate was at Belmont Park to watch First Dude, a horse which was named after her husband Todd, run in the Belmont Stakes.
When it was suggested she come to New York to try and solve the New York Racing Association's monetary woes, she giggled.
"We're not talking politics today, no way," Palin said, standing in the paddock with her husband and John Hendrickson, the husband of Saratoga socialite Marylou Whitney. "This is too much fun."
First Dude was the nickname Palin had for her husband when she was governor in Alaska. They have no connection with the owners of the horse.
But the Palins were going to bet on First Dude. How much they would not say. Sarah Palin said a big bet for them is not a lot of money.
"It will be a win bet because, for us, it's all or nothing," she said. "We're very excited for the race because we love the horse's name and we think he has a good chance to win."
Palin was dressed in capri pants, a white T-shirt, a black designer baseball cap and flip-flops, the same clothes she had on when she boarded the plane in Texas earlier in the day.
Seems the limo driver picked the Palins up at JFK And then got lost going to their hotel in Garden City. No time to change so it was off to the track.
"Typical Alaskans," she said with a laugh. "We were a couple hours late but everyone has been so hospitable and accepting of the garb."
Palin said she wasn't sure if she would come see the ponies run at Saratoga this summer. Hendrickson quickly interjected she was invited.
"Well, we'll see," she said...
It's too bad Palin didn't hedge her bets with a wager across the board; First Dude ran third after setting the pace along the rail all the way until the final sixteenth of a mile. Trainer Dale Romans said he thinks the colt, who finished second in the May 15 Preakness, is still improving.
"We had a perfect trip and everything went like we planned, we just couldn't hold it together right at the end," Romans said. "He put in a great effort. He wants to run all day. He's still learning, he's still getting it together. ... I think we have a lot of fun races in front of us."
First Dude will fly back to Romans' base at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on Monday.
A little more info:
Palin was the guest of Marylou Whitney and her husband John Hendrickson, who used to be in politics in Alaska, where Palin used to be governor...
Palin would not say she is a big fan of the horse game . Back home she was more into all terrain vehicles for sport.
“Our love of the motorhead sports can translate over to the horse racing world just fine,” she said.
Some interesting info on the Palin's hosts here, here, and here. Apparently they were both aides to Wally Hickel.
And the Cuda's reaction to the race results?
Sweet run by Drosselmeyer today at Belmont. The colt is a gorgeous, steady athlete. But doggone, First Dude didn't win. Bush's fault.
The First Dude: