Well, as promised the Dish is back to normal. I'm not. "Going Rogue" is such a postmodern book that treating it as some kind of factual narrative to check (as I began to), or comparing its version of events with her previous versions of the same events (as I have), and comparing all those versions with what we know is empirical reality (so many lies, so little time) is just a dizzying task. The lies and truths and half-truths and the facts and non-facts are all blurred together in a pious puree of such ghastly prose that, in the end, the book can only really be read as a some kind of chapter in a cheap nineteenth century edition of "Lives of the Saints." But as autobiography.
It is a religious book, full of myths and parables. And yet it is also crafted politically, with every single "detail" of the narrative honed carefully for specific constituencies. It is also some kind of manifesto - but not in the usual sense of a collection of policy proposals. It is a manifesto for the imagined life of an imagined Sarah Palin as a leader for all those who identify with the image and background she relentlessly claims to represent.
In this, the book is emblematic of late degenerate Republicanism, which is based not on actual policies, but on slogans now so exhausted by over-use they retain no real meaning: free enterprise is great, God loves us all, America is fabulous, foreigners are suspect, we need to be tough, we can't dither, we must always cut taxes, government is bad, liberals are socialists, the media hates you, etc etc.
I tried to write a fair account of Palin's various stories of her incredible fifth pregnancy, labor and delivery and to reconcile all the various facts we know and the various versions of the story she has told. Just for the record and because we have aired the public record on this before. I honestly however cannot make total sense of them in a way that I'm completely convinced by and so simply do not feel comfortable making any judgment on them in any way at this point. That's fair to her, my readers, my colleagues, and the innocent private people caught up in this circus.
I thought there might be some new facts in here that would illuminate my confusion and dispel the whole thing.
There is, rather, more barely-credible myth-making and descriptions of actions taken that really make no sense even on their own terms. But since we now know that Palin tells odd lies all the time even when she doesn't have to, we cannot hold her to common sense readings. The story she tells is largely incredible if you assume a rational actor at the center of it. But we do not have a rational actor in the center of it; we have an unbalanced, delusional, ambitious fanatic whose relationship to reality is entirely instrumental and can change from minute to minute. And so we cannot even say: that doesn't make sense so it probably isn't true. With Palin, anything is possible her world is so imaginary and magical. Much that makes sense with others may not make sense with her. And without external evidence, how can we tell which is which?
So what to do? First off, she cannot be given the benefit of the doubt. And the Dish will continue to monitor those odd lies that can be independently and objectively proven, as we have all along. But for those things we cannot prove objectively, we just have to leave alone at this point. I believe nothing she says is true unless I can verify it. But if I can't disprove her accounts of things only she and her family can know about, I should shut up.
Move on and forget about her? If only. Not just because she is a vital figure in this country's politics right now and one of the most dangerous demagogues this country has seen in a long time, but because I just want to know. I want to know what really lies under that facade.
I'm going to keep poring over transcripts, Nexis and anything else I can find to monitor this phenomenon - and its many tributaries and nuances and narratives. If you have any verifiable facts or objective evidence relating to "Going Rogue", you have my email address. Everything is in total confidence. No wild-ass theories (we have more than enough of them). Just facts that I can establish as objective and that illuminate any part of the story in front of us.
As Sarah Palin says she said to herself after her water broke in Dallas and contractions had started and she had given a speech while experiencing more contractions and skipped the reception before getting on a transcontinental air flight all the way from Dallas to Seattle, then Anchorage and then Wasilla,
"I still have plenty of time."
(Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty.)