5 Lessons of Palin's New Book, 'America By Heart'

What Sarah Palin's second book reveals about her and her plans

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Now that Sarah Palin's new book, America By Heart: Reflection on Family, Faith, and Flag, has hit bookstores, pundits and reporters are pouring through it to gain fresh insight into the possible 2012 Republican presidential contender. Here's what they've learned about Palin, what she thinks, and what political ambitions she holds.

  • Prepping To Go After Obama  The New York Times' Michael Shear calls it a "road map to the kinds of political attacks that Ms. Palin would most likely use against President Obama should she decide to run for the Republican nomination in 2012." She mentions Obama 44 times, "Obamacare" 8 times. The biggest attack seems to be, as Shear puts it, "Ms. Palin repeatedly questions Mr. Obama’s love of country."
  • Still Obsessed with 2008 Loss  Slate's David Weigel concludes, "She really hasn't gotten over the 2008 campaign. ... Nothing that's happened since the campaign seems to have inspired her as much. ... Reading this book, which has a first run of 1 million copies, it's clear that since the wonderful experience of becoming a celebrity and the traumatic experience of losing to Obama/Biden, she hasn't had much to say. She will have plenty of time to say it."
  • She's a Feminist, But Better  Glenn Beck tells Palin during an interview on his radio show, "Now, you refer to yourself in the book as a feminist, which ‑‑ well, I'll just ask you straight: I believe you are a feminist. I believe you are a strong woman and you're like, get out of my way but not to the denigration of men. You just, you're kind of like a ‑‑ you're kind of like Texas, where Texas is proud of their state and they think it's better than everything else but not to ‑‑ they don't hate other states. You don't have to hate men to be a feminist. Did you just put this in the book just to piss the left off?"
  • Wants to Repeal the 16th Amendment?  Salon's Justin Elliott muses over "her apparent opposition to the federal income tax, along with the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, which allowed for the present-day income tax and was passed in 1913. Given that some 45 percent of government revenue comes from the individual income tax, this is a fairly radical position for Palin to take. She includes the 16th Amendment in her description of unjustified federal power grabs."
  • Doesn't Get Black American History  The Washington Post's Richard Cohen sighs, "She reportedly takes Michelle Obama to task for her supposedly infamous remark from the 2008 campaign: 'For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.'"

It's appalling that Palin and too many others fail to understand that fact - indeed so many facts of American history. They don't offer the slightest hint that they can appreciate the history of the Obama family and that in Michelle's case, her ancestors were slaves - Jim Robinson of South Carolina, her paternal great-great grandfather, being one. Even after they were freed they were consigned to peonage, second-class citizens, forbidden to vote in much of the South, dissuaded from doing so in some of the North, relegated to separate schools, restaurants, churches, hotels, waiting rooms of train stations, the back of the bus, the other side of the tracks, the mortuary, the cemetery and, if whites could manage it, heaven itself.

It was the government that oppressed blacks, enforcing the laws that imprisoned them and hanged them for crimes grave and trivial, whipped them if they bolted for freedom and, in the Civil War, massacred them if they were captured fighting for the North. And yet if African Americans hesitate in embracing the mythical wonderfulness of America, they are accused of racism - of having the gall to know more about their own experience and history than Palin and others think they should.

Why do politicians such as Palin and commentators such as Glenn Beck insist that African Americans go blank on their own history - as blank as apparently Palin and Beck are themselves?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.