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Warren Adler Headshot

"You Betcha"

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SARAH PALIN BOOK MCGINNISS
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So here is what once was dubbed a typical American story. This pretty little girl is the daughter of a high school English teacher and a mother who was once a revered and iconic American role model, the devoted homemaker, the admired mother hen housewife.

Her family most likely lives from paycheck to paycheck, and are ardent followers of the traditional verities of the American way, family, country, God, the stuff of the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem, "God Bless America." You know the drill: when the flag goes by you put your hand over your heart and often, like me, shed a tear or two of pride and gratitude.

The pretty little girl is feisty, competitive, athletic, gregarious, outspoken, religious. She is murder on the basketball court, passionate and curious. Her dad moves the family around, winds up in Alaska -- a small town. He teaches high school English, a noble pursuit. The little girl gets prettier, falls in love, marries, has kids. Her energy is boundless. She has opinions and finds her voice, goes from PTA to town council, runs for lieutenant governor, loses.

Here she is, juggling home, kids, and, of all things, politics in a new state, mostly rural, ruled by old boy cronies, now enjoying the power bonanza of energy resources. She has endured the sniping, innuendo and vitriol that comes with the territory. Then she takes a long shot. Young family in hand, a hardworking husband, little kids, she runs for governor, beats the old boy network and makes it.

Isn't this the gold standard of the new woman -- the ideal, the fully liberated female with the energy to take on the once impossible split role of full-time working mom? Come on guys. Love her or hate her, agree or disagree with her, credit is due.

She gets picked by a candidate for president to be his running mate. She makes a great opening speech, despite a high-pitched voice that is sometimes squeaky. Of course, she knows what she's in for. Politics in America has always been a blood sport. For a woman it is double bloody based on years of put downs and a woman's place is in the home sort of thing. The snotty, superior, snobby media give her the bum's rush. She is dubbed stupid, ignorant, uninformed. Governor of what? Alaska. Hell, that's not even attached to the mainland. A potential vice president of the United States? Get outta here.

Most haven't a clue to the policies she has supported and fought for when governor. Are they really that far out of the mainstream of the American body politic? She is indeed right of center and it's fair game to oppose her vigorously on those grounds. That's expected in politics.

But I have found that many people who hate her can't articulate their policy reasons. Ask a bully why he or she bullies and you'll get the same answer, meaning no answer. Or something like, "I just can't stand her." Or just plain "yuck."

I may be prejudiced. I hate bullies.

Okay, so the ticket loses. Some people blame her for McCain's loss. How many times have you heard that lately? I would have voted for McCain, but I was frightened by that dopey lady from Alaska.

What now? She has been anointed America's dummy by the media elite. Mention her name and the Ivy League league establishment has a 20-point rise in blood pressure. In my circles, they get indigestion and I catch hell if I am less than negative.

She has been proclaimed a lousy mother, a money grubbing greedy bitch, a loud mouthed moron and given a thrashing in the press that would have floored any stout-hearted male with an outsized ego. No politician, man or woman has been so vilified in the national media. Not in my lifetime. In my opinion the Sarah haters have crossed the line.

After her vice presidential loss the much maligned lady discovers that once you look behind the rot proclaimed by the smarty pants opinionators, there are lots of people who really admire her. Millions. Politics aside, many like her feistiness, her resilience, her strong feminine creds. For lots of young ambitious girls in Middle America who want more out of life, she is a genuine heroine.

Guys admire her toughness, her kick-ass attitude and, yes, her good looks. She is a wife a guy can be proud of. Not everyone, of course. But enough for some genuine mass applause.

Irony of ironies. All that endless drumbeat of negative media attention has made her a celebrity. They spelled her name right and made it a household word. And, by God, if you are a celebrity in America you are really dumb if you don't cash in. If Sarah is so dumb, I'd like to know what smart is.

This defense of Sarah screed comes on the heels of Joe McGinniss' snarky book about Sarah and her family whose title I won't deign to mention. I don't even need to read it, but the reviews indicate it's full of gossipy innuendo and sly unflattering hints of dubious conduct. The usual, only more so. Enough already.

If anything, the book by its very publication offers some insight by its mere publication into the Sarah Palin phenomenon. The negative publicity machine seems in perpetual motion. Soon the guy that impregnated her daughter will have a book out. It will undoubtedly offer more negatives for the usual pile on. Sarah, too, will write another one as well as members of her family. Every scrap of information about Sarah Palin sells. She has a helluva endurance record, commercially and politically.

She is one of the first vice presidential candidates in history whose name you will most likely remember. Past her peak? Hardly.

As for politics, remember the question that Reagan raised during his campaign? Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

I'll give you Sarah's answer.

"You betcha."