The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Hating Palin Now Is Like Hating Lloyd Bentsen in 1991


The week begins with another Morning Jolt

Palin-Bashing Finally, Finally, Finally Jumps the Shark

Let me go out on a crazy limb here and suggest that the lesson here is that quality matters, even in hastily-thrown together hit pieces:

The Hollywood Reporter: “ First week sales were tepid for both “Deer in the Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin’s Crosshairs” and “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin.” Is public interest in the Wasilla family drama on the wane? Despite massive publicity, two new books chronicling the Sarah Palin soap opera—The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin by veteran political writer Joe McGinnis and Deer in the Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin’s Crosshairs by Bristol Palin baby daddy Levi Johnston—have gotten a lukewarm response from the buying public since their release on Tuesday. Hard sales numbers will not be available for a week but the rankings on Amazon and Barnes & Noble provide a good indication of consumer interest. The Rogue is ranked in the fifties on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Deer in the Headlights is hovering in the seven hundreds on Amazon and in the two hundreds on Barnes & Noble. Both books had weak pre-sale numbers as well with The Rogue in the high hundreds and Deer in the Headlights in the high thousands.”

Upon reading the headline, I figured it was only a matter of time before the article speculated lack of public interest in two books out to repeat every negative rumor imaginable somehow reflects badly on the political prospects of Sarah Palin. And that’s in there, but in a somewhat more sensible form than we might expect: “What the weak sales say about Sarah Palin’s political future is hard to assess.  Most Americans have already made up their mind about Palin, pro or con. Those who support Palin tend to dismiss The Rogue as unsubstantiated gossip and for those who dislike her, the most salacious details just confirm their worst impression of the former Alaska governor… [Johnston] had one story to tell and now that he’s told it, the public interest in him is sure to dim.  The soft book sales of The Rogue and the poor ratings for last fall’s TLC show Sarah Palin’s Alaska suggest limits to the public’s interest in Palin when the story is not directly centered on a potential presidential campaign.”

If you’re a liberal, haven’t you spent more of the past couple weeks waking up in a cold sweat over the prospect of President Perry than President Palin? Mind you, this is separate from assessing which one should be the Republican nominee; the phenomenon reflects, I suspect, which one based on recent events has gotten more attention and has been treated as the more likely GOP nominee.

Why would a liberal – or anyone, really – feel presidential-level loathing over a figure that is unlikely to be running for president anytime soon?* I don’t think there’s that same phenomenon on the Right, although I could be wrong. Let’s posit that few of us are capable of the blinding, frothing-at-the-mouth fury that many liberals exhibit in their feelings towards Palin. Even grading on a curve, could you imagine feeling years of uncontrollable disdain for the running mate on a losing opposition ticket? Looking at others who have played that role in American politics, do you find yourself enraged by… Joe Lieberman? John Edwards? Memories of the late Lloyd Bentsen? Memories of the late Geraldine Ferraro? Walter Mondale?

In fact, there’s something fascinating about the flavor-of-the-month format of liberal rage. Do lefties still seethe about Glenn Beck? Or how about Ann Coulter? Is it just me, or do Rush and Sean not quite generate the same level of how-dare-they rage as they used to? I’m not saying that liberals have grown to like these figures, just that they seem to move on to new lightning rods for their outrage – Andrew Breitbart, Scott Walker, the Koch brothers… Wasn’t Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer supposed to be the ultimate embodiment of political evil not long ago?

I suppose we do some of this on the right. Has Keith Olbermann made you grind your teeth lately? You watch some of this news and wonder what he would say if he had a television show today. … What’s that? He has a television show? Well, I mean on a cable network or something. … What’s that? You say ‘Current’ technically qualifies as a cable network?

Don Surber: “The books try to cash in on the foaming hatred of Sarah Palin from the Left but there is no market for this trash. After 2 1/2 years of President Obama, a John McCain-Sarah Palin alternative is no longer seen as the worst scenario in the universe that 4 more years of President Obama does.”

New York magazine concludes, “people do, in fact, care about something other than Sarah Palin’s stovetop skills and her embittered almost-son-in-law.”

Zip at Weasel Zippers summarizes, “Sales Of Both Joe McGinnis And Levi Johnston Anti-Palin Books Bomb… Andrew Sullivan hardest hit.”

*Yes, yes, I know, she’s going to jump in right before the Nov. 1 deadline and shock the world and skeptics like me will have egg on our faces. We’ll see.

Tags: Sarah Palin


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