Sarah Palin’s New Book: America by Heart
With Sarah Palin's book leaking all over the media, Shushannah Walshe says what's available makes clear this new book is as negative and nasty as the last one.
A New York judge has instructed media website Gawker to take down its leaked pages of Sarah Palin's upcoming book America By Heart. Sushannah Walshe previews the biggest spills, from a racially charged swipe at Michelle Obama to attacks on Levi Johnston, Eric Holder, and Idol contestants.
It's still days until Sarah Palin's new book, America by Heart: Reflections on Faith, Family and Flag hits store shelves this Tuesday, but leaked pages are popping up all over the media and only adding to the coming frenzy that is sure to accompany the political superstar's book tour, which launches in Phoenix.
Palin's last book, Going Rogue, was a massive bestseller with sales of 1 million copies in the first two weeks alone. This book is set to be an instant hit as well, with Palin describing it on her Facebook page as "a collection of essays and reflections about our exceptional country. It discusses the ideals we must pass on to the next generation to ensure that we remain, in the words of Reagan, 'the shining city on a hill,' and in the words of Lincoln, 'the last best hope of Earth.'"
In Going Rogue, Palin famously lashed out at her McCain advisers, raising eyebrows by mentioning Steve Schmidt's "rotund physique" and calling a former campaign adviser and legislative director in Alaska, "a BlackBerry games addict who couldn't seem to keep the lunch off his tie." Although the publisher HarperCollins describes America by Heart as ranging "widely over American history, culture, and current affairs, and reflects on the key values—both national and spiritual—that have been such a profound part of Governor Palin's life and continue to inform her vision of America's future," she does still seem to relish in attacks on Levi Johnston and even goes after American Idol contestants, Michelle Obama, and Eric Holder. In portions leaked on Gawker, The Washington Post's Reliable Source, and the anti-Palin website Palingates, we got the first taste of Palin's new book.
The harshest hit in what's available publicly is saved for the Obamas and could foreshadow a talking point if she runs in 2012.
"What Bristol and I both went through hasn't changed my pro-life view, but it has changed my perspective."
"The second reason the charge of racism is leveled at patriotic Americans so often is that the people making the charge actually believe it. They think America—at least America as it currently exists—is a fundamentally unjust and unequal country. Barack Obama seems to believe this, too. Certainly his wife expressed this view when she said during the 2008 campaign that she had never felt proud of her country until her husband started winning elections. In retrospect, I guess this shouldn't surprise us, since both of them spent almost two decades in the pews of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church listening to his rants against America and white people."
It's important to note that in the 2008 campaign, John McCain forbade anyone on his campaign from mentioning Wright because he feared he would be called a racist. Palin fought against this mandate from above, feeling strongly that it was a legitimate line of attack and repeatedly went to aides pushing to be able to go after Obama on the Wright issue. If she runs in 2012, this is undoubtedly one issue she will push hard.
In the next line, Palin goes after Eric Holder:
"It also makes sense, then, that the man President Obama made his attorney general, Eric Holder, would call us a 'nation of cowards' for failing to come to grips with what he described as the persistence of racism."
Here are some other interesting portions:
On her dislike of those American Idol contestants, but love of Simon Cowell:
“Do you ever wonder where the producers of American Idol come up with the seemingly endless supply of people who can’t sing but are deluded enough to get up in front of a national television audience and screech out a song anyway?...I think a large part of the appeal of A merican Idol is the spectacle of Simon Cowell pouring cold water over the heads of these young people. Cowell can be a little harsh at time, but he upholds the highest standards, and something in us recognizes and responds to that.”
On liberals who play the race card:
“After all, if we’re motivated only by the fact that there is a ‘black man in the White House’ and not by serious policy differences, what’s the point in discussing those policy differences? This tactic is of a piece with the shameful tendency on the left not simply to declare their opponents wrong, but to declare them evil. Conservatives and liberals don’t have honest policy disagreements, this strategy says; conservatives are just bad people.
“The deep unrest in America today wasn’t caused by the color of the president’s skin but the content of his policies…Still I don’t think it’s an accident that the opponents of this new American awakening so often accuse Tea Partiers and other of being racist. For one thing, it’s a guaranteed conversation stopper. Just saying the word racist instantly ends any legitimate debate. Just the accusation gives the accuser an excuse not to debate the issues at hand.”
On JFK and Mitt Romney:
In one of the more interesting excerpts of “America by Heart” that The Daily Beast acquired are several pages where Sarah Palin goes after John F. Kennedy and praises someone she will surely face off against in 2012, Mitt Romney. She writes that growing up she was taught that Kennedy’s famous religion speech in the 1960 campaign, one he gave to assure the public his religion wouldn’t hold undue sway over him as the country’s first Catholic president, “reconciled public service and religion without compromising either.” But, as an adult she revisited Kennedy’s speech and changed her opinion on the groundbreaking address.
“But his (JFK) language was more defensive than is portrayed today, in tone and content. Instead of telling the country how his faith had enriched him, he dismissed it as a private matter meaningful only to him. And rather than spelling out how faith groups had provided life-changing services and education to millions of Americans, he repeatedly objected to any government assistance to religious schools.”
She explains that this may have just been politics at work, but then adds it’s not surprising as brother Ted Kennedy’s policies were “at odds” with his religion.
“Still, his vaunted speech didn’t represent a successful reconciliation of faith and public office, but an articulate and unequivocal divorce of the two. It is perhaps not surprising, in light of this fact, that his brother Ted Kennedy would go on to have a long career advocating positions directly at odds with his Catholic faith (which was by all accounts sincere).”
She then quickly turns to praising her potential rival about the speech Romney gave during his primary campaign for the 2008 Republican nomination. The former Massachusetts governor, who is sure to run again in 2012, also gave a speech aimed to try and quell fears about his Mormon faith, but Palin says he refrained from “doing a JFK.”
“Instead, he gave a thoughtful speech that eloquently and correctly described the role of faith in American public faith. Unlike JFK, who essentially declared religion to be such a private matter that it was irrelevant to the kind of country we are, Romney declared that our religious liberty is ‘fundamental to America’s greatness.’…The difference is striking: where Kennedy seemed to want to run away from religion, Mitt Romney forthrightly embraced it. The contrast is attributable not only to the political distance between the two men, but to the distance our country has come since 1960.”
On Reverend Jeremiah Wright:
“But is it racist to believe in the principles of the American founding? To revere the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights and to invoke the Tenth Amendment? To want leaders and national policies that respect the wisdom and humanity of these documents? The answer is important, because it speaks to the kind of country we are, and the kind of country we were meant to be. Did our founding values produce the country of Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s rants? A place where African Americans or any minority would be justified in saying, ‘God damn America,’ instead of ‘God Bless America’?”
On abortion and pregnancy:
Palin is staunchly pro-life, but in America by Heart she seems to send a conflicting message about whether abortion should be a moral decision or a legal one. She begins the section remembering a pro-life campaign from the 1990s that had children of unplanned pregnancies playing together with the message, “Life: What a beautiful choice.”
“There was no call for legal action and no guilt ascribed—just a simple message affirming life and reminding Americans that being open to life and family is beautiful; that it creates something beautiful that can enrich their lives in ways they never dreamed possible.”
The very next sentence says how government should lessen its control over its citizens:
“I think that’s one of the tragedies with our leadership in Washington today. It claims to be about progress and making our lives better. But by asserting more and more government control over us, it actually disrespects our humanity.”
When it comes to daughter Bristol’s teen pregnancy, Palin blames herself for not keeping a closer eye on her eldest daughter and explains why she assumed Bristol was “making only wise decisions.”
“Preoccupied with the enormous job of being governor of the nation’s largest state, juggling schedules around Todd’s job fifteen hundred miles away in the North Slope oil fields, saluting (and worrying about) our son’s decision to enlist as an infantryman in the U.S. Army, and busy with our younger kids while wrapping my arms around the fact that we’d soon be joined by our newest family member, Trig, I assumed that Bristol was making only wise decisions while staying with my sister in Anchorage. I kick myself to this day for my selfish assumption. I made a mistake.”
Palin dedicates the book to her 2-year old son, Trig, who has Down syndrome. In the excerpts, she repeats the pro-life language she uses in speeches. She also writes that she enjoys the "submersive moral messages" in the movies Juno, Knocked Up, and The Forty-Year-Old Virgin.
"What Bristol and I both went through hasn't changed my pro-life view, but it has changed my perspective. I understand much better why a woman might be tempted to take what seems like the easy way out and change the circumstances. I understand what goes through her mind, even if for a brief moment, a split second, because I've been there."
On Levi Johnston:
"Because the new father wasn't there until the end of Bristol's labor, I helped deliver Tripp."
"Of course, we all had to bite our tongues—more than once—as Tripp's father went on a media tour through Hollywood and New York, spreading untruths and exaggerated rhetoric. It was disgusting to watch as his 15 minutes of fame were exploited by supposed adults taking advantage of a lost kid. But we knew him well enough to see how confused he was during that time, and our hearts broke for him and the price he would pay."
The former Alaska governor known for her competitive spirit reveals she gave up chocolate for a year to prove she could do it:
"I believe this feeling of accomplishment is what everyone is created to crave."
She brings up her oft-mentioned motto about Alaska subsistence, which is on display in her new TLC show Sarah Palin's Alaska, "I eat therefore I hunt"
"I often explain that the meat we eat is wrapped in fur instead of the cellophane that customers purchase in grocery stores."
On the media:
Palin has a moment of reflection during the media firestorm surrounding Levi's more outrageous comments and the coverage of her family.
"Let's just go back to Wasilla and stop feeding the media beast," she writes. "Let's give ourselves and our family a break."
Shushannah Walshe covers politics for The Daily Beast. She is the co-author of Sarah From Alaska: The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar. She was a reporter and producer at the Fox News Channel from August 2001 until the end of the 2008 presidential campaign.