It's already been pointed out by several others that Sarah Palin has a new ghostwriter on staff and that she is clearly not the auteur of her most recent scribbles on Facebook and most certainly not the primary author of her op-ed yesterday in the Wall Street Journal.
Yes, the latter continues her unyielding obsession with Barack Obama by trying to upstage his healthcare address to the nation today, but it's clearly the work of someone who can write cohesively and thinks in a linear fashion. The piece doesn't even sound like Palin. Tina Fey this isn't. Hopefully Palin's memoirs capture some of her peculiar dexterity with the English language. (A genius like Mark Twain might have pulled it off, but rumor has it that he's not around any more.)
Trying to pass off Palin as a policy wonk on national health care issues is simply going a bit far. This dog simply will not hunt.
How do we know? Because we've seen Sarah's raw writing on Twitter and Facebook and in her emails--the Palin writings that aren't ghost written. The examples are everywhere. Just take a look at some of Palin's infamous "word salads"--as my friends in Alaska call her idiosyncratic manner of slinging phrases together--and it becomes all too clear.
Recall her immortal answers to Katie Couric or her disjointed resignation speech from her backyard in Wasilla. Or the delightfully diagrammed sentence from her interview with ABC News anchor Charles Gibson:
I know that John McCain will do that and I, as his vice president, families we are blessed with that vote of the American people and are elected to serve and are sworn in on January 20, that will be our top priority is to defend the American people.
The examples are endless. For better, and, actually, mostly for worse, Palin put her own peculiar brand on the English language. I like to call it linguistic schizophrenia.
So what is this attempt at rebranding Palin all about? You can lay some good money down that here's what happened: The big boys -- her attorney-agent Robert Barnett and probably her publisher, too, Rupert Murdoch -- had a sit-down with young Sarah and told her she had better pull her mud together. They have a lot riding on the deal. Murdoch has anted up a seven-figure advance for a book written by someone who can't construct two cohesive sentences together. Barnett has staked his considerable reputation on the line. Rest assured that Palin had the law laid down to her. And firmly.
Also note that in the aftermath of Levi Johnston's most recent revelations in Vanity Fair there hasn't been so much as a peep out of Palin or her Alaskan mouthpiece Meg Stapleton, whose political instincts are both infantile and unprofessional. Palin has what's known in sports as rabbit ears. She can't help but respond to everything that's written or said about her. It's a bad impulse when you're in the public eye, and Stapleton simply fed Palin's fetish. Others, including earlier elder male patrons like John Coale and Fred Malek have tried to curb these self-destructive proclivities. She simply did not listen to them.
I bet that she is listening now.
Before Palin's overpriced attorney, Tommy Van Flein sends out another spurious legal threat, I'm going to issue a challenge to him: Put your client in a locked room, give her an hour to write an op-ed piece, and let's examine the words she puts to the computer screen. It's what all of us in this business do every day. Those of us with real intellectual integrity. Those of us who claim our own thoughts and express our own views. Those of us who don't employ ghostwriters to fudge our bylines. We write our own words.
The WSJ piece is yet another Palin lie.
This new version of Sarah Palin is like those lip-sync groups from the '90s that didn't sing their own songs or write their own lyrics. She's the Milli Vanilli of American politics.
All of this reminds me of one overlooked little tidbit in Levi's rather devastating glance into Chez Palin in Wasilla:
[Sarah] was always putting on an act in front of the camera. We all know that she didn't know what to say on TV and that when reading a script she was a phony. I'd be sitting with the family in front of the TV and we'd be disgusted watching her....And there were times when we'd sit there and pretty much laugh at the things she said.
Even a bunch of kids back in Wasilla knew better.
Award-winning writer and filmmaker Geoffrey Dunn is at work on a book about Sarah Palin and American politics, to be published by Macmillan/St. Martin's next year.