As usual when it feels it has a hot feature in its upcoming Sunday magazine, the New York Times leaked excerpts to Politico's Mike Allen early yesterday, then posted the entire, massive "The Palin Network" profile by Robert Draper, the Bush biographer, at mid-morning. So, is it worth a read today or in print Sunday?
Actually, the headline threw me at first -- I thought it was a profile of Roger Ailes and Fox News.
The Weekly Standard has already weighed in on the article, hailing it as "an excellent piece of reporting that treats Palin in a relatively sympathetic manner." Roger L. Simon at Pajamas Media accurately notes that the article is "much more fascinating as a snapshot of where the New York Times is at this moment regarding the former Alaska governor."
Well, I've now read it all. Here are a few high/lowlights:
• Because of the media's unfairness -- toward her -- "I fear for our democracy," Palin declares.
• Draper, for one, is hardly unfair. He barely presses her on key issues and doesn't talk to a single critic, unless you count Joe Lieberman (who helped her with debate prep in 2008) saying that he'd love to live next door to her but isn't quite sure she should be president. Yes, the article focuses on her inner circle, it's not a broad-brush treatment, but where are the new interviews with critics formerly within Palin World?
• Early on, Draper cites the wins she claims for GOP candidates -- but virtually ignores the many losses she inspired. There's only a brief mention of Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle early on. Even the New York Jets suffered -- getting shut out in the one game she attended (in the owner's box).
* You'd never know from the article's portrayal of Palin's popularity that polls show that even within the GOP voters favor Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney just about equally.
* Draper examines Palin's endorsement of Stephen Broden in a Texas congressional race, noting that she personally researched his background. Somehow he fails to mention Broden's well-known statement in October that armed rebellion against the federal government is "on the table." Broden got trounced at the polls.
* The article focuses on her aides but fails to mention that Rebecca Mansour volunteered first for Obama in 2008, and that Randy Scheunemann is a registered lobbyist and receives money from George Soros, among other interesting biographical highlights.
• She denies avoiding interviews: "I'm on television nearly every single day with reporters. Now granted, that's mainly through my job at Fox News, and I'm very proud to be associated with them, but I'm not avoiding anything or anybody. I'm on Facebook and Twitter. I'm out there."
• "I just tweet; that's the way I roll." On those occasions when she's actually in Alaska, she likes it that the difference in time zones allows her to put something up on Facebook late so the East Coast elite have to deal with it first thing in the morning. Allegedly, she approves every little thing that goes out under her name.
• Draper calls a mere "caricature" the image of Palin in 2008 "as a vapid, winking, press-averse clotheshorse," as if it held little truth. He claims her "thriftiness when it came to her wardrobe was so obvious that one senior strategist clucked of the Palins, 'These people shop at Dillards!'" This ignores the clothes spending spree she famously went on as Veep candidate.
• She admits she is weighing a race for president "and my family is the most important consideration here." You will, of course, remember how she lied about polling family members before accepting the Veep nod in 2008 -- and, in any case, then taking to the campaign trail with kids (removed from school) and baby in tow.
• Palin at first refuses to name what books she is reading, finally reveals that she's digging into new ones from Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, and "C.S. Lewis, for inspiration."
• She loves Alaska so much that she spent most of the summer of 2009 writing her draft of her memoir... in Del Mar, California.
• Palin hits "the warped and perverted description of my record and what I've accomplished over the last two decades." Last two decades? That goes back well before even her memorable years as mayor of Wasilla.
* The article's big scoop, that Palin is now actively considering running for president, was quickly stepped on by news that she had just said the same thing to Barbara Walters for an upcoming TV special.