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Palinisms: The Accidental Wit and Wisdom of Sarah Palin Paperback – August 16, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jacob Weisberg is Chairman and Editor in Chief of the Slate Group. From 2002 to 2008 he was the editor of Slate.com. He has written about politics for magazines including the New Republic, Newsweek, New York Magazine, Vanity Fair and the New York Times Magazine.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.




For those used to a diet of oatmeal politics, Sarah Palin is a fiery bowl of moose chili. In a landscape of calculation and careerism, she's a snowmachine roaring across the tundra. In an age of compromise, she stands out as a conviction politician. So far as I can tell, she has four core beliefs:
 1. Things go better with God.
 2. Yay, Alaska!
 3. Let's drill that sucker.
 4. Curse you, political establishment.
 Palinisms occur when Palin expresses one of these views in her idiosyncratically involuted syntax ("It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia"); when she expresses two or more of them in combination ("God's will has to be done, in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that"); or when she says anything at all in her imitable my sentence went on the Tilt-a-Whirl and got nauseous way ("And I think more of a concern has been not within the campaign the mistakes that were made, not being able to react to the circumstances that those mistakes
created in a real positive and professional and helpful way for John McCain").
 But the best Palinisms of all result when the huntress encounters something she wasn't hunting for — that is, when Sarah Palin comes into contact with most anything to do with domestic, foreign, or economic policy. It is this situation that generates those priceless let me tap-dance and, also, sing for you a little song while you come up with a different question moments. One such was the juncture in her mind-boggling 2008 interview when Katie Couric asked Palin to name a Supreme Court decision she disagreed with, other than Roe v. Wade. Surrounded by hostile forces, out of cartridges for her Remington, she bravely held her ground and kept pulling the trigger:

Palin: Well, let's see. There's — of course in the great history of America there have been rulings, that's never going to be absolute consensus by every American, and there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I belive are best held on a state level and addressed there. So, you know, going through the history of America, there would be others. But, um.
Couric: Can you think of any?
Palin: Well, I could think of any again that could best be dealt with on a more local level maybe I would take issue with. But, um, you know as a mayor and then as a governor and even as a vice president, if I am  so privileged to serve, I would be in a position of changing those things, but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today.

 Tina Fey's caricature of Palin as an unprepared high school student trying to bluff her way through an oral exam by mugging and flirting hits its mark not merely because of the genius of the mimicry, but because of its fundamentally accurate diagnosis of Palin as bullshit artist. Palin's exuberant incoherence testifies to an unusually wide gulf between confidence and ability. She is proud of what she doesn't know and contemptuous of those "experts" and "elitists" who are too knowledgeable to be trusted. This curious self-regard echoes through her book, Going Rogue, described by the critic Jonathan Raban as "a four-hundred-page paean to virtuous ignorance."
 The issue is not that Palin, thrust upon the national stage with little warning, still doesn't know all the details. That's understandable. The issue is that she rarely appears to have the slightest grasp of what she's talking about even when she's supposed to know what she's talking about. For instance, in one of the 2008 campaign's most surreal examples of rhetorical excess, John McCain said Palin "knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America." A few days later, she offered a sample of her expertise in a town hall meeting: "Oil and coal? Of course, it's a fungible commodity and they don't flag, you know, the molecules, where it's going and where it's not . . . So, I believe that what Congress is going to do, also, is not to allow the export bans to such a degree that it's Americans that get stuck holding the bag without the energy source that is produced here, pumped here."
 Bushisms, which I collected for many years, often hinged on a single grammatical or factual error. Palinisms, by contrast, consist of a unitary stream of patriotic, populist blather. It's like Fox News without the punctuation. It is so devoid of content that it hardly deserves the adjective "truthy." Let's call it "roguey." Palinisms do not have to contain actual evidence of rogue thinking, though; they just have to capture the rogue spirit. It's "Yes, we can, in spite of Them."
 The non-Sarah Dittoheads among us have to decide whether to regard this babble — favoring creation science, aerial wolf-shooting, and freedom of the press, so long as the press is "accurate" — as scary or funny. During the 2008 campaign, when there was a real chance that Palin could become the automatic successor to an impulsive, elderly cancer survivor, I found it more scary than funny. After McCain lost, and after Palin terminated her governorship in the effusion of furious gibberish known as her resignation speech, I have found it mostly funny. To be alarmed by Palin today presumes a Republican Party suicidal enough to want her to do more than run its weekend paintball games.
 So the spirit of Palinisms is something to be enjoyed. And we can be sure it's a gift that will keep on giving, for, as she says in her book, "God doesn't drive parked cars." Be warned: The one driving her pickup onto the Fox airwaves and into the Twittersphere is hungry for red meat, hard to reason with, and in a big hurry to get going.
     — Jacob Weisberg


"I don't know if I should Buenos Aires or
Bonjour, or . . . this is such a melting pot.
This is so beautiful. I love this diversity. Yeah.
There were a whole bunch of guys named Tony in the photo line, I know that."

— Addressing a Charity of Hope gathering, Hamilton, Ontario, April 15, 2010


"It's so good to be here in Michigan, where folks love the good hunting and fishing and the good hockey . . . You're proudly clinging to your guns and religion."

— Speaking at the Defending the American Dream
Summit, Clarkston, Michigan, May 1, 2010


"So we discussed what was going on in Africa.
And never, ever did I talk about, Well, gee, is it a country
or is it a continent, I just don't know about this issue."

— Fox interview with Greta Van Susteren,
November 11, 2008



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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (August 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547551428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547551425
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.3 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,648,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James Hiller VINE VOICE on August 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
So, after reading this collection of ex-governor and one time lipschticked VP nominee Sarah Palin's most infamous, insane quotes, I began to wonder how the conservative base will attack this tome of idiocy.

One could imagine the argument that many of her quotes "are taken out of context", or the result of "liberal media" or "gotcha politics". But the fact of the matter is, these are actually things she said, context or not, many of them word for word, and many of them just not making much sense.

The author, more like the collector, Jacob Weisberg, is admittedly no Sarah Palin admirer, other than admiring her lack of command of issues as well as the English language. In his introduction, he talks briefly about his journey with the grammatical mishaps of then President George W. Bush, and then compares them, rather hilariously, to those of Ms. Palin, which are in a different league all together.

While I don't pay too much attention to her blathering, I found many of her statements to be head scratching moments of total incomprehensible gibberish. Case in point:

"I didn't really had a good answer, as so often -- is me."

What the heck does that mean anyway?

Look, I know Palin is adored by a segment of our country's population. I know people adore her, and think she's the living end. I also know that should anyone want to follow me around for 24/7 and write down everything I say, some gibberish of what would spill out of my mouth would sound something like Ms. Palin's comment above. Yet, I don't have the Tea Party paying me $100,000 to speak at their events. I don't go around promoting myself as a the conservative ... well, however she classifies herself.

This book, and her comments, are hilarious, odd, and somewhat off-putting. By this book, and throw it on your coffee table the next time you have a party. It will be the source of many jokes and much entertainment for the entire evening.
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This little book is so hilarious that it will keep you laughing until your stomach muscles hurt. And it is a small book, but you have to remember that Sarah Palin only became a household name two short years ago. There is no doubt in my mind that there are many sequels to this book that will be published in the years to come.

Whatever you think about Palin's political beliefs, you've got to admit that she has a huge personality. In this day and age, to be a successful politician, you have to be an entertainer and a relatable character first and foremost. Gone are the times when we expected our leaders to be well-versed in history, geography, foreign relations, constitutional law, and boring stuff like that. Today, people vote for whomever they would like to invite for a beer, no matter how many silly things that person can spew per minute. Of course, economically and politically this approach to selecting our leaders leads us into one disaster after another. But the upside is that we will never be bored while politicians like Sarah Palin are around.

In this book, you will find your favorite "Palinisms", as well as some that might have escaped your notice. The sources from which these Palinisms have been gathered are Palin's public speeches, newspaper and TV interviewes (including the most famous ones), and Palin's hilarious autobiography Going Rogue: An American Life.

The format of the book is perfectly suited for the Kindle. The photos have a very high quality. The quotes are organized in a very convenient way. Since Kindle 2 gives me an opportunity to share my favorite quotes on Twitter and Facebook, my friends can expect a barrage of hilarious quotes from me in the coming day.
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Although Sarah has been in the national news only for a season as John McCain's running mate in the summer of 2008, Sarah will remain in collective memory of Americans of any stripe for her vitality, humorous repartees, and sayings, both good and bad. Few people can remain neutral and undetached about Sarah PALIN. Americans either love Sarah, or the hate Sarah, but this polarizing does not seem to bother the former governor from Alaska. She knows who she is, and if you don't like he, that's too bad. Go and find someone else to lavish your praise upon.
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The book is a nice collection of her mind boggling comments! What strikes me is how she continues to flaunt ignorance as the gold standard to being a leader! The sad part though is she still seems to have a rabid fan following. The books gives you a good glimpse of that ignorance - but I do wish they had limited their quotes from her appearances at the Wasilla Assembly of God Church - those were quite irrelevant! I did like the section on her tweets....they are just ignorant...but I guess that is what makes her so special!
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By pilose on September 22, 2010
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The books came and were given as birthday gifts. The recipients gagged and hoped they were gags. Apparently they're not.
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