Why did you write the book?
I wrote Sarah Palin’s Piece of the American Pie because her trajectory to fame, fortune and celebrity status looked simpler than I suspected it was. She and her values also seemed like a throwback to the 1950s. America would never be able to back-track that far in this computer age which offers fingertips not only a plethora, but also a Pandora’s box, of products and information. All of the “yea team, yea” seemed a bit hollow to me. I also wanted to start a dialogue about the mushrooming of polarization, anger and fear since President Obama took office.
What is your greatest concern about Palin?
My greatest concern is that Sarah Palin may be an operative of the big money interests, duping ordinary Americans into thinking she is a friend who will look out for their interests. She has an acquisitive nature and has swiftly become a millionaire and a power broker. Some of the red flags I see are that Karl Rove briefed her when she was a vice presidential candidate and that she’s so hungry to win votes that she doesn’t even divorce herself from the more radical extremists.
What do you believe are her greatest strengths and weaknesses?
Sarah Palin’s strengths are:
1) She has a good self-image because she grew up in an affirming and supportive family
2) She has a stubborn tenacity which helps her meet difficult goals
3) She comes across as wholesome and energetic
4) She knows how to work a crowd
Her weaknesses are:
1) She diverts attention to herself at the wrong moments
2) When she wants something, she doesn’t care how she gets it
3) Despite remarks to the contrary in her first book, Going Rogue, Sarah is not a team player
4) Sarah is not adept at handling the press. Although she was a journalism student, she does not seem to understand the role of a free press in a democratic society
5) Sarah errs in thinking that if you can manage a family you can manage a nation. Kids don’t fight with automatic weapons and bombing raids.
6) She doesn’t know what it is that she doesn’t know, and doesn’t understand that what she thinks she knows may not be enough.
7) Her willingness to use inflammatory rhetoric
8) She doesn’t seem to know the difference between patriotism and nationalism
Some of Sarah’s weaknesses actually are her good traits misused.
Palin did not fare well in the recent conservative straw poll this weekend in Washington. Any thoughts as to why?
A tip-off that conservatives in the Republican Party were about to begin downgrading Palin came a few months ago when Karl Rove said some critical things about Sarah. I think he and others realized that she can become a loose cannon. There are examples of this in the book by the McCain-Palin campaign staff. A book by McCain’s daughter has also revealed negative aspects of Palin
I think Sarah Palin also damaged her image after the Tucson shootings. First it was “poor me, I shouldn’t be blamed” for inciting these shootings. Then it was the “blood libel” retort to the press. Sarah was unwisely trying to make herself a victim when most Americans were showing sympathy for the Tucson shooting victims
Is there any evidence that Palin is not really sincere about some of her public statements and opinions?
This is difficult to judge because Sarah Palin’s motives are not, I believe, readily discernible. There are ”conspiracy theories” based on circumstances in Sarah’s life that she has allegedly lied about, but I would be reluctant to take them seriously. I think we will know more about this after journalist Joe McGinniss writes his book. He is the man who rented the house next to the Palins. Joe has been interviewing a lot of local people.
For too long, Americans considered women not to be competent in the area of civics, government and politics. I am sure you have heard the suggestions that this perspective and attitude is sexist. Don’t you believe that the criticisms being lodged against Palin is also based upon sexism?
What an interesting viewpoint. I’m certain my criticism of Palin is not based upon sexism, but don’t think I am qualified to judge how others feel about this issue. One barometer might be that feminist organizations are not charging her detractors with being sexist.
About Rosemary Bachelor:
Rosemary Bachelor started her career as a journalist and feature writer with the Gannett Group of newspapers. While with Gannett she was part of a Pulitzer Prize winning journalism team honored for a series of articles titled "On the Road to Integration." Rosemary has interviewed such personalities as Duke Ellington, Neil Diamond and Malcolm Forbes, as well as CEOs of Woolworth, Merrill Lynch, First Boston Corp., TWA and other companies. She has also interviewed editors at Seventeen and U. S. News and World Report, people in film production and distribution, and an animal importer who took her to lunch accompanied by a chimpanzee in a three-piece suit. They sat at a window table facing the excavation site for what would become the World Trade Center in New York. After leaving Gannett, Rosemary moved to rural Maine and established her own publishing company, building a reputation as a historian and genealogical publisher. An active journalist, Rosemary has authored more than 500 articles appearing in print and online. She is a graduate of the genealogy seminar sponsored by the National Archives and the National Genealogical Society, has led workshops at nationwide genealogical conferences, and has authored articles published in the Mayflower Quarterly and other publications devoted to history and genealogy. She is currently editor of the eight-volume Rice Family Book Project. Rosemary was born in Michigan, grew up in Pennsylvania and now lives on Florida's Atlantic coast. An ivy league university graduate, she is an avid and prize-winning downhill ski enthusiast, loves everything French and escapes to a condo within the old walled city of Quebec to do much of her writing and editing. Rosemary, who is also an ordained deacon in The Old Catholic Church, came out of semi-retirement to write this book on Sarah Palin. It is her first book on a political personality. Readers interested in Rosemary's blog called "Spinning Sarah" should check in at her website, http://www.sarahpalinanalysis.com. The website also has links to some of Rosemary's online articles, including several about Sarah Palin's ancestry.