Oprah Winfrey would have had to announce she was ending her daytime talk show for the media to have noticed something other than Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue book tour last week.
Oh wait, Oprah did call it quits - just days after her show snagged its largest audience in two years. Who did she interview to draw the big ratings? Yep. Sarah Palin.
Palin also was interviewed by Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Barbara Walters and Rush Limbaugh last week. It appeared the media and blogosphere couldn’t get enough of this polarizing figure.
Like much of what Palin does, her book tour is unorthodox…a bus trip through medium-sized towns in the midwest and south, rather than the usual big city stops. Some bloggers and reporters have suggested the book tour is really a political campaign in disguise. Whether you hope she’s elected President of the United States someday or you wouldn’t vote for her if she was running for president of your hunt club, she’s doing something most celebrities don’t do – publicly admitting she hunts and fishes.
A few weeks before, tennis hottie Andre Agassi confessed during his book tour interviews that he wore a dude wig when he played and used crystal meth. That was nothing compared to the excerpt in Going Rogue about Palin hunting with her dad, an enthusiastic science teacher:
“I looked down to see the moose’s eyeballs lying in the palm — in his palm, still warm from the critter’s head, when he saw the wrinkle in my nose and the shake of my head slightly, he set them aside, he realized that even though he had raised me to be a hunting buddy I had my limits.”
During an interview with Palin, you could see big talker Sean Hannity shudder with revulsion at the mere thought of a body part from a dead animal. Palin went on to tell him that hunting with her dad and field dressing big game was part of her upbringing. And on the hunt mentioned in the book, her dad had two goals: fill the family’s freezer and collect specimens so his students could see what animals were made of.
I know presidential candidates in recent times have used the hunting photo op to shore up their image with rural sportsmen and women. Remember the famous John Kerry goose hunting pics in 2004? Kerry was photographed, but NOT holding one of the four dead geese, presumably because he didn’t want to mess up that cool new camo coat he was sporting.
While others have posed for the cameras, Palin isn’t pretending. And hooray for her, talking about hunting with her father. Many of the women I’ve interviewed say their first memories of hunting and fishing were with their dad. It resonates.
I don’t pretend to know whether or not Palin is suited to lead our country, however, I do appreciate that she’s plain spoken. She doesn’t hide her opinions behind a veil of mumbo jumbo phrases many politicians and business leaders use. It’s no fun to play bullcrap bingo during one of her speeches because you won’t hear words such as “paradigm shift,” “budget-neutral legislation” or “value-added proposition.”
Perhaps her ability to speak directly is a result of being shaped by hunting, fishing and seeing life as it really is by spending time outdoors. If so, maybe more bureaucrats, mainstream reporters and corporate executives should hunt and fish, too.
Like thousands of other people, I will read Going Rogue. And I’m looking forward to it. However, because I’ve “right-sized” my budget (code for “I’m a cheapskate”) I’ll have to wait until I discover a “budget-neutral” opportunity to do so. Or I beg one of my friends to give me their “gently-used” copy.
I’d love to hear what you think about Sarah Palin, her book and her future. Look me up at Facebook.com/tammy.sapp2 and Twitter @TammyDianeSapp or post a comment here.