Sarah Palin, Innocent Naif

Pareene reviews Game Change, which premieres tomorrow:

The film subscribes to the simplest theory of Sarah Palin: That she is childlike, vain and incredibly ignorant but also an essentially decent person and wonderful mother. The moments that come closest to "unfair" — Sarah Palin doesn’t know that the head of Great Britain’s government is the prime minister, not the queen — are basically plausible. This isn’t Andrew Sullivan’s conniving, dangerous pathological liar. It’s an overwhelmed working mother whose most unhinged moments are explained by a crash diet. 

Anyone with even the faintest grasp of Palin's reality – including former close aides like Frank Bailey – understands that she is emotionally unstable, paranoid, vindictive, self-destructive, religiously fanatical and clinically deluded. Her "wonderful mothering" led her to take a tiny child with Down Syndrome and parade him in front of the cameras as a political prop, and later hauling him out half-naked at night to show off to fans on her book tour. None of her children has made it to college; one was a teenage vandal, another a teen mom. A man who lived in her house, says her children had to raise themselves. She quit office in mid-term because her vanity and rapacity were more important to her than public service. The victims of her vicious career lie strewn all over Alaska. Anyone faintly aware of reality also knows that John McCain was as cynical, brutal and expedient a figure as anyone to run for president – and that Palin's selection was an act of such grotesque vanity and cynicism that it instantly disqualified him from the presidency.

I suspect the real truth about how this deranged, comic, vicious ignoramus nearly became a heartbeat away from the presidency will only be absorbed in the future, when we are not so close to the embarrassment.

Liberals are restrained from really laying out the truth for fear of further attacks from the Palinite right. Establishment conservatives cannot bring themselves to understand what they did – although Steve Schmidt has admirably copped to intense and abiding remorse for his part in the process. The far right, which Palin helped bring to further heights of lunacy, has continued to debase any prospect of a sane two-party system in the US. Palin's legacy lives on to damage the country.

Of course, Game Change was not The Rogue. And Hollywood is neither. The truth was far more interesting and infinitely darker.