Ruth Dudley Edwards: A good Alaskan, but not a good candidate
Sadly, Sarah Palin may be as folksy as Ronald Reagan but she lacks his political skill, says Ruth Dudley Edwards
So Sarah Palin, until lately Governor of Alaska, is back polarising the American public from the Atlantic to the Pacific, criss-crossing the US to small towns where admirers queue for hours to have her sign her memoirs.
Going Rogue: an American Life was published last Tuesday and is already top of the bestseller list. Her interviews are stirring up storms of controversy; she drew the biggest audience for Oprah in two years. Among the many books churned out over the past year are, The Persecution of Sarah Palin: How the Elite Media Tried to Bring Down a Rising Star and The Lies of Sarah Palin: The Untold Story Behind her Relentless Quest for Power.
Maybe it's partly my genes that make me look benignly on Palin and her 'nature, red in tooth and claw' background. My Cork grandfather was a gamekeeper and my uncle kept the table stocked with the fish he caught in the Blackwater and the rabbits he shot in the woods. These days, I'd rather shoot myself than even a grey squirrel, but I'm not proud of such wimpishness. I loved Alaska, which I visited in 2007, both for buisness and pleasure, and I found the place full of the happy and the helpful. Because life can be so harsh there, those who want a soft life leave, replaced by visitors who decide to stay because of the beauty and challenge of the place.