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Leftist Sarah Palin counterattack coming to bookstores

December 2, 2009

Last week I swore I would write no more about Sarah Palin, but the announcement that HCI has picked up Going Rouge, the lefty critical broadside, and will make it available in bookstores, is too newsworthy to ignore. In a booky kind of way.

Going Rouge, put together by two editors of the venerable lefty rag The Nation, was originally published as a direct-to-consumer title by upstart publisher OR. But with the enormous media attention given to Palin and her autobiography, Going Rogue, it was only a matter of time before some traditional company stepped in.

HCI — Health Communications Inc., of Deerfield Beach, Fla. — is not an obvious fit for a collection of essays by mostly familiar liberal and leftist commentators. A large publisher of health, self-help, inspirational and spiritual titles, HCI is best known for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of bestselling books.

“This title, although outside our usual publishing perimeters, presented an exciting and interesting challenge,” said Peter Vegso, HCI president and publisher. “We’ve also brought this book to market in record time thanks to our talented and hard-working staff and our in-house printing capabilities.”

Going Rogue has sold 1 million copies in its first two weeks and will debut at No. 1 on The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list this Sunday. Obviously hoping to capitalize on Palin’s high media profile, HCI started shipping 50,000 copies of Going Rouge yesterday.

Edited by Richard Kim and Betsy Reed, two senior editors at The Nation, the book features essays by such big-brained left-leaning commentators as Frank Rich, Eve Ensler, Naomi Klein, Robert Reich, Gloria Steinem and Jim Hightower, among others.

Few of the essays are original, coming instead from such publications as The New York Times, the Anchorage Daily News and of course The Nation. It promises “the real Palin.” I haven’t seen it yet.

My resolve to avoid writing about Palin, in case you’re interested, arises not from my personal politics. No, it’s mainly that I’m sick of Palin’s ubiquity in the media. She’s getting plenty of coverage for herself and her book without me adding my piping little voice.

Besides, the Main Stream Media is doing a thorough job of vetting the book, mostly with skeptical respect. And the skepticism isn’t found only at publications criticized for a (largely nonexistent) liberal bias, like Time or ABC News or The Associated Press.

Though Melanie Kirkpatrick bends every which way to find nice things to say about Palin’s book in the Wall Street Journal, she can’t help faulting it for lack of policy substance. Rod Dreher, a conservative columnist for the Dallas Morning News, in a review on NPR, concludes the book contains nothing to counter Palin’s image as “too shallow and inexperienced for the presidency.”

Everyone, regardless of political stripe, assumes Going Rogue is the opening salvo in Palin’s bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Democrats can only hope this is true, at least based on my personal experience. Two lifelong Republicans of my acquaintance voted Democrat for the first time in last year’s presidential election. The reason? Palin.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Candice Simmons permalink
    December 2, 2009 3:19 pm

    The only thing I’m going to say is that I hope HCI’s publication, “Going Rouge”, outsells “Rogue.” Thanks, Chauncey Mabe. And keep us posted. Oh, never mind, since you’ve vowed not to personally give Palin any more publicity.

  2. Chauncey Mabe permalink*
    December 2, 2009 5:17 pm

    She doesn’t need it, but I have a soft spot for small publishers (HCI isn’t small, but it operates like it is, and it doesn’t get much notice, apart from Chicken Soup), and I admit, a softer spot for The Nation, even though I haven’t been a subscriber for several years now. I’m still glad it exists, out there on the leftier edge of liberalism. We need our more strident voices, although I have to take a break once in a while when they grow too shrill. And I thought The Nation did during the long Dark Ages (also known as the Bush Administration).

  3. Chauncey Mabe permalink*
    December 2, 2009 5:19 pm

    Oops. My politics are showing. Apologies. Back to literary matters immediately. I promise.

  4. December 2, 2009 6:03 pm

    I agree, we don’t need anymore Palinmania or Palinphobia or Palinisms. Palinology, Palinoscopy or Palinography. I personally would like to see a Painectomy.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      December 2, 2009 6:08 pm

      Ha-ha, that’s pretty funny. Highly unlikely, however. Even if Palin doesn’t run for Prez in 2012, she’ll never go away now that she’s got the nation’s attention. At the very least, she’ll be a right-wing gadfly, like Rush Limbaugh. So get used to tuning her out. You betcha.

  5. Vicki Brennan permalink
    December 2, 2009 7:39 pm

    Interesting choice for HCI, publisher of those Chicken Soup books, which have taken a decidedly evangelical turn recently with the titles “Count Your Blessings” and “Devotional Stories for Women.”
    Good for them to play both sides of the political fence. That’s good business.

  6. December 2, 2009 10:34 pm

    Good article Chauncey. She is definitely been proven to the the gift that just keeps on giving for Dems. LOL I can’t say much about the publishing thing? LOL Don’t know much about them.

  7. December 3, 2009 8:37 am

    I am very surprised HCI did do this book. They actually are a very conservative
    company. I know I work with them. I hope it is a change in direction for them. They do great work on the printing end, and marketing also. It will be interesting to see if some of their big clients and companies have any reaction.

  8. Chauncey Mabe permalink*
    December 3, 2009 11:04 am

    You wouldn’t think HCI is conservative with al the New Agey stuff they publish. Thanks for the observation

  9. December 3, 2009 12:46 pm

    I noticed the difference about 4 months ago. They did some work for Frank McKinney. Completely different. That is good. They really do some nice work. When I had them do my books, they were great. Let it be known that I keep all my work in the United States. I could do it a bit cheaper but I want to create and keep jobs here. It is worth it to me.

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