Matt Latimer, a former Bush speechwriter, has written a candid account of life in the White House which includes the ex-president's reaction on being told of Sarah Palin's selection by the McCain team. "What is she, the governor of Guam?", he asked. At which "everyone in the room seemed to look at him in horror, their mouths agape". Someone pointed out how SP was very popular with the Republican base. Bush, unconvinced, replied "You know, just wait a few days until the bloom is off the rose." A fairly accurate, if not a gallant, assessment. Then this:
“This woman is being put into a position she is not even remotely prepared for,” he said. “She hasn’t spent one day on the national level. Neither has her family. Let’s wait and see how she looks five days out.” It was a rare dose of reality in a White House that liked to believe every decision was great, every Republican was a genius, and McCain was the hope of the world because, well, because he chose to be a member of our party.
Things haven't been going too well for Palin recently, what with Levi Johnston's jaw-dropping interview in Vanity Fair the other week. Highlights included a description of the ex-governor's hands-off parenting style, a claim that there was "constant" talk of divorce and, strangest of all, the idea that SP tried to persuade Bristol to hide her pregnancy and let the governor bring up the baby as her own. Perhaps, in retrospect, this was the source of those rumours late last year that SP's youngest child was in fact Bristol's. The interview led the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus - no Palin fan - to label Johnston "an opportunistic creep". He's now taking his clothes off for a magazine, apparently in the hope that he will "maybe one day even end up as a celebrity".
There's also an opera on the way. Guerilla Opera, of Boston, is staging a production titled Say It Ain’t So, Joe, based on the Palin-Biden presidential debate, this Saturday. It doesn't sound quite as much fun as Jerry Springer, the Opera, though - despite there being a cameo role for "Joe the Plumber". The composer Curtis Hughes says of the genesis of his work, "I was struck by the contrast of the two styles - Biden’s and Palin’s - and the music in their voices." I have to say music isn't the first thing I think of when I hear SP's voice.