Joe McGinniss is back in the news now that his long-promised book about Sarah Palin is coming out. It apparently contains a revelation—which I'm not linking to—involving Palin's pre-marital sex life, from all the way back in 1987. It's unnecessary and disgusting.
This, of course, is in keeping with McGinniss' overall leering tone about Palin. It seems he takes every opportunity to cast her in a purely sexual light, a literary-political form of slut-shaming that really has no bearing on our political discourse.
I can hear people right now responding with shouts of "hypocrisy!" Since Palin has staked her public persona as being a righteous pro-life Christian, it's only fair to point out that she's got a thing for black guys, right? (Don't think that race isn't part of the titilation here.) I don't think so. There's lots of stuff I did—or didn't do—when I was an unmarried 23-year-old that I wouldn't really want to use in shaping public policy debates. People are complicated, and it's a rare person who always acts in accordance with their publicly stated values. And the truth is, we only rarely hear about the pre-marriage, pre-politics randiness of male politicians—and let's be honest, lots of them were dogs. But Sarah Palin is deserving of more salacious treatment ... why?
I don't like Sarah Palin. I don't like her politics. But as I've said before: Sarah Palin isn't bad for America because she's a woman or because she's an attractive woman—or even because she was once a sexually active woman. Demeaning her on those counts isn't just sexist and mean-spirited, it also misses the point.