Palin and McGinniss face off over a 14-foot fence
Sarah Palin is clearly a practitioner of the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war.
If you doubt it, go ask Joe McGinniss.
The author of “Fatal Vision” and other bestsellers was researching a book about Palin when he found a good deal on a waterfront rental that happened to be next door to the Palin family home in Wasilla, Alaska.
Fearful the writer was going to violate her privacy and say mean things about her, the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee struck first.
She got a photo of McGinniss standing in the privacy of his balcony talking on the phone and posted it on her Facebook page with a sarcastic screed suggesting he was less than trustworthy around children.
That — and further remarks she made on television — unleashed what McGinniss described Tuesday as the “hounds of hell.”
He’s faced threats and harassment.
Even the Wasilla Frontiersman newspaper issued a warning, saying in an editorial last week: “Those who are fond of Joe McGinniss might remind him (if he doesn’t already know) that Alaska has a law that allows the use of deadly force in protection of life and property.”
All this just days before McGinniss’s wife is due to arrive, followed shortly by one of his daughters and his three grandchildren.
“I’m in Wasilla because the people who know the Palins the best and who can trace the evoluation of the phenomenon that Sarah Palin is, 80 percent of them live here,” he told NBC’s “Today” show Tuesday.
“I’m not observing them at all. I’m here to talk to people who’ve known them for 40 years in Wasilla,” he added.
McGinniss said the place was a great deal, a six-bedroom house on the waterfront for $1,500 a month.
“I wanted a place that I could afford to stay that my family could come out,” he said. “I wanted a place where they could enjoy a little relaxation while I was doing my work.”
The Palins were not happy with the new neighbor. They raised their fence even higher — to 14 feet — and began to speak out against him.
“Surreptitiously they photographed me standing on my own porch,” McGinniss said.
“Sarah hysterically puts up this Facebook page with all sorts of ugly innuendo, which frankly is revolting the things that she has caused people to say about me,” he told NBC.
Palin wasn’t expecting a flattering portrayal from McGinniss’s book, and she’s not likely to get one now.
What he’s learned from the episode, McGinniss said, is about “the power Palin has to incite hatred and her willingness and readiness to do it.”
“She has pushed a button and unleashed the hounds of hell. And now they’re out there slavering and barking and growling,” he added, likening her actions to those of Nazi troopers in Germany in the 30s.
Oddly enough, it didn’t have to come to insults across a 14-foot fence.
Palin wrote about maybe welcoming McGinniss with a homemade blueberry pie. McGinniss said if the situation was reversed, he’d offer up a plate of cookies as a neighborly gesture.
Maybe they should have gone with their first instincts.
Photo credit: Reuters/Rebecca Cook (Sarah Palin 2012 buttons on sale at a political event in Michigan in early May); Reuters/Handout (McGinniss in an undated publicity photo)