by Leslie Morgan Steiner
With trepidation I recently agreed to:
A) Buy Sarah Palin’s New York Times #1 bestselling autobiography, Going Rogue 
B) Read all 413 pages
C) Talk publicly about Palin  on one my favorite radio shows, Michel Martin’s Tell Me More.
Washington, DC, where I live, votes 97% Democratic. My beloved liberal DC mom posse – who always listen to the show since it conveniently comes on NPR at exactly the hour we are all scooping our kids from school – vituperate Sarah Palin with intensity usually reserved for stepmothers who were once Hooters waitresses. Even the Republican former speechwriter Mary Kate Cary, my co-guest on Tell Me More, avers Palin .
My reluctance to tackle Palin publicly came because I knew what would happen: in the tempting privacy and security of the windowless NPR radio studio, I’d confess to how much I actually like Sarah Palin. Three million people would hear it on air, including the mamas. Then my friends would run me over in carline as I tried to pick up my children.
Before YOU run me over, first let me state what I hate about Palin.
First, she uses a lot of exclamation points in her book!
She glorifies Ronald Reagan as if deserving sainthood.
She preaches – and seems to believe -- the specious concept that policies effective in Wasilla (population 10,000) and Alaska (population 686,000) can be translated to the greater United States (300 million) and the world (six billion).
She believes God speaks directly to her and justifies decisions that hurt thousands of people, such as her feeble decision to abandon her elected position as Alaska’s governor last July, with God’s impossible-to-debate alleged invisible hand.
She can be hypocritical. For instance, during the McCain campaign she flaunted the puzzling fact that she never used babysitters, then thanked at least nine in the acknowledgements section of her book. (In the meantime making us working-moms-who-use-daycare feel like piles of dog poopie.)
Finally, I can never, will never, agree with her view that women and girls cannot end unwanted pregnancies inside our own, God-given bodies.
In short: Palin’s political ideology is flawed, adolescent, and potentially hazardous to ordinary citizens.
However, to my chagrin, I can’t help but adore Sarah Palin. She reminds me of my favorite moms – including my own.
Palin’s feisty, street-smart, independent, believes in herself. I find her an outspoken, colorful, charismatic communicator. She looks more interesting and more beautiful now than she did as a 20-year-old (always love that in a gal). A true Title IX athlete, she played high school basketball and ran track competitively and remains an avid marathoner. Despite her vehement denial, she’s a feminist and vocal cheerleader for women’s equality on par with Gloria Steinem, Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton, a woman comfortable competing against men in salmon fishing, hunting moose and presidential politics.
Most of all, her approach to juggling work and motherhood ROCKS. I know few women to equal her – women who became more ambitious, competitive, hardworking and goal-oriented with each child born (five at latest count for Palin, and she may not be done at 45). She takes some mix of her children to work with her almost every day. She writes in the book that the day her first child was born was the day her life truly began. Check. Thanking her kids in the book, she says simply “I breathe you.” Check.
There’s an iconic photo of Palin giving a speech to a large crowd – with young Piper hidden behind her at the podium, sneaking her hands up the back of her mom’s blouse. I have so been there! Taking a conference call in the bathroom with the fan on while children pounded on the door, writing client presentations at midnight while breastfeeding, helping my kids do math homework from a hotel room 500 miles away, discreetly removing a child’s hand from my boob while talking to a colleague at the company barbecue. It is exhilarating to see a mom like us on the national political stage.
Sarah Palin represents a seductive dream, despite her glaring political and intellectual weaknesses. This dream makes me sing her praises even though I disagree with her politics. Imagine what it would be like to have a mom leading the White House, a grounded, caring, weathered mom who knows firsthand the hardscrabble work and family dance. Now that’s worth being run over.
More on Sarah Palin:
Sarah's Spanx 
Designing a Vice-Presidential Candidate 
Sarah Palin: Rogue, not Rouge 
Pitbulls at Work 
Sarah Palin's Papoose 
Yes, Sarah Palin Has a Vagina 
Read My Lipstick