Since then, Palin has been asked the question repeatedly, and has come up with something approaching a stock answer. In a recent profile, she told The New York Times Magazine‘s Robert Draper:
“I’ve been reading since I was a little girl …. I continue to read all that I can get my hands on — and reading biographies of, yes, Thatcher for instance, and of course Reagan and the John Adams letters, and I’m just thinking of a couple that are on my bedside, I go back to C.S. Lewis for inspiration, there’s such a variety, because books have always been important in my life …. I’m reading [the conservative radio host] Mark Levin’s book; I’ll get ahold of Glenn Beck’s new book.”
That’s not a reading list, that’s a name check. Seriously, woman? You only read books which will be immediately recognized and approved of by your conservative base? There should be a new term for this, like “nightstand pandering”.
She’s not even throwing in Hayek or Mises to stroke the libertarian econo-wonk fringe, or pop history to show she’s got an armchair scholar side, or contemporary fiction to show she’s well-rounded. No lesser-known historical figures that a listener might fail to recognize. Nope, just running down the Republican Party Purity Checklist one item at a time.
Blech. I know people that suggest that she’s more than she appears. But when even her reading list is carefully constructed to send a specific message, it’s a little hard to believe.