Is “Goin’ Rogue” Really Something to Celebrate?

Over the past few years, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has been a permanent fixture in the mainstreasarah-palin-cover-for-going-rogue1m media, evoking strong emotion from pundits on all sides of the political spectrum. Even after resigning as Alaska’s governor during the summer, considered a controversial move by some, (and if you haven’t yet, I encourage you watch her resignation speech; it’s interesting, I’ll just say that), she has managed to propel herself further into the spotlight by becoming a pundit. In case you missed it a few months back, Palin caused quite a stir within the healthcare reform debate when she posted a note about so-called Death Panels on her Facebook profile which ultimately took the debate in a new and unexpected direction.

Now Palin has a new book coming out entitled Going Rogue, the title of which comes from a statement made by a McCain aid during the 2008 election where he claimed that Palin had gone “rogue”. Amazingly, Palin took this criticism and turned it into a defining attribute of her politics. My reaction to this at first was: Seriously? To my surprise, however, it seems to have really worked out for her. This leaves me with two thoughts: 1) The majority of those that embraced this construct of a “rogue” Sarah Palin actually do not know what the word “rogue” even means, or 2) They know full well what it means, and embrace it anyhow. This second point creeps me out a little, if true. So, what does the word “rogue” even mean?

According to, Rogue has the following meanings:

As a noun:

1. An unprincipled, deceitful, and unreliable person; a scoundrel or rascal.

2. One who is playfully mischievous; a scamp.

3. A wandering beggar; a vagrant.

4. A vicious and solitary animal, especially an elephant that has separated itself from its herd.

5. An organism, especially a plant, that shows an undesirable variation from a standard.

As an adjective:

1. Vicious and solitary. Used of an animal, especially an elephant.

2. Large, destructive, and anomalous or unpredictable

3. Operating outside normal or desirable controls

None of these definitions sounds too positive, nor do they sound like a basis upon which to base one’s political reputation. In fact, it would suggest divisiveness more than anything. It also makes me wonder whether even Palin understands the definition. If that answer is “yes”, what does that say about the state of politics within her niche of the GOP? Will more GOP politicians depart from the script in the future? Needless to say, it will be interesting to watch the inner workings of the Republican Party for the next years to come.

In the meantime, if any of our readers out there plan to read Palin’s book, and/or have any thoughts to add here to my musings, lay it on me! Do we need more Sarah Palins in U.S. politics, or is one enough? Is “rogue” a direction in which we wish more politicians would go? I’m not sure even how I feel about that question. I like it when people come along and shake things up, causing a disruption to the status quo of daily politics, but does Palin represent a change for the better when it comes to political discourse in American politics? I have a feeling that, at the latest, I’ll have an answer to this question by the 2012 presidential election.

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