Sarah Palin’s ghostwriter raises questions
Her collaborator isn’t just a creationist. There’s the white supremacy issue, too
The memoir of Sarah Palin, Going Rogue: An American Life, is not due to be released for another six weeks and already it is outselling Dan Brown's latest blockbuster, The Lost Symbol. But that isn't the reason Palin's book is the talk of New York publishing circles: what's getting tongues wagging is the publisher's choice of ghostwriter, a San Diego-based journalist called Lynn Vincent.
For the past 10 years, Vincent has been working for the Christian-based World magazine, from which she took time off to work on Palin's book. She is a creationist and strongly anti-abortion, the subject of many of her World columns.
She is also staunchly anti-gay, backing the controversial vote to re-criminalise gay marriage in California, and - this is where Palin and her publishers might have drawn the line, but didn't - she is closely associated with a well-known white supremacist.
He is Robert Stacey McCain (no relation to John McCain), a former editor at the Washington Times, a paper he left two years ago after a steaming row with a colleague.
For a taste of McCain's politics, this is him on the subject of interracial marriage: "[The] media now force interracial images into the public mind and a number of perfectly rational people react to these images with an altogether natural revulsion. The white person who does not mind transacting business with a black bank clerk may yet be averse to accepting the clerk as his sister-in-law, and THIS IS NOT RACISM, no matter what Madison Avenue, Hollywood and Washington tell us."
Before he left the Washington Times, he and Lynn Vincent collaborated on a book called Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party - a chronicle, so it boasted, of "shameless bribery, illicit sex, sweeping corruption".
Further promotional material for the book posted by Lynn Vincent's magazine promised the following: How Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John F Kennedy were elected with the help of the Mob; What two eyewitnesses said about JFK's obsession with hookers; and Why Democrats ignore crime victims and take the side of rapists, robbers, and cop-killers - then stump for the right of felons to vote!
Another Vincent collaboration was with a retired general, William Boykin, former head of the US Army's Special Forces Command. He described his career mission as to defeat Satan in order to save America as a Christian country. "We are hated because we are a nation of believers," he said.
But it is Vincent's apparent homophobia - or, at least, her phobia of gay marriage - that has raised eyebrows among the publishing fraternity and led to a nasty spat between two of New York's most high-profile expat gay Englishmen.
Andrew Sullivan used his Daily Dish blog last Thursday to question how Jonathan Burnham, the man who commissioned Palin's book for HarperCollins, could bring himself to appoint Vincent, "a fanatical homophobe", as Palin's ghostwriter.
He answered his own question like this: "Hey, if it makes a buck, and advances his career, Burnham will do it. As gay people prepare to march for their civil rights, Burnham, one of the more powerful gay men in New York, is preparing to capitalise on their avowed enemies. It's just money, after all. And buzz. Always buzz." ·
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