As you all have no doubt heard, journalist Joe McGinnis is writing a book about Sarah Palin, and in the course of his research, he moved to Wasilla (this is common for investigative journalists, to move to where they're doing the majority of their research) and next door to the Palins. Because she's Saint Sarah, the patron saint of right wing petty grievance, she immediately invoked her wingnut-assigned right not to be subject to the kind of scrutiny that non-saint politicians get. The wingnut media fell in line, threatening on Fox News to shoot McGinnis.

I have no doubts that Palin is scared, but not because she thinks McGinnis is actually going to break into her house or hurt her family. She spent her time as governor trying to hide as much of her business as possible from the public, she left the governor's office only half a term in, and she has a whole lot of enemies. I can only imagine what she's worried he'll turn up. When it comes to those enemies, making them is already biting her in the ass. Because it turns out that Palin's enemy-creating behavior is why McGinnis got a house next to hers.

So, another instance of the Lamestream Media trying to ruin Sarah Palin's life, right? Actually, it appears this whole situation was orchestrated by a vengeful neighbor. McGinniss' son said in an email reprinted by Politico that his dad was offered the spot by Palin's neighbor because the Palins owed her money:

"A woman was renting her house and sought out the author because the Palins had crossed her (owed her money for renovations she had done at their request and never paid her for). So she knew McGinniss was writing the book and found him and offered him the house."

The Palins apparently tried renting the place all winter to head off any Liberals. Not only did her neighbor refuse, she called up McGinniss and was like, "Hey, got this awesome house right across from Sarah Palin. Want?" There's no purer form of small-town drama than the stiffed contractor out for non-monetary revenge. Unlike those in New York or LA, where the elitists settle their labor disputes with fancy lawyers, small town builders have the means to hit back in way more satisfying ways.

From the email:

[I]f you were writing a biography of Tiger Woods and had the chance to move in with him, or his pool house, or rent next door or down the street from him -- it would be journalistic malpractice not to. As a writer, you go where the story is, get as close as you can to it. People who write about politics, campaigns, they travel with the candidates, stay in the same motels, ride the bus, eat breakfast, hang out any and everywhere they can to get access. It's pretty basic. We want to read the work of someone who is as close to their subject as possible. That's called reporting.

Sarah Palin is always waxing poetic about the moral superiority of small town, white bread America. But for someone who considers herself such an expert, she sure is a failure at handling the basic niceties of living in such a place. If she hasn't paid her debts to this woman, that's really appalling, since Palin has been raking in the cash milking her idiotic base for high dollar speaking feeds. She can't really plead poverty, you know?

It's well worth clicking through the links if you're a connoisseur of small town politics. Palin crosses her neighbors pretty frequently by pulling rank and treating everyone else like they're the peasantry, it seems.

What all this reminds me of is when I visited Camp Casey in 2005. Cindy Sheehan had camped out by the side of the road, which was pretty hot and miserable, and she would have stayed there if it wasn't for the guy who owned the ranch neighboring Bush's. If I recall correctly, that man wasn't particularly pleased with the war in Iraq, so he reached out to Sheehan and her fellow protesters, and let them use his land for their protest.