Many of you have probably heard the latest in the evolving tale of Joe McGinniss, Governor Palin's new "neighbor". For those who missed it, the saga took a rather peculiar turn today when Ben Smith wrote the following on his blog:
Sarah Palin's next-door neighbor sought out author Joe McGinniss as a tenant, McGinniss's son said.
"No one is stalking anyone," Joe McGinniss, Jr., a novelist whose father is the non-fiction writer, wrote in response to an email from a Palin supporter who confused his email address and his father's. (He shared the email with me.) "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 claim that the Palins owe their neighbor money is exceedingly difficult to believe on several levels. McGinniss claims the Palins owe the neighbor for "renovations" she performed for them. Really? Along with a few buddies, Todd built the Palins' home. The Palins are currently adding a 6,000 square foot addition with Todd heavily involved in the construction. In addition, Todd has managed to put up a rather large fence in just a couple days. Todd Palin doesn't strike me as someone who would need help with "renovations" from an absentee neighbor. He seems to be managing just fine without said neighbor's renovating expertise, wouldn't you say?
Moreover, are we really expected to believe that the Palins stiffed their neighbor for a bill and we're only finding out about it now? We're to believe that the neighbor was so angry over this that she sought out Joe McGinniss to get payback instead of running straight to the media (or at least the leftist bloggers in Alaska)? She could have been a folk hero to Keith Olbermann's seven viewers. But if she was really interested in collecting money from the Palins, she could have simply answered her phone.
Yesterday Governor Palin was interviewed by Glenn Beck and was asked specifically about the absentee neighbor. Let's go to the audio:
To sum this up, the Palins rented the house last summer to avoid the very situation in which they find themselves this summer. Further, the Palins repeatedly tried to contact the neighbor all winter to rent the house again this summer or, if possible, buy the property. Despite these efforts, the Palins could not get the absentee neighbor to return their calls. Hmmmmmm. Now I'll admit to having no bill collecting experience but, it seems to me, that if someone owed me money and they were calling me, I'd take the call. But that's just me...
It's pretty clear that the entire tale of the Palins owing a neighbor money for some unspecified renovations is ludicrous on its face. Does anyone seriously think the Palins don't pay their bills? Even Ben Smith appeared to question the veracity of the neighbor's claim by updating his post to note the Palins repeated attempts to contact her:
UPDATE: Palin told Glenn Beck yesterday that her husband had been "trying to get hold of [the neighbor] all winter long" to ask about renting or buying the place, in part "for fear of something like this happening."
Mr. McGinniss, through his son, appears to be trying to change the subject from his bizarre behavior. Conduct which has even been criticized as "outrageously, unnecessarily intrusive" by a left-wing Palin-critic at the Washington Post. Stalking is the only accurate term to describe the following actions undertaken by Mr. McGinniss: illegally ignoring the Palin's no trespassing signs to hand deliver books, outrageously bidding for the Ride2Recovery charity dinner so he could harass Governor Palin, chasing Governor Palin at book signing(s), and now this latest stunt.
McGinniss is also not above hypocrisy (shocking, I know). He finds it perfectly OK to stalk Governor Palin yet when an ABC News reporter tried knocking on his door yesterday, well, see for yourself (H/T Josh Painter):
What goes around comes around, eh Joe?
(H/T Mel Bryant and Sheya)
Update: Stacy Drake's take on the above here.