I’ve spent some time in the past few days thinking about Gov. Sarah Palin’s sudden resignation, and I still think that her decision stemmed from either an impending scandal or an impending Presidential campaign.
But there have been a few other explanations I’ve heard and dismissed. For instance, some people are claiming that Palin is facing huge legal bills fighting off all the ethics complaints against her, which explains her resignation. But I find that hard to believe—her term as Governor is done in just a year and a half, meaning that she could hit up the paid lecture circuit and make those costs back several-fold come January, 2011.
Others are saying that being Governor would prevent Palin from going out there and campaigning for Republicans in 2010, putting her at a disadvantage against folks like Mitt Romney who no longer hold an office and thus have the time to campaign.
But, remember, Palin campaigned for Vice President while remaining Governor of Alaska; I find it hard to believe that she couldn’t just hand things over to her staff or her Lt. Governor every once in a while in order to speak at a rally or a speech.
Plus, being an effective Governor would probably help your presidential ambitions far more than quitting in order to fly around stumping for Congressional candidates–that’s something you do when you leave office, not something you leave office in order to do. Double plus, if 2010 isn’t a good year for the GOP—which it doesn’t look like it will be—then Palin would be better off staying in the Governor’s mansion.
Some people are saying that it’s normal for politicians to quit their current job to run for higher office. While that may be the case, they don’t usually quit 40 months before the election.
And a number of people are claiming that Sarah Palin is resigning in order to protect her family, but I don’t entirely buy that, either. When you run for office you become a public figure; you and your family are going to be in the spotlight.
Personally, I think families should be off-limits. To me, we should be focusing on the person running for office, not their husbands or wives or children; I don’t see the political point to be made in going after someone’s family. Still, we have to deal with the political reality we have, not the political reality we want—and in the political world we live in, the families of politicians are given a fair amount of scrutiny.
Palin should have known that, by being a public figure, she was putting her own family in the spotlight for good or ill. Plus, I feel that a lot of right-wing victimhood on this front seems awfully overblown–a lot of Palin’s supporters seem to believe that Sarah Palin is the most unfairly-attacked people in modern American history.
In that regard, I agree with ABC’s Cynthia Tucker, who said on Meet the Press this past weekend:
If [Palin] thinks she’s had it tough, I have two words for you: Hillary Clinton!
Conservatives are attacking Palin’s critics for allegedly targeting her family, but if you were to page through nearly any conservative blog out there and you’ll find plenty of unhinged attacks on Michelle Obama. And some of these same conservatives who are defending Palin and her family are the very same conservatives who spent the 1990’s unfairly attacking both Chelsea and Hillary Clinton.
Sarah Palin may have been subjected to some unfair criticism (and I should note that she was also subjected to a lot of perfectly fair, valid criticism as well), but she is not the first person to have dealt with that, and resigning her Governorship is an extremely poor way to deal with it. Hillary Clinton was a fighter; Sarah Palin is a quitter.
I also don’t believe the right-wing talking point that Sarah Palin’s early resignation is some kind of brilliant Nixonian political maneuver.
I mean, just think about the timing—if this was part of a brilliant political strategy, why announce it the Friday before Independence Day? Why try to bury it in the news cycle—why not make it front and center, try to draw as much publicity as possible that you can then take advantage of?
And if this was Palin’s brilliant political move, why did she sound like she was close to tears during her speech on Friday? Go listen–Palin sounds like she’s going to break down, not like she’s launching a cunning political strategy that will catapult her into the White House:
In the end, it just looks like Sarah Palin couldn’t take the heat so she quit. She promised the people of Alaska to serve as their Governor for 4 years but she broke that promise. If Palin does run for President, it should be remembered that, when things got tough, Sarah Palin turned tail and fled–not a quality any of us want in a President.
Honestly, though, I don’t think we have to worry about Sarah Palin running for President–I don’t think she’s going to recover from this. Whatever political career she may have had is probably over now; America loves fighters and hates quitters.
To make an analogy fitting of Gov. Palin, she grabbed the basketball and took off in the middle of the third quarter, leaving both teams to stand in the middle of the court, watching in utter befuddlement as she disappears off into the locker room.
UPDATE: Not only is Gov. Palin a quitter, she’s a hypocrite:
During a Women and Leadership event back in March 2008, Governor Palin was asked about Senator Clinton’s response to media scrutiny – and criticism – she received on the campaign trail during the Democratic primaries. Palin made it clear to moderator Karen Breslau of Newsweek that she considered Clinton’s conduct unbecoming. Hillary, she insisted, needed to just “plow through”:
“Fair or unfair, I think she does herself a disservice to even mention it…When I hear a statement like that coming from a woman candidate with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism or, you know, maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think, man, that doesn’t do us any good. Women in politics, women in general wanting to progress this country. I don’t think it’s, it bodes well for her — a statement like that…It bothers me a little bit hearing her bring that attention to herself on that level.”
So when Hillary Clinton gets media scrutiny, Sarah Palin thinks she should just shut up and push through it. But when Sarah Palin gets media scrutiny, she thinks it’s okay to play victim and quit.