The verdict on Gov. Sarah Palin’s resignation is in–and things are not looking good for the soon-to-be ex Governor:
At the same time just 37% of Americans now say they believe Palin is fit to be President, while 55% say she is not. And while her move last week may not have hurt her overall favorability, it does seem to have negatively impacted voters’ inclination to some day put her in the White House. 57% of respondents said her resignation makes them less likely to support her in a future Presidential bid.
And, still, the reason for Gov. Palin’s resignation still isn’t clear. Was it for a presidential bid? To get her family out of the limelight? To deal with the various ethical charges that have been brought against her?
Well, subsequent interviews with Palin appear to point to the latter, with Palin basically claiming that the ethics charges against her were paralyzing. But that’s a pretty damn poor justification–resigning because there are so many ethical charges against you that you can’t possibly fight them all and still do your job. And it certainly doesn’t bode well for your political future when you basically have to admit that your state would be better off without you running it.
But, more importantly, Palin’s allegations that fighting the ethical charges against her would be too costly for the people of Alaska appears to be completely false:
During her resignation speech last week, Palin presented herself as a heroic defender of the taxpayer. She said that money being spent on government lawyers to defend against these “frivolous ethics violations” could be “going to things that are very important, like troopers and roads and teachers and fish research.” Palin repeated exactly the same point this week.
But David Murrow, a spokesperson for the Governor, said in an interview that much of this money was budgeted to the lawyers in advance and would have gone to them anyway, even if state lawyers hadn’t been defending against these ethics complaints.
In response to our questions, the Governor’s office provided us with a detailed breakdown of the millions Palin has claimed has gone to defending against ethics complaints. It does list roughly $1.9 million in expenditures.
But Murrow, the spokesperson, acknowledged to our reporter, Amanda Erickson, that this total was arrived at by adding up attorney hours spent on fending off complaints — based on the fixed salaries of lawyers in the governor’s office and the Department of Law. The money would have gone to the lawyers no matter what they were doing. The complaints are “just distracting them from other duties,” Murrow said.
In other words, while these lawyers might have been free to do other legal work for the state, the ethics complaints have apparently not had the real world impact Palin has claimed, and didn’t drain money away from cops, teachers, roads and other things.
Plus–according to TPM–there are only three outstanding ethics complaints against Palin, anyway.
Even conservative commentator and former Bush speechwriter David Frum thinks Palin is toast:
Between her speeches and her book deal, [Palin] can reasonably hope to earn $10 million over the next two years. She’ll fly in private jets, sleep in sumptuous hotel suites, receive rhapsodic applause.
Yet there will be no escaping another story line. Faced with exasperating criticism and the accumulating cares of public office—she quit to cash in. Her admirers can excuse anything, but to the much larger audience of non-admirers, Palin will look a lot like those CEOs who wrecked their banks and the national economy while accepting huge bonuses for themselves. John McCain’s slogan in 2008 was “Country First.” Palin’s in 2012? “I seen my opportunities, and I took ’em.”
Sarah Palin has become a fascinating story again; her abrupt resignation is so bizarre–there is no positive way to spin it, there is no real upside in quitting unless she plans never to hold elected office again.
Like I remarked a few days ago, we might have just borne witness to the steepest rise and fastest fall of any politician in modern American history; much like a meteorite crashing to earth, it’s hard not to watch in awe.
UPDATE: And then there’s this:
David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, told Newsmax that Palin has to stop complaining. “You’ve got to recognize that there are people who want you to fail,” he said. “And if you spend your time worrying about them, or whining about what they say, at the very least it’ll get you off your game.”