July 7, 2009
I was pretty well resigned, a couple months ago, to the dire prospect of not having Sarah Palin to entertain us with her bubbly brand of homespun political gaffery. I remembered with fondness the days of Governor Evan Mecham here in Arizona and the glee with which we all turned to the paper every day for new outrageous antics to talk about.
She’s baaaaack! Yay.
I’m convinced that Palin’s recent announcement that she no longer feels like being governor of Alaska is indeed simply a meltdown, not a shrewd political move or a get-out-of-debt maneuver. There’s no Free Parking square on the Monopoly board of politics.
I’m also of the opinion that a significant scandal is about to come down and she’s getting out before it hits.
The timing of her announcement is one clue — between the Michael Jackson story and Independence Day hoopla. Of course, she’d have no forewarning of Jackson’s death, which is why, I presume, she had to act quickly.
The fact that no one in positions of power seemed to have any clue about the announcement, including her own spokesperson, much less the Alaska Republican machine, is one strong indication of a spontaneous meltdown.
The fact that her announcement was made in what most observers called a “rambling” 18-minute rant, and her key statement didn’t come until 11 minutes into it, is another sign.
The fact that her vague reasons for abandoning her office bobbed and weaved around like a Scottsdale deb on a cell phone looking for her peeps at the dance club is another sign.
The very idea of a governor — or any high elected official — abandoning an elected office absent pending criminal charges or health problems is highly unusual, possibly unprecedented . . . and seems an awful lot like the kid who takes his baseball home when the game isn’t going his way. How many voters will vote for someone who might simply leave office without warning? It’s not exactly a highlight on your political resume.
Furthermore, she’s clearly not the darling of the GOP . . . anywhere, and though she seems to have some hardcore supporters among the lunatic fringe and fundamentalist blocs, that’s hardly enough to get her out of Ross Perot/Ron Paul Land. Ron Paul at least had the advantage of the greatest sign-posting organization ever assembled.
Being a quitter generally doesn’t play in Peoria. And it’s not the press saying that . . . it’s the people.
As George Bush said: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…er…”
Maureen Dowd (admittedly not a Palin fancier) had some insightful thoughts on the matter in a recent New York Times editorial piece, including:
“She can hunt wolves from the air and field-dress a moose, but she fears being a lame duck?”
One of my otherwise astute political friends who works for the state of Arizona believes (wrongly, I think) that it’s simply about the money. The argument goes that Palin has too many debts piling up from those pesky ethics lawsuits and that by resigning she is now free to accept money from any source she wants.
True enough, but the theory further presumes that people will actually want to buy her book and that there are a slew of big-money opportunities awaiting her.
Maaaaybe, but I just don’t believe anyone would quit a governorship for simple economic motives — or rather, they might have the motive but they’d have to disguise it so utterly and completely that no one could possibly accuse them of resigning to make more money. Their public service credibility would be completely shot.
I put forward a tentative statement above — that it is unprecedented for a sitting governor to resign without pending charges looming (or health issues). I would truly like to know if any of you folks have the answer. I did pose the question to my best new friend, Cha Cha, today (the telephone answering guru, not the dancing lady) and got the response: “Yes, other governors have resigned,” but the only example was Illinois’ Blagojevich, and he doesn’t meet the “without pending charges” qualification.
Update: July 9
Here’s another corker, from Dahlia Lithwick, writing in Slate.
“…her rage toward the country, the media, and those of us who fail to love and understand her is easier to comprehend. Think of an American visiting France who believes that if he just speaks louder, he will be speaking French.”
from “Lost in Translation: Why Sarah Palin really quit us.”
July 8, 2009
Update: July 10
He [Levi] said he thinks book deals were really what appealed to Palin.
“I think the big deal was the book. That was millions of dollars,” said Johnston, who has had a strained relationship with the family but now says things have improved.
“Levi Johnston: Palin resigned to cash in on fame”
Comment: Well….statements like that are sure to go a long way toward improving the once-strained relationship.