Thoughts on Palin from the conservative commentariat

Below are comments I’ve culled from the Corner and elsewhere, plus my reactions. The views comes down to two major possibilities: that this is the end of her political career (which I agree with), and this is a smart move to restart her political career on her terms (which I initially dismissed, but then began to see its logic).

Mother Palin [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

Who knows all the reasons—Todd and Sarah Palin, presumably fully understand.

Listening to her, it seems like this is a combination of stepping back and moving forward. Stepping back, because it’s way too overwhelming to be Sarah Palin, political phenom, Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, and Sarah Palin, wife and mother. I don’t know that anyone can fulfill all those roles well, simultaneously. And we’re unrealistic, I think, when we assume people can or should.

One reservation I’ve always had about Sarah Palin has to do with her family. If she is stepping down because of what politics has done to her family, because of something in her family life she doesn’t want to see as David Letterman fodder, because it’s impossible to be governor, a star, and a mom to an infant … this is good. It demonstrates good judgment and priorities.

07/03 03:54 PM

Does Lopez realize what she’s saying? She’s saying that it’s too much for a woman to care for a family with small children and have a high profile political career at the same time Exactly the reason I gave, starting on September 1, 2008, prior to the announcement of Bristol’s pregnancy, that Palin should not be running for national office. At the same time, high profile Republicans sought to bully critics of Palin into silence, saying, “How DARE they say that a woman with small children should not be vice president?”

Here’s Richard Lowry:

Palin Today [Rich Lowry]

I think I have pretty well-established credentials when it comes to being charmed by Sarah Palin, but that statement, as a statement, was simply terrible. Rambling and not at all persuasive as an argument for her decision. More Gibson/Couric than GOP convention speech. She shouldn’t have said a thing without getting Matt Scully—or some similarly talented speechwriter—on the case first. As to how this decision plays out ultimately, we’ll see. There’s plenty of time if (as I assume) she wants to run in 2012, and she obviously has plenty of capital with Republicans. But not an auspicious start.

07/03 04:58 PMShare

Here’s Jim Geraighty:

Way back on Tuesday, I wrote about Sarah Palin, “I can only imagine a life running a state while caring for a son with Down syndrome and a son in Iraq and a daughter who is a new mother in the sharp glare of the public spotlight and a grandson and another daughter suddenly appearing in David Letterman’s routine. This may not be the right time for another go-round in a multi-year process in which vast swaths of the political world will aim to see her torn down to nothing. She’s 45 years old; it’s not like the window is closing.”

Perhaps, it became too much.

Not finishing her first term will provide a major, major, major obstacle to any presidential bid. I thought a 2012 campaign would be a mistake; from today’s comments, it’s not clear whether Palin is still interested in that option.

But the moment she expresses an interest in a presidential bid, every rival, Republican and Democrat, will uncork the ready-made zinger: “If elected, would she serve the full four years, or quit sometime in the third year again?”…

This seems correct. The answer to the question, “How does she expect to quit as governor before finishing her term and run for president”?, is that she’s not going to run for president. It’s impossible. How can someone be taken seriously for the presidency when she’s dropped out as governor of Alaska?

Sarah Palin [Amy Holmes]

No way around it. She has just labeled herself a “quitter.” Someone who doesn’t finish what she started. What in the world is wrong with Republican governors? One self-absorbed politician after the next. Governors: “It’s not all about you!”

And her bit about polling her kids on her decision to resign was also egregious. We women abruptly quit our public responsibilities because our kids don’t want mommy working anymore? This is from the woman who wore a black business suit while she baked hotdogs for her kids. (One of the many weird moments in her “Home with the Palins” Greta van Sustren interviews.)

Here’s a suggestion. How about a Ensign/Sanford/Palin YouTube mash up to the tune of “Another one bites the dust.” Disgraceful.

Ok, but here is a very different view, from William Kristol:

Kristol: A Contrarian Take

If Palin wants to run in 2012, why not do exactly what she announced today? It’s an enormous gamble—but it could be a shrewd one.

After all, she’s freeing herself from the duties of the governorship. Now she can do her book, give speeches, travel the country and the world, campaign for others, meet people, get more educated on the issues—and without being criticized for neglecting her duties in Alaska. I suppose she’ll take a hit for leaving the governorship early—but how much of one? She’s probably accomplished most of what she was going to get done as governor, and is leaving a sympatico lieutenant governor in charge.

And haven’t conservatives been lamenting the lack of a national leader? Well, now she’ll try to be that. She may not succeed. Everything rests on her talents, and on her performance. She’ll be under intense and hostile scrutiny, and she’ll have to perform well.

All in all, it’s going to be a high-wire act. The odds are against her pulling it off. But I wouldn’t bet against it.

Posted by William Kristol on July 3, 2009 05:06 PM | Permalink

I just think Kristol is wrong. How can someone be a presidential contender who didn’t even finish a single term as the governor of a small state?

Mark Levin agrees with the Kristol view:

Today’s News [Mark R. Levin]

Palin is running for president, get used to it.

07/03 05:41 PM

It still doesn’t make sense to me. But here, for the first time, is a comment from an Alaskan quoted by Kathryn Lopez that makes it seem possible that Palin’s move today is consistent with a future political career:

This Is Sarah [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

From an Alaskan in Palin circles:

many are writing her political obit now but in the past she’s always risen from the ashes because she “connects” so well w/ ordinary people.

will she run for prez? I would say “probably” just because that’s her history/pattern. she ran for lt guv in 2002 and no one thought she had a prayer. she spent pennies compared to the other 4 and came in 2nd. then she took that job at the oil & gas commission but quit that to run for guv. no one gave her a chance and yet she won the primary then went on to beat Tony Knowles.

honestly, I have to take the resignation at face value—she was weary of the unending ethics complaints that she had to defend personally—they are not wealthy people and the debt was staggering. This allows her to finish her book, go on tour, and never have to worry again about being a state employee subject to the Executive Branch ethics laws. she can hopefully knit her family back together and then after the 2010 election, see how she’s polling and how much $$$ she’s raised.

My Alaskan adds: “she has seemed tired … not having any fun anymore. The Auburn thing was such a shot of adrenalin. Why stick around here?”

07/03 05:43 PM

The reference is to Palin’s visit last month to Auburn, New York, the home town of William Seward.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 03, 2009 07:45 PM | Send

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