Why she’s stepping down

(Note: there have been several posts on Sarah Palin in the last couple of days, but most of the comments are posted in this one.)

Some news reports said that Gov. Palin’s supporters were confused by her announcement today, as she didn’t give a reason her shocking decision to resign from the governorship a year and a half before the end of her term. But in fact she did give a reason:

Once I decided not to run for re-election, I also felt that to embrace the conventional Lame Duck status in this particular climate would just be another dose of politics as usual, something I campaigned against and will always oppose.

I hope I’m not offending anyone, but I have to say that this an exceptionally stupid statement.

By Palin’s reasoning, whenever an elected official decides not to run for re-election, he should resign on the spot and not finish his term, since to finish the term to which he was elected would be to embrace the conventional lame duck status, which is politics as usual, which is bad. Indeed, by Palin’s reasoning, if an official is barred by law from seeking another term beyond his present term, he shouldn’t start the present term, since as soon as the term begins he would be a lame duck, and being a lame duck is just politics as usual, which is, as we all know, bad.

But, hey, as the Palin supporters keep telling us, you don’t need to be a policy wonk to be president!

- end of initial entry -

A reader writes:

To call that one aspect stupid is a disservice. It implies there was some other part that was not stupid. This is a prelude to even weirder stuff about to come out. Or Gov. Sanford paid her a ton of money to get him off the top story.

LA replies:

You are a hard man.

Dan R. writes:

Sarah Palin has been a runner for most of her life and this month Runner’s World has a lengthy interview with her. She’s her usual self, charming and appealing, and then the very last question:

Is there anything else the world should know about you as a runner? The only other thing I’d like to add is I’ve been very fortunate to be a recipient of all the efforts people put into Title IX all those years ago where girls got equal opportunity to participate in sports and extracurricular activities because sports growing up were my world. I’m so thankful for Title IX allowing equal access to these opportunities, and I’m a huge proponent of girls being able to realize what they’re made of by participating in sports, and whatever I can do there I’m going to be doing.

Title IX, that liberal sacrament, is held in comparable esteem by the champion of conservatism, Sarah Palin. Title IX, an overarching act of big government, guaranteeing equal access to sports for men and women of school/college age without regard to the actual desires of real men and women to compete in sports … and which has decimated large chunks of men’s college athletics. Title IX, touted at every chance by the liberal sports media. And here’s Sarah Palin paying homage to it.

LA replies:

There you have it. “her usual self, charming [and I would add charmingly ditsy] and appealing,” and then… you realize that in multiple key respects she is an unreconstructed liberal and … uh-oh (I don’t mean to offend anyone, truly I don’t), not particularly intelligent. Do we need a female, cute, ditsily appealing GW BUSH?

How many times must I say this? Haven’t the “conservatives” learned ANYTHING from the last eight years?

Also, some months back we discussed her appallingly deeply felt UNQUALIFIED love and gratitude for Title IX, a law that has caused the dismantlement of sports programs across the country in the name of sex equality.

Leonard writes:

I think it was the sort of semi-inept but charmingly sincere sort of thing Palin is known for. My take on it was that she is telling the truth about not wanting to run for governor again. Presumably she has something bigger in mind. That’s the sincere part. But then the inept: she did not want to just come out and say, “I want to write a book for big bucks, then run for President, and doing that will interfere with my other duties.” So she vaguely alludes to this other stuff without specifying any of it. She is right that many lame ducks do tend to slack off. Partly that is a consequence of the reduced power of lame ducks, but of course mostly it is their own fault. Nobody is forcing them to take a junket to Hawaii or whatever. (Or to travel around the USA and world setting up a presidential run, at taxpayer expense.) Her statement treats this as something inexplicably inevitable in lame-duckness that she is nobly sparing Alaska by resigning. Which, again, is probably true: assuming she does intend to run, then she is going to have to spend time in the lower 48 campaigning, and she probably would get pinged by opponents for that.

Another aspect of this is that I think Palin actually does believe in democracy, as stupid as that is. If she does, she may feel that she would be derelict in her duty. She probably also feels like if she stays, then she ought to push conservative policies and laws that would be political poison in the run for President. All normal politicians would move to the center to set up a run for higher office, and they wouldn’t need to resign to do that. Nor would they feel guilty about not being around much.

Me, I hate democracy and its consequent big government. So having a governor who’s not around to govern is, in my opinion, probably an improvement if anything. But that is not the common view: to the common democracy worshipper, a governor is the reified Will of the People, a minor deity who cannot derelict her duty for more than an hour or so without falling into a hotter place. Palin will be able to say she gave up power to devote herself to the whole nation. Thus I can imagine her claim that the resignation was part of a “new kind of politics” becoming popularly accepted.

One other politically useful aspect of quitting an existing office from the point of view of running for President, will be that she can now disown anything negative that happens in Alaska as not her fault, while taking credit for anything positive. All politicians do this by blaming their predecessor, but it is easier to do when you can also blame a successor.

I am sure many will attempt to frame her as a quitter, but I don’t think that charge will stick. All she needs to do is make the case, presumably truthfully, that she had more pressing things to do than be governor, and to show that those same things have been dealt with. I.e., ethics charges, parenting an infant and other children, writing her book, running for President, etc. And really, I am not even sure she has to do that; many people seem to love her enough to trust her if she just asserts that this time is different. Palin is now a polarizing, pretty celebrity, a sort of Paris Hilton of politics. Modern celebrity feeds on itself, and mere name recognition is political gold. So long as she does almost anything political, enough to stay in the limelight, she’ll stay salient and many will love her and trust her. In this analysis, the left arguably injures itself, in that it hates her with such blindly righteous fury that it cannot ignore her. Thus it feeds the celebrity machine with mistakes such as the recent Letterman joke.

LA replies:

Just like last September, I have not followed the left’s attacks on Palin (since I’ve been much more interested in what conservatives say about her), but I gather that the viciousness has been extraordinary, has been a hate campaign, and really part and parcel of their bigoted hatred against whomever they perceive as conservative, evangelical, traditional.

July 4

Dan R. writes:

I somehow missed the discussion about Palin and Title IX that you mentioned, but was able to locate it easily enough via the search engine on the main page of VFR.

An excellent discussion, as usual, and thanks for pointing it out.

JJM writes:

Her bizarre interpretation of what it means to be a “lame duck” politician struck me as particularly immature and absurd as well. But what also jumped out at me was this line: “I’ve never believed that I nor anyone else needs a title to do this, to make a difference, to help people.”

She reduces her own office, chief executive of the state government, as merely a “title.” She was not elected beauty queen, she is the damn governor. She has sweeping powers at her disposal that give her the ability to shape and alter her society in profound ways the rest of us can only fantasize about. If she really did care about her beloved Alaskans as much as she is constantly telling us, then she’d stay in office and use her powers to help them. But no, we are supposed to swallow the bizarre non-sequitur that being the highest elected official in an American state is actually just a trivial irrelevancy actively hampering her quest to “help people.”

It all just highlights the shocking degree of her own vanity and self-absorption. There is no sense of obligation or commitment to anything but her own ego. Playing governor was boring, so now she wants to play president. And let’s hope America will never see what happens when she gets bored of that “title” too.

LA replies:

Palin: “I’ve never believed that I nor anyone else needs a title to do this, to make a difference, to help people.”

Good catch. She acts as if the responsibility of being the elected governor of a state is just about some optional way she has of “making a difference, helping people,” so that if a better way of “making a difference” comes along, right in the middle of the term to which she was elected, she can just pursue it. She evinces no sense of responsibility to the office, to the people who elected her.

Terry Morris writes:

“If you can’t even handle a governorship, there’s no way you can handle the White House.”

No kidding. Particularly if you can’t handle the governorship of a state with the population of Alaska (is there a smaller state population-wise than AK?). Too bad we didn’t get the chance to see whether Obama could “handle” the job of governor of a state.

Terry Morris writes:

LA, I think for me personally to be able to trust Palin’s judgment and motivation in this matter, or to otherwise lend any credence to the idea that in the “grand scheme” of her political future, what she has in mind by resigning is to put herself in a better position to make a run at the presidency in 2012, I’d have to first believe that she’s a real conservative actuated by conservative principles. Which I don’t.

[The below is from a longer exchange between Lydia McGrew and me on the Palin-Letterman issue, but I think it’s also relevant here:]

Lydia wrote:

By the way, while I agree that Palin doesn’t seem to have shone in explaining her resignation, if her resignation is really an attempt to pull back from public life for the sake of her family, this would seem to be something you should approve of. Speaking for myself, I approve of it if that’s the intent. I’d rather see Palin for her own sake and her family’s sake just get out of the rat race and all the nastiness.

LA replied:

I made the same point yesterday at VFR. And of course that was also the original basis of my disapproval of her candidacy last year. If you approve of her resigning from the governorship now for the sake of her family, then a fortiori you should agree with my position last September that for the sake of her family she should not have accepted the vice presidential nomination.

Lydia replied:

Well, yes, in a sense. But it wasn’t as big a deal for me as it was for you. I take the position that I will vote for a woman who is good for a position even if, sadly enough, the position may not be good for her. And since I worry that going into politics may be bad for anyone, in a sense I have to take this position or I’d never vote for anyone (because going into politics is likely to corrupt him). While it’s true that, since I’m not a feminist, I think a woman in Palin’s situation has extra reasons not to go into politics or stay in politics, I draw a pretty definite line between that opinion and my own decision that this is a candidate I would vote for, given the alternatives, etc.

Dale Francisco writes:

Though I said shortly after her nomination that Palin lacked the experience to run for Vice President, the last sentence in Thomas Defrank’s article provoked in me a mirthless laugh:

“She has an incredibly thin resume, a serious lack of gravitas, no coherent philosophy and the people around her are amateurs,” another top Republican pol argued. “She’s finished.”

These same criticisms could justly be made of countless Washington politicians, including prominently among them Joe Biden, but alas these apparatchiks are far from finished. Why would anyone be persuaded by the pronouncements of an anonymous “top Republican pol”—whoever he might be?

Man overboard writes:

Here are several links I came across discussing a possible ethics scandal involving the Palins which may shed some light on her abrupt resignation.

It involves the Palins’ home being built by a company which was later awarded a contract by Governor Palin to build an expensive sports complex in Wasilla.

Although these stories aren’t proof of anything perhaps they’re worthy of discussion.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-07-03/did-a-scandal-sink-the-uss-palin /?cid=hp:mainpromo2



LA replies:

Thanks. My sense of it is that the ethics charges against Palin are a lot of nothing generated by political enemies trying to harm her.

July 5

Paul Gottfried writes:

I notice that you’ve deviated in no uncertain terms from the FOX News interpretation of Governor Palin’s ordeal. For two days neocon central, including the egregious NY Post, have been talking up Sarah as a “maverick” who has been driven from the political landscape by David Letterman and otherTV celebrities. The same sources have been kicking around the political corpse of Mark Sanford, perhaps in an effort to wipe out entirely Sarah’s possible competitor for the GOP nomination. Needless to say, I consider Sarah to be a not very bright person, who may have destroyed her political opportunities for all the reasons you offer.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 03, 2009 09:44 PM | Send

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