Saturday, July 04, 2009

Reactions to the Palin resignation

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Right now, most of the speculation, if not all of it, is premature, as speculation is wont to be. Still, everyone who is anyone, which is pretty much everyone, is weighing in. I checked Memeorandum a while ago, and the entirety of the "Top Items" section was given over to Palin's resignation, the first time I've ever seen such uniformity.

So let's delve into it a bit.

Bill Kristol, neocon extraordinaire and one of Palin's biggest boosters, is being predictably upbeat about it all:

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.

Right, it's all proof of her outstanding courage, and Kristol's with her all the way.

Kristol presents himself as a "contrarian," but this is but the most prominent example of what is already the right's pro-Palin spin: Sure, she stepped down, and, sure, that looks bad, but it's for a good cause, a noble calling, and she may soon be our leader. Get down on your knees, our saviour has arrived.

Back in the real world, though, things look a little different.

For example, Josh Marshall offers some helpful perspective:

It seems like a colossal sulk on Palin's part, or perhaps better to say an effort on her part to ingeniously combine anti-liberal media bias agitation with Christianist politics by portraying herself as having been crucified by the liberal media.

*****

[T]his clearly happened so quickly that Palin hasn't even had a chance to come up with a coherent cover story for her resignation. Some context is probably helpful here, however. Remember that based on the public record, Palin is a wildly unethical public official, guilty at a minimum of numerous instances of abusing her authority as governor. And a lot of very damaging information has come out about her in the last few days -- though mainly embarrassing information about her character rather than new evidence of bad acts. I would not be surprised if this latest round of revelations shook something else loose that we haven't heard about yet.

And that very well may be the case. As Think Progress is reporting, Palin may have resigned "because she was trying to avert a major, yet-to-be-disclosed corruption scandal," one involving embezzlement.

Needless to say, we shall see.

As is so often the case when a major story breaks, I turn to Slate's John Dickerson, who offers this explanation (if an explanation is even possible this early on):

The larger reason for Palin's early departure was that she was having no fun. Ever since she returned to Alaska from the national stage, being governor has been a chore. Her political opponents have launched 15 ethics charges against her. The state economy has turned sour, and she got into an ugly squabble over federal stimulus funds. It's much more enjoyable to travel the country waving to adoring crowds of GOP activists.

So Palin decided to chuck her office for the limelight.
She can now tour the country as the only superstar in a party that desperately needs one. Because she can pack bleachers, she can raise money. In addition to boosting party morale and filling its coffers (and her own), she can build relationships nationwide that will be crucial if she really is interested in running for national office again.

This is sort of what I said yesterday. If I may quote myself:

What I think is that she's come to believe all the right-wing talk about how great and wonderful she is -- from the likes of Bill Kristol, as well as from Dear Leader Rush and the movement conservatives.

It could very well be that Alaska is simply too small for her now. Don't get me wrong, she's still a parochial fool. I don't think she's become some sort of genuinely national leader, or that she really has grown beyond Alaska. But, clearly, her ambitions have outgrown Alaska, and, after her sudden rise to the big time last year, and with the talk ongoing about her potential, she may just not want to govern a relatively small and insignificant state anymore.

In other words, when the going got tough -- that is, when she actually had to be governor at a time when things weren't going well, and with her adorers and admirers calling her from across the land -- she threw in the towel and moved on, and up, to what she surely imagines are much, much greener pastures. As HuffPo suggests, she just wanted to get the hell out of Alaska while the getting was good.

Let me conclude by quoting one of Palin's most fervent critics in the blogosphere, Andrew Sullivan, who, once again, may be right on here:

I guessed right, which I suppose reflects just how much time I've spent trying to figure what goes on in her head. I think the simple truth is that, as even Alaskan Republicans told us last September, she was far from able to be governor of Alaska, let alone vice-president of the United States. Once the klieglights hit, it was only a matter of time before she imploded or exploded or some gruesome combination of the two.

*****

In the end, I think, the one thing to say is that the Republican party is in such a total state of collapse and incoherence that it actually believed she could be a future president; and that John McCain was so reckless, so cynical and so cavalier that he was prepared to rest the national security of this country on her shoulders if he, in his seventies, were to become unable to fulfill his duties or die. In some ways, this is a moment to reflect on McCain, and his irresponsibility, not Palin and her drama.

I'm too stunned to say anything else, to tell you the truth. And yet not surprised at all.

Actually, I'm not stunned at all. It was inevitable that Palin's wildly exaggerated sense of self, blown up out of all proportion by her various enablers on the right (like Kristol), would win out, that she would give up Alaska for a full-out assault on the national scene.

Palin isn't going away, she's only going to get bigger. Even if her run for the top fails miserably, as it surely will, it won't be for lack of delusional self-righteousness on her part -- or on the part of those who form her inner circle and the bubble that shields her from reality.

Happy Fourth of July!

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3 Comments:

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:30 AM  

  • U People R Just JAILus!

    Sarah Palin is about to BLOW UP!

    Yes, that's right folks! We have just learned through "IS" Insider Sources, that the Prez2B is about to put her camPAIN on STEROIDs!!!! Exclamation Mark. Clap. Applause and drum rolls... puhSLeeez. "IS" has just informed us that the vivacious EX-gov is putting her Prez hopes on HGH! Her Governors Humpty!

    Yep! As we type, her "IC" Inner Circle team of "BS" Beaucratic Shakers are convening in D.C. to set the stage for the next Prez race. We went inside Studio B, The Situation Room and did a 360 and spoke with Hannity, O'Reilly, Blitzer, Donner and Prancer and it's confirmed, her P-TEAM is on the move! P-TEAM Political Tactical Experts At Mucking are feverishly working behind the scenes prepping the shapely political virtuoso for the announcement. Word is the ticket could be:

    Palin and LIMPbaugh
    Palin and Newt GingRich
    Palin and Sanford
    Palin and SPITzer
    Palin and Hannity
    Palin and O’Reilly
    Palin and Ensign

    Although the P-TEAM is still fiercely debating whose going to be Sarah’s running mate, LIMPbaugh says he’s the best candidate for America. When GingRich asked if his past could affect the ticket, his response was, “NO!” Newt said America has forgiven and forgotten that he called it quits just like Palin. If you are a TRUE Republican, you should be Xcited!!!! Go Republicans! Go GOP Get Others Pumped! We can do this!

    By Anonymous Smart Guy, at 11:25 AM  

  • Some Conservative supporters are patting her on the back for her "wise political move so she could better position herself for a presidential run". That's like congratulating a general for abandoning his troops in the middle of the battle so he can "work on the next battle."

    So, Sarah. Here's what I usually tell my kids when they get bored with one project and want to move on to something else more exciting. You finish the first job before you go on to the next one.

    A lot of her supporters spent a lot of time and money to put her into office. She’s betrayed all of them.
    Not that Parnell won’t be a good Governor…but then she should have been campaigning for Parnell instead of running herself.

    This is political stupidity.

    Perhaps it’s just as well McCain/Palin ticket went down to defeat.
    Had they won Palin might got tired of playing "VP" , and quit half way through to start working on her next goal...president.

    Unless, of course, she is involved in some other scandal that hasn't been made public yet.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:04 PM  

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