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Please, Sarah: Go gentle into those white nights
Submitted by Kevin Wuzzardo on Mon, 07/27/2009 - 6:10am.
Sarah Palin officially quit her job as Alaska Governor yesterday.
"It is because I love Alaska this much, sir, that I feel it is my duty to avoid the unproductive, typical, politics-as-usual, lame duck session in one's last year in office," Palin said. "How does that benefit you?"
It's the same message she's had since she first announced earlier this month that she would step down. No matter how many times she says it, though, it does not make sense. Think about it. What Palin claims she is trying to avoid is the inevitible period at the end of the time in office of a term-limited chief executive where his or her power is minimized. But to avoid the lame duck period, she has turned the job of leading the state over to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, who the people of Alaska certainly did not elect to the job he now holds, which means he likely will have less of a chance to do anything than Palin.
So Sarah, what is the real reason you're quitting?
First of all, there are the lawsuits and ethics complaints against her as Governor. By quitting the job, she can probably avoid a few more of them being filed, but more importantly, she can start making the money it will take to defend herself. She will likely go on the speaking circuit, and there has been talk of Palin hosting a TV and/or radio show. But who wants to listen to her?
It continues to dumbfound me that there are people out there who not only want Palin to run for president in 2012, but actually think she is a viable candidate. What are these people smoking? Have they not been watching her since she gained national attention 11 months ago?
Let's review. Back in August 2008, the vast majority of Americans had never heard the name Sarah Palin. It was not until Republican presidential nominee John McCain picked her as his running mate that we had any idea who she was, and even then, her level of anonymity kept things a little murky. Still, Palin sprang onto the national stage with a lot of excitement from across the country. Then she started talking. She had a few good lines about hockey moms and pit bulls, but she couldn't tell Katie Couric what magazines or newspapers she read. She claimed she was qualified to handle foreign affairs because (on a clear day from very remote areas) you can see Russia from Alaska, which also borders Canada. Her performance in a debate with Joe Biden was average at best. By the time the election rolled around, it was clear to many, including some top-level people in the McCain campaign, that Palin was something of an albatross on the ticket.
If we learned anything about Sarah Palin from her VP run it was that she is clearly not a leader on a national level. It has nothing to do with her being a woman. It has to do with her appearing very much clueless. George W. Bush often seemed overmatched and bumbling. But put him next to Palin, and the former president would probably refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.
I'm sure Sarah Palin is a great person. I'm sure she's a great wife, mother and grandmother. She may even have been a good governor. But she has shown little reason why anyone should take her seriously beyond that. She keeps calling herself a maverick. Well, I can call myself a balloon every day, but it doesn't mean I'm gonna float away with the next strong gust of wind. And what does she mean by maverick anyway? McCain, whether you think it's true or not, used it to show that as a politician he cared less about party allegiance and political correctness and more about what was best for the people. What makes Palin a maverick? Her folksy, Fargo-esque talk? Her love for fishin' and moose huntin'? Naming her children after an airplane (Piper) and a (misspelled) favorite sport (Trak)? Or maybe it's her claims to have push against the so-called Bridge to Nowhere, when that may have not been the truth. Or perhaps it's the whole Troopergate controversy. Whatever it is, I don't think it says much about her leadership abilities, especially when it comes to running the entire country.
I haven't conducted an exhaustive poll or anything, but anecdotally I have not found anyone who finds Palin to be the bright star the Republican Party wants and needs. Instead, most people I talk with about this scratch their head just like me wondering who is telling Palin she has a bright future running for national office. Too bad Ted Stevens lost his Senate race last year, keeping Palin from appointing herself his replacement when he surely would have been kicked out of the Senate after being convicted of corruption. That surely would've given her some more national stature. But as her prior experience in the spotlight showed, it probably would have made her more of a national punchline. Tina Fey must be loving this.
By: Kevin Wuzzardo