Saturday, July 04, 2009

Sarah Palin Quits - Leaves Questions About Her Future

By now, the speculation about Sarah Palin’s abrupt and startling resignation has been burning up both the Internet and the mainstream media. The conjecture both in newspapers and on the blogs ranges from guesses that she is tired of the public ridicule she and her family have suffered to suspicions that a scandal is about to break. This includes dark mutterings on some of the progressive blogs about possible criminal indictments coming down in Alaska.

Yeah, right. Absent an actual smoking gun, I’m going to go with some more mundane theories about the what and why.

The most common belief is that being governor of a state so far from the mainland – and the main media markets – is limiting to any candidate with presidential aspirations.

If Palin were to finish out her term, it would limit the amount of time she could devote to campaigning for the two gubernatorial races this year – one in Virginia and the other in New Jersey – as well as prevent her from attending prominent party events that would keep her in the national spotlight. It also would curtail her participation in events in early primary states like New Hampshire and Iowa, where candidates have to start laying down their campaign groundwork and building grassroots support early. Time-consuming retail politics is crucial particularly in those two states. Palin may have concluded, correctly, that fulfilling her obligations to Alaska was incompatible with seeking higher office given the vast distance of Alaska to the rest of the nation.

There is a big problem with that line of thought, though. Quitting as governor does not help her build her credentials, even with some conservative Republicans. She already suffers the disadvantage of being viewed by many voters, as well as pundits, as too inexperienced and unprepared to even be vice president. I can’t imagine how quitting before the end of her first term helps her to be taken seriously for national office. It just appears to be too whimsical a move.

But there is another, simpler explanation for her resignation. She may truly no longer be interested in running in 2012. Nevertheless, just because she may no longer be interested in elective office, that doesn’t mean she wants to completely give up the limelight or relinquish her very real influence among Republicans. By leaving the Governor’s Mansion in Alaska, she could easily pick up a spot as a pundit herself. Should she want it, I’m sure Fox News would happily give her a primetime spot and a show of her own. And that could be portable. She could work from a studio up in Alaska. She could take her show on the road and also campaign for other Republicans.

Sarah may no longer crave the presidency, but that doesn’t mean she wants to give up the spotlight. In fact, she could be far more influential, given her popularity with the GOP base, as a talking head and celebrity guest campaigner and fundraiser for other candidates.

Oh, and did anybody mention that she could also make far more money doing so? I’m sure the financial gain is not her main motivator. But it sure does sweeten the pot, if that is what she wants to do anyway.


Tom White said...

My belief is that she is going to announce her plans to challenge Lisa Murkowski, a liberal, pro abortion Republican for her US Senate seat. Then either run in 2012 with 2 years experience as Senator (like Obama) or better yet, position herself for 2016 or 2020. She's still young.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

That could make sense. I hadn't thought of that angle, and I'm sure not many other pundits are thinking of it either.

On the plus side, if she were to beat Murkowski, she would have a legitimate reason to be living in DC. That would make it much easier for her to get around the rest of the country to campaign for others, build political capital, as you mentioned on your blog, and keep her name in front of the public at a national level.

But it would be a longshot campaign against an incumbent. After Palin abandoned her post as governor, Murkowski could easily paint her as a self-absorbed politician who puts her own personal ambition above the interests of her state. Leaving before her term as governor is up leaves her vulnerable to this charge. It could be an ugly campaign that GOP would rather avoid.

Anonymous said...

Agreed...if she had her sights on Murkowski, better to finish her term. Murkowski has already slammed SP for "abandoning" Alaska.


AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Bwana, I haven't seen you in a while. The more I've thought about it, the more I am inclined to think that resigning the governor's post was not a good political move if Sarah Palin wanted to stay in electoral politics. And your comment reinforced that.

In fact, if Palin actually was successful in a challenge against Murkowski in 2010, she could not leave that spot to run for the presidency in 2012. At least, not after having abandoned the governor's spot in 2009. Alaskans would be justifiably outraged and the rest of the country would dismiss her for putting her own interests above those of her state twice.

She might be able to get away with quitting once, but not twice. At the very least, it makes her look unstable.

So, I think she will go with a pundit's job. She is apparently penning a book, will probably do a lucrative book tour, and then go on to a rich and fulfilling career as a talking head somewhere. And doing that certainly doesn't mean abandoning her intention of furthering her conservative agenda. Indeed, it could make her more effective than if she were to be hamstrung by having to run for electoral office.

She can be more outspoken as an author and commentator than as a politician.

Anonymous said...

Karen why does Sarah Palin scare the Democrats so much ?

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

That's a good question - and she does.

It's not just fear of losing an election. I think a lot of people - and not just Democrats, but also thoughtful and intelligent Republicans - are scared that she is a demagogue. When the media talks about her charisma, all I can think is, "yeah, Huey Long was very charismatic in his day, but who would have wanted him to be president?"

There are many people who have charisma but would be truly horrible leaders, Eva Perone comes to mind. Whenever I see Palin swaying a crowd, I think of the line in the musical Evita, "she simply seduced a nation."

I think Palin shares, with George W. Bush, an arrogance, an uncuriousness, and a lack of real seriousness. I also don't think she understands issues or is well informed and I don't see her as being interested in doing the hard work necessary to improve that.

And I think she's as close to a dangerous religious extremist as we've seen in a long time. And no, I'm not anti-Christian.

I disagree with Mike Huckabee and could make arguments about why I wouldn't vote for him. But I respect his faith and his basic decency. He's not a drama queen. He doesn't bring a hint of scandal and a sense of demagoguery wherever he goes. And he was a good governor of Arkanasas.

None of that can be said about Palin. And that's why she scares me personally.

Anonymous said...

Karen, im not a fan of Sarah Palin either for other reasons.I feel if she had any presidential hopes for the future she just ended them by quiting on Alaska.I however must disagree with you on GWB he will always be a good person in my eyes,sure he made alot of mistakes but its alot easier to look back and say what should have been done. Everyone including the Democrats thought the war in Iraq was a good idea from the start.I expect if Obama could go back and do some things over he would certainly do them different today and he has only been in office 5 months.Well with that said you still have this Republicans respect.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Thank you Anonymous.

Pastor Mike said...

Great article and the posts, speculating on her intentions are all good. Lets face it, Palin was not ready for "prime time" and quitting as Governor is but another confirmation.

Democrats aren't "afraid" of Palin, they are mystified at why someone who is so clearly uneducated, uninformed and ditzy in her actions, could capitivate the right wing of the republicans. You'd think they'd want someone who didn't make them all look like morons.

Palin is self-destructive, and her every actions, prove the point. She's a trainwreck looking for a place to happen. If what's left of the republicans decide to get behind her, they can kiss their party goodbye for many years to come!

Catzmaw said...

My money is on Sarah Palin settling into a life of easy punditry on Fox. She bubbles over with ambition but clearly hates the hard work associated with acquiring the wonkish familiarity with the workings of government most good politicians have. As deeply incurious as Bush she is still aware that his success in taking the Presidency was made possible by his deep, national ties; ties which she lacks. She's wildly popular with a particular segment of the population, but she has seen how everyone else reacts to her and no doubt has decided to take the lesson that she can always be very successful within her own little circle, but not much further than that.

It seems to me, too, that Sarah is not comfortable in the big city. She has built her entire persona on her down home moose princess hockey mom image, and she's seen it doesn't fly nearly as well in the edge city as it does in Alaska and other rural environs. I think she wants the limelight, but she doesn't really want to have to study hard or learn how to present herself differently. She seems at times confused about what to do next when the winking and the canned quip don't work. She wants to be influential, but she doesn't want to change her own positions to reflect a more centrist and therefore more attractive ideology. She may sincerely believe that God has appointed her to "tell the truth" as she sees it, which would make radio/tv punditry perfect for her.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Catzmaw, I think you nailed it in your analysis. Thanks!

And so did you, Pastor Mike. She indeed was not ready for primetime. And I think, in terms of governing, she never will be because she doesn't want to do the hard work of studying the issues.

That might not have been true at the start of her political career, but she got used to the spotlight and started craving celebrity for its own sake. As a pundit, she can spout off about her favorite topics but not have to immerse herself in the "boring" wonkish stuff.

Dan said...

Sarah Palin calls to mind a quote from Bobby Knight:

"Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win."

Her initial foray into the national spotlight revealed her to be woefully unprepared. That did not have to be fatal to her future ambitions if she had shown any inclination to do her homework. Her actions speak for themselves.

She has certain native talents that are undeniable. But like an athlete who has natural ability but refuses to practice hard and fully prepare, she ain't gonna play in the major leagues.