"I want to work, right now, for people who are going to work either in office or out of office for the right things. Those principles that build up America, those who are inspired by the values of America, and will not deride or apologize for the values we hold as Americans." -- Sarah Palin, interview July 6, 2009Here it is four and a half days since Sarah Palin announced her impending resignation as Governor of Alaska. I've wanted to comment on this stunning development, but held back in case it turned out to have been prompted by some emerging controversy or "scandal." If there was, surely it would have come out by now. Perhaps it's not too early to conclude that no such thing is in the offing, and that Sarah's decision was a carefully considered, independent, and deliberate one. I've been pretty confident of that all along.
The know-it-all pontification, dismissive second-guessing, and flustering outrage over this by pundits and the news media is amusing and revolting at the same time. They all seem deeply offended that Mrs. Palin didn't notify them, consult with them, or clear it with them first. "It's not fair! She's not following the script! She's not playing by The Rules!" So affronted are they by her impertinence that they're all clamoring to declare her "erratic," "clueless," "a quitter," and Politically Dead. They can't wait to close the book on her. A sense of smug satisfaction seems to run through all of this. Or is it more like the nervous laughter that masks deep anxiety?
The reasons for resigning that Sarah gave in her July 4 statement are clear enough, and make great sense to me. Her status as the Prime Target for every left-wing wacko, libel-monger, lame comedian, and partisan hack (Democrat and Republican) is simply causing more collateral damage to her family and the State of Alaska, financially and otherwise, than she's prepared to make them suffer any longer. She can't be effective as a mother, wife, or Governor and continue fending off the endless barrage of bullsh_t, which is being hurled at her precisely to have that effect. If she's "quitting" for the sake of her family, she's doing exactly the right thing. If she's "quitting" on the people of Alaska, they have the media, the political elites, and their worthless fellow-travelers (including a few Alaskans, and the Republican establishment in the lower 48) to thank for it. In any event, as William Kristol observes:
[W]hy is it more admirable to run for national office while a sitting governor (or senator), spending a fair amount of time out of your state (or away from Congress), necessarily neglecting or delegating some of your duties -- than to turn the office over to your constitutional successor so your constituents have someone working full time on their behalf? Palin will have to endure some fair criticism for abandoning her office before her term ended. But she should also get credit for not using her state office as a means of campaigning for a higher one.Regardless, Mrs. Palin is no longer a stationary target for her adversaries. She seemed happy and refreshed yesterday in her first interview since announcing her resignation. given while out fishing with her family in the Alaskan wilderness. She's now free to pursue her vision and "be all she can be," whatever she might choose that to be. If a life of peaceful obscurity for herself and family is what she has in mind, that's just fine--she's earned it in spades, and even if she never seeks or obtains the Presidency, she's done a priceless service by setting the model for the kind of walks-the-walk, connects-with-the-people leader that millions of right-thining Americans are panting for. And if she still wants to be that leader, or help find and promote the person who will be, she has the time, the freedom, and (by and by, at least) the money to do it. Now she can fight, and fight back. Now she can learn, develop, and mobilize a new political movement that gathers in all who share her values and her vision for an American Renaissance.
Which, I suspect, is what REALLY bothers the nay-sayers. Sarah's people are ordinary people, who couldn't care less about the Elites and are tired of being betrayed by Establishments of all types, Democrat and Republican, at every turn. Thanks to the current administration and its minions, they're "Mad as Hell and They're Not Going to Take This Any More." Her legions of followers aren't discouraged, but newly energized. The Powers That Be are simply terrified of being marginalized, and they know that Sarah can help make that happen. They HAVE to dismiss her, even destroy her. Who else on the Right energizes and inspires people like she does? Who else so effectively personifies our values and dreams? Who else among conservatism's leaders has the enthusiasm, the charm, the grit, and the confidence to bring forth a tidal wave from the dispirited masses?
Once again, Mrs. Palin has confounded and unnerved the Fat Cats. She doesn't play by their rules or seek their approval. She takes her marching orders from God and her own best judgment. If she has to take some risks and some lumps, she'll take them. She can't be controlled, manipulated, programmed, or pigeonholed. And the Elites can't abide that! So, tongue-waggers who couldn't think their way out of a wet paper bag will continue to fret and declare thier bewilderment or contempt, from Inside the Box. Sarah is already Outside the Box, ready to toss it into the nearest dustbin.
Afterthought: One recent story about Sarah's resignation, from the Associated Press, nearly made me fall out of my chair with laughter. According to the article: "Political observers [have] struggled to make sense of the decision and its effect on a potential 2012 campaign for the White House. Even her rival during the last election, Vice President Joe Biden, seemed confused by the move." WHAT? Even JOE BIDEN--CONFUSED?? Not Joe--no way! Stop the presses! Hold the phone! "We bring you a special bulletin--in a stunning development, it's been revealed that the Pope is: Roman Catholic!! Further details as they become available." Sheesh.
Actually, Biden said something more sensible than almost all the other observers: "It maybe had a lot to do with what the state of their life was, and the state of their family, et cetera. . . So I'm not going to second-guess her."