So, Sarah Palin has decided not only to forgo re-election as Governor of Alaska, but to resign from the office itself. Three possibilities suggest themselves:
1. Palin has decided she is tired of having her family in the crosshairs of adversarial politicians, journalists, and entertainers, and is leaving politics to defend them. In which case, her decision is completely understandable, and her decision to subsume her ambitions for her family is quite laudable.
2. A major scandal is about to hit the news. Possible, but unlikely, given that Palin’s record has been scoured by a whole host of Democrats and people in the news media. The former have filed ethics complaint after ethics complaint to hound Palin and keep her on the defensive. If some earth-shattering scandal were to hit, we would have heard of it by now, methinks.
3. Palin thinks that by leaving the Governor’s mansion, she will be freed up to run for higher office–perhaps the Presidency in 2012. If that is the calculation, she is making a terrible mistake. She hasn’t even served one term, and now will not be able to answer charges that she is too inexperienced to be President. I know of no impediment to the filing of further ethics complaints against her, and now that she is leaving the Governor’s mansion, Palin will not be able to use the political operation available to the Governor of Alaska to beat back the charges. She will be viewed as a quitter, and her political opponents will suggest that she may flake out in any effort to run for President–or even as President, which will dissuade people from voting for her, contributing to her campaign, or working for her. And perhaps worst of all, Palin’s actions may encourage Democrats to use the same tactics against other up-and-coming Republicans that they used against her. Certainly, nothing has happened to persuade Democrats that such tactics do not pay.
Of course, all of this aside, one does not have to be a Sarah Palin fan to find that the attacks against her from the other side of the partisan divide have been nothing short of appalling. Interesting how the same people who consistently complain about “the politics of personal destruction” are the same ones who consistently practice it, no?
Oh, and Jon Henke is right:
. . . Lefties can spare me their wailing and gnashing of teeth over just how irresponsible it is to quit in the middle of your first term. Take it up with the President first.