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The Whack Job


Palin. (Who else?) I’m at a loss as to what to say. Is she resigning ahead of news of a scandal? Is it part of an agreement that will avoid news of a scandal? Is she freeing herself to concentrate on national politics, or for a job on Fox News?

One thing I learned from Gail years ago, in the context of someone else, is that there’s no point trying to explain the behavior of a crazy person. By definition, crazy people are irrational, so trying to explain them is itself an act of craziness. But let’s hear from those who know her best.

The Anchorage Daily News editorial page:

Gov. Palin baffled Alaskans with her explanation that, having decided not to seek a second term, she doesn’t want to be a lame duck until December 2010. That explanation is more lame than the duck. The governor spoke as if her decision not to seek a second term automatically left her irrelevant, when the fact is that the rest of her term’s quality was up to her. The state has important work ahead — gas line, fiscal plan, education, health care, opportunities on the alternative energy and natural resource fronts. She ran for office to do that work. And there’s the matter of the Alaska Constitution she often invokes. She was elected to serve four years, not two years and change.

She spoke as if she were making a sacrifice for the good of Alaska, but it’s hard to see how.

It’s one thing when an elected official tries for higher office, wins and leaves the old post. It’s another when an elected official, eyeing higher office or some other pursuit, decides to quit in midterm. That looks like self-service, not public service. Lacking any other family or political reasons for resigning, the governor’s explanation simply doesn’t make sense. …

Sarah Palin is a charismatic leader with a devoted national following and ambition to match. So there’s no surprise if she sees a future for herself beyond Alaska.

But we thought she’d finish her work on the home front first. She hasn’t made clear why she won’t.

The Juneau Empire editorial page:

Palin veiled her announcement as something much more noble, but the fact is that she’s quitting less than three years into her tenure. And, given her meteoric rise to national political stardom last fall, Alaskans are shocked and appalled by her decision to quit midstream.

We say good for her, however, because it’s been nearly a year since the first-term governor has acted like she actually wanted the job. Still unknown, however, is why Palin is calling it quits …

Not only did she hit the self-destruct button, she built the time bomb known as Sarah Palin. We’re surprised by the news, but we shouldn’t be.

Palin should have waited a few days before announcing her resignation. Instead, she dropped a bombshell just one day before Alaska was to celebrate its 50th anniversary of statehood. Her announcement could have overshadowed the historic significance of the Fourth, but it certainly didn’t in Juneau or Douglas, where people were much more concerned about celebrating their state’s heritage than about what the “guv” was doing or saying.

Political pundits on both sides say the move is political suicide, and they’re right. Palin’s aspirations for higher office, assuming that’s a goal of hers, is now a moot point. Quitting an elected position, during her first term no less, doesn’t lead to higher ground relative to her electability.

On Saturday, Palin attacked the media, threatening various national outlets plus the Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore with legal action. Ms Moore held a news conference yesterday to respond. Her prepared remarks are posted at her blog here. I close with a quote from the remarks:

The governor’s massive overreaction -on the Fourth of July no less- should make any reasonable person wonder what’s wrong with her. The Lady protests way too much. Eventually we’ll all find out why she really walked off the job.

Sarah Palin is a coward and a bully. What kind of politician attacks an ordinary American on the Fourth of July for speaking her mind? What’s wrong with her? The First Amendment was designed to protect people like me from the likes of people like her. Our American Revolution got rid of kings. And queens, too.

(Note: The photo is from a slide show at Runner’s World, accompanying a recent feature about Palin.)

Categories: Politics
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