Sarah Palin might have been the best thing that ever happened to the Democratic Party in 2008. Someone in the Republican Party gave her the idea that she was a major player in U.S. politics, and she believed it. She provided a great deal of entertainment during the presidential campaign and many were grateful. After losing the election, Ms. Palin went back to Alaska, but has been looking for ways to get into the limelight ever since.
Now the talented Ms. Palin has decided that her role as governor of Alaska doesn't suit her. After taking a vote among her family members, she has decided to resign the office. Her family's opinion trumps 48% of voting Alaskans.
Palin has made no secret that she fancies herself a strong contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. One theory is that she is going to devote herself to preparation for the next election as a full-time job. During the 2008 campaign, her deficiencies were the stuff of legend. She could conceivably spend the next three years gaining an understanding of foreign policy and other complex issues.
Ross Douthat of the New York Times claims, "Sarah Palin is beloved by millions because her rise suggested, however temporarily, that the old American aphorism about how anyone can grow up to be president might actually be true" (emphasis added). For some, President George W. Bush fully embodied that same aphorism. Has the country not had enough of just anyone in the oval office?
Assume for a moment that she wins the presidential election in 2012. Now, fast forward to 2014: She has involved us in an escalated war for oil, despoiled the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, and run the deficit up to 300 per cent of the GNP for the next 20 years. Now assume that midterm elections put a Democratic majority in congress. She holds a family meeting.
"Okay, guys, it's lame duck time again. What say we go back to wolf huntin' and ice hockey?"
She speaks to the American people: "I'm outta here. You guys have practiced the politics of personal destruction on us, and we're taking our marbles and goin' home to Wasilla."
On her Facebook page, Palin claims to support "smaller government." Perhaps this is her idea of giving it to the people of Alaska. Most "smaller-government" types mean to say that they favor government that allows corporate interests to pre-empt every other, including the rights of private people and the environment. Smaller-government types tend to practice corporate welfare. At the same time, they starve out social programs that benefit those whom the system mistreats. Have Americans not seen enough of this?
A second serious theory is that Palin is on the hook for half-a-million dollars in legal fees. It is hard to picture her lawyers attempting to garnish the wages of the governor or putting liens against her home for fees. They are most likely willing to take payments for a good long time, until she can find a way to satisfy them. Yet again, Palin defies common sense. She quits her job in order to help pay mounting legal bills. (If someone can show me how this works, please hurry. My husband would like to take advantage of this strategy.) Is this the next president of the United States?
There is also the possibility that Ms. Palin wants to become a political commentator (Yes! Please!). While the ethics allegations may dry up, accusations of non sequitur will assuredly take their place. This will exhaust Ms. Palin, and may cause a great deal of angst among her children. Still it's fun to imagine being able to own a copy of ghost-written drivel about how God directed her to sell the airplane on EBay.
One last thing: on her Facebook page, Palin asserts that "it always feels good to do what is right." This is clearly the statement of someone who has never even remotely been acquainted with doing what is right. Again, is this the person who should be the next president-of anything?
New York Times. Ross Douthat: "Palin and Her Enemies." July 6, 2009.