Palin a Shooting Star

Sarah Palin’s surreal resignation has sparked considerable debate and speculation.    Is she preparing for another scandal, perhaps one involving her house in Wasilla?   Rumors have been flying around the internet about a possible state or federal investigation.    Palin only made it worse by threatening to sue major media outlets and bloggers who mention that speculation.    I don’t think she realizes that the media relishes the chance to stand up to such a threat, especially when it is as impotent as that one, and serves only to make her look silly.

Perhaps a scandal is afoot, perhaps she was too thin skinned to simply accept that she’d get some negative media and couldn’t take the heat, perhaps she had some wild fantasy that this could launch a national campaign, but the fact of the matter is Sarah Palin’s chance for the political limelight is over.   She’s committed the crime of hypocrisy (quitting after earlier condemning quitters), poor planning (an impulsive resignation combined with a rambly, even pathetic speech), no follow through (she disappeared on July 4th — though at least she made no claim to be hiking the Appalachian trail), and pouting.   She whined about negative media, played the victim, and seemed to think that the only legitimate coverage of her was that from the fawning activist right wing (by that I do not mean Republicans and average conservatives, most of whom were not wowed by her at all — instead I mean the Limbaugh ‘all Liberals are evil’ minority who have tried to hijack the GOP) who ignored her short comings.  Some say that the neo-cons were trying to groom her to be a pro-Israel  hawk that they could control, others think she was simply in over her head.  I believe she is just a shooting star who is starting to fade.

Most will read the 300 words of this post until this point to be very negative, and even mean.   Yet look at what was written about Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and other big name politicians by those who opposed them.  Clinton was a draft dodging traitor who sold out to Red China, Obama a radical socialist Muslim who wasn’t really born in Hawaii, W. Bush a boozing frat boy who can’t think straight and is driven by some kind of belief in his holy mission, Hillary a lesbian power hungry unethical she-wolf who devours opponents whole and had a close associate killed in 1993…well, you get the picture.   Anyone who is anything in politics gets a huge dose of unfair criticism, often over the top.

The criticism of Palin is minor compared to the examples listed above, yet it stung more, in part because it seemed  to fit.    Palin did not seem ready for the big leagues, and the fact that John McCain chose her in his first “Presidential” decision is a big reason why he had no real shot at winning the election.  It’s not that Palin is uniquely bad or inept as a person;  rather, she is bad and inept at being a national politician ready to take control of the country.

So am I.   If I were suddenly in the limelight, scrutinized by the media and having everything I do and have done under investigation, I’d be a failure.  I’d commit gaffes, have to defend outlandish things I’ve said from time to time, and would not be careful about what I said or when I said it.   It takes a special kind of person who can handle the pressure of being on the national stage and being effective.  Obama has what it takes.   Even Bush the Younger, despite failings as a President, could handle that national stage.   Sarah Palin, like me and probably 98% of the rest of the country, just doesn’t have what it takes.

It’s as if a football fan were suddenly to don a jersey and be given the handoff in a pro game, with the defense thinking they’re going after a top notch running back.  Without the proper training and preparation not only would the fan be tackled instantly, but probably would be injured badly.   Going from small town mayor to Alaskan governor simply was not enough to prepare Palin.   She was hit by a media and opposition used to going after the pros.    She couldn’t take it and with the help of a few enablers flailed back with self-pitying attacks on those who dared criticize her or her family.  It’s sexism!  East coast liberal elitism!  Media bias!   No.  It’s just the political game she happened to find herself a part of; after all, within the GOP and even the McCain campaign similar things were being said.  It wasn’t all from the Left.

Still, one can see why she caught McCain’s imagination.  At first even I thought that it was a smart pick, contradicting myself a couple days later to re-label it a dumb pick. She looked good on paper — mother raising a family, conservative yet young — a woman in the year Hillary lost to the surprising Barack Obama.  If she had the acumen to play effectively on the national stage, and the understanding of national politics to jump into a campaign, she’d have been a super star.  As it was, she was like most of us — probably smart and reasonably knowledgable, but not ready to be put in the political limelight.   She did capture the imagination of some on the right, and for awhile seemed to have the potential to make a dash at the 2012 Republican nomination, especially if other top Republicans feared going against an incumbent Obama.

Now, that lays in shambles.  It’s not just what she did, it’s how she did it, and the fact it opens questions about a possible scandal.  Even if she just wanted  to set herself up for 2012, it did the opposite.   It means she ends up with about 17 months of being a Governor atop being mayor of a small town, and leaving that town in debt with a white elephant sports complex as her major “accomplishment.”  She looks like an under-accomplished quitter, rather than an up and coming star.

Yet perhaps it’s for the best.   She may have realized she was in over her head.  Or worse, she may have believed some of the hype and still  thinks she can make a splash.  If so, she’s setting herself up for disappointment.  Assuming I’m right and she ends up fading away, a shooting start that just couldn’t handle the pressure, she’ll end up as one of the strangest side stories of what was an historical and exciting 2008 election.

  1. #1 by Josh on July 6, 2009 - 04:24

    I didn’t realize rumors of scandals have been circulating concerning Palin’s resignation. I’ve missed a lot since I stopped watching FOX, CNN, and MSNBC! It will be interesting to see what happens to Palin next (although I don’t care that much).

    I would love to see some of the 98% run for Senate, House, or President! Besides, it can’t get worse than it is now. Perhaps some average folk could get the job done.

    Vote Mike in 2016!

  2. #2 by Rick Caird on July 6, 2009 - 11:43

    Scott, you go through a lot of “perhaps”. They are all negative “perhaps”. You make no allowance at all for the cost of the 15 or so frivolous ethics complaints. All of them have been dismissed. Yet, they have cost Alaska both money and the attention of the governor. There is no sign that the complaints will abate because they are not about ethics. They are about attacking Sarah Palin.

    So, you should add another “perhaps”: Perhaps Palin took the action that was best for Alaska. That would differentiate her from almost every other politician, particularly the one who likes to vote “present” and outsource the actual crafting of legislation so as not to have his fingerprints on it.


  3. #3 by Scott Erb on July 6, 2009 - 12:10

    She could have easily ignored complaints if they are untrue and focused on the job she was elected to do. To abruptly resign like this is bizarre. If she has further political ambitions, it was irresponsible. If not, then she just wasn’t cut out for politics. Which is OK — most of us aren’t. McCain did her no service with his gamble to put her on the national ticket. But compared to what the right wing did to Hillary, Bill and the like, she really has nothing to complain about.

  4. #4 by Scott Erb on July 6, 2009 - 12:21

    An addition to that last comment: Barack Obama also endured harsh attacks, allegiing corruption, trying to tie him to Rev. Wright’s views, personally attacking his experience, making fun of him (all sorts of nicknames, mostly demeaning), claiming he wouldn’t be where he was if he weren’t black, saying he isn’t really a citizen. Attacks on Palin were relatively minor in comparison. But she let them get to her in a way that most politicians don’t, at least not in public.

    Is all that fair? Probably not — not to Obama, not to Palin, or Hillary or anyone. But thats the way the political game is played, unfortunately. It’s not fair when Trent Lott is forced to resign for a remark at Strom Thurmond’s birthday party, for instance — and if those criticizing how Palin is treated also just as vehemently critized the way Obama, Clinton and others are treated (i.e., recognize that this is a bipartisan problem) I’d agree. I disagree with those who want to paint Palin as a unique victim.

    • #5 by Rick Caird on July 6, 2009 - 21:37

      On his children, Scott? I seem to remember something about the Obama children being off limits.

      The attacks on his citizenship were essentially ignored after he released the certificate of live birth to Kos.

      Finally, you fail to address the issue of what is best for Alaska and if Palin acted in that interest. You have also ignored the 15 frivolous ethics complaints that ate up a lot of time and money while costing the filer nothing. Do you not expect that to continue? Should Palin spend another $500K for the next 15 complaints?


  5. #6 by helenl on July 6, 2009 - 18:48

    Palin just lost the half-ounce of respect I had for her. She’s a quitter. Nothing more nothing less.

  6. #7 by Scott Erb on July 6, 2009 - 22:03

    I don’t recall much about her children other than Dave Letterman, who apologized for a joke. But I haven’t been paying that close of attention. It cannot be seen as in the best interest of Alaska for their governor to quit, unless she is incompetent. So if she decided that she’s not up for the job and can’t do it well, and that her Lt. Governor was better, well, I guess that’s honesty. She should just come out and say so, rather than the weird rambling talk she gave. Frivolous complaints against public figures are nothing new — using that as an excuse to cut and run from an elected job would be ridiculous. She looks like a quitter, and worse, given her statements, a whiner.

    McCain hurt himself and her by chosing Palin, when so many qualified people were overlooked. She was in over her head on the national stage.

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