Palin’s Dereliction of Politics Over Principle



I’ve been amazed at the reaction to Governor Sarah Palin’s decision to not only not run for re-election, but also to resign.  Good, bad, some indifferent and some has been just completely shrill.  The left I expected as much, but I’ve been pretty disappointed by the knee-jerk reactions of some on the right.

The complaint I’ve heard on the right (and left, but I think the left is hypocritical when complaining about it) is “she’s a quitter!”  How could she “abandon the people of Alaska!”  Then Quin Hillyer says that her resignation is “an appalling dereliction of duty and a highly cynical move to set herself up for a presidential run for which she is manifestly unqualified.”

One thing here is that we already have some insight into Hillyer’s bias as he wasn’t going to be a supporter of hers regardless.  Secondly, he assumes she is running for President in 2012.  She hasn’t said that.  It wasn’t one of the reasons she gave.  She said in a Facebook note over the weekend that:

I’ve never thought I needed a title before one’s name to forge progress in America. I am now looking ahead and how we can advance this country together with our values of less government intervention, greater energy independence, stronger national security, and much-needed fiscal restraint. I hope you will join me. Now is the time to rebuild and help our nation achieve greatness!

She’s talked about making an impact outside of government.  Maybe she’s running, maybe not.  If she does it may be later on, not 2012 perhaps not at all.  Rick Moore mentioned in a recent post:

One thing for sure, and this should scare the left to death – after July 26th she’s free. Free to speak wherever and whenever she wants, free to write, free to see where her popularity within the party may take her.

I think that is coming out in her tweets already.  Hillyer and others think they know, but aren’t they the same ones (me included) who were completely clueless about her resignation?  Yes.  I don’t think she has decided about a presidential run yet, and I suspect it won’t be for 2012.  But, what do I know?  I don’t, just like you, and just like Hillyer.

Hillyer also thinks that the role of Governor of Alaska is the “easiest jobs in politics.”

Now, I also have argued that being governor of Alaska is one of the easiest jobs in politics because Alaska is rolling in money and because its population is so low — and also because it receives so much outrageous federal pork.

No I don’t think one who paid to just spout their opinion for a living is qualified to determine whether or not being the governor of any state is easy.  How arrogant can you be?  Being the chief executive of a state is difficult, under normal circumstances, and she wasn’t facing normal circumstances.

So I still shake my head over those who wag their tongues saying she should have fulfilled her term.  Dismissing what she’s going through, etc.  Kurt Schlichter makes a good point regarding the outcry from those on the right and left angry about her not finishing her term:

There’s plenty of talk out there about her somehow being a “quitter” for only serving as governor for three years, as if resigning as the Chief Executive of Alaska was like cutting to the head of the women and children’s lifeboat line on the Titanic.  Personally, I was unaware of the urgent moral imperative of serving out one’s full term as governor but, if it makes the lefties feel better, when she’s elected president I’m pretty confident she’ll serve a full term. 

Setting aside his remark about her being elected president – how has this become a moral imperative and why isn’t this being applied to President Barack Obama – he didn’t complete his first term and for most of it he was running for President.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t complete her term as the junior senator of New York.  For that matter, on the right, President George W. Bush who quit as Governor of Texas.  Governor Kathleen Selbelius who quit her post in Kansas to become Secretary of Health and Human Services.  It’s done all of the time, but since she isn’t just jumping right into another position it isn’t ok.  It’s a stupid argument.

And again, people are just assuming she’s running for President in 2012.  I think she is ultimately resigning because of the toll it was taking on her state.  Lt. Governor Sean Parnell mentioned on Fox News Sunday about the money that was being spent by the state due to the ethics violations & records requests (over $2 million).  Then there is her personal legal debt which will keep accumulating (as her political enemies will keep papering her with violations with no incentive not to) if she remained. 

She cited ineffectiveness and inefficiency as a result as it was wasting not only money, but time as well.  This also would be a good way to keep her priorities going forward, and to have someone in place who can do that more effectively at this time.  Having Lt. Governor Parnell take her place is in the best interest of the state (and the residents elected him as well, and he is fulfilling a constitutional duty, it isn’t like she’s leaving without a replacement).

Then there is putting her family first (go figure, a politician, putting her family first!  Wow, I would think that conservatives would rejoice at that!), especially what was going on with Trig.  Palin, more or less, declared her independence, and now also has the freedom to speak out on issues she cares about.

Because of her pledge to not pursue politics as usual, to end government waste, to be efficient and effective, and putting her family before her career.  Rather than being a dereliction of duty, to not resign, coast, while being ineffective and have her family suffer would be a dereliction of principles.

But why would we expect the political class to understand that?  As Roger Kimball noted:

What’s really disturbing about this whole little drama has less to do with the Governor’s decision to leave office than with the behavior and unspoken assumptions of the press. It has, with only a few exceptions, been a repulsive display. But then what else is new?

Update: Bill Kristol makes a great point in today’s Washington Post:

But why 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.

Update 2: John Zeigler interviewed Meg Stapleton, gives great insight.  Meg Stapleton is the SarahPAC spokesperson.

HT: Josh Painter

Robert Stacy McCain weighs in at the American Spectator:

The punditocracy can’t predict Palin because she shares neither their perspective nor their assumptions. Her ascent to political stardom has been treated as a fluke by most of the GOP establishment for the simple reason that she doesn’t slavishly follow the standard script of Republican politicians.

Then on his own blog he said (read the whole post):

Just because you don’t know what Sarah Palin is doing doesn’t mean that she doesn’t know what she’s doing.

3rd Update: A view from Alaska

HT: Matthew Lee Anderson, thanks for the linkage!

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Comments

  1. says

    In my opinion, I don't believe she's said yet why she's quitting, other than what I consider to be vague rhetorical references to stewardship, family, &c. And when/if she does say, I'm not going to just automatically believe them, or accept that they reflect the whole story, since she's a practiced, professional, competitive politician. This would only have been her first term on the statewide level, so she's not even completing that. I despise what's been done to her, especially by the traitorous and gutless McCain people (and I'll add McCain too, who, if he actually did have any honor toward her, would publicly denounce those people or privately tell them to keep their fat traps shut). But I'm not an enthusiast for her like you are, Shane; just as I was never enthused about Huckabee, unlike my good friend Byron over at No Kool-Aid Zone. I think she's got a lot of potential, but I don't see whatever it is you-all are seeing. I'm not cool with the “evangelical feminist” thing, for example; to me, that's akin to calling yourself an evangelical humanist. Bleh.

  2. says

    In my opinion, I don't believe she's said yet why she's quitting, other than what I consider to be vague rhetorical references to stewardship, family, &c. And when/if she does say, I'm not going to just automatically believe them, or accept that they reflect the whole story, since she's a practiced, professional, competitive politician. This would only have been her first term on the statewide level, so she's not even completing that. I despise what's been done to her, especially by the traitorous and gutless McCain people (and I'll add McCain too, who, if he actually did have any honor toward her, would publicly denounce those people or privately tell them to keep their fat traps shut). But I'm not an enthusiast for her like you are, Shane; just as I was never enthused about Huckabee, unlike my good friend Byron over at No Kool-Aid Zone. I think she's got a lot of potential, but I don't see whatever it is you-all are seeing. I'm not cool with the “evangelical feminist” thing, for example; to me, that's akin to calling yourself an evangelical humanist. Bleh.

  3. says

    guys in New York like me are rooting for a real strong woman to show the world values not Gloria Steinem lies about androgyny. Palin is about dignity. she will lead us out of the gender cultural wars of the 20th century. as I watched the wretched death of Michael Jackson and his world last week I am reminded of what Palin is fighting for and what she is up against. Sarah is a strong woman who breaks the mold. she is strong on the terms of woman and she is a leader because she understands where her strengths are. she is not creating the grand myopic androgynous lie of the blue states.

    it is about the state. she has to fight for her constituents… who by the way still support her strongly. but she is strong enough to say she can't rep them right now. did Hilary do the same when she left my state New York in a financial nightmare? Palin is a better person then those that put their career first over the people. Anderson Cooper was pathetic. I don't remember exactly what he said… but it sounded dumb and bitchy. wasn't professional at all. Sam Donaldson like him or hate him… would of never asked Reagan something like that. Cooper is really flimsy… and I'm not saying that because I'm biased. I hate Rachel Maddow, but she is dangerous because she is snarky sharp. but Anderson Cooper I can only sum up as being a bimbo. Cooper said something to the effect of how is quitting leadership? then trolled Sarah's PR person on the phone form upstate NY by saying he didn't understand sports metaphors? if a person thinks they won't do a good job under circumstances for the state because they would be putting their personality in front of the state then this is the right decision. it really was a flake question. the way he said it was kind of like “oh snap”, but the actual words had me scratching my head. name one accusation that hit a target concerning Palin? I heard about the SBC accusation last night. I noticed it didn't viral. perhaps people are begining to figure that it hurts credibility after “book-ban-gate” and “trooper-gate”? Even Ted Stevens turned out to be innocent. I didn't even expect that one.

    I see her as being able to do what I need her to do for the country. frankly her best stuff comes out when you attack her kids. she lacked jaded conviction. it takes a whole lot of abuse to be a real Reagan. I liked what I saw of her this month, but she needs to learn to really hurt her opponent and come across confident with her battles. I think this time around it will seem a bit more dangerous then the little hockey mom. she will see the alarm bells and know she has to hurt people. she was just a bit too scripted… and perhaps that was McCain people's fault. I liked her taking on Letterman. she really killed him. on the other hand you can't be an ogre or bitch either. it is a fine line. it is taking jabs and looking like you enjoy doing it because the other guy is a shmoe… but you would still share a beer for him out of love. you fight your battles and respect the enemy. it is a man's world. she can't just smile on SNL and think everything is honky cool. she has to make the audience enjoy watching her take apart another human being.

  4. says

    Shane, it seems like one of the things we do — and it happens on all sides — is to stop thinking of politicians as people. We begin instead to see them as the incarnation of whatever it is we hate about their ideology or policy or opinion or party. And that's when we fail to show simple human decency when we attempt to have meaningful dialog about issues. I believe it's part of why nobody seems to be able to let Gov. Palin make a decision about her future — whether it involves a future run for something or not — and why we allow ourselves to dissect her life and decisions as though we know things we cannot know. I realize folks put themselves in the public eye and have to put up with it, but someday we need to learn to let them be people as well.

  5. says

    Here’s my personal take on it: When I first heard that McCain had chosen Sarah Palin as his running mate, I thought he was nuts. I listened to pundits like Michael Savage saying, “He has a death wish!” or some such talk. I had to agree with them and my heart was in my stomach with fear for our country (uh…nothing like the fear I have NOW by the way!). Then I heard her speak, I listened to what she said and I saw the reaction and her incredible power. She was brilliant, she spoke about people like me and TO people like me. She understood what REAL conservatism is and what needs to STOP and what needs to START in this country to get back to basics and our great constitution. I totally did a 180. So I have to say I’m waiting to see what happens. I don’t think stepping down is that big a deal when you look at her reasons. They are not the reasons of politicians…they are the reasons of someone like Lincoln who put what was right above what was popular. That’s why I am keeping the faith. I am waiting. I am not judging. I think she’s got something there that my feeble brain can’t quite pick up yet but I do trust this woman to do the right thing for the right reasons. I trust her more than any politician in my lifetime because she has inside her what is necessary to bring this country back to its roots and values and I so want to be there. I pray we can one day be there. And no one else is driving the bus, people.

  6. says

    I got a giggle out of someone on American Thinker Blog, who re-told a story about a king or something who got word that a famous diplomat had just died.
    “Zounds! Send our regrets to his country, standard, yaddida-” and when the messenger left, sat back and rubbed his chin, asking: “Now, why did he choose to do this now….”

  7. says

    Lyla is on to something. People do indeed forget politicians are people – but for good reason. They are so pre-conditioned with talking points and being P.C., it's almost as if they are androids.

    So, why not? Just pretend Palin was “Weekend at Bernie's” and stage her however the GOP wanted. She finally grew a backbone and split. Split the spotlight, the cameras and the tabloids.

    I suppose we'll see what happens with her in 2.5 years. Although I don't think it will matter, I'm sure she will be back giving Lens Crafters all the love in the world.

  8. says

    “evangelical feminist”… if her brand of “feminism” was like you see on the left (hate men, pro-choice, etc.), I'd agree with you. I don't see that in her. I'm complementarian when it comes to church leadership (though in my role with a parachurch organization work with female pastors), but I don't see God prescribe that necessarily in civic leadership, IMO.

  9. says

    I had a different reaction to his pick, and actually predicted it. Glad you came around :).

    I think she wants to advance conservative causes, and right now she thinks she can do that best outside elected office. I agree in the current environment she was in it was a good decision. I also take her comments about the cost to the state at face value as well.