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.
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!