Palin Commits Political Suicide
There have been a number of seminal queries which our elders used to define game-changing moments in America's cultural evolution. Where were you when JFK was shot? Where were you when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon? For me, although it will likely wind up as a Trivial Pursuit bonus round question, one of the treasured turning points may well be: Where were you when Sarah Palin decided to commit political suicide?
The odd thing is that I was up in the mountains, forcing myself into a period of decompression from the political theater. I likely wouldn't have even known that Governor Palin had decided to resign her office had I not been taking time out from fruitless bass fishing to moderate the chat for Ed Morrissey's daily show.
The first questions arose in a predictable pattern, since initial reports were grossly lacking in detail. The most horrific scenarios dominated: Was she sick? Was there some tragedy unfolding with her family? The second, and more likely scenario in my view, was that a clever reporter had finally unearthed a bit of discomfiture and asked the governor for comment. In that case, the pending resignation would prove to be a preemptive move to circle the wagons and prepare for the onslaught to come. When an elected official spends so much time and money fighting allegations of ethical misconduct, it should hardly come as a surprise if one of them stuck to the wall.
The one thing all of our chatizens seemed to agree upon was that it couldn't possibly have been a calculated move to advance her hopes for a presidential bid. Governor Palin had shortcomings in abundance, but she was most certainly not daft or politically inept. No sane person in her position could possibly think that abandoning their first serious executive term in midstream would serve as a trump card on the national political stage. The most inept neophyte could not imagine that bowing to media and opposition pressure, exiting stage right, would set them up for a seat at the big table. Could she conceivably think that a few years as mayor of Wasilla and half a term in the governor's mansion would be viewed as a sufficient resume to be president?
The more liberal viewers in our audience had an uncomfortable pause there. The current president's resume was ... well. Best not to dwell on that.
And yet the news unfolded like the dreams of a horse-track addict who still believes that the long shot will come through. I read Sammy "the Lid" Benoit's accounting of her statement on that momentous day and it seemed that she really believed that this was the path to splendor. She had grown tired of the media's relentless hounding, accusations of ethical lapses, and demands for repayment of perniciously squandered taxpayer funds. The pressure was too great. It was distracting her from her mission and the good citizens of Alaska deserved a full-time executive.