Queen of the “What the Fuck???” moment, Sarah Palin announced that she is resigning from office. Of course, our weak-kneed mainstream journalistic community are referring to it as “stepping down, ” which suggests the decision was made with a heavy heart and that it is a “best for everyone involved” kind of gesture. No. She is quitting… with seventeen-plus months (one year… five months) left in her term as executive of the largest state in the union. (Well, size-wise. The population of San Bernadino County here in SoCal has a larger population that the 50th state.) She is quitting. And yet, in her speech – delivered in a hastily thrown-together on the Friday of a holiday weekend, guaranteeing no analysis until next week (and Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are taking next week off) she actually said that to stick it out would be something a quitter would do. She said this with a straight face, without irony, and seemingly off the cuff, as though she just thought of it there, in front of the lake.
So for the second time in less than three weeks, a Republican governor is abandoning her executive position. In the case of Mark Sanford, the dereliction involved sexual passion that took him out of the state, out of the country, and out of the hemisphere for five days without telling anyone. Palin’s motives are unclear at this time but I am sure that they too involve the passions, in this case the passion for keeping one’s self the hot topic in the political scene in the midst of many distractions – Michael Jackson, Iran, North Korea, and, of course, Sandford’s torrid affair. The reasons may be as transparent as the desire to make a lot of dough. There is a multi-million dollar book deal, possible radio and TV shows, and all those speeches to give. (It is surprising how often the Governor finds herself in front of large audience given her inability to generate a coherent compound or complex sentence; one where the subject, predicate, and both clauses are related. It is as if her mind wanders off once a topic is exhausted, which in her case is approximately a quarter of the way into a paragraph. ) If she continues to serve as governor she is taking valuable time away from self-promotion. The less self-promotion she does, the more time she has to stay in the boondocks. Palin is clearly happier, and more in her element, when she is in the lower 48. Alaska provides photo opportunities with bear carcasses and snow machines, but relatively few $10,000 a plate fund raisers.
Less transparent may be speculation of looming scandals and a desire to get out of office before anything catches fire. Up to this point, the various ethics hearings, family controversies, and inter-party bickering has simmered rather than boiled. Nothing has really “taken” in the mainstream press. Perhaps because journalism has been replaced by feature reporting in the past twenty years (and is therefore more informed by glamour and charisma than politics), the so-called “liberal media” has chosen to let many of the most compelling Palin questions remain uninvestigated. For example, Todd Palin’s secessionist affiliations has not garnered the kind of over-heated chatter in the mainstream as the bogus Obama citizenship canard has. And isn’t it interesting that the pimping of Palin’s teen-mom daughter on the abstinence circuit has not, to date, gotten nearly the play as that week-long time-waster of Palin purposefully misconstruing David Letterman’s tacky joke. And then there are the lingering issues regarding money spent during the 2008 campaign on high fashion suits, and the post election bickering between the old McCain camp and Palin.
If a major scandal is imminent, then Palin will want to fend off allegations, cut off paper trails, stall, and generally do what one does when one has recourse to powerful lawyers. This will serve to bolster her “base” bona fides as an anti-government crusader. (And here, Todd’s AIP affiliation, though publically denounced or dismissed, might “code” her as a fellow traveler with that fringe of right-wing fanatics that the GOP nods and winks to every so often.)
This is, of course, just a lot of Chris Matthews, “politics as sports” talk. Like D&D players who talk about the machinations of Orcs and mages, it is not really related to the reality we should be talking about. The bottom line is the same bottom line of August 29, 2009 when McCain announced Palin as his running mate: she doesn’t know anything. . She hasn’t done anything. She’s not articulate. She has no wit. All she has is her pretty face. She is an empty vessel into which isolationists, racists, anti-government activists, xenophobes, homophobes, and crass opportunists inject their hopes and dreams about themselves. She is a Barbie doll.