Okay, seriously, this is turning out to be a roller coaster of a year for the GOP. First, they lose the presidential election. Then, they lose two potential party front-runners (Sen. John Ensign of Nevada and Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina) to extramarital affairs, but that’s not all. Now Sarah Palin is stepping down as governor of Alaska. This may seem like Christmas Day for most liberals (assuming liberals still celebrate Christian holidays), but a Republican can’t help but wonder what has happened.
On her back lawn, in a very folksy manner, Palin offered up several reasons for her resignation while dropping subtle hints about her future ambitions. After expressing a desire to protect her family and its finances, both of which have been significantly drained in an attempt to escape ethics probes, she stated her determination to further advocate for issues that are important to her, such as national security and energy independence.
Honestly, I applaud the hockey mom for her desire to protect her family: things were getting a bit hairy between her and David Letterman for a little while, not to mention the huge uproar about her pregnant teenage daughter. It’s been a rough patch for her and her family. But the pressure has not only been coming from national sources. Ethics complaints had been raised against Palin for the firing of a public safety commissioner who had been reluctant to dismiss a state trooper. It later surfaced that the trooper in question was involved in a divorce with Palin’s sister, creating a potential conflict of interest on the governor’s part. Palin reportedly spent over $500,000 in an attempt to clear her name of these allegations, so you can imagine the family is a little strapped for cash right now. (Perhaps she could sell her McCain campaign wardrobe…)
Nick Ayers, executive director of the Republican Governors Association, told Fox News (the source of all truth and goodness) that Palin “wants to spend more time campaigning for candidates.” Well, if you ask me, how much credibility could she bring to a campaign? She is a definite “mover and shaker” as far as politicians go, but what will people think of someone that just gave up mid-term because the job was just too difficult?
I hope there is no one (especially Sarah herself) that is thinking the former governor should still run for the presidency in 2012. Her decision to resign speaks volumes about her problem-solving abilities: things got rough and she quit. She didn’t regroup. She didn’t finish out her term. Nope. She quit. Thank goodness Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and half a dozen other presidents chose otherwise when things got rough for them. As you and I both know, the presidency requires a great measure of sacrifice and dedication, even at the expense of family time. A candidate must be willing and able to hoe to the end of their row. I think Sarah Palin just removed herself from that category of viable presidential hopefuls.
Granted, if she has her family’s interests at heart, then a resignation is justified; however, her intentions to work in other areas of the political arena that may be even more demanding cast suspicion over such claims.
With Palin’s stated intention to continue as a public figure, it’s hard to see how she will be protecting her family at all. If, in fact, she follows through with her decision to help other candidates, she will be exposing herself and her family to not only national criticism, but also to local criticism from individual states. Furthermore, she just freed herself of her biggest obligation and time-filler: the governorship of Alaska. She will now be very much available to attend different venues and events around the country that will be far more time-consuming and infinite in number than all her duties as governor combined.
As always, you are the umpire in this situation. You make the call.
Jess Jones is a conservative political columnist for Rhombus. He doesn’t seem to be a huge fan of Sarah Palin’s decision-making skills.
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