Driving to an appointment on Friday, I caught the tail end of a radio news report.
“It’s going to be difficult to get a transition team going in two weeks. It’s a lot to ask of an incoming governor.”
My ears perked up. Was it our own Michigan’s Governor Jen leaving for greener pastures? (When you live in Michigan, every pasture is greener, even the ones in the desert. Even the ones in Toledo.) Was it the beleaguered South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford? (It’s one thing for a public figure to have an affair but when you rub the words “soul mate” into the marital wound during a press conference, you show little sense and tact and should quit.)
No, it was neither. In a bombshell rivaling those going off overhead on July Fourth, it was Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who decided to step down from her post effective at the end of the month.
Like everything else Governor Palin does, her move set off a nuclear blast of media.
So she’s not going for another term and doesn’t want to waste the taxpayer dollars. So she wants to concentrate on her family. So she claims she is answering a higher calling. So she’s dogged by lawsuits that are draining her finances.
Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. What were you thinking?
Although I’m not a Republican and don’t agree with much of her philosophical leanings, I liked her. I read President Obama’s book and liked him too.
Sure she came from a state so far removed from the rest of the United States that most people think of it as backwoods. Sure, she was green, a virtual tenderfoot in the rough-and-tumble world of politics. She was the quintessential anti-politician, which is why many people found her appealing. There are many of us who can barely keep our lunches down when we meet a politician. Most are obviously phony and spew rhetoric while dodging the issues. Say what you want about Sarah Palin, she seemed like a genuine human being first and an accidental politician second. Her anti-politician stance made her few friends in the McCain camp and they were supposedly on the same side.
Let’s face it. She was the energizing fresh face on the side of the right, just as Barack Obama was the fresh face on the side of the left. For all their disagreements, the two candidates had a lot in common. Both had little experience and both were the flavor of the week.
Her ticket lost, and it’s no wonder. Someone should write a book on the insights and backstabbing of the McCain campaign. Everyone expected her to go back to Alaska and continue as governor. There she could gain experience, perhaps a little study, some travel, maybe some writing. Sarah Palin could have used these next two years to lay a more solid platform and develop more credibility than she had eleven months ago.
Platform, my friends, is everything.
And she was doing that, attending conferences, giving speeches, continuing as governor. Of course, she was slammed all along the way. The recent dustup with David Letterman was just the last of the fallout that trailed her no matter what she did.
Then, out of the blue, she quits?
Where’s the pit bull in lipstick? Where’s the no-nonsense woman trying to break through the glass ceiling? She should know that as a woman (a minus) and a Republican (a huge minus) she will have to work harder, better and faster to get any recognition at all. There’s a part of me that sees quitting in the face of adversity (if that’s what this is) as only admitting defeat to your opposition. Unless there’s a super-secret strategy behind this move, I’d have to say it’s risky at best.
Calculated move? Or political suicide?
I’m still trying to figure it out.