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July 03, 2009

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I mock the Corner.

"Resigning in the middle of her term is not a barracuda-like thing to do."

To quote Woody Allen, I think what we have here is a dead shark.

rumors of indictment are in the air (scroll to the update).

Didn’t Lincoln say that once the presidential bug bites you, it never lets go. She’s running. This may be a silly, ill advised, amateurish way to run for president; but how else would Palin run? The really, truly frightening thing is -- it might work.

"...but that's the worthless, easy path; that's a quitter's way out."

That was my favorite bit, too! You demonstrate you're not a quitter by quitting!

Although some other bits I particularly liked:

[...] Alaska's mission - to contribute to America. [...] Alaska would be part of America's great destiny. [...] because I know in my soul that Alaska is of such import
The other forty-nine states? Nothing to contribute! No import!

Truly, who wouldn't want to base a national candidacy on this -- and the Alaskan Independence Party?

More seriously, I'm wondering if it's possible that this part might actually, be the key?

[...] And so as I thought about this announcement that I wouldn't run for re-election and what it means for Alaska, I thought about how much fun some governors have as lame ducks... travel around the state, to the Lower 48 (maybe), overseas on international trade - as so many politicians do.
This was a really rambly, unthought-out -- it's not even fair to call it a "speech" -- set of strung-together sorta-thoughts.

Maybe it's actually just this simple: Palin decided to not run for election, possibly to set up a 2012 presidential campaign, possibly for some more obscure reason -- and then really did just have the thought occur to her:

Well, golly gee, if I stay on as Governor until the next election, I'll be all bored and doing things that won't personally benefit me at all! And people will keep picking on me! And gee whillikers, that's just no fun!

I know! I'll quit right now!

And I'm going to run out now and announce that, because thinking about things is hard! Let's go talk to the press, Todd!

I'm not saying that's how it went. But the thought does occur to me to wonder about the possibility.

this theory makes a lot of sense. i just don't why she would do this now

From cleek's link:

What we are seeing here is either a preface to some indictment, or the final chapter in the career of what has been the biggest political joke of the 21st century.

An indictment, should one occur, probably would be the end of Caribou Barbie's career: Republicans have a amazingly high tolerance for hanky-panky among their own (Vitter, Ensign, Sanford, etc.) - but even they might draw the line at outright criminality. Maybe.

Incidentally, has anyone else yet called this her "You won't have Sarah Palin to kick around any more!" press conference?

(Copied from publius' Palin thread 'cause it looks like everyone's over here now:)

Initially, I was sure she decided to go the Fox correspondent/Media Star route: Make buckets o' cash appearing before her adoring fans, avoid having to make any policy decisions at all, and then jump into the 2012 Presidential campaign having solidified her rock star status.

Then I saw the entirety of her statement.

It was more incoherent, brittle, and manic than even I would have believed. The decision to quit seemed neither planned (and certainly not "in the works for weeks") nor voluntary.

So now I don't know what the heck is going on.

Even if there is really huge scandal about to break, why would she think she'd be better off being indicted as a private citizen than as a sitting governor? It's more likely an urgent personal issue, something she prefers to deal with privately. Which is entirely her right, and Dog knows American politics would be better off without her.

"I also liked the quote from General MacArthur: 'We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.' It takes a certain something to say that without apparent irony."

It would have been even better had McArthur actually said it, which he didn't. It was a Marine general, Oliver P. Smith, who actually said it referring to the fighting around the Chosin Reservoir ("Frozen Chosin") during the Korean Conflict. There are several variants of it floating around, but my favorite one is: "Retreat Hell! We're just attacking in another direction."


This is, after all, the woman who shortly after this weirdness tweeted:

We'll soon attach info on decision to not seek re-election... this is in Alaska's best interest, my family's happy... it is good, stay tuned
And in the middle of her ramble, she goes from saying "So I choose, for my State and my family, more "freedom" to progress, all the way around... so that Alaska may progress... I will not seek re-election as Governor" to seque directly into "And so as I thought about this announcement."

It certainly does sound as if she pretty much just made the idea of quitting practically on the fly. And is it that hard to believe that she's just that impulsive and shallow?

"I'm also taking bets on who the next imploding Republican Presidential hopeful will be. Speculate away in the comments."

I'll take Bobby Jindal, Alex!

Gary: I totally agree with the last quote (I'm sure doesn't like being governor), but maybe there's a more charitable interpretation? What if she simply figured out (or someone convinced her) just how dim her national political prospects really were? She must know how badly she botched things since the election: that she's divisive, lots of people don't take her seriously, and she's alienated a bunch of powerful people that she couldn't afford to alienate.

So the benefits just outweighed the costs--the decision not to run didn't really figure in much at all. And the costs must've been substantial: she must REALLY HATE getting picked on.

A couple of hunches: she's the principal breadwinner in her family so she's not doing this without already having another job lined up. The money being a "spokeswoman" is so much better and the work is a lot easier...my guess is that she's already got a contract with FOX. (Back to back with Huckabee?) Governing is not so much fun when the oil price is less than half what it was last summer; the dividend checks to Alaska's "stakeholders" will be much smaller this year. The state budget deficit in Alaska is bigger on a percentage of operating budget basis than California's. What if she has to raise taxes? There is no upside in the polling data. Get out NOW. Or, maybe she's got to get the girls out of Wasilla. She has already lost one to "white trash values." She always travels with her girls, trying to give them a bigger horizon. It may not be working. So "all-of-the-above."

CAMP, that would all make sense, if only there weren't these indications that the original plan was to announce only that she wasn't running for reelection, not that she was resigning. She apparently didn't have time to rewrite her speech completely or change her tweet.

Sarah Palin quoted Douglas MacArthur: "In the words of General MacArthur said, 'We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.'"

I'd like to point out two things about this (reading military history comes in handy sometimes!):
1) Douglas MacArthur didn't say it. It was said by General Oliver P. Smith, commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, in Korea, at the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir.

2) This was one of the biggest military retreats in American history. (More here.)

1. A good point guard can break a press by herself. A bad point guard picks up her dribble and gets trapped by the halfcourt line. That's more like this case, I think.

2. 2016? That seems shrewder to me, less Mondale-esque. Obama has to be considered the favorite for 2012, especially since she couldn't beat him last time. And six years would be the same distance from Nixon's last press conference to his election. (And he went off to make money, too.) But then why resign?

"What if she simply figured out (or someone convinced her) just how dim her national political prospects really were? She must know how badly she botched things since the election: that she's divisive, lots of people don't take her seriously, and she's alienated a bunch of powerful people that she couldn't afford to alienate."

there's no way she has this much self-awareness. No way.

Either she's selling out (FOX would give her a talk show tomorrow, if not already) or this is an utterly botched attempt to look "independent" before running in '12...

Ah, I see someone else got to the false attribution of the Oliver Smith quote first. Oh, well. :-)

"A good point guard drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her eye on the basket... And I'm doing that - keeping our eye on the ball"

Did the basketball barracuda forget that keeping her (our????) eye on the ball while dribbling up court turns you into dead meat?

When I was growing up in Chicago there was a guy named Lar Daley who ran for something every election. He wore an Uncle Sam suit and promised to give the drug dealers 24 hours to get out of town, after which the police would have orders to shoot them on sight.

This clown never approached the level of incoherence that Sarah Palin reached in this 6 minute speech. It will live forever.

I think she just couldn't stand being upstaged by Sanford as the most batty Republican governor. It took her over twelve minutes to get to the point of her press conference. Makes Sanford's seven rambling minutes of apologies look amateurish.

Isn't there an argument that this makes sense if she wants to run in 2012?

There is not much she can do in Alaska over the next few years that would improve her chances, and a lot that can happen to make them worse. If she stayed in office she would be somewhat tied down, and her decisions would be subject to all sorts of discussion and criticism.

This way she is free to roam the country, speaking, raising money, building her organization. She stays in the public eye, but has no real accountability for anything. Problems in Alaska can be pinned on her successor.

I'm not saying I believe that. I have no good idea what this resignation is all about. But it doesn't seem implausible.

I honestly don't get how this could possibly be a move to gear up for 2012. How are you going to run against an incumbent president when your only experience beyond being a small town mayor is one term as governor of a barren state, which you unexpectedly decided to resign from half way through?

I don't know much about Alaskan politics, but wouldn't the timing of this make a bit more sense if she was looking at something along the lines of a senate seat in 2010 and maybe presidency in 2016?

And the last Republican National Convention was in ecstasy over the idea that she should be Vice-President of the United States of America, and therefore, if John McCain became incapacitated or died....

Imagine if America had had a president who didn't care about policy, couldn't put together a coherent sentence, was helpless in public without speechwriters, who didn't like to read, who hated the press and liberals, whose only previous experience in public office was as governor of a huge state where the governor's office was weak, and the legislature relatively easy to get to work in bipartisan fashion on many issues, where primary knowledge was only of the oil and gas business, and -- oh, wait.

Never mind.

Palin's just going to transfer to a series of other states in order to complete her requirements for a full term as governor.

Word is she Argentinian.

You know, the Bell Curve has bitten the Republican Party right on the ass.

I've never seen affirmative action like Sanford, Palin, name your stupidity.

Name: Erick Erickson.

The great thing about Obsidian Wings is that that the entire brain trust of the Republican Party shows up here.

That's a compliment. We preserve them.

Think if elected Republicans showed up here.

Bernard: I heard some people say that it made sense. But what I can't see is: how will she respond if she's running for President and someone asks, as someone will: how can you assure us that you won't decide to quit halfway through your first term?

I mean: she's walking away from her responsibilities. I don't see how that's not disastrous for any future run, unless there is a really good explanation.

Her speech reminded me of a sociopath I once knew, who would fly off the handle and either attack or stomp off, frequently with a touch of mania, in a massive overrreaction to things that normal people would either not notice or not worry about.

The end result: people would look at him, and say, "Huh?" and then ask, puzzled, what brought that on? And even when he explained his reasons, things still made no sense.

I'm wondering if the same thing is happening here. Or if it's just an upcoming scandal.

Many have suggested that she is doing this in response to some lucrative deal in the private sector. I don't doubt her greed, but that still doesn't explain the content and style of the speech: why it was nervous and rambling, why she needed to do it this moment on a Friday night of a holiday weekend, why the entire thing was so absolutely manic that it consumed virtually all of the media oxygen, even blowing Michael Jackson off of the air waves.

Many politicians go to the private sector after office to make butt loads of cash in public speaking or lobbying-the infamous "revolving door". But they generally are able to keep their goddam pants on until their terms end. They don't make gigantic spectacles of themselves by resigning from office in surreal press conferences the moment before they commit blatant profiteering. Doesn't she realize how it would look if she turned up with a show on FOX news next month? At the very least, FOX would know and guide her through the transition.

No there is another shoe about to drop...she is reacting TO something...her hand is being forced. I can feel it. (If not she is clinically insane, more so then we all thought).

maybe she's got a special male friend in argentina....

Still, she may be Presidential material.

Given the demagogic death wish the Limbaugh, Beck, Cheney, Demint (gotta love Honduran coups) axis are instilling in the low scum who want America to completely f--k it up.

"Palin's just going to transfer to a series of other states in order to complete her requirements for a full term as governor."

That would explain Mark Sanford. It all begins to make sense!

...why it was nervous and rambling, why she needed to do it this moment on a Friday night of a holiday weekend, why the entire thing was so absolutely manic that it consumed virtually all of the media oxygen...

Drugs.

Has anyone compared Palin's recent travel schedule with Sanford's?

Just saying.

If she stayed in office she would be somewhat tied down, and her decisions would be subject to all sorts of discussion and criticism.

This way she is free to roam the country, speaking, raising money, building her organization. She stays in the public eye, but has no real accountability for anything. Problems in Alaska can be pinned on her successor.

Bernard's take sounds pretty plausable to me, although perhaps not for a 2012 run for pres. It makes no difference that she made herself a joke today; she's been a joke for a while now, and the people who love her didn't care yesterday, and won't care now. Facts didn't matter before, and don't now.

News-wise, Friday is take-out-the-trash day. So the Friday before the July 4th weekend must be the day you take out the rolled-up rug with the pair of feet sticking out one end. It's the timing of Palin's announcement that strikes me as its most remarkable feature. If her goal was to launch a 2012 presidential campaign with this stunt, I say she would have picked a different day for it.

--TP

The only other possibility I can imagine is that she is planning on running in 2010- a primary challenge against Lisa Murkowski- rather than 2012. She apparently really wants to be a Senator- she reportedly lobbied for the appointment that went to Murkowski in 2002- and it would help to bolster her credentials (and even qualifications) if she runs for President in 2012 or 2016. Under that theory, the reason she's resigning now is so that there will be a Republican incumbent for the governorship in 2010.

I think Dr. Occam has a theory.

She's crazy.

Obviously, she has decided to go Galt.

I think either a scandal is brewing, or she calculates that the political cost of overseeing a painful period of Alaskan budgeting would outweigh the benefits.

As to scandals, -anything- that threw into doubt her status as supermom would destroy her public persona much more thoroughly than a more 'substantial' scandal involving abuse of power would.

Is it possible she just thinks she can make more money on the lecture circuit and as a talking head? Now might be the time to cash in.

This Palin quote from the Runner's World interview, via LGM, is a keeper

I betcha I'd have more endurance. My one claim to fame in my own little internal running circle is a sub-four marathon. It wasn't necessarily a good running time, but it proves I have the endurance within me to at least gut it out and that is something. If you ever talk to my old coaches, they'd tell you, too. What I lacked in physical strength or skill I made up for in determination and endurance. So if it were a long race that required a lot of endurance, I'd win.

Roger Moore wrote: "The only other possibility I can imagine is that she is planning on running in 2010- a primary challenge against Lisa Murkowski- rather than 2012."

Except she'd be in far stronger place for that if she were governor, at least, if she could try to be more competent. At the very least, there's the risk of the new governor letting out any unpleasant facts Palin has kept quiet. It'd be far safer for that to happen after taking the Senate seat.

The only reason to quit as governor, then run for Senate in the same state, is if you're hoping that in the intervening period the voters will forget how bad you were as governor. But I think that'd require a decade or more, not one year. I suppose if the new governor is worse than Palin, she might catch a break. But that seems unlikely.

My guess at the scandal: she was actually born in 1975, and wasn't old enough to be eligible for Vice-President. There's nothing weird in her secret medical records except her true age, and it explains why she looks so young for 45.

Scandal scandal scandal scandal scandal.

A very very very big one. That even she could see was going to destroy her.

Nothing else makes even the tiniest shred of sense.

Except she'd be in far stronger place for that if she were governor, at least, if she could try to be more competent.

Unless she knows, or was told, that the next year and a half in Alaska is going to require hard choices and unpopular decisions, which could damage her (already sagging) approval ratings.

Someone found out that she is literally the White Caribou (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045283/) and now she is running for her life from her witch-hunting church. She also spotted Putin's head entering Alaskan airspace again.
Also she realized that her second role as Michelle Bachmann took too much of her time and decided that her Palin persona had to go.
Seriously, either she went completely round the bend or she knows something ugly is coming and wants to get away before it arrives.

Forget politics -- literally the only argument she had for being taken even mildly seriously was that she was the Governor of a state. That's gone now. By 2012 even Michelle Bachman will have more 'experience' than she has, and is only slightly crazier.

And the 'FNC gig' idea never made a lot of sense. As disgusting as they are politically, Fox people are, in fact, professionals. They can speak coherently, can react under pressure, can carry a conversation and can respond to the occasional unexpected occurence. And they have 'air quality' voices. None of the above is true for Palin -- and Fox knowa it, knows the first two episodes of the Sarah Palin Hour might get Super Bowl-like ratings out of curiosity, but by Friday would be outdrawn by the Fox Business Channel -- maybe the lowest channel on the cable news spectrum.

No, it's got to be either a scandal or an indictment, or she has just gone over the edge.

(Btw, she might get a good advance on the book, but she better be sure she's got a contract that doesn't require her to pay it back when it hits the Remainder table.)

I love the bizarro logic that people who stay in place and complete the jobs they set out to do are quitters.

I'm no Palin fan, in fact quite the opposite, but I think the simple answer here is the most likely to be correct - that she decided she had her priorities wrong, that the course she was on before was going to lead to nothing but hassle and heartbreak, and that's not what she was willing to do to herself or her family.

Palin: "Doctor, it hurts when I try to be a leader of the GOP!"
Doctor: "Well, stop doing that!"

If you have that kind of realization, you'd do what she did, though more artfully than she's apparently capable of. It's the only thing that I can think of that explains the date and tone she tried to use.

Whatever the reason for her resignation, "pass the ball for victory" is destined to bypass "Wolverines!" as the new rallying cry among the true believers.

I see some serious merch opportunities. Act now before the Palins get a copyright.

Perhaps they found incriminating pictures of her under Rich Lowry's mattress.

hilzoy,

Sure. But the other explanations don't make a lot of sense to me.

A scandal? Wouldn't it be smarter to stay in office to fight it? How does she gain by resigning now?

A media job? It's hard to believe even Murdoch would hire her. As prup says, she would an utter disaster as a talk show host or something.

So, while I'm not claiming this is a political masterstroke I do see how it might seem to her to be a smart move.

How does she answer the question you pose? Easy. "I've accomplished a great deal here in Alaska and leave the state in capable hands. I want to move on and make a larger contribution, and so on."

Her fans will love it.

"Act now before the Palins get a copyright."

Trademark. You can't copyright a phrase.

cool, thanks for the correction!

Good Lord.

I listened to her all the way through. It was actually painful. This is what she sounds like when no one's writing her a script?

I also got almost nothing from the VF article. It didn't have much that hasn't already been said elsewhere. It seemed to make a big splash without much new content

She made it sound like her family was happy for her to quit when she polled them....4 youbetcha's and a hellyoubetcha. And that they were tired of being cruel victims of the media's bloodsport.....this does NOT sound like someone about to put themselves out there for the presidency with her family's blessing to me.

Truly crazily weird. I've got to think a just-about-to-break scandal. a

I think she just stopped enjoying being governor. Having power is supposed to be fun, it's not supposed to be so much like work, y'know. I also think this resignation just destroyed her future political career, which is good. Apart from the entertainment value, having Sarah Palin on the national political stage has been a colossal waste of time and energy.

It has to be about money:

1) She is deeply in debt, trying to defend herself against all of the ethics charges. On a salary of $120K as governor, she can't afford to stay in office. Besides, Todd is such a worthless twit, snowmobiling his life away, he doesn't contribute shit to the household.
2) She has an unwed mother to support now too. Another mouth to feed....
3) She needs moola to run for president in 2012. In a decent world, she couldn't get elected dogcatcher, but Americans are so fuckin' stupid, she might have a chance.

Don't worry, scum like Palin will make sure we all suffer because of her personal problems....

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