Sarah Palin resigns and shows her ignorance of public service
Yesterday Sarah Palin once again grabbed headlines and the blogosphere with her announcement that she would not seek re-election and would resign as governor of the State of Alaska at the end of July. In that announcement Palin once again showed her ignorance of public service and what it is really all about. “I thought about how much fun other governors have as lame ducks. They maybe travel around their state, travel to other states, maybe take their overseas international trade missions,” said Palin in her press conference. Palin tried to use this as her excuse for why she was exiting early. Unfortunately no one bought in and speculation on Palin’s true motives has begun. Palin, for all her “soccer mom” honesty, demonstrated once again why she would be one of the worst choices for the presidency.
Palin continued her statement by saying “I’m not going to put Alaskans through that. I promised efficiencies and effectiveness. That’s not how I’m wired. I’m not wired to operate under the same old politics as usual.” Well maybe that’s Palin’s views of a lame duck public official but rarely have I ever seen that type of activity in the final term of their office. If anything, they usually are more active, trying to close out their legacy with an agenda not throttled by worrying about public sentiment or political repercussion. I think Palin took the term “lame duck” too literally and if she did, her action did benefit Alaska. Palin continued to show her lack of understanding of what public service is really all about.
However, it’s not the first time Palin has missed the mark on what government really is about. During the campaign, when asked about the duties of the vice president, Palin was stumped by a third grader and said the vice president is like a teammate to the President and is “in charge of the United States Senate, so if they want to, they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom.”
Palin’s real motive is more than just helping the citizens of Alaska. Recently she has been spending a lot of time flying around the lower 48 states making speeches and raising money for the Republican Party. She has a book deal of a memoir scheduled to be published sometime in 2010 that is rumored to be worth over $7 million. These activities and others have prompted probes by the State of Alaska as to her activities and spending during the presidential campaign. Her approval rating with Alaskans has dropped from a high of 90 percent to under 50 percent recently. Basically Palin had already checked out of Alaska long before her resignation so maybe she was tired of living her idea of a “lame duck” governor and decided to call it quits.
Now the speculation is running as to whether Palin is teeing up for the 2012 presidential election as the Republican nominee. She probably realizes that to become a serious contender she is going to need to spend more time in the lower 48 than trying to lure people up to Alaska to hear her speak and see more of her. So, to avoid any further probes by the state on her ineffectiveness, her best path was to resign and get on with the business of securing the nomination.
However, the path she has taken may not be the most advantageous for her. The New York Times, in the Political section, ran an article about how this route appears to be a risky one. Not having the office of governor to demonstrate her way of doing business will most likely cast doubts as to how effective she would truly be as president. “I think a lot of it has been unfair, but, fair or unfair, there has been a question in the eyes of most Republican primary voters about whether she has demonstrated an ability to govern,” said Sara Taylor in the article, who was the White House political director under President George W. Bush.
If Palin does decide to pursue the nomination she is going to have to become more savvy on the road to the presidency. Last month Palin seemed to have some problems deciding whether she was or was not going to attend a fundraiser dinner held by Republicans. Through aides she declined the invitation so the organizers opted for former Speaker Newt Gingrich as their headliner. At the last minute, Palin had a change of mind and decide to attend, leaving the organizers in an awkward position as to how to deal with her. Those kind of missteps are not the kind to be making when you’re courting the major power base of the party.
So, while Palin may be thinking this is the right thing to do to help secure the 2012 nomination she may be setting herself up for failure and not realize it. Then again, when you don’t really understand the role of the office you are seeking or hold maybe it’s good to fail when you try to land the most powerful government office in the world.