Is Palin’s national political career over?

posted at 5:45 pm on July 3, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The news of Sarah Palin’s resignation as governor came during my show this afternoon, where we spent most of an hour discussing it with the chatizens and my co-host Duane Patterson.  I’ve had a chance to watch the video of her announcement and read through dozens of Twitter messages back and forth attempting to rationalize this, and still, it simply can’t be rationalized on the basis of what Palin said today.  It’s easily the most bizarre resignation I’ve seen, and just about senseless.

The lame-duck explanation was the most incoherent part of the entire statement:

“Once I decided not to run for re-election, I also felt that to embrace the conventional ‘Lame Duck’ status in this particular climate would just be another dose of ‘politics as usual,’ something I campaigned against and will always oppose. It is my duty to always protect our great state. With that in mind, my family and I determined that it is best to make a difference this summer, and I am willing to change things, so that this administration, with its positive agenda, its accomplishments and its successful road to an incredible future, can continue without interruption and with great administrative and legislative success.”

Bear in mind that the election isn’t next month but about 16 months from now, in November 2010.  Using this logic, Palin should never have run for the first term unless she was willing to run for the second, and not run for either if she wasn’t willing (or legally able) to run for a third.  Politicians don’t enter lame-duck status until their successor has already been elected and they’re running out the rest of the term. And all politicians become lame ducks at some point — and none of them quit just to avoid it.

Also, how can Palin quit because she didn’t want to deal with being a lame duck and claim in the same breath that her administration would “continue without interruption”?  She just interrupted it!  If she thinks that being a “lame duck” would hamper her ability to push her agenda in the state’s capital, how does she think that an unelected Sean Parnell is going to get it done?

If it’s her duty to always “protect” Alaska, then that strongly implies not walking away from the responsibility of governing it — a responsibility she sought, and with which her constituents trusted her to execute.  No one leads by quitting.  No one leads by quitting.  Palin’s abandoning  her post, and at least from her own description, doing it because she doesn’t want to deal with the issues of being a “lame duck,” a status all politicians have to handle at some point.

I’ve seen a myriad of excuses on Twitter and e-mail for this bizarre resignation: her legal bills are too high, she’s putting her family first, she doesn’t want to distract Alaskans because of cheap-shot ethics complaints that are distracting everyone.  None of those make any sense.  If the spotlight was too much, then she shouldn’t have run for office in the first place.  If she’s quitting because people are taking potshots at her, then she’s not the kind of political fighter we thought she was.  The legal bills might be a rational reason, but thoroughly insufficient for betraying the people who put her in charge of Alaska — and her memoirs would have paid for her legal bills many times over, had she completed her term.

There’s really no excuse, and what Rich Lowry also calls her “terrible,” “rambling,” and “not at all persuasive” statement showed that.  Unless there was a serious illness or a serious scandal, the resignation on the grounds Palin gave is simply incomprehensible.  She has destroyed her own credibiity in a single day.

I liked Sarah Palin and supported her inclusion on the GOP ticket last fall.  I thought she had more toughness than this.  It’s a big disappointment, and it’s the end of any hope of Palin getting taken seriously as a politician on the national level in the future.

Update (AP): I was going to tuck this into one of my own posts but it fits better here. Quin Hillyer, senior editor at the Spectator, calls the resignation an “appalling dereliction of duty.”

What Sarah Palin did today was get out before the real challenges of the job (whatever challenges there are for such an easy job) really rear their heads. The going got tough in terms of spurious ethics charges against her, and she took off. That’s cowardly. That’s not sign of staying power. It’s a sign of wanting to get out while the getting is good, in order to become a full-time candidate for a presidential race that won’t culminate for 3 1/2 more years. It’s a little too calculating, by half — or more.

I just listened to her speech announcing her decision, and found it singularly unimpressive. “This was a rambling, bombastic, self-centered, ‘poor me’ kind of speech.” That’s how Mike Carey of the Anchorage Daily News just described her speech on Fox News. I agree. He then said it was, darn, I already can’t remember if he said it was “pitiful” or “pathetic,” but it was some word like that. Again, I agree. It was a speech in which she clearly made a bit for a national audience — not a very effective bid, but a transparent one — but didn’t adequately explain to the people of Alaska why she was relinquishing her duty…

Statesmen hang tough. Sarah Palin is cutting and running. ‘Nuff said.


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After digesting the multitude of opinions on the resignation over the past two days, I’ll just say this. As discouraging as it was to read the posts saying she killed her national political career, and as much as I didn’t want to hear it, there certainly is validity in that opinion. It warmed my heart and gave me hope to listen to Mark Levin on Friday night hearing his certainty that she is running for POTUS and freeing up her schedule to campaign and fund-raise. It’s another opinion with validity.

With these two equally valid opinions, why are we hearing so much “I’m right, you’re wrong” rhetoric on the blogs? No one knows for sure what she is up to, so all we’re running on is speculation. So let’s cheerfully speculate while respecting differing opinions. To see bombastic and inflammatory attacks on conservative pundits coming in from….conservatives, is sad. Tone it down, breath deep and remember we are all speculating at this point.

I appreciate the true-believers in Sarah. Honestly I’d much rather have belief in a hopeful future for Sarah than pessimism and political suicide talk. But please don’t denigrate and attack those that don’t share your belief: especially fellow conservatives. No one knows exactly what her motives are, or what is going to happen in the future regardless of her motives.

That being said, it would be nice to have a little more optimism from our blog proprietors or maybe stronger disclaimers that their opinions are in fact just opinions and the future for Sarah is yet to be written. Otherwise if you start leveling the statements of, “it’s over,” you’re playing into the MSM’s public opinion shaping strategy against Palin. The meme could build steam and then people may write her off as finished, and hence we have a self-fulfilling prophecy, just as the MSM wants.

alteredbeat on July 5, 2009 at 10:48 AM

A wait-and-see attitude? That’s blasphemy to political pundits!

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 5, 2009 at 3:24 PM

have a problem with labeling people as bigots over differences of opinion. While LDS today claims to be a Christian religion, that’s a big change from its beginning. Mormons put a great deal of store in the first appearance of God the Father and God the Son to Joseph Smith, and in that appearance God tells Joseph Smith not to join any church, because they are all abominations. Obviously, a decision has been made to now claim, “We’re Christians just like you. We just have some different doctrines.” That’s a far cry from calling everyone else abominations.

There is no IF about it. “Mormons” are Christians. Look at the offical name of the Church. Without going to far afield here, you left out one aspect of the Joseph Smith story. During his youth many religions were claiming to be “the one true religion of God”. Those religions were…ummm..CHRISTIAN religions. Smith simply wanted to know which one he should joing so he knew was making the right decision in the eyes of God. You can choose to believe his story or not. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that during His ministry, Jesus established a Church in which to worship him and follow his teachings and commandments. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the Catholic Church teach that the only person on earth the speaks on behalf of God is the Pope? If that is the case, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, isn’t anyone else that makes that claim wrong? Call me silly, but if a religion purports to be a religion Jesus Christ, wouldn’t it logically carry His name?

Fed45 on July 5, 2009 at 3:35 PM

As for how many Mormons support Romney, the Nevada primary saw Romney get 90% of the Republican primary. Nevada was home to a huge Mormon population. This high number suggests very strongly that Mormons in Nevada voted nearly 100% for Romney. Granted, it’s not proof that Mormons tended to vote for Romney, but it’s a much stronger correlation than was ever found for evangelicals voting against Romney.

Harry Reid,D- NV. LDS. Continues to get re-elected. Gets little support from LDS voters.

Fed45 on July 5, 2009 at 3:40 PM

There’s no record of prophets having multiple wives.

Bzzzz! Thanks for playing.

Judges 8:30

” And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives.”

Fed45 on July 5, 2009 at 4:01 PM

Call me silly, but if a religion purports to be a religion Jesus Christ, wouldn’t it logically carry His name?

Fed45 on July 5, 2009 at 3:35 PM

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of cults which call themselves Christian while rejecting every distinctive doctrine of Christianity. So, no, applying a Christian name does not automatically make a sect Christian.

I think it’s too far off topic for a political blog like this to have a knock-down-drag-out of who is and is not a Christian. But I do reject attempts to claim as fact what isn’t.

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 5, 2009 at 4:05 PM

Let’t not hijack Sarah’s thread by arguing about religon. The LDS church and its beliefs have nothing to do with Sarah’s brilliant political future.

Meanwhile, I thought I would contribute to this ginormous political thread count.

I donated to SarahPac yesterday to endorse her brilliant decision to unshackle herself so she can lead the movement to take our country back to sanity.

karenhasfreedom on July 5, 2009 at 4:11 PM

I donated to SarahPac yesterday to endorse her brilliant decision to unshackle herself so she can lead the movement to take our country back to sanity.

karenhasfreedom on July 5, 2009 at 4:11 PM

+1000

bluelightbrigade on July 5, 2009 at 4:17 PM

There is something deeply depressing in the fact that discussions about Romney always lead to his Mormonism.

ddrintn on July 5, 2009 at 4:40 PM

^ His religion doesn’t matter, people. We don’t have a Religious Test in this country, and there is a good reason we don’t have it. GROW UP.

ddrintn on July 5, 2009 at 4:41 PM

It’s easily the most bizarre resignation I’ve seen, and just about senseless. The lame-duck explanation was the most incoherent part…

Palin certainly is unique. That’s part of her allure, though. When she talks about “no more politics as usual”, she actually means it — just meaning what you say is unique in most political circles.

Anyway, the idea that the “lame duck” part is incoherent is just silly to me. Clearly, by resigning, she changes the entire political landscape in Alaska. There will be a sitting governor who has already declared he will be running for election in 2012 and now he will be the incumbent. As such, he will wield sticks and carrots that a lame duck never could. He can claim all the accomplishments of the Palin administration as his own, but he will be committed to that agenda. He also owes Palin, big time. Her opposition is out of gas — their out-of-state money goes away. The ankle-bitters can try to carry on, but the main attraction is gone, gone, gone. The waste of time and money to defend against them is gone, too, so Alaska benefits big time.

Now, you can call this a gamble. You can say it’s risky. We won’t know for a while how it will play out. But, please, anyone who says they don’t understand, or says this is incoherent and crazy, or claims to not understand any of this must be either disingenuous or stupid. It’s really not rocket science.

littleguy on July 5, 2009 at 5:07 PM

The neverending thread. Is 4 or 5000 possible? As for Sarah, a lot can happen in 2-3 years. Hafta see how it plays out.

kwbrownie2003 on July 5, 2009 at 5:50 PM

The neverending thread. Is 4 or 5000 possible? As for Sarah, a lot can happen in 2-3 years. Hafta see how it plays out.

kwbrownie2003 on July 5, 2009 at 5:50 PM

As for Sarah, she can whip a lotta butt in 3.5 years.

izoneguy on July 5, 2009 at 6:33 PM

His religion doesn’t matter, people. We don’t have a Religious Test in this country, and there is a good reason we don’t have it. GROW UP.

ddrintn on July 5, 2009 at 4:41 PM

So someone’s religion (or lack thereof) doesn’t play into how you might vote?

Upstater85 on July 5, 2009 at 7:20 PM

AP has always been a secret Obama admirer, you can deny it all you can now but pseudo conservative bloggers like you and Ed are definitely no match for the liberal bloggers; you guys look up to them and ask them politely to toss the ball back to you; bottom line you guys are clueless as to what our country currently faces. Your posts help in taking down our war generals like Rush and Colter; who take the bullets daily for our movement only to have weaklings like you crucify them here in the vain attempt to gain the respect of the msm; how’s that treacherous business model working for you, last time I checked, Hot Air was not included amongst the most influential conservative blogs in the US, if it was in the list sorry I did not see it, stopped reading at #999. You guys are a disgrace to our movement; I guess your only chance of redemption now is for SP to fail; you see why some of us here are screaming at you across the aisle and calling you traitors? we are fighting for our country while you guys are saying anything to fatten your money bags. Traitors!

julian on July 5, 2009 at 7:36 PM

Awwright. Time to get the jumper cables on this thread.

Lanceman on July 5, 2009 at 7:53 PM

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 5, 2009 at 3:02 PM

Since conversion is personal, how do you know a real Christian from someone who is not? Even within evangelical sects today they bicker amongst themselves about doctrine.

Unless you are positive of a persons actual standing with God, you are (a person not specifically you) judging righteously.

On the other hand, when someone does show complete intolerance for anothers faith, you can be sure that person is a bigot.

The point was, I believe, that Huckabee did what he could to foster bigotry against Romney. It is especially egregious when his faith has nothing at all to do with the presidency.

csdeven on July 5, 2009 at 8:16 PM

It does seem a little strange that it’s perfectly OK to vote for Romney because he’s Mormon, but not OK to vote against him because he’s Mormon. I would hope that wasn’t the whole reason for either vote.

The difference is motivations. To vote against him because of intolerance is bigotry.

I don’t know what you call it when you vote for a guy because of his religion. I call it dumb.

csdeven on July 5, 2009 at 8:18 PM

csdeven on July 5, 2009 at 8:16 PM

My impression was that Huckabee was looking for anything that would gain him ground. Purely opportunistic. However, I’ve seen some clips from his show (post-campaign) and he really seems to have matured. I could never trust him though.

gh on July 5, 2009 at 8:19 PM

So someone’s religion (or lack thereof) doesn’t play into how you might vote?

Upstater85 on July 5, 2009 at 7:20 PM

That is my opinion. I would truly like to hear an opinion as to why it’s ok.

csdeven on July 5, 2009 at 8:27 PM

I could never trust him though.

gh on July 5, 2009 at 8:19 PM

I could be swayed, but it would take some admissions from him that I doubt he would ever admit to or apologize for. Since those are in reference to his policies as Gov and his penchant to sell his religion as a qualification.

csdeven on July 5, 2009 at 8:32 PM

Call me silly, but if a religion purports to be a religion Jesus Christ, wouldn’t it logically carry His name?

Fed45 on July 5, 2009 at 3:35 PM

I call you wise. A persons faith or lack thereof has no bearing on the execution of the office of president.

csdeven on July 5, 2009 at 8:34 PM

So someone’s religion (or lack thereof) doesn’t play into how you might vote?

Upstater85 on July 5, 2009 at 7:20 PM

Unless it’s someone who sacrifices infants to the goat god, I couldn’t care less really.

ddrintn on July 5, 2009 at 9:23 PM

So someone’s religion (or lack thereof) doesn’t play into how you might vote?

Upstater85 on July 5, 2009 at 7:20 PM

my 2 cents:
It’s appealing to me if a candidate appears to be sincerely religious, regardless of the specific religion. Since our founding documents are absed on unalienable rights from our Creator, it’s important for our leaders to embrace that natural truth. I am not specifically concerned whether that religion is Christian, Jewish, Muslim…beyond those, I do not know enough about other faiths to have an opinion.

Red State State of Mind on July 5, 2009 at 9:24 PM

The only religion I would be resistant to would be one that attempts to foist their beliefs onto the country. Ya know, like the traitorous dems and their Marxist buddies.

csdeven on July 5, 2009 at 9:40 PM

The bigger view can only be seen from higher ground…and thats not politics the way it has been. It’s time for a REAL change. What we received in this last election is the straw that broke the camels back and Palin knows it. The only way to get out of this mess is with no nonsense action. Maybe everyone has time to waste commenting on whether she’s right or wrong, but I think I see someone who doesn’t care about petty quarrels..only the bigger picture!

Nalea on July 5, 2009 at 9:54 PM

So someone’s religion (or lack thereof) doesn’t play into how you might vote?

Upstater85 on July 5, 2009 at 7:20 PM

Not one bit. I care about how they will govern, not how they worship.

Fed45 on July 5, 2009 at 9:56 PM

The GOP is dead if they run Romney or Huck in 2012.

alliebobbitt on July 5, 2009 at 10:29 PM

The GOP is dead if they run Romney or Huck in 2012.

alliebobbitt on July 5, 2009 at 10:29 PM

Yeah, I think so too. If it’s not Palin, then some other “star” who’s not a retread is going to have to appear.

ddrintn on July 5, 2009 at 10:42 PM

Cuda’s not going anywhere…she’s going to bide her time, study, raise money, and let O implode.

Kid from Brooklyn on July 5, 2009 at 10:50 PM

Sarah Palin’s political career is not over.

It is going to be in high gear once she is free of the bullshit she has had to put up with in Alaska. What other Governor in ANY of the other 49 States cannot travel to another State without being accused of “abandoning her post”.

Yet Palin has had to endure that EVERY time she travels! And the Press, which would call “bullshit” if it was done to anyone else, actually participates in the slandor!

Palin 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Justrand on July 5, 2009 at 10:54 PM

Kid from Brooklyn on July 5, 2009 at 10:50 PM

O is not going to implode. Campaigning is the one thing he’s good at. She’s going to have to kick his a$$.

gh on July 5, 2009 at 11:08 PM

I like Mitt, but he has the same problem that Gore and Kerry had, a wooden personality. You need a little charisma to win. Sarah seems to have that.

kwbrownie2003 on July 6, 2009 at 2:46 AM

kwbrownie2003 on July 6, 2009 at 2:46 AM

I hear Romney is much better in private around a board room or in a business meeting than out in public glad handing.

Unfortunately there is one principle that was first propounded in 1970 that most people have forgotten about and that is the Peter Principle which simply says everybody eventually reaches their level of incompetence-for example great school teacher but lousy principal because of different responsibilities and roles required.

In politics it is so stark. Very few can become POTUS becasue very few have the personal skills, charisma, speaking ability, intelligence, and political acumen to pull it off or to get enough votes.

McCain was an excellent example of the Peter Principle. He ran for POTUS like he was negotiating a bipartisan deal in the Senate.

technopeasant on July 6, 2009 at 3:22 AM

Well, I haven’t read all 3400 or so comments, but I have one.

Ed, WTF? Do you think you are (or are you trying to be) some sort of yesterday’s old-school Journalist (you know, the Walter Cronkite sort of impartiality, or the “just the facts, ma’am” sort of neutrality) or something? Do you really expect your audience (‘highly opinionated’ would a kind descriptor) to want to hear any negatives about anyone on our side? When we have the worst bastiche possible sitting in the Oval Office (NOT a good man, sorry, Patterico)…?

You are a Right blogger, Ed. Don’t interfere with the Right-side waves.

Serr8d on July 6, 2009 at 8:16 AM

Bear in mind that the election isn’t next month but about 16 months from now, in November 2010. Using this logic, Palin should never have run for the first term unless she was willing to run for the second, and not run for either if she wasn’t willing (or legally able) to run for a third. Politicians don’t enter lame-duck status until their successor has already been elected and they’re running out the rest of the term. And all politicians become lame ducks at some point — and none of them quit just to avoid it.”

Uhhh…a little thing called the 2008 Presidential Election happened in between. C’mon Ed. I don’t get it either (and that’s the greatest part, in writing the story reporter have no final answers and they hate that). But if we look at the attention and hatemongering that has been haranguing her since the race, perhaps it actually is making her a lame duck. Let’s say she does care about Alaska and it’s issues, the non-stop personal attacks, political attacks in the form of ethics violation submittals, plus you better bet that the national Democrats are leaning on the locals so that nothing gets done at the state level between now and 2012. If she cares about her state, perhaps the self sacrifice will provide the vehicle to keep things moving at the state house and provide her some personal solace — no matter what she decides in the future.

NickelAndDime on July 6, 2009 at 9:03 AM

The world will soon see that this sick country needs a mothers love. Screw you naysayers. Go drink some kool-aid and abort a baby. We know who you are and what you are!

bluegrass on July 6, 2009 at 9:16 AM

Is Palin’s national political career over?

No, you butthole Morrissey.

jarhead0311 on July 6, 2009 at 10:28 AM

Go drink some kool-aid and abort a baby.

bluegrass on July 6, 2009 at 9:16 AM

+1

This entire Legion of Shrews attack has been based on nothing but Palin’s decision to allow her own child to be born.

Talk about extremism!

jay12 on July 6, 2009 at 10:31 AM

Statesmen hang tough. Sarah Palin is cutting and running. ‘Nuff said.

I think they call it an end run

entagor on July 6, 2009 at 11:54 AM

I said hello, Mitty,……well, hello, Mitty
Its so nice to have you back where you belong
Youre lookin swell, Mitty…….i can tell, Mitty
Youre still glowin…youre still crowin…youre still goin strong
I feel the party swayin……while the media is playin
One of its favorite memes from way back when
So….. take his coat, fellas…….find him a microphone, fellas
Mittyll never go away again

(instrumental break)

I said hello, Mitty,…..well, hello, Mitty
Its so nice to have you back where you belong
Youre lookin swell, Mitty…..i can tell, Mitty
Youre still glowin…youre still crowin…youre still goin strong
I feel the party swayin…while the media keeps on playin
One of its favourite memes from way back when
So…golly, gee, fellas….find Mitt an empty microphone, fellas
Mittyll never go away….i said Mitty’ll never go away
Mittyll never go away again

Mr. Joe on July 6, 2009 at 1:06 PM

So…golly, gee, fellas….find Mitt an empty microphone, fellas
Mittyll never go away….i said Mitty’ll never go away
Mittyll never go away again

Mr. Joe on July 6, 2009 at 1:06 PM

Yeah, he will. In November 2012, right after he gets crushed at the polls.

ddrintn on July 6, 2009 at 5:46 PM

Ed, you had better be wrong about Palin’s future because you would wither and die without her to kick around. You guys are getting a little too close to Politico for my tastes.

inspectorudy on July 6, 2009 at 6:20 PM

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