Sarah Palin hints at White House bid by quitting as governor of Alaska
The blogs are overflowing with comments on the Palin announcement but no-one really knows where it is leading. The following article from the "Times" of London probably represents mainstream thinking at the moment, however
Sarah Palin set off a storm of speculation about an imminent White House bid when she said yesterday that she was stepping down as governor of Alaska. Americans were stunned by the surprise announcement, made from her home in Wasilla, Alaska, on the eve of Independence Day celebrations.
There has been intense speculation in recent weeks that Mrs Palin was considering running for the Republican nomination in 2012, bolstered by heavy hints she dropped earlier this week in the guise of an interview about jogging. Few expected her not to see out her first term as governor where, despite her polarising effect, she was seen as a shoo-in for re-election.
Mrs Palin’s announcement that she will stand down on July 25, handing the reins to the state’s Lieutenant Governor, had some commentators questioning whether another scandal surrounding herself and her family was about to break, after the 2008 campaign revelations about the pregnancy of her teenage daughter and an embarrassing ethics investigation into allegations she sacked a state official over a family feud.
The first investigation by the state legislature into the scandal — popularly known as Troopergate — found her guilty of breaching ethics, prompting Mrs Palin to order a second investigation by a special counsel which cleared her of wrongdoing.
The resignation also sparked a flurry of speculation that she might seek a Senate seat in 2010 as a prelude to a White House run in 2012. Critics branded it a high-risk strategy for a future in public life, inviting criticism that she is not capable of finishing the job she started. Mrs Palin has a reputation for doing things her way and refusing to take advice of more experienced political operatives.
Much of the criticism that dogged her during her vice-presidential campaign in November centred on her parochialism and lack of national and international experience — something she might seek to improve on a national stage. In a pointed reference to her recently expanded international experience, she said that her decision had been bolstered by a trip to visit American troops serving in Kosovo, and to the US military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, where wounded servicemen and women from Iraq and Afghanistan are treated.
Her announcement came days after the publication of a damning Vanity Fair profile in which McCain campaign workers turned on her, blaming her “narcissistic personality disorder” for sinking the campaign. Todd Purdum, the author, described Mrs Palin’s public life as “an unholy amalgam between Desperate Housewives and Northern Exposure”, a cult Nineties comedy about Alaska and mocked her for once saying: “Believe me, Alaska is a microcosm of America.” “Believe me, it is not,” he wrote.
Her voice shaking Mrs Palin told journalists that she was stepping down for the good of Alaskans, expressing her anger at the battering the state has taken in the press as a by-product of her governorship. “I’m not going to put Alaskans through that,” she said. “That’s not what’s best for Alaskans. She addedthat she believed she could be more effective “outside government”. She later corrected her remarks to “outside the governor’s office”, leaving the door back to public life ajar.
Mrs Palin has courted so much attention on the national stage of late — leading parades and appearing on national talk shows — that she has attracted criticism in her home state for failing to serve their needs. The former Alaskan governor, Wally Hickel, Mrs Palin’s mentor, broke with his protegee over what he saw as her over-arching personal ambition. “When Governor Palin was elected in 2006 we believed she would put Alaska first. But once elected, she put Sarah first,” he said in a statement last month. “Because of her national ambitions she is promoting an agenda that will allow outside corporations to dominate Alaska’s resources, including our energy and the jobs it provides.”
Mrs Palin said her decision had been made with the encouragement of her family. “Much of it had to do with the kids seeing their baby brother Trig mocked by some pretty mean-spirited adults,” she said, a reference to her youngest child who suffers from Down’s syndrome.
Why the Left hate Sarah Palin
By Jim Geraghty
Tuesday night on Hugh's program, we discussed the Vanity Fair article about Sarah Palin and why, eight months after the election, Palin still arouses such fury amongst liberals and so many rank-and-file Democrats.
My first thought was that it tied heavily to her appearance. In liberals' minds, conservatives are supposed to look like the couple from the painting American Gothic: Dour and joyless, aged, spartan and frail. Political leaders aren't supposed to be young, really good-looking women, full of energy, smiles, and winks.
Hugh suggested it tied to the contrast between her lifestyle and her critics: "She is the embodiment of the anti-choice, the opposite of every choice that lefty elites have ever made — as to going back home instead of moving to the west coast, having children, having a child with Down's, staying married to one man the whole time, choosing rural or suburban over urban and living a generally conservative lifestyle, working with her hands . . . That everything she is is the antithesis of everything that liberal urban elites are, so it's not just enough to say, 'I disagree with you,'; she has to be repudiated and crushed."
And now, I would submit a slight refining of that idea, that the seeming happiness of Palin's life is a 24-7 irritant because it challenges the way some liberals see the world.
Liberals believe that their ideas, philosophy, worldview, and policies liberate believers, and that the conservative equivalents limit people. Liberals see themselves as rejecting outdated beliefs and obsolete ideas, overturning established orders, and discarding traditions established by superstitious and ignorant forebears who weren't as enlightened as we are. Conservatives, in their minds, are runaway cultural superegos, always wagging their fingers about individual responsibility, dismissing excuses, reminding people that they can't always do what they want because of the consequences to themselves and to others.
Conservatism, they suspect, will leave you in a marriage that doesn't satisfy you, burden you with children you don't want, repress your passions, and trap you in a empty, boring, and unfulfilled life, with no hand of government able to help.
Today almost everyone faces some sort of challenge in balancing work and family; I don't know too many people who believe there are sufficient hours in a day. And then along comes this woman who's made all of these "conservative" choices and now has an amazing career, a supportive husband, a beautiful family, and great health and appearance, and she bears it all, including the inevitable hard times, with pluck and a smile, as far as we can tell. (For all we know, perhaps behind closed doors, Sarah Palin screams into a pillow when it all gets to be too much. But what we know about her suggests she relieves her stress by shooting moose.)
A short while back, Los Angeles Times columnist Meghan Daum suggested, only half-jokingly, that actress Angelina Jolie's "entire Oscar-winning, serial-adopting, Brad Pitt-snagging, plane-piloting, unattainably hot-looking existence makes women around the world feel hopelessly inadequate and therefore unhappy." Perhaps Sarah Palin is the Angelina Jolie of the political world.
In her opponents' minds, Palin's made all the wrong choices, and cannot, they insist, be very bright. Yet she's happy and successful. She is an anomaly that invalidates their worldview, and for that, they attempt to immiserate her — regardless of whether she wishes to run for national office again.
Carol Platt Liebau adds:
Governor Palin has been attacked with the kind of ferocity that few people in the public eye have ever experienced -- except, perhaps, for Justice Thomas and (to a lesser extent) Joe the Plumber. Why does the left reserve their most vicious derision for these three, and those like them? As I wrote last fall in a Townhall column:
Justice Thomas, Governor Palin and Joe the Plumber have one thing in common: Their lives make a mockery of the Democrat Party’s raison d’etre – its foundational assertion that minorities, women and “regular guys” can get a “fair shake” in America only through government action. What’s more, all three of them have made it clear that they don’t want the government’s “help.” For that apostasy, and for their sheer ingratitude – after all, aren’t the Democrats the ones who “care” about blacks, women and “working men”? – the left has tried to destroy them.
Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here