When are you going to blog about Sarah?

That’s what people have been asking me on Facebook and in e-mail. They don’t bother to add her last name, since Sarah Palin has now joined the ranks of celebrities who can be referred to by first name only — at least in the highly politicized circles in which I travel.

I wanted to, I really did, but family pressures intervened. How Governor — soon to be ex-Governor — Palin has managed to do all she has with her large family is beyond me, but I suppose when you have five children over an 18 year period it’s not quite the same as having four over a 7 year stretch, so maybe I have an excuse.

Anyway, when I heard the news on Friday that Palin was resigning, my first thought was, small wonder. There she was up in Alaska trying to do her job and not only was she being hounded by frivolous ethics complaints, but she was the subject of a brand new hit piece in Vanity Fair — long after the last campaign and long before the next, a harbinger of the vitriol that will spew if and when she launches a bid for the nomination in 2012.

I read some of the online commentary before I saw the video of Palin’s speech, and much of that commentary confirmed what had been my initial guess: she was sick of it, fed up, getting out of the dirty business of politics, good-bye and good riddance. Those on the right were saying no wonder, as I did, while those on the left were sneering words to the effect of don’t let the door hit you on the way out, you crybaby prima donna bitch.

Then I watched the video, and realized she had no intention of getting out. My first thought was, she’s got to be kidding. You don’t quit your first term as governor and then expect people to elect you president. And then I listened to her again, and realized that she knows that. She knows that this simply isn’t done — not in the game of politics as it’s usually played, anyway. She said several times that this wasn’t “politics as usual” and she wasn’t kidding.

She said that the taxpayers of Alaska had been hit with a $2 million bill for those frivolous ethics complaints — all of which Palin has successfully defended — and that as long as she remains in office, they are certain to continue coming fast and furious. This, she said, is not fair to the taxpayers of Alaska. She herself has run up legal bills of half a million dollars, and that bill would certainly go up as well. Because she has become an incredibly polarizing national figure, she can no longer govern Alaska the way she did before John McCain chose her as his running mate.

If she has accomplished what she set out to as governor, is handing over her office to a lieutenant governor she trusts and who will not be handicapped by national notoriety, and will save Alaskans a lot of money by stepping down, then a case can be made that she’s not being a thin-skinned quitter who doesn’t finish what she starts, but truly is thinking outside the political box and doing what she believes is right despite the risks to her own political future.

This is not to say, of course, that there aren’t political benefits to her choice. It frees her up to travel the lower 48 making contacts, building grassroots campaign infrastructure, raising money, and campaigning for other Republicans who can return the favor in 2012. Those who hate Palin will say that’s all there is to it.

For those who think Palin shot herself in the political foot on Friday, it’s a glorious time to be a liberal. First GOP golden boy Mark Sanford self-destructed in a sex scandal that not only wrecked his career, but gave leftists the added pleasure of being able to have a laugh at Sanford’s private e-mails to his mistress. And then Sarah up and quit. “And another one gone, another one gone, another one bites the dust!” the Obamanistas exulted.

Maybe. The funny thing about politics these days is, as Yogi Berra used to say, it ain’t over till it’s over. A couple of short years ago everyone who knew anything was saying a young, black first-term senator could never wrest the nomination from the well-connected wife of a popular former president. I have no idea what’s going to happen in 2012. And nobody else does either.

What the rest of the crowd is saying:

Anchoress on the initial announcement, thinking there must be an illness or marital trouble brewing and Sarah just didn’t want to talk about it, and then upon later reflection, thinking maybe she’s crazy like a fox after all. Bill Kristol, saying she was crazy like a fox from the get-go.  Melissa Clouthier agrees.  Fausta says she’s done for.  John Hawkins is hedging his bets.   Michelle Malkin not saying much but has a lot of links.

Ace had an outstanding post on Sarah just before her resignation, then said after the resignation that the fat lady had sung, she’s toast. Russ posting at Ace’s site couldn’t disagree more, however, and he and Ace are agreeing to disagree.

Stacy McCain thinks Sarah knows just what she’s doing, and then follows his own Rule 5 with a picture Sarah would probably not appreciate. One of McCain’s bloggers, Smitty, seems markedly less smitten, observing:

if it’s merely trading one megalomaniac for one with longer hair, then it’s a difference making little difference.

They’re having a field day over at the Grey Lady. Gail Collins wrote one of the most pedestrian, ham-handed hit pieces I’ve yet to see. If you’re going to be a bitch, at least do it with a modicum of cleverness, the way Maureen Dowd usually does. Not this week, however, when Dowd’s column is almost — but not quite — as close to cringe-worthy high school journalism as Collins’s.

Speaking of high school, Erik Sean Nelson at Huffington Post used the announcement as an excuse to make retard jokes. Wonkette and KOS are having a similar sort of fun. If these folks get a little more mature they might give Gail Collins a run for her money.

Comments 20

  1. Foxfier wrote:

    Heh, I asked Elf if he’d still vote for her. He looked at me like I was crazy and said: “Well, of course. I was willing to vote for McCain and he’s a Democrat.”

    Posted 06 Jul 2009 at 7:15 pm
  2. Brigette Russell wrote:

    Poor old McCain. Spent his entire career trying to be as moderate and bipartisan as he could and what’s his legacy? He brought to national prominence a charismatic, hard-core conservative woman whom all his old bipartisan buddies hate with a passion. Sort of ironic, isn’t it?

    Posted 06 Jul 2009 at 7:58 pm
  3. Foxfier wrote:

    *shark grin* I call it “poetic justice”….

    He may yet be the Archduke Ferdinand that destroys the moderate (ie, Dems 45 years ago) Repubs in favor of, oh, you know, *conservatives*….

    Posted 06 Jul 2009 at 9:00 pm
  4. Benjamin Wright wrote:

    Regarding the $2 million FOIA cost: Government is wise to organize itself and its records so it can swiftly and efficiently respond to freedom-of-information-act requests. Anything else is wasteful and makes government look out-of-touch. –Ben http://legal-beagle.typepad.com/wrights_legal_beagle/2008/08/local-government-e-mail-and-the-freedom-of-information-act.html

    Posted 06 Jul 2009 at 10:57 pm
  5. Maassive wrote:

    OK, that’s kinda of a let down.

    What’s do you think the “Hell Yeah” story is about?

    Posted 07 Jul 2009 at 1:04 am
  6. Brigette Russell wrote:

    I had actually forgotten about that. I thought it was odd when I was watching her speech, but that was, what, Friday? And I didn’t write the blog post until today. I also wondered how there could be five votes from kids, when one kid is still a baby. I just assumed she meant she had talked to her husband and kids and got four yesses and a hell yeah, the latter presumably from Todd.

    Posted 07 Jul 2009 at 2:48 am
  7. Maassive wrote:

    Yeah, in a second delivery of the speech, she said the “i’ll talk about that later” line again. I hope there’s a good story there.

    I don’t know, B. It sounds like you’re very sure what her plans are. She just wasn’t very clear, so I wonder why you’re so confident in your assumptions.

    Also, I still think her argument about saving the state money by quitting is weak. What precedent does that set? That a legislature can ethics-complaint a governor out of office? That a hostile press can paparazzi a governor out of office?

    If she does run for higher office, this is going to be her primary opponents’ easy point to keep hitting on, since it’s not party or policy or personal: It’s just a straight up weakness. Would she quit the senate/presidency under the same circumstances?

    Posted 07 Jul 2009 at 5:13 pm
  8. Brigette Russell wrote:

    Good points, all, and those were my first thoughts when I heard the announcement.

    Upon reflection, however, I conclude (and possibly she did as well) that how much worse could the attacks over quitting be than the vilification she received last fall? If she stays on as governor and spends the next year and a half fighting off one damn charge after another, getting nothing done, racking up the bills for her own family and the taxpayers of the state, probably not getting much accomplished because every two-bit Alaska politician would like to make a name for himself by standing up to Sarah Palin…

    Yes, now they’ll say she’s a quitter. But really, so what? If they couldn’t say that, they’d still say she was a lightweight, a diva, a lowbrow hick, a shopaholic, a whatever. What’s one more insult added to a very long list, if it frees her up to go do what Romney’s doing?

    Yes, Romney finished his term and she didn’t, but as I said, so what, if you really think about it. Would YOU vote for her if she finished what she started up in Alaska? Of course not. You’d never ever in a million years vote for her, so basically why should she give a damn if you and people like you call her a quitter? She’s not losing any votes.

    Now, people like me, on the other hand, might decide she’s a quitter and bail. As I said, that was my first reaction: “Oh well, so much for Sarah.” But then I thought about it some more, and thought, “Maybe not. We’ll see.”

    Posted 07 Jul 2009 at 5:54 pm
  9. Maassive wrote:

    “Upon reflection, however, I conclude (and possibly she did as well) that how much worse could the attacks over quitting be than the vilification she received last fall?”

    Much, much worse. Last fall was a largely partisan attack. This would open her up for a huge primary attack, especially if she’s debating Romney and Huckabee, both former governors who served full terms.

    “f she stays on as governor and spends the next year and a half fighting off one damn charge after another, getting nothing done, racking up the bills for her own family and the taxpayers of the state, probably not getting much accomplished because every two-bit Alaska politician would like to make a name for himself by standing up to Sarah Palin…”

    How is this different from what any other governor had to deal with? And can’t the argument be made that she should’ve thought about this a year ago and resigned when she accepted the nomination?

    I’m just saying when Romney, Huckabee or any of the other prez candidates call her a quitter, it’ll stick…because in the end, her motives aren’t clear. Is it for money? Is it to run for president? Is it for family?

    Then the question becomes: If she was to become president, what could make her abandon her post mid-way through?

    Posted 07 Jul 2009 at 9:12 pm
  10. Foxfier wrote:

    Maassive -
    How is this different from what any other governor had to deal with?

    Most governors don’t come out, at the end, with half a million in personal debt through no wrong-doing of their own. She’s *already* at that level.

    When you’ve got kids at home to think of, that matters a lot.

    Posted 08 Jul 2009 at 1:23 am
  11. Julia wrote:

    It is different. I’ve never seen a politician attacked as viciously as Palin has been. All of them are the subject of partisan attacks, it’s true, but with her the level of intensity is just beyond anything I’ve ever seen. As for Huckabee and Romney, let them take their best shots. They didn’t impress all that many Republicans last time around, so we’ll see if they can do better this time by trying to tear Sarah Palin down.

    Posted 08 Jul 2009 at 3:28 pm
  12. Maassive wrote:

    First of all, I want to say that I’m really impressed by the rules Sarah set for her legal trust. Very high standard for ethics. I just wish she’d be clearer in her documentation about the kind of debt she’s incurred, what the cases/investigations are, and how the money can be spent.

    Now to get back into the fray.

    “Most governors don’t come out, at the end, with half a million in personal debt through no wrong-doing of their own. She’s *already* at that level.”

    I’d disagree with that for a few reasons. First of all, governors and other high ranking politicians do frequently pay hundreds of thousands in legal fees. It kinda comes with the job, particularly if you’re going to shake the status quo, which Sarah most certainly set out to do.

    In fact, Sarah’s trust fund website includes examples of legal trust funds set up for Dick Gephardt, Hilary Clinton, Tom DeLay, Ted Stevens, etc.

    The potential is always there and it was her decision to run for governor and her decision to accept the nomination.

    She also should’ve known the bills were going to hit half a mil a long time back. If she didn’t, then she chose the wrong advisers. Why not leave office back then?

    It’s important to note this debt isn’t coming from the national stage, at least not directly. It’s coming from ethics complaints filed against her by republican and democratic state legislators.

    The debt isn’t for trial fees, but just for the lawyers she hired to “set the record straight.” Here’s my question: if she was innocent, why did it cost her so much to prove it?

    “I’ve never seen a politician attacked as viciously as Palin has been. All of them are the subject of partisan attacks, it’s true, but with her the level of intensity is just beyond anything I’ve ever seen.”

    As a reporter covering state politics for awhile now, I have to respectfully disagree. I’ve seen a lot of nasty attacks.

    But you’re thinking on the national level: Again, this is state level, and coming from both parties.

    “As for Huckabee and Romney, let them take their best shots. They didn’t impress all that many Republicans last time around, so we’ll see if they can do better this time by trying to tear Sarah Palin down.”

    Wow. That’s really unfair to those candidates, particularly Huckabee. I’ll tell you why.

    Huckabee won Iowa. He won Iowa and he stuck in through Texas. Huckabee proved that Christian values aren’t irrelevant in politics. He also showed that the Republican Party isn’t the party of the rich and powerful. He also got a tv show out of it.

    Of course, Romney is certainly the rich and powerful, but still, you have to give him credit. Had he won the nomination, he would’ve given Obama a much better run for his money, simply because of his strength on economic issues. He also formed a pretty competent infrastructure, which is a major reason he’s widely considered the Republican front runner.

    I’m not saying Palin can’t pull out of it. I’m just saying she hasn’t made her case yet. If she wants to stick around in politics, she’ll need to PROVE, not just say, that it was the right and respectable decision.

    So far, she just hasn’t met my standard.

    ONE FINAL POINT that was just made very well on CNN.

    Sarah leaving office doesn’t make these investigations stop. Leaving doesn’t save Alaskans money. The investigations still go on…And they’re kinda par for the course. All governors are investigated: It’s how we keep them honest.

    Posted 09 Jul 2009 at 3:15 am
  13. Foxfier wrote:

    Maassive-
    Proof, not assertion, please.

    This rather nicely gathers some information on how unusual the wave of bogus ethics complaints are, and there’s an official statement from the Alaska state board wanting to know if there’s anything they can do to counter baseless, harassment-level filings. (There isn’t.)

    It’s important to note this debt isn’t coming from the national stage, at least not directly. It’s coming from ethics complaints filed against her by republican and democratic state legislators.

    Factually wrong. The complaints have been filed by various folks, including “by Linda Kellen Biegel, a blogger designated by the 2008 Democratic National Convention to represent Alaska bloggers.”

    I don’t have the time to look up what you *might* be referring to in your claims, and barring proof, I’m going to stick you right back at the “arguing by making claims, then ignoring when the claims are countered” camp.

    Posted 09 Jul 2009 at 6:47 pm
  14. Foxfier wrote:

    http://www.adn.com/palin/story/838912.html

    This has a list of complaints, along with a timeline.

    Posted 09 Jul 2009 at 6:51 pm
  15. Foxfier wrote:

    Andree McLeod, by the way, has filed the most complaints. Information on her one-woman money wasting machine can be found here.

    Posted 09 Jul 2009 at 6:53 pm
  16. Foxfier wrote:

    Here’s another collection of information on how unusual this is:
    http://www.floppingaces.net/2009/07/04/alinsky-perfected-part-i-players-in-the-palin-attack-machine-make-alaskan-taxpayers-fund-their-agenda/

    Posted 09 Jul 2009 at 9:37 pm
  17. Brigette Russell wrote:

    Sorry that one comment took so long to post, Foxfier. Comments containing more than one link go automatically to a moderation queue and I’ve been away from the computer for a few hours — in MAD-rid (as opposed to ma-DRID).

    I am too beat to look at any of the links now. Need coffee, need quiet, need to waste some more time on Facebook. You on there, Foxfier? Send me a friends request if so. Dave’s already on my friends list, so I know about all the odd food combinations he likes. :-)

    Posted 09 Jul 2009 at 10:14 pm
  18. Maassive wrote:

    “This rather nicely gathers some information on how unusual the wave of bogus ethics complaints are, and there’s an official statement from the Alaska state board wanting to know if there’s anything they can do to counter baseless, harassment-level filings. (There isn’t.)”

    You should have a talk with any state’s state auditor or ethics commission, sit in on their meetings. I have. It’s my job.

    And of course there isn’t. Should there be? How do you know if they’re frivolous until afterward? It’d be too easy for an agency to throw away legitimate complaints…legitimate complaints like the one Palin filed against fellow Republicans.

    But if there isn’t a section of the law allowing a court to decide if a request is malicious, then maybe the legislature should fix that.

    I’m not saying that frivolous complaints are right. I’m saying they’re common, wherever you go.

    Just take a look at the “legal food fight” going on in New Mexico right now between the state auditor and the attorney general. Both Democrats.
    http://newmexicoindependent.com/23440/ag-auditor-caught-in-a-%E2%80%98legal-food-fight%E2%80%99

    New Mexico doesn’t have a formal ethics system. Brigette can tell you how that’s working out for us. The Feds have to come in investigate our ethics for us…two terms in and lord knows how many majillions later.

    “Factually wrong”

    What how?

    Biegel is an Alaskan. So what if she went to the DNC. That doesn’t revoke her Alaskan citizenship. I mean, it’s conceivable that Brigette could be picked to be the New Mexico blogger at the next RNC. I’d vote for her. That wouldn’t make Brigette a national party figure; she’d still be a representative of New Mexico.

    I also didn’t mean to make it sound like it was exclusively legislators. It was just “the bulk” of the cost.
    http://www.adn.com/palin/story/850854.html

    Posted 10 Jul 2009 at 1:17 am
  19. Foxfier wrote:

    Maassive, you claimed they were:
    coming from ethics complaints filed against her by republican and democratic state legislators.

    leg?is?la?tor??[lej-is-ley-ter]
    –noun

    1. a person who gives or makes laws.
    2. a member of a legislative body.

    Brigette Russell-
    Don’t worry! I just added more information as I ran across it.

    Posted 10 Jul 2009 at 6:44 am
  20. benito_a wrote:

    “Poor old McCain. Spent his entire career trying to be as moderate and bipartisan as he could and what’s his legacy?”

    Unfortunately, his legacy will be reduced to his grasping for conservative “edginess” embodied in a person who’s sole political attributes at the time were her looks, her ability to show up to work and raise her kids and deliver a wink on cue.

    If the McCain clan and the GOP’s brand would have not been so desperate and damaged they might have fully vetted her and found out that when faced with delivering substance or faced with tough opposition (gasp! including partisan attacks – get a clue its part of the game) her philosophical stance was indeed, “Does any of this really matter.”

    It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad, to see so many conservatives offering up excuses and embodying what they claim to despise – victimhood.

    Real progressives have finally come to the realization that corporate democrats do not represent the true interests of the people, regardless of the political catchphrases.

    When are middle-class Republicans gonna wake up and not be duped by “family values”, “smaller gov’t”, “fiscal responsibility” – they don’t mean it.

    By their fruit they will be known.

    Posted 15 Jul 2009 at 5:20 pm

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