Sarah Palin Pulls The Trigger

Governor Sarah Palin’s announcement  that she was  resigning as Alaska’s governor and letting  her Lieutenant governor and political ally Sean Parnell  take over shocked the political world and pretty much sucked all the oxygen out the room for a couple of news cycles. She even knocked Micheal Jackson’s OD off the front pages…now that’s star power.

She had a few things to say about the matter , and a transcript of her remarks is here. I recommend you read it, because the video cams didn’t cover the whole thing.

I’m not claiming to be clairvoyant, but I had a feeling this was coming fairly soon. Time will tell, but  I think it was exactly the right decision, whether she plans a future in politics or not.

With one stroke, she bought herself exactly the space she needs to plan her next move and got the hyenas off of her. As an ex-governor, she’s no longer a target for the well-funded and organized campaign to bankrupt the Palin family via various frivolous ‘ethics complaints.’ Number 15 was just thrown out of court as groundless just like all the others, but in the meantime it’s cost the Palins half a million bucks in legal fees…and they are not wealthy people. With her out of office, that particular drain in time, money and energy is a thing of the past.

Whether she decides to bag politics for good or not, it was the smartest thing she could have done. Either way, she has  a book to write, a new baby to care for, and some very real groundwork  and planning to do if she decides on a run for the presidency in 2012 or 2016.

Alaska is simply too far away logistically from what Alaskans call the Lower 48 for anyone to serve as a sitting governor  and still devote the time and energy it will take to run for president or have any influence nationally. Believe it or not, Anchorage is farther away from Los Angeles than Los Angeles is from Baltimore. And it’s easier and faster to fly from Iowa to Europe than from Anchorage or Juneau to Iowa. The travel time and expense alone is a major disadvantage.

If Sarah Palin did have any plans to run for national office, she had a  tough choice to make. She could either continue to be governor of Alaska or resign and do what she will need to do  to go for the prize. She couldn’t do both, so she thought about it and then with characteristic boldness, she made a decision.

Part of that decision no doubt involved Todd and the kids. The family vote she tells us about in her speech, the one she said she’d tell us more about later? I’m betting it was a vote to either stay in Alaska and go back to normal life or spend more time in the Lower 48 and go for the prize.

After what they’ve been through as a family that couldn’t have been an easy decision. People forget that along with he other accomplishments, Sarah Palin is a mom who obviously loves her kids. One of my favorite pictures of her is an off the cuff shot of her getting off an airplane somewhere with a huge sloppy grin on her face as she and Piper run towards each other on the tarmac.

I have never seen anyone’s family  in American politics vilified the way the Palins were, or with so little cause…not Nixon’s family in the darkest days of Watergate, not Chelsea Clinton during the impeachment, not even the Bush twins.  The Letterman smut directed at Palin’s 14-year-old daughter  was likely the final sign to Governor Palin that the time had come to advance in another direction.

When you can’t even go to a charity fundraiser or a baseball game without some overpaid  low life media whack job trying to get at you through your kids, it undoubtedly provides some food for thought.

So that final “hell, yeah!” from one of the Palins might  just have signified the opening of the 2012 campaign.

Will the resignation hurt her? I doubt it.  No one who really understands what Sarah Palin is about is really going to care in the grand scheme of things if everything else works out. As a matter of fact, I only hope Our Dear Leader  or one of his court jesters in the media brings it up, hopefully in one of the nationally televised debates. I can just see Sarah Palin winking at the camera and reminding Barack Obama about a certain Illinois Senator who served all of 140 days of his first term before he decided to jump the shark and devote his time and energy to running for president.

If she’s  decides to run, we’ll know within a year or so. Look for her to be out on the trail fundraising, putting a killer staff together, giving good internet( unlike the RNC, she learned something from watching Obama operate),doing  interviews and speaking to the American people.

And don’t be surprised if she does it independently of the normal GOP apparatus.

The thing about Sarah Palin is that accidentally or deliberately, she tapped into an authentic political vein in the American people, and it’s one that a lot of the Republican Party isn’t comfortable with, especially the part of the party that wants to evolve into Democrat-lite.

Ronald Reagan had exactly the same problem but he was able to build his own independent organization within the GOP, find his own voice and cause a revolution in American politics.

It remains to be seen if Sarah Palin does the same. She remains the most exciting and viscerally appealing politician in the Republican Party, the only one who draws huge crowds and actually reaches people . If she does decide to run but the Big Boys won’t let her play, don’t be surprised if a third party coalesces around her and the GOP goes the way of the Whigs.

A nauseatingly smug Andrea Mitchell just announced on Mess NBC that Sarah Palin is through in politics. If I were you Andrea, I wouldn’t bet the condo on it just yet.

There’s an old Irish saying I’m quite fond of: “Let him laugh who wins.”



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