July 04, 2009

In Re. Palin

Like everyone else, I'm still stunned by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's surprise resignation announcement yesterday.

Not because I'm a saddened supporter -- I'm not. I think she was a good pick for VP, and a potential star for the future, but I don't think she is what the GOP needs right now. Rather, because the entire thing is so unexpected and inexplicable.

And as I began, like others (some of which appeared to be nothing more than a liberal echo chamber-- ), musing upon the possible reasons for this resignation, I was left quite confused. Is Palin doomed, I wondered?

Until I realized a possible reason for the resignation that requires looking beyond the immediate political landscape.

Sarah Palin is NOT running for President in 2012. She is going to run for Senator in 2010 -- and bide her time in that office until 2016 or 2020.

Think about it for a minute. Alaska's current GOP senator is not terribly popular in Alaska, and Sarah Palin could easily beat her in a primary -- and is popular enough in Alaska to win the general election handily. But to run as a sitting governor would be difficult for her -- first because she would be taking on an incumbent of her own party, and second because of the string of frivolous ethics complaints filed against her by her political enemies. But out of office, she is not taking time away from her job as governor and she can't be accused of using state resources to advance her candidacy.

Now secure in the US Senate for six years, the following become possible.

  1. Palin develops a national record in Washington -- and racks up lots of political IOUs -- campaigning for the 2012 GOP ticket and assorted candidates around the country in 2012.
  2. In the event that the GOP ticket loses in 2012, she is positioned as a successful Governor and Senator in 2016, when she would be the front-runner for the GOP nomination in a year when the GOP is quite likely to win the presidency after 8 years of Obama.
  3. In the event the GOP ticket wins in 2012, Palin is a likely Cabinet pick -- perhaps Secretary of Energy, due to her experience with the field in Alaska. She then bides her time until 2020 -- when she will still be in her mid-50s and have a formidable resume among her GOP rivals.

Of course, she may just stay out of office for the time being. It's not like this is without precedent.

Remember -- it took Ronald Reagan 12 years from the time he first looked at the presidency (1968) to the time he won in 1980. Palin has a book deal, and she can fire up a crowd with her speeches -- and doesn't need a teleprompter, unlike a certain politician I could name.

My biggest hope, though, is that Mark Steyn is wrong about what Palin's move yesterday means -- namely, the definitive end of the age when an ordinary American can aspire to rise to the upper ranks of America's leadership because of the nature of contemporary politics and its impact upon the lives of those who "play the game".

National office will dwindle down to the unhealthily singleminded (Clinton, Obama), the timeserving emirs of Incumbistan (Biden, McCain) and dynastic heirs (Bush). Our loss.

This Independence Day, I hope America is better than that, and that we have not entered a day of elite government by narcissists, careerists, and dynasts -- for if we have, then yesterday's announcement signaled the death of the principles of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, which would mean that it was effectively the obituary of our nation.

I'll open the comments on this one.

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