Palin’s Folly

Melissa Stagnaro

With the media brouhaha surrounding Michael Jackson’s death, many Americans might have missed Sarah Palin’s press conference on Friday during which she informed the world, and her Alaskan constituents, that she was stepping down as governor of the Land of the Midnight Sun.

I’ll admit, I missed the announcement. But having read copies of her statement, not to mention coverage of the event from several sources, I’m having a hard time sorting out my feelings about Palin’s news.

First and foremost, I’m confused. Palin started off her speech by stressing her commitment to her state and lauding the accomplishments she and her administration have made over the first two years in the state’s top office. Somewhere after that, around the time she compared herself to a point guard facing a full court press on the basketball court, she lost me. In fact, if the headlines hadn’t said she had announced her resignation, I may never have gleaned it from her words.

Why is Palin stepping down from the post? I’m not quite sure, and I’m not entirely sure she is either.

I think she said it was to protect the Alaskan taxpayers from having to pay for costly legal defense associated with allegations of ethics violation made by her opposition. But she also talked about how, since she had decided not to run for re-election in 16 months, she didn’t want to burden the state with a “lame duck” for the remainder of her term. And she definitely blasted the media for taking aim at her family, so perhaps that is why. (Hey-maybe that explains the full court “press” comment!)

Regardless of her motives, or her future intentions, her family apparently is in full support of her decision, based on the chorus of “yeahs” and one “hell yeah” she said they gave her when she asked them their opinion. (Don’t worry, she has promised to tell that story at a later date. I’m sure we’ll all be holding our breath.) But I’m not sure the Alaskan people, who elected Palin for her four year term as governor, are quite as enthusiastic about her decision.

And certainly there are plenty in her own political party who fail to understand the former vice presidential candidate’s latest move, not to mention her motivation. There has been plenty of speculation that Palin planned to position herself as a presidential candidate in 2012. Which will be difficult if, as some believe, she has shot herself in the political foot with her resignation.

Palin ended her statement to the press with a quote from General Douglas MacArthur. “We are not retreating,” she said. “We are advancing in another direction.”

She rephrased the same sentiment on Monday during an interview with CNN. “I’m not a quitter; I’m a fighter,” she (tried to) explain.

It’s a difficult argument to make when you’ve just voluntarily increased the jobless number in your state by one.

For me, her clarification to the press was a little watered down by the fact that she made the assertion is made while wearing hip-waders. But perhaps, as my co-worker suggested this morning, that’s all she was left with after she returned her high priced campaign wardrobe after the last election.