On Palin

I try not to get too political here, but since the actual media can’t seem to shut up about her, I guess I’ll chime in too.

I just read this article from CNN.com about Sarah Palin’s resignation. You’re going to have to read it now if the rest of this is to make any sense at all. The quotes below, unless otherwise linked, are from this article.

Go ahead, read it. I’ll wait…..

There are so many problems with this situation that it frustrates me to no end, so I’ll just list them out here in no particular order.

She resigned because of the tremendous pressure, time and financial burden of a litany of ethics complaints in the past several months, she said.

If one quits a task before finishing it, by definition, one is a quitter. So she probably needs to stop complaining that she’s not a quitter when she just quit her job. Sorry if you don’t like the word, but according to, well, the English Language, one who quits is a quitter. I don’t necessarily hold quitting against the quitter, though – it’s often for the best for all parties.

Sometimes there is honor in not completing something if you are not being as effective as you wanted to or are unable to put the time and effort into it that you intended and by quitting, the job will be better performed by someone else. For whatever reason. And on the face of it, legal troubles, overwhelming pressure from the political realm and media, and family responsibility are perfectly legitimate reasons. Sometimes you need to take time to pull back and regroup personally and professionally and there’s nothing wrong with that if you come out of it a better person.

Sometimes it is also better to “quit” than to force significant hardship on innocent bystanders, like one’s minor children, if quitting would benefit them by allowing you to be a better parent in general. Some family situations and some children require more of a time investment than others by virtue of their individual needs. It’s not so much quitting as admitting that your other “job” is actually more important. Maybe that’s not the issue here, but it would be a perfectly legitimate reason, even so.

But why? And why now? Do we care? Is it really any of our business? Maybe not. Maybe.

Speculation has run rampant that Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2008, will seek the presidency in 2012. When pressed about her future, Palin would say only that she would work in public service. She did not rule out a run for the White House or any other political office.

The thought of Palin as president of this country horrifies and dumbfounds me. Luckily, I’m not alone and not just among liberals. Most conservatives I know (in general, smart, young-ish professionals and parents) are similarly frightened by the idea and would prefer someone with not just more experience (as of this month she’s unemployed, technically), but more knowledge, more composure, more intelligence, more common sense, more reliability, more diplomacy, more….just more.

I can name so many other intelligent Republicans that would fit the bill better. Even if I don’t agree with their political platforms, I can respect their intellect and decision making process. Much of Palin’s “campaigning” seems to revolve around divisiveness, distrust, and negativity, to put it lightly, and I have a hard time respecting someone who won’t even try to pull the country together for the greater good and attack issues that face us ALL. A good politician can do that no matter his or her political platform.

While my political views fall to the left on most issues, I have faith that the thinking conservatives will feel similarly and choose a candidate based on more than polarizing rhetoric; one who truly understands the issues we are facing rather than one who seems to understand very little of the complexity of problems we are facing, but appeals greatly to the far right, the oft-referred to “Base.” That is to say, one who can make rational decisions, is clear headed, and can identify and verbalize the precise reasoning that led them to the choices they made.

The feedback I have heard from my (many – this is Texas, after all) conservative friends, most of whom would tell you outright that Palin does not represent them or their ideals, reinforces this. I have heard the word, “moron” bandied about more than once by my Republican friends. I don’t think she is a moron, but I think she would serve this nation as a whole very poorly. And after her recent resignation, I also think the office of President would serve her very poorly.

The days since her resignation had been exhilarating and she loved being in Dillingham, a town of only a few thousand people and no cell phone service, Palin said.

From Wikipedia (and the U.S. Census):

Downtown Juneau is nestled at the base of Mount Juneau. As of the 2000 Census, the City and Borough had a population of 30,711. The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 population estimate for the City and Borough was 30,690.

We all need an occasional break from the digital age, but even urban Alaska is a far cry from the lights, noise, and sheer number of people in Washington D.C. To put it another way, Juneau is to Dillingham as Washington is to Juneau. To be fair, Wasilla, Palin’s home base is actually quite close to Anchorage, a city with, as of the 2000 census, 260,283 people residing in the municipality. Large, but hardly overwhelming when compared to D.C. with over 5.3 million people in the greater metro area. Can she adapt? Probably. I guess. Fish out of water? Maybe.

….off-color jokes by talk-show host David Letterman contributed to her decision to step down, Thomas Van Flein said….The governor needed a break after being “on duty now for two and a half years solid,” he said.

A presidential term lasts 4 years (plus the year or more of full-on campaigning beforehand). It’s no 4 year pleasure cruise, even during the boom times. A common estimate is that a President ages two years for every year in office. You can see for yourself here. My point is this – it’s not an easy task for anyone who takes it on. And that’s without the constant media critique and ribbing one will encounter. It’s part of the job and part of our culture to analyze and to demand more and frankly, to poke fun where there is fun to be poked. Being president can’t be easy, even if you do a stupendous job of it all and I’d venture to suggest that it’s vastly more difficult than being the Governor of the the least densely populated state in the union.

I’m not saying one cannot be President as a mother with children, don’t get me wrong. Not at all. I want to put that out there right now. Will it take significant time away from your children? Will aspects of it be trying? Sure, but like any mother who works full time, there are huge benefits to be had and those benefits may be more right for your family than staying at home or even working a “normal” job in cases such as this. After all, Barrack Obama has children – perhaps not the same as having an infant, but still, they are young and impressionable girls. And given the right caregiver, children will thrive – I would presume that a First Dude’s efforts combined with a loving nanny (Presidential spouses have significant duties as well) could, if done right, certainly make up for the very significant time away a mommy POTUS would entail.

Friday was “deliberately chosen” for the announcement because of its proximity to the July Fourth holiday, Van Flein said: “She declared her independence from politics as usual.”

That’s an interesting way of putting it. Maybe she wants to get away from all of it for a while. And honestly, if that’s the best thing for her family and her children, then good for her for putting her foot down.

Does it please me to think of her permanently out of national politics? Of course it does.

On the other hand, I think Palin’s run in 2012 would all but guarantee Obama a second term and as things stand right now, that would be perfectly OK too.


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