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Sarah Palin Picks the Kenobi Option?

On Gov. Palin's resignation.

By Petrarch  |  July 7, 2009

There are those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.

- Nicholas Murray Butler

We at Scragged find ourselves this week in the latter group: Sarah Palin's sudden announcement of her resignation from the governorship of Alaska shocked us like a bolt from the blue.  Very few politicians willingly give up high office; usually they have to be dragged kicking and screaming, their scraping fingernails leaving a trail across the thick carpet, marble foyer, and down the granite steps on the way out.

Then again, there are very few politicians whose most oft-cited speech was actually given not by themselves, but by a derisory impersonator on a satirical TV show ("I can see Russia from my house!")  Nor have many politicians seen famous comics crack jokes about their minor children being publicly raped.  It's not all that common for prominent politicians even to have minor children, much less to bear more children while in office.

Nowhere was the infamous media double standard more clearly apparent than in relation to the Palins.  Barack Obama ruled his family "off limits" even while his wife traveled the country giving speeches about being proud of her country for the first time thanks only to its enlightened adulation of her spouse.  Sarah Palin used her family for nothing more than photo props as politicians have done since time immemorial, and instantly gave rise to her very own cottage industry of conspiracy theorists, dedicated to proving Palin the performer of the medical impossibility of carrying two different pregnancies to two different terms at one and the same time.

One thing we know about Sarah Palin is that she has a strong sense of family duty.  While the whole political world would have expected her to abort Trig Palin when it was found that he would be born with Down's syndrome, she chose instead to carry him to term and raise him like any other child.  The Palin family may have its struggles, and even its failures - but neglect isn't one of them.

A Rolling Stone Gathers No... Mud?

Meanwhile, Gov. Palin's opponents have left no stone unthrown, even the most unlikely.  As permitted by Alaskan law, they have filed innumerable ethics complaints against her - a never-ending avalanche of the trivial, the frivolous, and the downright preposterous.  Yet each and every accusation must receive a full investigation paid for by the taxpayers of Alaska, and a full defense paid for personally by Sarah Palin to the tune of over $500,000.

To date, all have been dismissed as unfounded save two still in process.  Defending against these phony accusations has cost Gov. Palin a fortune she doesn't have and has taken time and resources away from governing.

Furthermore, Alaska is in a difficult position geographically for a leader with a wide-ranging base of popularity.  If you are governor of, say, Arkansas, it's not hard to hop over to another state to give a speech.  Even the governor of Massachusetts can visit and return from half of the states in the continental US within one day.

For an Alaskan, though, going anywhere at all is a massive trek; coming to Washington, DC knocks several days out of the schedule.  Russia would be closer, but there aren't many votes to be found there.  No surprise, then, that whenever Sarah Palin shows up at a conference in the Lower 48, the hue and cry arises: "How dare she leave her state for a week?"

By leaving office, Gov. Palin eliminates these problems.  A private citizen is not subject to state ethics rules and has no restrictions practical or legal on what she chooses to do with her time.  A private citizen can freely rake in large honoraria, helping to rebuild her depleted personal finances.  As foul as the attacks on the Palins already were, they will appear even more foul when directed at a person holding no political office of any kind.

Is this going to stop the assault?  Of course not.

When McCain lost the election, history would have predicted nobody would ever again hear of his failed running-mate.  Who was Michael Dukakis' running-mate, and what happened to him?  What about George Bush Sr.'s?  We all know what's been occupying the time of John Kerry's veep pick, John Edwards, thanks to the good offices of the National Enquirer, but that is not the sort of publicity most politicians want.

Yet something about Sarah Palin drives the left into paroxysms of foam-spewing fury.  Something about her causes Chris Matthews to instantly defenestrate his precious few brain cells, and David Letterman to revert to the ethical standards and locker-room jests of a 14-year-old.  Is it her beauty?  Her instinctive appeal to middle America?

The fact that, unlike virtually any other nationally-known politician, she actually lives the principles she preaches?  Perhaps she represents the anti-feminist - happily married to a hunk of a guy while merrily taking potshots at moose.  Of course, the most likely reason of all is simply that their grinchly hearts are two sizes too small...

Now that she no longer holds the responsibilities or the restrictions of office, Sarah Palin is free to turn her moose-rifle in a different and more profitable direction.  She can hob with the nobs, campaign for other prominent Republicans, and hone her oratory in front of stadiums full of screaming fans.

Or, she can crawl into an igloo up in Wasilla, Alaska and disappear.  Who knows?

We tend to think we have not heard the last of her.  The Angry Left may be about to discover, as Obi-wan Kenobi warned Darth Vader, "If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."

And just in time, too.  Prepare for the next installment: The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy Strikes Back.