The Palin Conundrum

The punditocracy continues to endlessly parse and discuss the resignation of Governor Palin’s resignation.  Is it a prelude to a double secret super star strategy to become president in 2012?

palin-yankee-stadiumHer resignation speech has been variously called “incoherent” and “aimless” which seem to be standard issue critiques of anything she says by the pundits.  This is of course always contrasted with the super eloquent finely parsed teleprompter scripted speech of our president, but I digress.  In any event, her language, though not the polished speech of east coast university elites is, nonetheless, fairly straightforward, and remarkably like ordinary people.  Indeed that is part of her appeal.

Stanley Fish in the New York Tiimes is not particularly a fan of Palin and the New York Times is clearly not friendly territory for conservatives.  Even so, he comments on her resignation and the pundits response:

Both Republican governors made rambling and sometimes halting statements of about 18 minutes (is that the canonical length for this kind of thing?), and in response the commentators speculated endlessly about why they had said what they said. The one explanation they didn’t seem capable of coming up with was that they meant it, that their words were coming from the heart, from an interior that may have been fissured and rocky, but was nonetheless (dare I use the word) genuine.

Palin had barely finished speaking when MSNBC paraded analysts from both sides of the aisle (Matt Lewis and Chris Kofinis) who agreed that (1) it was a disastrous performance and (2) they couldn’t for the life of them figure out why she had delivered it. Kofinis: “It’s hard to understand why she’s resigning.” Lewis: “What she’s essentially done is guarantee that no pundit could make any intellectual defense of her.”

Later, Joe Scarborough pronounced in the same vein: “It’s hard to find a compelling reason.” The former majority leader of her own party, Ralph Samuels, chimed in, “I’ve had a million calls today from friends, all political junkies, and everyone is asking the same questions. Is it national ambition, or does she want time to write the book, or is she just tired of it. Don’t have a clue.”

Maybe he should look at the video and pay attention this time to the reasons she gives. It is true that her statement was not constructed in a straightforward, logical manner, but the main theme was sounded often and plainly: This is not what I signed up for. I’m spending all my time and the state’s money responding to attack after attack and they aren’t going to let up because, “It doesn’t cost the people who make these silly accusations a dime.”

For normal people (meaning anyone who is NOT the punditocracy), Palin’s supposedly rambling and incoherent resignation was remarkably clear.   It just doesn’t seem so to those for whom politics is the beginning, middle and end of every conversation.  Fish continues:

She returned to her own sport, basketball, to explain that because she had become a distraction she was going to do what a good point guard always does, pass the ball to someone (her lieutenant governor) in a better position to make the shot. And in the end she earned the declaration that “I have given my reasons plainly and candidly.”But the pundits didn’t want to hear them or, rather, they were committed to believing that the real reasons lay elsewhere, and were strategic. They couldn’t fathom the possibility that she was just giving voice to her feelings. It must, they assumed, be a calculation, and having decided that, they happily went on to describe how bad a calculation it was.

They did this even when reporting on something that might have given them pause. It was generally agreed that because the statement was structurally chaotic, even formless, Palin had written it herself. No self-respecting political operative would have produced something so badly crafted. One would have thought that this would be seen as evidence of the absence of calculation, but instead it was received as evidence of her Alaska-limited understanding of politics. (Doesn’t she know, they asked, that resigning is no way to run for president?) Rather than reasoning from what they took to be the political ineptitude of her performance to the possibility that it wasn’t political, they just continued on their merry, muckraking way.

There is more to life than politics, and for Palin, that just may be the choice she’s made.  Whatever the case, that so much money should have to spent by the state of Alaska, and by Palin personally to defend herself against what amounts to frivolous ethics charges points to a serious problem in our political system.   The abuse of the legal system in this way is immoral and should be criminal.  Agree or disagree with Palin, the system has to change.

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4 Responses to The Palin Conundrum

  1. Madrigal says:

    I agree with the S. Fish article & your sentiments.

    My only hesitation is predicting her future actions. I don’t know if she wants more or less public roles…there are a lot of possibilities and options but it is not for me to presume to read a crystal ball. I just hope she (& her family) survive all the mud-slinging and find some peace eventually. Her authenticity & gumption are a welcome dose of reality from the DC cocktail swishers inundating MSM. If Palin decides to continue in the political sphere…it will be to the overall benefit of the citizenry.

    TBC, this is my 1st post at your blog, though I’ve read some of your comments on other blogs & tonight on TC — You seem well informed & reasoned in your statements (+ satire is always good)

    Cheers & hope you allow left-based Independents into your conservative den. (luckily, Afrocity lets me play in her sandbox …though I’m “technically” a political heathen aka: liberal). I’m actually a former Republican Christian now gone to the dark side … Bwa ha ha ha! … but still basically, just an independent thinker — seeking truth 🙂

    • I’m glad you’re here. The only commentary I don’t allow is that which is blatantly ignorant, derisive, and derogatory. Certainly I take no issue with “left-based Independents” since I post at TC, which is quite obviously a blog of the “darkside” as you call it!!

      I am a staunch Christian, which informs my political consciousness and which gives me quite a bit of affinity with certain liberal ideals. I have also become more cynical though towards the means by which some of those goals can best be accomplished, and turned off by what I see as the hypocrisy of the left. I am no more tolerant of that than the hypocrisy of the Republican party.

      I certainly hope that Palin will continue on the scene political if for no other reason than that her presence brings our the latent elitism of the “DC cocktail swishers inundating MSM”

  2. Joanelle says:

    Hi,
    Great post – Perhaps the “pundits” need more education – I understood what she said just fine and I’m an East Coast gal, a former Dem, who found Sarah Palin refreshing. I was appalled by the so called “feminists” reaction to her and the lies they smeared.

    Her choice is her choice, why everyone is trying to “figure out” what she’s doing next is beyond me –

    • exactly… I think people are simply unable to comprehend that she might just be making a choice that is really not motivated only by selfish interests. What she does next is her business, but I don’t think people are able to deal with the possibility that political considerations are not everyone’s modus operandi.

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