Palin: Family + Scandal + Cash = Retirement
by Charles Lemos, Sat Jul 04, 2009 at 04:26:43 PM EDT
Matt Cooper of The Atlantic offers up three possible theories on the thinking, if one can call it that, behind Governor Palin abrupt decision to resign her office 18 months before the end of her term.
1. She has more bad news to report. There's something going on with her family again. There's more to come with the state's finance. Whatever. There's no good reason for her to suddenly up and quit the governorship, her one claim on elective experience.
2. She wants the money. Palin is probably turning down tons of lucrative speaking offers, corporate boards and others ways of getting rich while she bides her time waiting for the presidency. Maybe she just can't say no to the money any longer?
3. She's totally impulsive. Assuming this wasn't a well calculated, move maybe she's just being utterly impulsive. She got sick of the job, sick of dealing with declining revenue, sick of having to stay close to Juneau and Wasilla when she really wants to be in Manchester and Des Moines.
It might be all of the above and then a few more. Her "I don't want to be a lame-duck Governor now that I've decided not to run for re-election" simply isn't credible. Had she run for re-election and won would she then have resigned her office whenever she determined she was a lame-duck? Personally, I find this will be held against her should she ever choose to run for office again. For this reason alone, I think Sarah Palin is unlikely to run for office certainly in the near term and perhaps here ever after. Talk of a Senate run or a Presidential run in 2012 is just that, talk and speculative at that.
To be fair, it is likely her family was the important driver in her decision to retire. She still has three young kids including one with special needs and has a unmarried teenage daughter who has an infant of her own. There is little question that both the Letterman episode and the more recent Vanity Fair article that portrayed, accurately I think, a narcissistic and unpolished politician hurt her deeply. And there's little doubt that a Palin in the public limelight will remain fodder for late night jokes, in part because she is such an easy target.
But beyond wanting to spare her family, I do think that there are more ethical lapses that yet to come to light, perhaps over the building of her home in Wasilla during her tenure as Mayor or perhaps over the awarding of the contract to build the Wasilla Sport Complex to close family friends. Even if another scandal isn't looming, Governor Palin did note the mounting legal bills from her existing ones. And her star-power among a subset of conservatives who view her as the second coming of Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin is likely to earn millions on the circuit tour to raise millions more on behalf on conservative causes and for conservative candidates.
But Presidential aspirations were always far-fetched. The combination of Charlie Gibson, Katie Couric and Tina Fey tarnished the Palin image beyond repair, though to be frank, the damage was largely self-inflicted. If she is half as savvy a politician as some think she is, then she must clearly realize that her chances of winning the GOP nomination, let alone the Presidency, are slim and next to none. So instead, Sarah Palin is cashing out.