Lichen Frittata

The sound of one jaw dropping

Posted in Uncategorized by lichenfrittata on July 4, 2009

Quittin' time.

That would be mine, in response to Sarah Palin’s announcement that she would be resigning as governor to “affect positive change, outside government, on another scale.”

When I first heard someone mention it on the street, I thought was either a throwaway joke, or if it were true, out of shame for having desecrated the flag in her recent Runner’s World photo spread (really, she apparently technically did).

Her full speech turned out to be even more bizarre and perplexing than the choice itself, riddled with asides about Trig, the troops, and, er, basketball. But the weirdest thing about the entire thing was the logic at the center of her defense: that she is taking a moral stand by leaving government, since all that second-term governors do is gallivant around wasting money.

“They may travel around their state, travel to other states, take their international trade missions. So many politicians do that,” she said, disapprovingly. “And then I thought, that’s what wrong. Many just accept that lame duck status, they draw a paycheck, they kind of milk it. I’m not gonna put Alaskans through that. “

And then, later: “Some Alaskans, maybe they don’t mind wasting state time and money. But I do. And I cannot stand here as your governor and allow the millions of dollars and all that time go to waste just so I can hold the title of governor.”

Wait. Isn’t it the governor’s job to not waste state resources? If you couldn’t do it as governor, how can you possibly make the argument that you’ll do it better outside of government altogether?

I could understand announcing later this year that she would not seek another term, like Tim Pawlenty did—the presidential run was expected (and speculatively confirmed by one who knows her best). But to quit by the end of the month? How can that be cast as anything other than an abandonment of your duties? She could only take eight months out of the limelight before trying to bust her way back onto the stage? We don’t know yet how this is playing in Alaska. And they may love Sarah. But it would take nothing less than blind allegiance to stick through her through that kind of slight.

Obviously, the other shoe hasn’t even dropped yet—what form exactly this non-governmental offensive might take. I just don’t know if I can take three full years of her parading around the country making speeches like that one. It’s almost too painful.

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