Monday, February 22, 2010

Does Quitting Make Sarah Unelectable?

2012 is not gonna be a typical year, just as 2008 was not a typical year. Who would ever have thought that a Chicago politician four years removed from the state legislature would win the presidency by a wide margin in his first term as U.S. Senator, after spending two of the four years campaigning. America essentially elected a two-year Senator to run the country. And, in case you missed it, the Senate is not an executive position.

And that brings us to Sarah Palin -- the anti-politician, the popular two-year govenor who "quit" a little more than halfway through her first term. Can she be elected to the presidency?

Let's have another conservation with a typical Sarah "doubter."

Sarah Doubter: Nobody who ever quit a governorship in their first term could be elected president. It's just not going to happen.

You: So you're concerned about how Sarah Palin's resignation affects her political image and electability?

Sarah Doubter: Yeah, it shows she can't handle the heat.

You: So staying in office would have shown she could handle heat?

Sarah Doubter: That's exactly what I'm saying.

You: What you're suggesting is that quitting removed the heat from her, right? That she quit to avoid heat?

Sarah Doubter: Yes, exactly.

You: Isn't it true that by quitting she has attracted more heat, including from people like you on her own side? And wouldn't it, in fact, have been easier to sit in office, collect a paycheck, concede to spend 80% of your time on non-productive "defensive" activities, stick taxpayers with the bill, travel the world, and pretend that you're accomplishing something?

Sarah Doubter: Well, she should have just fought her enemies instead of letting them win.

You: If you decide to continue fighting your enemies at the expense of the people you serve is that even ethical? In other words, if your presence in office is causing heavy collateral damage to your state, is it smart and ethical to remain in office no matter the cost?

Sarah Doubter: Well, every politician has political enemies. Ronald Reagan had them, George Bush had them. They didn't quit.

You: Has any politician at the state level attracted the volume of attacks directed at Sarah Palin? Is it normal for a governor to go personally bankrupt defending themselves against frivolous complaints? Sarah Palin incurred twice as much legal debt as the salary she drew as governor. Every day she spent in office she was one day closer to personal insolvency.

Sarah Doubter: Well, she should have started a private legal defense fund then.

You: She did, which led to yet another frivolous ethics complaint, wherein a politicially motivated investigator suggested Sarah should just let Alaska taxpayers pay for her legal defense. They wanted Alaskans to take the bullet for the political malice of Sarah's enemies.

Sarah Doubter: Well, I guess that's just part of politics. Taxpayers always get shafted.

You: So that's politics as usual, huh? Are you happy with politics as usual?

Sarah Doubter: No, not all.

You: Do you think people out there in America who are gathering for tea party protests are happy with politics as usual?

Sarah Doubter: No, absolutely not.

You: So doesn't that suggest that Sarah Palin has a huge base of supporters sympathetic to her decision making? Isn't she really the patron saint of "No politics as usual"? She gave up power, saved the people from her legal baggage and continues to fight her enemies on the national stage as a private citizen?

Sarah Doubter: Well, maybe.

You: And don't we need more leaders just like her who won't go with the flow?

Sarah Doubter: I guess so. You may have a point.

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