Monday, July 6, 2009

Sometimes You Have to Roll the Hard Six

Forgive the “all Sarah, all the time” coverage for the moment. I think this will be the last post. Please also forgive me repeating myself from a few of my other posts. But I was going to write this as a comment on a few different blogs, and to save time and energy, I’m just putting it all down here.

Many people have called her resignation crazy. Others have called it brilliant. The links are just two examples. I’m sure you can find plenty more. But both camps are wrong. It’s neither the brilliant choice, nor the crazy choice. It was her only choice.

First, two assumptions. Neither of which are guaranteed by any means.

  1. There is no “other shoe about to drop”. She’s not stepping aside because of a scandal.
  2. She’s not stepping aside because she’s just “sick of the whole thing”.

I guess there’s a third implicit assumption as well, that she has designs upon higher office.

If we take these as a given, then how could Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) achieve her goals? Let’s look at the obstacles first.

First, her term ends in December 2010. That may be too late to be starting to ramp up a campaign for the White House in 2012. In her case, it’s almost certainly too late. That’s sad, but it’s true. Especially given that she will have a harder time finding quality staff than some would. There’s a lot of resentment towards her from the party elite. And, given that the ankle-biters in AK have made it apparent that they will dog her every move and try to slap an “ethics violation” on it, she can’t really campaign before her term ends. Particularly when any trip she makes to the “lower 48” is guaranteed to be at least an overnight stay. One only needs to look at some of the 15 dismissedethics charges” to know that they will seize upon anything, no matter how small, to attempt to bring her down.

Second, and another reason why end of 2010 is too late for her to start, is that currently she is being defined by the likes of Maureen Dowd and David Letterman. As Governor of AK, there’s little she can do to define herself. Once again, she can’t go around the country making speeches. The wonderful people in AK aren’t going to let her. Any political consultant will tell you that when you’re being defined by your enemies, you’re going to lose. Every time.

Third, she really does care for the initiatives she’s set in motion in AK. And she really does loathe the “good ole boys” network there. She ran against and has actively worked against the corruption of the Murkowskis and their accomplices. Lt. Governor Sean Parnell (R-AK) seems like he will continue her work and continue to move her agenda forward, but he can’t do that if he’s not in office. Running as an incumbent gives him a big leg up in the near certain Republican AK primary, and a leg up in the general election as well.

Given these points, her options were severely limited. The first point makes it a given that at the very least, she should not seek re-election. The second point tells us that even leaving office early would be a good idea. The third point tells us that she should leave early enough to give Parnell time to have a legislative session under his belt which will allow him to actually be seen as an incumbent. Given that, she pretty much has to step down by this fall at the latest. And, once you’ve gone though all this thought process, and reached that conclusion, the next logical conclusion is “why wait any longer?”

Is it unconventional? Certainly. That doesn’t make it either crazy or brilliant though. The situation makes it necessity. But then, “necessity is the mother of invention” (Plato—wow,. I always thought it was Ben Franklin).

Is it high risk? Certainly. That doesn’t mean it’s crazy, though. As Admiral Adama says, “sometimes you have to roll the hard six".

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