July, 3rd 2009

A brief note on Palin

– Liz Mair

It's been awhile since I've posted anything, but with today's news that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will not run for re-election and is resigning from office, I felt I needed to say something.

Obviously, last year, I spent several months working hard to elect Palin to the vice presidency, and was happy to do so.  It wasn't always easy (the phenomenal amount of media attention, irrespective of it being positive or negative, ensured that).  Likewise, I imagine the decision she announced today was not.  I know that she said that with her children having given it a unanimous thumbs-up, it was, but I also know that so many women who maintain a high public, business, political or other profile often find themselves asking whether they're making a mistake/abdicating responsibility/letting others down/letting themselves down when they decide to make a change like this one.  I wouldn't be surprised if Palin was one of them.  I know I've been there myself.

I also genuinely believe, though, as Palin seems to, that one can often effect change better on the outside than via government service (and, as fellow female Republican online strategist Mindy Finn tweeted tonight, "Perhaps resignation makes Palin ultimate example of 'less government' conservative").   I also think there's quite a lot, irrespective of one's precise read on whether it's positive or negative, that Palin is likely to accomplish outside of government (love her or hate her, everyone I know concedes that the vast majority of things she's set her mind to, she's achieved, and swiftly, too).  I'm sure she is doing the right thing for herself and for her family, and frankly, no one can or should fault her for that.  I also very much hope that the message that flows from this will not be that women cannot be high-level officeholders, wives and mothers to small children all at the same time because a) Palin (and others) have categorically proved that to be false and b) if we want the very best leaders, irrespective of gender, that probably means that more women, not fewer, need to run for elected office.  In any event, I'm confident that as Governor, prospective presidential candidate or anything else, Palin will continue to attract attention.  I very much doubt anyone has heard the last of her. [intro]


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