July, 7th 2009

Further thoughts on Palin

– Liz Mair

We're now into day 4 of fairly heavy coverage of the Sarah Palin resignation announcement, and after having appeared yesterday on to discuss the matter (and being booked for evening cable tomorrow to discuss it further-- more on that later), I find myself posting on the subject again. Palin, as seems to have been the case consistently since John McCain selected her as his running mate, is a hot topic, and her decision to resign is garnering a pretty firm and hardened negative reaction from a lot of political strategists and pundits. 

For my part, I remain personally a bit dubious about what the precise effects or consequences of Palin's decision to resign will be, which I suppose puts me in the minority on this count.  As a political strategist, had I been advising her, I doubt I would have been keen on the idea of resignation: It doesn't represent a standard pathway to what might be dubbed "bigger and better" things.  But then there are many choices that Palin has made in her career that could be described as outside-the-box or otherwise unconventional and which frankly, I suspect a lot of political strategists, potentially including myself, might not have advised her to make.  Nonetheless, some of them have been key to her getting to where she is today.  Palin deciding to primary then-sitting Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski in 2006 when the last elected office she had held prior to that election was Wasilla (population circa 10,000) Mayor might be one example.  But as anyone familiar with Palin knows, there are others, as well.  As I've said before, love her or hate her, she's a pretty unconventional figure.  And no matter whether you like her or not, it's hard to argue that she's anything but a pretty tough and driven individual who, when she sets herself a career objective, tends to achieve it-- and tends to achieve it quickly, too.  Let's not forget: She's 45 years old, the governor of a state (for a little while longer anyway), and a former vice-presidential nominee with five kids and a husband.  One need not agree with her on policy or like her political style to concede that her resume represents someone who is obviously capable of jumping over a lot of hurdles to achieve her goals.  The resignation may be a hurdle (even a very big one).  But I wouldn't be too quick to assume or speculate that this is Sarah Palin, national political figure (and maybe even 2012 presidential candidate) finished, once and for all. 

Palin may not be a frontrunner for the 2012 nomination (I'm not sure we have one this far out), or someone who a majority of politically-savvy individuals might agree would be likely to beat President Obama in a head-to-head match-up (do any pundits want to play pin-the-Republican-name-on-the-donkey with regard to that one yet?).  But that doesn't mean she's dead in the water, either, at least not as it stands.  Palin seems to recognize that as a possibile outcome in saying "if I die, I die."  But there's also a sense in statements like that one that the person uttering them thinks they may survive, too.  Given Palin's career, so far, I'd be disinclined to completely dismiss that.  As to whether her political career goes from here, and precisely where it might go if it does, I'm more of a "wait-and-see" mindset than most.[intro]


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