Let me start out by saying when I first heard of Sarah Palin, I liked what I heard. She was the complete opposite of every other politician. No big city upbringing, no Ivy League education. Nope, Sarah grew up in the great state of Alaska, finished college in Idaho and went to work as a TV reporter. You know the rest . . . city council, Mayor of Wasilla, Governor of Alaska (the first woman and youngest person to land the gig), then Vice Presidential candidate. It was during the McCain/Palin campaign that most people got to know her. A self-described hockey mom, dedicated to her family and to conservative Republican values. She hunted. She fished. She liked guns and shooting things. I liked her.
But then, the wheels started to come off the Palin Express. Reports surfaced that she was a bit of a diva on the campaign trail. A disasterous interview with Katie Couric made her seem unprepared for the vice presidency, let alone the top job. This in spite of a generally well-regarded performance in a debate with opponent Joe "Wow, I'll Say Anything!" Biden. I thought "maybe she's not ready for this, but give her time". When the election was over I assumed that Sarah would return to her beloved Alaska, work hard for her state and remain a force in the Republican Party.
First came her "feud" with David Letterman. Sure, many of the jokes were a bit harsh, but David pulls no punches. Those, including Gov. Palin, who accuse Dave of deliberately attacking Sarah and her family because he's a member of the liberal elite just haven't been watching his show for as long as I have. I always thought Dave was more conservative in his views than most in his field. He's been a longtime fan of Senator McCain. And it's easy to understand that the pregnancy jokes he made about Palin's daughter were truly aimed at Bristol (you know, the one who actually WAS pregnant), not her younger sister Willow. Once Dave cleared that up and apologized, that should have been the end of it.
But it wasn't.
I think Sarah Palin made a huge mistake not accepting Dave's offer to appear on his show to accept his contrition in person. Instead she made a ridiculous statement about not wanting to boost his ratings by lowering herself to be a guest. Right then it was obvious she wasn't interested in his apology. She just wanted to be the center of attention. Again.
And now, this . . . her resignation. What's that all about? It's one thing to say you're not running for re-election. It's quite another to quit . . . in the middle of your first term.
If she had come right out and said that the past year had been a real hardship for her family and she wants to spare them any additional stress, fine. I can accept that, even support that.
But that's not what she said. In fact, nobody seems to know what she said, exactly. And that leads to all kinds of speculation.
She's leaving because of impending ethics violations. She's leaving because Fox has offered her a talk show (I think she'll go with "Sarah", just one name. Hell, if Oprah can do it, so can she). She's going into the private sector to make some real money (is she that clueless about this economy?). She wants to spend more time with her true soulmate in Argentina (whoops, sorry . . . wrong Republican governor).
Or maybe, she wants to be president. And she really can't do that stuck in a vast frozen faraway wasteland like Alaska.
We'll see. But if the White House turns out to be the true reason for all this, I predict she'll never make it. Because she believes the only way to get there is to turn her back on her constituents. Abandon the voters who put her in office, and head south.
The best way for her to show that she would be ready for the nation's highest office is to do the finest possible job for the citizens of our 49th state. Her critics say she lacks experience? Putting in her time as governor and excelling would have answered that charge.
Instead she'll find some other way to stay in the public eye. And miss out on gaining the one quality she lacks . . . gravitas. And maybe a little humility.
If I were to run against her in the future, I would need to invoke only one word. Quitter.
That's right, America, when the going got tough, Sarah Palin got going.
But, hey. We Americans have notoriously short memories and a lot can happen between now and 2012 (including the end of the world as we know it, but what do those crazy Mayans know anyway?). And if by some political miracle she were to win, let's hope her vice president is ready to sit in the big chair.
Because who knows how long Sarah's gonna stay.