Saturday, July 04, 2009

Palin’s Choice

Hell hath no fury like a media commentator whose narrative has been scorned.

This is the way things were supposed to go: Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin would abide the pelting of a pitiless storm of law suits filed by her political opponents in Alaska, all of which have been turned aside by the courts; then she was supposed to run either for president or for some other national office, at which point the pelting would begin all over again.

As the Fourth of July approached, Palin announced that she was retiring as Governor of Alaska, and shortly thereafter the speculation hit the fan.

Vain speculators on the left, a good many of whom apparently read Vanity Fair, thought that Palin resigned because she could not bear the heat pouring out of the political kitchen. The Vanity Fair article, ten thousand words long, drew the veil off some of the infighting that occurred in the John McCain political camp after McCain picked Palin to run as his vice presidential candidate, on the whole not a pretty picture. With the exception of a few new snark bites, there is nothing fresh in Todd Purdum's piece, much of it being warmed over vitriol. Maureen Dowd, the New York Time’s Queen of scorn, is far better at the catty putdown than Purdum.

A sampling of Dowd’s toxic bon bons: "Exquisite battiness... solipsistic meltdown so strange... incoherent, breathless and prickly... Sarah's country-music melodramas... girlish burbling."

Since the ascension of President Barack Obama, the left has found it inconvenient to write on national political issues.

Most of the chatter on television was devoted to two questions: Why had she done it, and is there political life after resignation? Running like a dark rumor through the chatter was the supposition that some unspeakable political faux pas had yet to be uncovered.

The answer to the second question was “probably not.” Some wiser heads with memories pointed out that other politicians had salvaged their careers after greater tragedies. In deference to Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, now suffering from a brain tumor, Chappaquiddick was not mentioned. In deference to Obama, the tax delinquencies of his Treasury Secretary remained in the commentary closet. As yet, there is no federal investigation of Sen. Chris Dodd's property in Ireland.

The vindictive prosecution of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens is a distant memory.

Last April, federal judge Emmet Sullivan formally accepted a motion to set aside a guilty verdict against former Sen.Ted Stevens of Alaska issued by President Barack Obama’s Attorney General. The presiding judge threw out the indictment, and called the case the worst case of prosecutorial misconduct he'd ever seen. The judge also initiated a criminal contempt investigation of six members of the prosecution even though an internal probe by the Office of Professional Responsibility was in process. Sullivan said he was not willing to trust it due to the "shocking and disturbing" nature of the misconduct.

Palin herself suggested 1) that her family had been unjustly pummeled before and after the campaign, both by vain politicians and consumers of Vanity Fair; 2) that she was spending an inordinate amount of money defending herself from unmerited prosecutions; 3) that she cared about Alaska’s future, and that resigning now would enable the Lieutenant Governor of that state to carry on after she had left and most likely win a future campaign in his own right, thus keeping her beloved state in Republican hands. She was resigning, Palin said, “ … so the administration could continue effectively” without her. Self sacrifice of this kind is unheard of in national politics. Palin also intimated she would be willing to go on the road to support the candidacy of grown up politicians in either party.

Point 1 was studiously ignored by the Vanity Fair crowd; everyone but some small minded bloggers on the left conceded point 2; and point 3 was opaque to the kind of political beltway commentator who believes that politics ends at the borders of Washington DC. Anyone who had spent any time commenting on state politics would have had no problem processing point 3.

So, here we have a politician who cares about her family, cares about her reputation, cares about her state, thinks some ideas are bogus while others are worth sacrificing for, and wanted to avoid the perils of federal politically inspired prosecutions.

How could there possibly be a place for her in Washington politics?
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