Gov. Sarah Palin announced Friday that she will step down as Alaska's chief executive by the end of the month. She will not seek election to a second gubernatorial term in 2010.
Ace and Allah seem pretty convinced that this is the end for her.
Says Ace, “It’s over. You can’t resign from a governorship and then run for higher office.” I agree. Placing your ambition over your commitment to the state looks shady, especially for someone who won’t have a single full term as governor under her belt for the primaries.
Love you, guys, but that analysis and those objections are based on 11/3 tactics -- or, more precisely, the maxims of politics that were in place prior to November 4th, 2008.
Let's go over them in more detail, shall we?
Substance always trumps style. Palin should concentrate on serving her term in Alaska so she has a record of accomplishments there, and then she can run.
There are two phrases that ruin that one completely: "President Barack Obama" and "Senator Al Franken".
Seriously, fellas. If substance were what mattered, we'd be back in the good old days where every word out of the President's mouth was a lie, every misstep was a scandal, and Helen Thomas's diatribes about controlled press conferences would have been six months earlier.
Palin has a tremendous record already of fiscal conservativism, fighting corruption, doing what's right, and sticking up for principles of good government. No one cared. They were all too busy dancing along to "HopeyChange, The Musical" and vague promises to be even looking at Obama's dismal record, much less hers.
Substance is indeed important. But what Palin has recognized is that substance is irrelevant unless it is heard, which brings us to:
You can overcome blatant and obvious media bias by having great, perfectly-timed interviews and speechmaking opportunities.
Um, no. There are enough times when TelePrompTer Jesus has fallen into the Pit of "Uhhhhhhs" and Land of 57 States to demonstrate that foulups in message don't really matter -- unless those are the only clips that the Main$tream Media has to run.
As a former point guard, Sarah knows the gospel of the run-and-gun: it doesn't matter if you only make half your shots if you're taking twice as many of them. The only way to prevent yourself from being pigeonholed by the media is to flood the zone with bigger and better material, and dilute the impact of anything negative.
With that in mind, we come to the last maxim:
Staying put is better than being branded a quitter.
Problem with that one is this: it assumes that the people who are most likely to attack Palin would be cowed by her staying in office.
Doubtful at best.
This is simple political calculus. To win against Obama, Palin needs to do only one thing: get her face and story out in the media on her terms.
That simply cannot be done while she is governor of Alaska. Her job precludes it. She is hamstrung both by her official duties, which she cannot neglect, and the fact that, as governor, she is subject to abuse of good-government laws by Obama's flying monkeys. It's the worst Catch-22; if she fulfills her duties and responsibilities, people can take constant potshots at her without her being able to fight back, and if she fights back, they'll claim she's putting her interests ahead of her constituency.
Palin has come to one of the most empowering realizations in politics: if you are going to be criticized regardless of what you do, then there's no reason you shouldn't do the right thing. By resigning her position, she has the capability now to take the initiative and attack. When David Letterman makes rape jokes about her daughter, she can pound the bejesus out of him on all three morning shows instead of having to do it by remote before the throwing out of the ceremonial first salmon. The only scheduling conflicts she'll have to worry about are the ones she chooses. She can wear what she wants, spend what she needs, and go where she pleases without worrying about frivolous "ethics complaints". Most of all, she can be out there telling her story and connecting with the people who will ultimately put her in the White House.
Most of all, she has Obama in exactly the box she was. If he stays put, she owns the media field. If he starts campaigning, she nails him for not doing his job and unleashes her own bevy of people to file ethics complaints. Sweet, ironic, and perfect.
And the obvious question? I can hear the response already: "All politicians quit their jobs to go campaigning. My constituents deserved me being honest about it. Some politicians don't care that their voters are paying them for full-time work while they're not working; I do."
I could certainly be wrong on this. But hoping to God that I'm right.