7 Jul
2009
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Some thoughts on Palin’s resignation.

The resignation of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin last Friday could be the opening move in a recklessly bold bid for the presidency in 2012 or 2016. Her decision came after more than a year of personal attacks from Democrats, progressive media and moderate Republicans and a series of apparently frivolous ethics complaints. While her resignation in mid-term doesn’t appear to reflect well on Palin’s ability to carry through with her promises or responsibilities, and may seem to show a lack of fortitude and unwillingness to face adversity, it could also be a carefully calculated move to appeal to Palin’s base of social conservatives and to a wider audience.

Any damage to her political future can be minimized as Palin already possesses a reputation as a political reformer from her time in Juneau and for her knowledge of energy issues. The two years she served as Alaska’s Governor was the same length as Barack Obama’s tenure in the US Senate before he became President, effectively parrying the charge of inexperience that is often laid against her while giving her the additional advantage of an executive background, something Obama notably lacked when he arrived in office despite his national profile.

More importantly, in terms of her public image, resigning now sets Palin in the role of a martyred woman sacrificing her own career and power for the sake of her family, sparing them a drawn-out ordeal of public humiliation and financial ruin through legal harassment by her spiteful progressive foes.

This model of self-sacrifice, one which would have special resonance with Christian conservatives and especially Evangelicals, augmented by the Palin family’s disgraceful treatment by their detractors, combined with her already considerable popularity with the right-wing of the republican party, is going to make a captivating narrative for 2012 and be and beyond. Palin could be setting herself up as a willing scapegoat and champion for Social Conservatives and traditional values, driven from office not by scandal or personal weakness but to protect her family from vengeful rivals.

Whether she intends to take a page from Richard Nixon’s biography and eventually return to politics after taking some time off to reorganize and evaluate her options remains to be seen. It is entirely possible that Mrs. Palin is legitimately tired of politics and the considerable toll it has taken on her personal life and wants to be a private citizen.

If however she does intend to return to public life than she has either pulled off a masterful public relations coup or committed a career-destroying blunder, with the outcome between them depending on her own political skill, charisma, plain luck and many other circumstances completely beyond her control.

DISCLAIMER: This post and the contents thereof are the views of only the author identified immediately above and do not necessarily represent the views of the New York Young Republican Club (the "NYYRC"), its officers or its members. The NYYRC expressly disclaims responsibility for the contents thereof and by its charter documents may not, and does not, endorse any candidate for any office, except in a general election.

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