Election 2008

Juneau? Because I Don't.

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Memo to Sarah Palin: DON'T GO AWAY MAD, JUST GO AWAY.

It's been a whole weekend since Sarah Palin resigned as governor of Alaska, and I still have no fucking idea why. Which is disappointing, frankly. Apparently the Alaska press is not as dogged as their South Carolina counterparts, because they have yet to discover the identity of Sarah Palin's SECRET ARGENTINIAN MISTRESS. At this point, I expect all resigning politicians to have secret Argentinian mistresses, regardless of position or gender.

Especially when they begin their resignation* with a long, rambling, incoherent statement that completely fails to get to the point. There are two reasons why, after a press conference, a follow-up statement, and several tweets, nobody has any idea why the fuck Sarah Palin resigned. The first reason is that Sarah Palin is an idiot, and the second reason is that Sarah Palin is crazy. I mean, it's not like she developed a reputation for coherence during the 2008 campaign, but she really went above and beyond for her political swan song. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Alaska's mission - to contribute to America. We're strategic IN the world as the air crossroads OF the world, as a gatekeeper of the continent. Bold visionaries knew this - Alaska would be part of America's great destiny. Our destiny to be reached by responsibly developing our natural resources. This land, blessed with clean air, water, wildlife, minerals, AND oil and gas. It's energy! God gave us energy. So to serve the state is a humbling responsibility, because I know in my soul that Alaska is of such import, for America's security, in our very volatile world. And you know me by now, I promised even four years ago to show MY independence... no more conventional 'politics as usual'."

That was her running theme, by the way. That deciding two and a half years into her four year term to not run for a second term and resign immediately was just another example of her unconventional politics. But there's a difference between not being "politics as usual", and actively striving to be "politics as unusual". Wearing big floppy clown shoes everywhere would also not be politics as usual, but that wouldn't make it sane.

Also, I'm pretty sure that not even Alaskans see Alaska as the nation's gatekeeper, or the means by which we fulfill our destiny to dig out all the energy that God buried under it. Certainly, the lower 49 don't think of it that way. We pretty much think of it as where they film Deadliest Catch. And before that, where that nice Jewish doctor ended up with all those very quirky small-town folks. None of whom, by the way, we would be stupid enough to let run the country.

Do you want to know how fucked up Sarah Palin's resignation was? There are people in the media whose job description is to say that things like this are brilliant, so that "news" reporters get to report that some people are saying it's brilliant. You know, people like Bill Kristol. It took people almost 24 full hours to actually start doing their job, and even then most of them couldn't keep from slipping the word "risky" in there.

Anyway, assuming the secret Argentinian mistress thing doesn't pan out, I've narrowed the possibilities down to three. The first is the common suspicion that she knows some bad scandal is about to come to light, and that by resigning ahead of time, she'll somehow keep people from investigating it. This theory makes sense because Sarah Palin is a moron, and might actually think that a hastily-called, rambling, incoherent press conference announcing one's resignation is the perfect way to avoid attracting the attention of what few investigators remain in the national media.

My second theory is that everything she said about her reasons is true. This makes sense because Sarah Palin is completely fucking insane. It would require her to actually believe that every other politician who has served out their lame duck terms, from the Founding Fathers all the way through George W. Bush, were irresponsible assholes who didn't care about wasting taxpayer money on expensive lame-duck junkets. This is precisely the kind of batshit notion I would expect Sarah Palin to embrace.

My third theory is the least plausible, because it requires Palin to be less insane and less moronic than she has demonstrated. But it goes something like this. Sarah Palin doesn't need Alaska. She doesn't need to be in charge of anything. She has become "Sarah Palin", a fully developed Republican media creation. She can just go around, from one Republican fund-raising event to another like Adam West at an R.V. show. Nobody there will care that she's not the governor of anything anymore.

So why deal with the hassle of actually holding political office? It's just messy paperwork and even messier ethics rules. She can just keep being Sarah Palin, and the rubes will show up and cheer the same way they did in 2008. I mean, Joe The Plumber never had to hold down a real job, so why should she? What I like about this theory is that it doesn't actually involve her running for public office again. What I hate about this theory is that it means we'll never, ever stop seeing or hearing her.

There's still one huge unanswered question left by her speech, however, and if Republican office-holders could maybe get together and decide on an answer for this, I'd appreciate it. Is staying the difficult and courageous choice? Or is quitting? Because just last week, Mark Sanford was advised that resigning would be the easy way out, and that he should stay on and fight to redeem himself. But now Sarah Palin tells us:

"Life is too short to compromise time and resources... it may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: 'Sit down and shut up', but that's the worthless, easy path; that's a quitter's way out. And a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just hunker down and 'go with the flow'. Nah, only dead fish 'go with the flow'."

Ignoring, to the extent such a thing is possible, the forced folksy "dead fish" imagery that's why we beg Palin to sit down and shut up in the first place, according to her, the only way to avoid taking the "quitter's way out" is to quit. Are we supposed to assume that any action taken by a Republican politician is the brave one, no matter how little sense that makes? Oh, right, we are. Sorry, I'd spent a few days away from cable news and forgotten about that rule.

*And yes, technically, all Sanford resigned from was the governors' little circle-jerk club, but it still counts, dammit.

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