Posted by: mutantpoodle | July 5, 2009

The Unraveling

Well, THAT made for an interesting weekend.

If you haven’t watched all 18 minutes of Sarah Palin’s hastily assembled press announcement, take a gander. (Part 1 is above, part 2 is here.) In her rambling incoherence, Palin simultaneously confirms the biases of those who both support her and oppose her.

Those of us who think her an incurious lightweight far out of her depth can point to the lack of a cogent argument – or even thought – in her announcement, which she recited with greater speed and shallower breaths as it went on.

On the other hand, those who worship the words she butchers with casual indifference can point to almost any snippet of her speech as a noble reason for her resignation. One right-winger sent me this indignant tweet: “U haven’t heard last of Sarah Palin. She left post to save taxpayer $. Abbt time SOMEONE shows fiscal responsiblity.”

Which is true – Sarah Palin isn’t going away, even if it’s ridiculous to think she did it to save Alaska money.

Bill Kristol, who still can’t get both hands above the desk when talking about Governor Palin, has decided, after careful thought, that this is a brilliant masterstroke. Here on planet Earth, most everyone else is dumbfounded.

My deep thought is this: just because Palin’s resignation may be an idiotic way to prepare for a 2012 Presidential run doesn’t mean that’s not why she’s doing it.

But even though I don’t speak Palin, I don’t actually think that’s what’s behind this.

Palin was coming off an extended feud with David Letterman, who told a horrendous joke about her daughter (doesn’t matter that he thought it was Bristol – he was way out of line) and a not very flattering piece in Vanity Fair. In addition, the bad economy and Alaska politics mad taken some of the luster off of her year-old popularity in Alaska. Thrust into the spotlight with little warning and no preparation (a disservice to her and his country by John McCain), she chose to remain in the spotlight after her defeat in November. And that spotlight is often unkind.

That wouldn’t be such a problem if Palin weren’t so remarkably thin-skinned in a profession where a rhinoceros hide is a genetic advantage. Which leads me to my take: Palin has just had it. She’s angry and frustrated, and while she used to be able to charm her way to success, now she has to work for it against people who play hardball. And while she likes to throw the high heat, she clearly doesn’t like the chin music coming her way.

Now, it is possible she thinks this better positions her for 2012, framed (as she prefers) as a noble sacrifice for the people of Alaska.

I never thought Palin capable of the discipline required to survive the primary gauntlet, and now that she’ll get asked over and over, whether – if elected – she can promise to finish her first term as President, I’d put her odds of getting the GOP nomination at slightly worse than mine.

Then, yesterday, Sarah Palin’s strange path got a whole lot stranger. That’s when Thomas van Flein, Palin’s attorney, threatened to sue anyone who repeated allegations that Palin had embezzled funds from the construction of Wasilla’s sports arena. From Politico’s story on the letter:

“This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law,” Van Flein warned, citing Alaska liberal blogger Shannyn Moore….

Neither the Times or the Post made any mention of the embezzlement rumors in their Saturday editions, but sources close to Palin consider the letter a warning shot to stay away from the topic.

Well, I’m sure THAT will scare ’em.

Look – I don’t know if Palin skimmed money from the sports arena construction, or got favorable treatment when she remodeled her Wasilla home. I do, however, know that she either is the most politically tone deaf individual ever considered a major player in either party, and/or she is advised by the council of political imbeciles.

First, no sane human thinks Palin’s resignation helps her. Karl Rove, who calls the GOP battles fairly straight, doesn’t think it helps her. And potential 2012 rival Mike Huckabee is now wondering if Palin can handle the pressure of a presidential campaign. (Pencils down. Of course she can’t – she can’t handle the pressure of a late night comedian and an Alaskan blogger.)

Second, Palin’s attorney just hung a side of beef in front of the press. Whoever wasn’t looking into Palin improprieties before will start looking tomorrow. Oh – and Tommy? The Washington Post and The New York Times have legal interns who know more about defamation case law than you apparently do.

Watching Palin Friday, I was reminded of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Holding Reese Witherspoon’s perfumed pink resume, Victor Garber’s Professor Callahan turns to Luke Wilson (as Emmett) and asks him, “Do you think she woke up one morning and said: I think I’ll go to law school today?” Palin has the bearing of someone who decided (given an opening by an incredibly irresponsible John McCain) to just be a national political figure, with no idea what that entailed. And now she’s learning, and she doesn’t like it.

Too bad. And while I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of Sarah Palin in the future, I’m now certain she will never be President.

For which I offer the thanks of a grateful nation.

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