Saturday, July 11, 2009

Posted By Bobby Eberle On July 6, 2009 at 7:26 am

Wow! So much for a calm, relaxing 4th of July weekend. Just when everyone thought that the only news that would be covered this past weekend was something on Michael Jackson, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin stepped forward and dropped a bombshell. I guess she wanted to get the fireworks started a little early.

On Friday, Palin announced that she would not seek reelection as governor. Her current term to which she was elected in 2006 expires at the end of 2010. However, she didn't stop there. In addition, she said at her press conference that she would resign her position as governor by the end of the month. This has left a host of both fans and critics wondering, "What is she thinking?"

In her speech from her home in Alaska on Friday, Palin said that serving Alaska is the greatest honor she could imagine and went on to list a number of accomplishments in her administration. Palin then moved on to talk about how life changed since being asked by Sen. John McCain to be her running mate. She spoke about the media descending down upon Alaska is search of dirt and controversy.

Palin then said it would be a "quitters path" to go with the flow and continue to fight the "politics as usual" that is now happening in Alaska. She noted that "only dead fish go with the flow." This is when she announced that she was quitting her job as governor.

"And so as I thought about this announcement that I wouldn’t run for re-election and what it means for Alaska, I thought about how much fun some governors have as lame ducks… travel around the state, to the Lower 48 (maybe), overseas on international trade – as so many politicians do. And then I thought – that’s what’s wrong – many just accept that lame duck status, hit the road, draw the paycheck, and “milk it”. I’m not putting Alaska through that – I promised efficiencies and effectiveness! That’s not how I am wired. I am not wired to operate under the same old “politics as usual.” I promised that four years ago – and I meant it."

Milk it? Don't some lame duck governors actually get things done? Is there no meaningful legislation ever passed once a governor decides not to run for reelection?

"Let me go back to a comfortable analogy for me – sports… basketball. I use it because you’re na├»ve if you don’t see the national full-court press picking away right now: A good point guard drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her eye on the basket… and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can win. And I’m doing that – keeping our eye on the ball that represents sound priorities – smaller government, energy independence, national security, freedom! And I know when it’s time to pass the ball – for victory."

I don't think the people of Alaska, who voted for her to be governor of their state, voted for her so that she could "pass the ball." The voted for her so that she could be governor.

I'm sure many people out there have opinions on what she is doing and why she did it. If she has her eye on the White House in 2012, this is surely the start of her plans. However, from working in politics and the media for a long time, here are some items that are certainly apparent.

First, the reason she is in the spotlight is not because she is governor of Alaska. It is because she is a national figure and considered to be a presidential contender in 2012. Quitting her job as governor will do nothing to take her out of the spotlight.

Second, if she truly wants to be out of the spotlight and stop the media from attacking her, all she has to do is announce that she will not run for president in 2012. She could go right on being governor, and the media would stop caring.

Instead, with her announcement, the media scrutiny will continue AND she has the additional mark on her record of quitting her job.

I know there are many people out there who think that every move that Palin makes is the right move. That anything she says is the right thing. I'm not one of those people. As with any public figure, I will give you the straight analysis to the best of my ability.

There is no doubt that Palin energized the conservative base. Her down-home, folksy style was a breath of fresh air to the stale political rhetoric. Those who know me and know my blue collar upbringing know that my approach is similar. You have to be able to relate to hardworking Americans before they will listen to your positions. However, you can only go so long being folksy about being folksy. Sooner or later you have to be folksy about the issues, and Palin will need to talk about the issues. As a presidential candidate, there is no rock to hide under.

In addition, though some may analyze this move as "brilliant" in her race for the White House, the fact remains that she is quitting her job as governor. She was elected to a four-year term, and she is quitting... not being promoted to a higher office, but simply quitting. I find this to be very unprofessional. She could finish her term as governor and still have plenty of time to travel around the country campaigning for president. It's not like she is unknown to anyone any more.

Whether the move turns out to be a good one for her political future remains to be seen, and I'm interested to hear your comments on her actions. For me, the quitter label is going to be hard to shake. What happens if she were president? Do you think she'd face "politics as usual?" If so, would she quit then too?

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Like everyone else, I'm wondering just what is going through Governor Palin's mind. I'm sure if we knew everything she does, we'd understand. But, we don't and have no way of knowing.

I've made decisions based on my own personal reasons which certainly didn't make sense to others at the time. Sometimes I shared my reasoning, sometimes I didn't. I shared on a need to know basis. As with Governor Palin and her reasons for making the decision to step down, it really wasn't anyone else's business, so I shared what I felt they needed to know. Some got more information; others not so much.

There has been a lot of speculation that something else is coming down the road that will take her out of office anyway, so she's stepping down while on top. Maybe there's a health issue that hasn't been disclosed. That would sort of go along with the "best for the family" reason. Maybe future political aspirations. Stepping down from the Governor's office seems to be a step away from politics, not toward a future in even higher levels. In any case, time will tell.

The upshot is that it really isn't any of our business. It's her decision, made with apparent input from her family, and effects (affects?) only her family and Alaska.

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