Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin’s recent resignation is mind boggling to say the least. Every sign since she stumbled onto the national scene last fall indicated that she was gearing up for a 2012 presidential run. If there was a modern day political truism, it was that Sarah had her heart set on making Todd Palin the first ‘first gentleman’. Her resignation has thrown every understanding of her into a tailspin.
One possibility is that she is simply fed up. The daily stresses that she and her family go through could have reached a breaking point. Whether it was her ethics issues in Alaska, the constant haranguing from the media, her daughter’s pregnancy, or any other of the many issues, the private life may have simply become the priority. While this is seemingly the only ‘logical’ explanation it does not jive with her expressed and highly visible desire for the presidency. It also does not mesh with the fact that she refuses to rule out a presidential run.
However, the converse is equally implausible. If she does plan on running for president, resigning from the governorship is about the most bone-headed thing she can do. It is one thing to choose not to run for reelection in order to focus on an election campaign. Many governors, including Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty, have done this. It is quite another thing to quit a lame-duck position. The bottom line is that such a move is a surefire way to sink a potential campaign. It shows she lacks commitment and drive, and has her priorities out of sorts.
Regardless of what the motivation for her resignation was, it is reasonably safe to say that Palin’s political future looks dim. While we may not have seen the last of her, her position is severely diminished. This is a most fortunate event for the Republican Party. Palin was the biggest mistake of McCain’s campaign, ultimately costing him the election. While her anti-intellectualism and populism may stir a small, but vocal, part of the base; she is unappealing to many in the traditional Republican base [fiscal conservatives, security conservatives, etc.] and certainly to the independents that are needed to elect a Republican president.
The flirtation with the Palin wing of the party has done more than enough damage to the image and platform of the Republican Party. Her imminent demise is nothing short of a blessing to free us from her anti-intellectual shackles. Hopefully the GOP leadership will realize that the party must return to the big-tent party of Reagan. While many ‘Palinites’ talk in Reaganesque terms, the party is becoming the antithesis of what Reagan built. With Palin (hopefully) removed from the limelight, the party will be able to correct its image, develop new leadership, and reassert its position as the intellectual and policy leader of America.