A year ago, I hadn’t heard of Sarah Palin.
A year ago, I hadn’t thought of Alaska since, oh, the Clinton administration.
And then, one day, John McCain decided that he wanted Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, to be his Vice Presidential running mate.
I’ve written a number of things about Sarah Palin in the last year. I see no reason to recapitulate them here. Suffice it to say, my opinion of Governor Palin’s fitness for the Vice Presidency could be boiled down to three words — “No fucking way.”
Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic described Palin thusly earlier today: she “can only be called a pathological whack-job, unable to accept criticism and responding to it with pathetic untruths and diva-flame-outs and personal vendettas. This person could have been a heartbeat away from being president of the United States in a moment of economic crisis and national security peril. Her selection remains the most surreal moment in modern American political history. That she is a serious candidate to be the GOP nominee in 2012 is a sign of something very, very seriously wrong with the contemporary American right.”
I’m writing all this to document the moment. Palin tendered her resignation as Alaska’s governor today, effective the end of this month.
The reason? Your guess is as good as mine. Josh Marshall of Talkingpointsmemo suggests that “based on the public record, Palin is a wildly unethical public official, guilty at a minimum of numerous instances of abusing her authority as governor. And a lot of very damaging information has come out about her in the last few days — though mainly embarrassing information about her character rather than new evidence of bad acts. I would not be surprised if this latest round of revelations shook something else loose that we haven’t heard about yet.”
Those revelations, by the way, are documented in the new Vanity Fair, in an article entitled “It Came from Wasilla.”
Marshall writes later: “As with her speech itself, the tell is that the decision was apparently so rushed and sudden that there was not enough time to come up with a plausible cover story or to get out the word about what it was. It looks like a duck and quacks like a duck. Either Palin is resigning ahead of some titanic scandal (which should emerge in short order if it exists) or her resignation was triggered by an even more extreme mental instability than we’d previously suspected.” It could be a Federal indictment over embezzlement and kickbacks.
Unfortunately, I think we’re going to have Sarah Palin to kick around for three more years. Yes, she’s probably as crooked as the day is long. Yes, it’s absolutely baffling that she would resign her governorship, which damages her claim to executive experience in a national Presidential run. But she has one thing going for her; she’s unlikely to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
To quote the Vanity Fair article, she “is at once the sexiest and the riskiest brand in the Republican Party.” She’ll be working Iowa in two years.
But for the moment, anyway, she’s leaving the spotlight.