Perhaps only a bona-fide political blockbuster could stem the tide of non-stop Michael Jackson coverage.
That’s exactly what occurred when a Republican governor not named Mark “My mistress is my soul mate” Sanford decided to make some news.
That politician would be soon-to-be former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin who, after serving only two years of a first term, announced her resignation from office on July 3. Her last official day as governor is July 27.
For a politician presumed to be eyeing a presidential run in 2012, this abrupt decision and timing of the announcement comes across like she’s stepping down from a sales associate job at Sears or something. What an alarming lack of regard for her constituents.
At her hastily-scheduled press conference to announce her resignation, Palin – speaking in her usual free-wheeling, improvisational style – compared herself to a “point guard” who has decided “to pass the ball” rather than take the shot. That’s actually an apt analogy, given that her shooting percentage as a national candidate would rank her near the bottom of the league.
Since becoming John McCain’s vice presidential running mate in 2008, we know more about Palin’s war of words with David Letterman than we do of her legislative record, which was pretty thin to begin with. Back to her “hoops” analogy: when you’ve gone cold from the field you can either keep taking shots that clang off the backboard or pass the ball to a better shooter.
I think that is what she has decided to do.
Because she is the most talked about figure in the Republican Party, her actions have overshadowed those of her political teammates, like former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. But the party needs an all-star – a player to rebuild the franchise around.
Palin is currently strapped for cash – to the tune of a $500,000 – debt due to legal costs from an ethics investigation of her dealings in Alaska. But she already has a book deal, and could possibly help campaign and raise money for Republican candidates in the 2010 midterm election. She may even choose to do a television show.
The bottom line is: Palin has more to gain by stepping away from her governorship than she does staying in office. She is still a mother of five, including a special needs child. And although I believe she has used her family to bolster her “soccer-mom” image, I think her family would benefit with her out of the limelight for awhile.
I have been very critical of Palin for many reasons previously stated in past columns, but I cannot deny that she is the most fascinating political figure on the national stage outside of President Barack Obama.
I would like to see what Sarah Palin can do with solid political advisers behind her, a freshening up of national issues, and a universal political rallying cry that does not involve drilling for oil. Perhaps she could become the advocate for special needs children that she spoke about during the campaign. If she steps away, puts those pieces in place and readies herself for 2012, there’s no doubt she would be a formidable adversary for President Obama.
If she works towards reinvention, can she still have an impact on politics?