04 July, 2009

More On Sarah

First, it’s worthwhile pointing out that the let-wing blogs are abuzz with speculation that there’s an embezzlement scandal brewing related to Governor Sarah Plain’s (R-AK) time as Wasilla’s Mayor and a company called Spenard Building Supplies.

There’s very little information on this and quite a bit of uninformed speculation, but there’s some information here. At this point in time, there’s nothing about this on any reliable news source. There’s not even anything on the talk page on her Wikipedia entry. So, we’ll classify this as RUMOR for now.

Second, the last election cycle showed us (unfortunately) that the Presidential election cycle is no longer just one year. It’s two. Or more. Now, the office turnover in AK is in December, so if she stayed through her term, she’d be there through the end of 2010. But, given the way she likes to do things, it’s apparent that she wouldn’t even start the political machinery moving until then. That may be too late to start in the next election cycle. Particularly if you’re way out in the middle of nowhere in Juneau, AK, and disliked by the party elite.

She may have well seen this as the best way to begin her campaign for higher office. She mentioned “unconventional” and “no politics as usual” several times in her speech. Politics as usual and convention is to continue holding and not doing the job you’re holding while running for your next job.

And that’s the easy and simple response to anyone who calls her a “quitter”.

If, running for higher office is, in fact, what she’s doing, and not resigning due to a scandal.

UPDATE: Statement from her lawyer on the “SBS scandal”

Almost immediately afterwards, several unscrupulous people have asserted false and defamatory allegations that the “real” reasons for Governor Palin’s resignation stem from an alleged criminal investigation pertaining to the construction of the Wasilla Sports Complex. This canard was first floated by Democrat operatives in September 2008 during the national campaign and followed up by sympathetic Democratic writers.1. It was easily rebutted then as one of many fabrications about Sarah Palin. Just as power abhors a vacuum, modern journalism apparently abhors any type of due diligence and fact checking before scurrilous allegations are repeated as fact

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE II: I saw this first thing this morning, but didn’t have a chance to do anything about it. The story now appears in a reliable source. The LA Times, that well known conservative outlet, has an article saying there’s no truth to the rumors.

[T]he FBI’s Alaska spokesman said the bureau had no investigation into Palin for her activities as governor, as mayor or in any other capacity.

“There is absolutely no truth to those rumors that we’re investigating her or getting ready to indict her,” Special Agent Eric Gonzalez said in a phone interview Saturday. “It’s just not true.” He added that there was “no wiggle room” in his comments for any kind of inquiry.

Ok, that’s that. Not that I’m saying there’s no shoe about to drop, but I think we can put that particular “scandal” to bed.

What’s Up With Sarah?

Since this blog has been unabashed in its support for Governor Palin (R-AK), it seems necessary to comment upon her surprise announcement yesterday that not only is she not seeking re-election as Alaska’s Governor next year, she is in fact, stepping down at the end of the month.

Her press conference gave few clues as to the reason. So, what does this mean?

Well, if it were any other politician, I would say one of the following (in descending order of probability):

  1. There’s a big scandal that’s about to make headlines, and she knows it.
  2. There’s a problem with the family, i.e. someone is very sick, someone’s been severely wounded, someone’s pregnant, someone has marital issues.
  3. She’s had enough.

But, Mrs. Palin is not “any other politician”, so we need to at least consider other possibilities.

First, let’s look at what little she did say in her announcement:

Once I decided not to run for re-election, I also felt that to embrace the conventional Lame Duck status in this particular climate would just be another dose of politics as usual, something I campaigned against and will always oppose

Well, that is certainly true. she has always fought “politics as usual”, something the current occupant of the White House campaigned on, but has embraced enthusiastically.

In fact, Adam Brickley takes a look at taking her at her word. He thinks she’s trying to save her pipeline project and other reforms from the Alaaska Republican Party.

However, by resigning now, Palin installs Sean Parnell as an incumbent before the 2010 primary. So, instead of fighting off a strong "CBC" (Corrupt Bastards Club, or “Good Ole Boy Network”) challenger, Parnell will have a much clearer shot at keeping the office in Palinite hands for another four (or possibly eight) years. Sarah Palin did not give up on her reforms today - she institutionalized them, Now, they will not leave office with her, but rather continue under Gov. Parnell.

Well, that also fits what we know about her. She loathes the Good Ole Boys Networks, and will do whatever she can to hurt them. She doesn’t care whether it’s Republican or Democrat. She wants no part of it. She’s also extremely passionate about the pipeline, and the CBC hates it. This does allow Parnell to campaign next year as the incumbent, and not just as her “hand picked successor” (which he most certainly would have been).

Some people say that she’s setting herself for a Presidential run, but not in 2012, but 2016 or 2020. Supposedly Charles Krauthammer is in this group, but I can’t find a link to support that. Well, apologies to Mr. Geraghty and Mr. Krauthammer, but you’re being stupid. If she’s setting up for something long-term, there’s no need to resign.

Her brother was interviewed on FNC yesterday (sorry, no link), and said that Palin and her staff have been spending almost 80% of their time fending off frivolous ethics complaints, and he implied that she stepped aside so the government of Alaska could go back to governing Alaskans, instead of deciding whether bringing Trig along on a trip makes it a “persona'” trip, not a “business” one.

Some say she is going to run for President in 2012, and this is the first step. Of course, many of those say that this is the dumbest first step possible. Nate Silver, for example:

But can someone who may forever be branded as a "quitter" become Commander in Chief? There's almost no way. I can't think of someone who has done something comparable to what Palin did today running for national office, let alone winning it. In her critics' imaginations, she's gone from being Dan Quayle to some permutation of Thomas Eagleton.

and even more stupidly:

A fourth theory, I guess, is that she's running for Senate, but that doesn't make any sense at all. Why would she need to leave office to do that? And could she really beat Lisa Murkowski? My guess is that, after today, Palin would not only lose the primary to Murkowski but might do so by an embarrassing margin.

Nate’s an ok guy, I guess, although his political views are obscene. But he really should stick to what he does best, number crunching. When he starts attempting political analysis, he makes himself look like a fool.

Regardless of the events of yesterday, if there’s no scandal attached, Sarah Palin can win whatever political office in Alaska she desires. Easily.

There will be those that will attempt to brand her as a “quitter”, but let’s face it, those people would’ve never voted for her in the first place, and, if she’d been campaigning while Governor, would’ve been complaining about her ignoring her state, or wondering if the Alaskan taxpayers are paying for her campaign junkets, etc.

In fact, she has a ready-made response to the “quitter” claim, that has great soundbite potential and works well as a zinger in a debate.

“Once I decided to explore my options for higher office, I knew I’d be doing a disservice to Alaskans unless I stepped aside. They deserve my full time attention, not whatever attention I can spare from the campaign. How many votes have you missed this year, Senator?”

(Then Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) missed 80% of Senate votes during his campaign—how well were his constituents served?)

In fact, she is now free to go on her book tour, make political speeches, even expand her grassroots support, find other candidates of like mind and support them for Congress in 2010. In fact, Bill Quick makes that very suggestion.

Set out to remake the GOP in her image. This means identifying strong conservative candidates for both the House and the Senate, then supporting them with fundraisers, public appearances, the expertise of her team, and clout with the party itself in both the primaries and the general election

I’m not sure how doable that is without completely exhausting oneself, but it’s a possibility, certainly. It’s evident that she has felt for some time that she couldn’t participate on the national stage and be Alaska’s Governor. Remember the big NRSC/NRCC fundraiser in June for which she was giong to be the keynote speaker? And then wasn’t going to be? And then was? And then wasn’t? She informed the Congressional Republicans that she needed to attend to her Alaskan duties and could not commit to being there until after the legislative session was over (it ended in mid-April). Properly, she was committed to her state, but obviously wanted to have a national voice.

So, what’s the total list now?

Mickey Kaus has 14 possibilities as of this moment:

I can see 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Palin theories ... and counting: 1) She's running for president; 2) She's undergoing fame withdrawal and plans to get more attention in the lower 48; 3) She wants to cash in ($); 4) There's another shoe about to drop; 5) She'll now run against Murkowski for Senate. 6) She needs to tend to her family. 7) She's bonkers. 8) She's preggers. 9) She wants to "effect positive change outside government at this point in time on another scale and actually make a difference for our priorities." 10) Actually being a governor in a recession is no fun. Gives you ulcers. 11) She worried she wasn't giving "Alaska's issues" the attention they deserve, and was being criticized for that; 12) She's "fed up with politics ... the personal garbage" etc.. 13) She wants to fight back without one hand tied behind her back. 14) The Alaska legislature now hates her; ... These theories are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

I have no idea which one it is. Because she’s a politician, typical or not, smart money is on scandal or family issue (but after 15 dismissed ethics charges, what new scandal could there be?). Next best bet is this is the first step in forming an exploratory committee to run for President in 2012.

Whatever it is, this blog definitely offers its prayers and hopes for her and her family. Would i vote for her in 2012? Wow, that’s a long way off. I can’t answer that. I know for a fact that I’ll never vote for Mitt Romney though. I’m tired of voting for pseudo-conservatives. John McCain was my last.