Thursday, July 9, 2009

When the Sledding Got Tough…Sarah Palin Quits


Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III

On July 3rd the democratically elected governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin announced that she will not seek re-election as Governor. Effective July 26th, she will “transfer the authority of governor to Lieutenant Governor Parnell.” Governor Palin is resigning. The woman who tried to convince all of America that she was capable of being just one heart beat away from being the leader of the free world has thrown in the towel. It’s one thing to decide that you will not seek re-election; it’s another to “transfer authority” before the end of your first term. Eighteen months before the end of her first term, the sledding began to get tough and the “musher” quit!

During her acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Governor Palin tried to belittle then Democratic Party nominee, Senator Obama’s work as a community organizer by saying, “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities.” Apparently, those “actual responsibilities” are no longer relevant. If she is unable to persevere and deliver on her commitment to her constituents in Alaska, how can she be expected to, as she said, “work hard for others who still believe in free enterprise and smaller government; strong national security for our country and support for our troops; energy independence; and for those who will protect freedom and equality and life...?” The hypocrisy is nauseating.

Governor Palin has left pundits and analysts befuddled. Some believe that she has resigned in anticipation of a federal investigation into her misappropriating state funds to construct her home. Her father, Chuck Heath, thinks her resignation was due to the negativity from the media. Others believe that she is positioning herself for a run for the White House in 2012.

What ever the reason or reasons, it has nothing to do with as she claims, “the State has wasted thousands of hours of your time and shelled out some two million of your dollars to respond to "opposition research"… Some Alaskans don't mind wasting public dollars and state time. I do. I cannot stand here as your Governor and allow millions upon millions of our dollars go to waste just so I can hold the title of Governor…” If saving the taxpayers of Alaska money was her primary concern, Governor Palin would not have as reported by the Huffington Post, been required “to pay back income taxes on thousands of dollars in expense money she received for meals while living at her home overlooking Lake Lucille in Wasilla.” She was also forced to reimburse the State of Alaska more than $8,100.00 for nine trips taken by her children that she had improperly charged as being part of official state business. All of this spin is making me dizzy.

How does an elected official become a “lame-duck” in the middle of their first term when they are eligible for re-election? Governor Palin said during her press conference, “I thought about how much fun some governors have as lame ducks...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". Well, if you are, “not wired to operate under the same old "politics as usual" then don’t! In stead of “milking it”, you “promised efficiencies and effectiveness!” Don’t quit in the middle of your first term; be efficient and effective, at least until the end of your term.

This is not really that hard to figure out. By her own words, she has quit because it has become crystal clear to her that her record will catch up with her; she would not be re-elected, thereby damaging her chances for higher national office.

There’s really nothing new here. Quitting is not “unconventional,” other politicians have quit recently. Governor Palin is not above "politics as usual," unfortunately, this is becoming all too common.

What’s really interesting is what this says about those who endorsed Governor Palin as she ran with Senator McCain (R-AZ) for the Republican nomination. What did they miss? How clear was their judgment? Did she have them fooled or did they really see through her and just for the sake of party loyalty, try to fool the rest of America? Really, where would America be after eight years of the Bush administration with a Vice President Palin?

During the 2008 campaign, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said of McCain’s selection of his running mate, she is "the right persona for what [McCain] want[s] to do" and "a compelling story." When asked about her teen daughter's pregnancy, her husband's DUI, and her ancient fishing violation, graham said, “Her story in many ways reflects modern America, and I'm thinking that's going to help us--warts and all." Well Senator, with help like this… Political operative Karl Rove said, “This is a positive thing for McCain. It's a bold move, but it's also a smart political move.” Pat Toomey of Club for Growth called Palin “a reformer unafraid to take on the establishment…She is a principled reformer who understands how badly wasteful spending has marred the Republican brand.” Focus on the Family’s James Dobson said, “Sen. McCain’s selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is an outstanding choice that should be extremely reassuring to the conservative base of his party,” said Dobson in a statement. “She is a strong executive who hates corruption and puts principle above politics. How can America trust the statements and analysis of individuals who will obviously say anything for political advantage?

The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol calls her resignation, “…an enormous gamble but it could be a potentially "shrewd" one.” Fred Barns says after saying she’s done in 2012, “…I say this reluctantly because Palin, in my view, is the most exciting Republican figure to emerge in decades...” Where does the rhetoric end and the reality begin?

Governor Palin released a statement saying, “How sad that Washington and the media will never understand; it's about country…" Honestly, it’s never been about country; it’s always been about her. If Governor Palin will quit on the good people of Alaska, she’ll quit on America as well.

Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program “On With Leon,” and a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Go to or email:

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