“Palin-etics”: The Hobby of Palin-watching

Wow.  I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since I wrote an article on Sarah Palin- (September’s Impresaria or Imposter?) and, now surprisingly she’s back in the news cycle with a vengeance  with her same “caribou in the headlights” antics.  conference

When Palin resigned from gubernatorial office on the holiday weekend, pundits and common folk alike pondered what exactly was going on with the former Republican VP candidate.  On both sides of the aisle, some saw her resignation as evidence of further ethics scandals about to break, others of her natural reaction to the harsh media and legal spotlight (the same one that faces all high-profile public servants, by the way), and still others remarkably viewed it either as her “complete genius” or “utter folly” in giving herself ample time to ramp up for a 2012 presidential bid.

Personally,  I have absolutely NO IDEA what the woman’s thinking.  Of course—having listened to her rambling, unscripted press conference—I don’t think she does either.

I do know this, however: you can’t be a fighter and a quitter at the same time.  The rules of logic just won’t abide it; it’s called an “oxymoron.”  Or, if you prefer plain old English, I’ll use a fishing metaphor (the kind Palin’s so fond of): “one either needs to fish or cut bait.”

Once again, as in my previous article, I will not go as far as the writer Judith Warner did last year and feel sorry for Palin.  But, I will say again concede that balancing motherhood and working is not, and never has been easy.  Again, I can speak from personal experience in that arena, but without the added complications of raising a special-needs child or the national scrutiny that Sarah Palin grapples with.  I can’t even imagine her life, but then again, I wouldn’t have signed up for her career path.

Let’s be clear: Sarah Palin is no victim; to say so would be sexist and condescending.  She is a savvy-enough operator to know what she was getting into. And, as Rachel Maddow astutely pointed out on her show last night, Palin is circumspect enough to try to control the media-spin surrounding her resignation and use it to focus attention on (what she sees as) the issue of ethics scandals as a hindrance to her public service.  As Maddow noted, Palin’s gripe with the system is a far cry from a selfless attempt to improve our government, but functions more as a referendum on whether political constituents have the right to call their leaders into account for veering into questionable behavior.  Here, Palin appears to be a political trailblazer—the “maverick maven” in full swing.  I can’t think of a single American, other than Palin, who would argue that this type of non-accountability is what we need to see on Wall Street, Main Street or Pennsylvania Avenue.

Though a few people— William Kristol especially comes to mind—are still smitten with Palin and her chutzpah, I don’t think her lack of regard for due process and—more importantly—her shunning of the responsibility to serve her constituents for a full term outweigh any personal drama.  She should remember that she was not drafted for her office, she ran for it and won an election to achieve it.  The onus then fell upon her and her alone to fulfill her promises and her obligations.

She may call herself a feminist (at least when she’s not in Katie Couric’s company), but it’s hard not to feel that she’s giving a bad name to the rest of us working moms who try hard every day to keep it together—no matter which way the wind blows.

In the end, I’m just thankful that  she didn’t make it to the White House where the current simmering issues—foreign and domestic—make the pressures she’s walking away from (as Alaska’s governor) look like child’s play.

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