Sarah Palin’s decision to resign was surprise enough, but her speech evoked a meandering version of Richard Nixon’s famous, “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore,” delivered after he lost the 1962 race for California governor. Her fire was aimed at the press, enemies, opponents — but she still left the door open for another phase of her career.
The announcement on the eve of the holiday weekend left commentators scratching their heads, wondering whether she was giving up politics altogether for her family, or embarking on a much savvier plan to establish a tabloid-less national profile for 2012.
“Take the words of General MacArthur. He said, ‘We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”
She sounded exasperated as she flowed from one topic to another, from energy independence to the brutal attacks on her family.
“I am taking my fight for what is right, in Alaska, in a new direction.”
It left me wondering if, at the state level, there is still another shoe to drop, or if the wave of attention focused on her, from David Letterman to the recent Vanity Fair profile, were just too much.
Vanity Fair responded with a headline: “Don’t blame V.F. for Sarah Palin’s resignation.”
Palin’s biggest problem — from the view of D.C.’s GOP establishment — has been that she hasn’t made any major public effort to establish national policy credentials. Rather, in the eight months since the election, she’s been the subject of endless tabloid fodder and an ill-advised brouhaha with Letterman. While it has garnered her some support and sympathy, the feeling is that the onus is on her to establish a sense of trust that she is up to the task of governing.
I’m told Palin has no plans as of yet for a talk show gig — as has been speculated. Even before the election that Palin, if she decided not to seek reelection, there had been ust such speculation that she would go the talk show route, ala what Mike Huckabee has done on Fox. There even was some talk among producers and agents that she could make for a perfect daytime syndicated talk show host. While that would help her establish a platform of her own, free from interference of the mainstream media, the drawback is that the exposure would still make her tabloid fodder. Just ask anyone from “The View.”
Republicans are split. “I think Sarah Palin is on the verge of becoming the Miami Vice of
American politics: Something a lot of people once thought was cool and
then 20 years later look back, shake their heads and just kind of
laugh,” Republican media consultant Todd Harris quipped to Politico.
Paul Begala reviewed the text of the speech on the Palin website and said that, with its generous use of exclaimation points, it “had all the depth and gravitas of a 13-year-old’s review of the Jonas Brothers’ album on Facebook.”