Monday, July 6, 2009

Weekly Opinion/Editorial

Governor Sarah Palin, (R-AK) resigned her office on Friday. The announcement stunned the political world. Palin said she had decided she was not going to seek re-election in 2010 and she didn’t want to be a “lame duck” Governor. "Many just accept that lame duck status, and they hit that road," Palin said. "They draw a paycheck. They kind of milk it. And I'm not going to put Alaskans through that." But “lame ducks” still have authority and govern, so why did Palin, the 2008 GOP Vice Presidential nominee, resign as Governor?

Critics say she quit because there have been no less than fifteen ethics complaints brought against her in Alaska. But what they will not tell you is that all but two were dismissed with no findings of wrongdoing, so it’s not likely Sarah quit due to ethical issues.

Others say it’s because the media was so tough on Palin, 45, and her family. No public figure, in recent memory, has endured more mean spirited attacks than Palin. Palin and her family have been a frequent target of TV late show hosts and the mainstream media. Just last week in Vanity Fair, “unnamed campaign aides” (aka non-existent sources or cowards) said that Palin was not really prepared for the presidency. The article also implied that Palin’s success was due primarily to her looks.

The Vanity Fair article took a shot at Palin for creating a PAC –Sarahpac-with the help of John Coale, a prominent Democratic trial lawyer. It failed to mention that Coale is married to Greta Van Susteren of Fox and a consistent supporter of conservative causes. The current head of Palin’s PAC is Pam Pryor, former Chief of Staff for J.C. Watts. Pryor said the group saw an up tick in contributions Friday afternoon after the Governor made her announcement. In spite of all the media criticism and trash talking, that doesn’t appear to be the reason Palin resigned.

Some speculate Palin may be gearing up for a 2012 run at the GOP nomination and statements made by her staff and others indicate that may be true. Palin's spokesman, David Murrow, said, "She's looking forward to serving the public outside the governor's chair." Senator John McCain, (R-AZ) said, "I have the greatest respect and affection for Sarah, Todd, and their family. I was deeply honored to have her as my running mate and believe she will continue to play an important leadership role in the Republican Party and our nation." Some believe Palin resigned to run for the US House or Senate from Alaska, but whatever Sarah’s motive for resigning, it was the wrong decision for two reasons.

First, Palin was elected by the people of her state to serve for four years. When she bailed out at two and one half years, she revealed a character flaw that leaders cannot have. Elected officials must not quit mid term for their comfort or convenience. They should serve out their complete term with no time off for good behavior. Quitting is not a trait that is compatible with leadership. In his most famous speech, Sir Winston Churchill said, “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” Palin should not have quit no matter how low her poll numbers dropped or how unpopular her positions were. Leadership requires tenacity and perseverance. Palin has portrayed herself as a Pit bull in lipstick, but her resignation makes her look more like a scared Chihuahua in blush.

Second, Palin needs more governing experience. Granted, being a small town Mayor and the Governor of the largest geographic state in union gives her more experience than the current occupant of the oval office. But honestly, neither of them have the experience necessary to do a good job. Palin gave up a great opportunity to gain that experience under tough circumstances by remaining “lame duck” Governor of Alaska. To give up the opportunity to learn, perform and grow as a leader reveals selfishness and a deficiency in Palin’s character not apparent before.

Only one American president, Richard Nixon, resigned while in office and that was under a cloud of scandal. We don’t need leaders who have learned to quit. Vince Lombardi said, “once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.”

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