The Palin Resignation: Meta-Working Mom or Quitter?
by Meredith O’Brien
Sarah Palin is, as Time Magazine’s Nancy Gibbs said, “a Technicolor Rorschach test.” What you think about her depends largely upon from which perspective you see the world.
If you’re a liberal Democrat, she’s an abomination, from her positions on public policies, to the perception that the only reason she was picked as John McCain’s “maverick” running mate was because she’s got mega sex appeal. If you’re a conservative Republican, you might like her small government approach, along with her gun-totin’-lipsticked-hockey-mom attitude and quirky, winking “you betcha” anti-elitist style. People who are of the mind that a mom with a young child (or children) should be at home with them, think she abdicated her role as mother by accepting McCain’s offer to crisscross the country campaigning. (It should be noted that the male candidates with small kids and/or a baby at home didn’t find their paternal competency questioned.) Journalists and political pundits remain appalled at how she flounders during interviews and how she rambles during public appearances, all of which were satirized with aplomb by Tina Fey.
So when this woman stunned everyone by calling it quits after two-and-a-half years as Alaska’s governor in order to pursue an ambiguous future, the reaction to her decision was all over the map depending on the prism through which people perceive her and why they think she’s leaving.
Palin defenders have been trying to make the case that this is a genius move which will enable her to rebuild her tarnished image and freely travel in the lower 48 states without sparking more ethics investigations and scrutiny. (Palin cited the distraction of the more than a dozen ethics investigations of her in Alaska -- which she said cost the state $2 million and her family $500,000 -- as the chief reason for her resignation.) One conservative commentator likened her resignation to a potentially savvy chess maneuver, the first one in the 2012 GOP presidential race.
Palin haters, however, don’t buy her I’m-sparing-the-state-from-more-ethics-investigations-and-distractions line, call her reasons bogus and add that she’s nuts if she thinks she can run for president after quitting halfway through her term. They emphasize the oddities in her July 3 speech, including the bit about how only dead fish “go with the flow.” Pragmatic Republican party folks, who now see her as a GOP-damaging loose cannon, have been secretly (or not so secretly) cheering her departure from the scene.