The Inscrutable Sarah Palin

In the wake of Sarah Palin’s abrupt resignation announcement last week, I have been trying mightily to avoid all of the speculating, bloviating, and predicting about what it all mean because, frankly, nothing about her meteoric rise or her subsequent erratic behavior has ever made any sense to me. 

I vividly recall staring at the television last year on the day that John McCain plucked her for obscurity by naming her his running mate, slack-jawed and wondering what on earth was going on.  And I had exactly the same reaction last week when she announced that she was resigning.

But even by low standards by which Palin is normally judged, her incoherent explanation of her decision has only become more confusing in the ensuing days, particularly her insistence that even though she was leaving her post with a year left in her term, she was not quitting.  In fact, she went so far as to claim that staying in the job to which she was elected was itself a form of quitting:

Life is too short to compromise time and resources… it may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: “Sit down and shut up”, but that’s the worthless, easy path; that’s a quitter’s way out. And a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just hunker down and “go with the flow” … 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.

Considering that this makes no sense whatsoever, it is not surprising that just about every commentator has pointed out that this explanation makes no sense and so Palin, in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, sought to explain it yet again while, of course, portraying herself as a victim of some nefarious double-standard:

Palin responded Monday by saying there’s a double standard. She brought up the fact [Lisa] Murkowski left the Legislature when her father, then-governor Frank Murkowski, appointed her to the U.S. Senate seat he gave up to become governor.

“The double standard that’s applied here is a bit perplexing. … Didn’t Lisa Murkowski leave office to go take her dad’s seat? (Govs.) Huntsman left, Napolitano just left … ,” Palin said, referring to governors who took positions in President Obama’s administration.

Indeed, but there is a pretty obvious difference:  Lisa Murkowski left to become a US Senator; Jon Hunstman left to become the US Ambassador to China: and Janet Napolitano left to become the Secretary of Department of Homeland Security.

They didn’t just leave – they resigned their positions to take higher-ranking positions.  Palin, on the other hand, just left. 

Is it possible that she really doesn’t understand this rather obvious and important difference? 

I have to say that, with this announcement, Palin’s career has now come full-circle, at least to my mind:  I didn’t understand what was going on when McCain chose her, and still don’t … and now I don’t understand what she is doing suddenly announcing her resignation.  

I may not agree with the likes of Mike Huckabee or James Dobson or Tony Perkins or any other leader of the Religious Right, but there is a coherence and purpose to the things that they do and the positions that they take. 

With Palin, it is entirely a mystery.