It is not a stretch to say that Governor Palin receives a bitter reception from some of her fellow republicans. The reasons for that vary depending on exactly who is dishing out the denunciation. Many of them however, use the same line of attack against her. One after the other, they cite her resignation as the source of their disdain.
Some of the latest examples were posted Monday on “Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire,” in a piece called “More Republicans Come Out Against Palin.” He notes that Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) and former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman (Super-RINO) have both recently voiced concern about Governor Palin. It says:
Several more prominent Republicans have questioned Sarah Palin’s qualifications for president because she quit in the middle of her term as Alaska governor.
Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) told the Kansas City Star, “I have reservations about anyone who quits as governor halfway through the term.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R) told CNN that, “I mean, she was a governor. But the fact that she left office before even completing her first term is — that’s just not an attitude that I think is necessarily in the best interest of you.
On Tuesday, Real Clear Politics posted a story titled, “GOP Hopefuls Speak No Ill of Palin – for Now” which stated the intention of republicans to use Governor Palin’s resignation against her. They write:
But perhaps the most salient line of attack that her potential GOP rivals might use against her is criticism of her decision to resign with a year and a half left in her first term as governor.
Despite their almost universal praise for Palin’s ability to energize the party, there have already been several instances in which Republican White House hopefuls have drawn attention to her early resignation.
Using the resignation as a means to attack Governor Palin, republican political opponents, just as many leftists and media types before them, have distorted her record by pushing a narrative they wish to pursue. As the governor stated in her book, Going Rogue:
“The sin of omission glares in their reporting.”
The same goes for politicians dictating their message through reporters. What they are omitting from the discourse is why Governor Palin left office in the first place. This has polluted the perception many in the general public have towards Governor Palin.
To understand why Governor Palin resigned from office is to understand the environment she found herself in after returning to Alaska following the 2008 Presidential campaign. For a more complete understanding of this environment, I suggest reading all of chapter five in Going Rogue, called “The Thumpin.” For now, here is an overview of that chapter that I hope will give readers a better understanding of the conditions that lead to her decision.
Governor Palin writes that when she flew home from the campaign in 2008, the “political landscape” in Alaska “had permanently changed.” She states:
The fallout was immediate: the governor’s office was inundated with frivolous ethics complaints. Literally scores of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Public Records Act requests rolled in, generating thousands of pages that required hours of work to process. Reporters abandoned actual reporting in favor of tabloidizing my family, my record, and me.
Governor Palin writes about the fact that her administration had received a normal amount of FOIA requests prior to her selection on the 2008 GOP ticket. But after the campaign, her office was hit with a “tidal wave” of FOIA requests and “hundreds of demands” for various communication transactions, such as emails. She wrote:
Only the opposition really comprehends the work involved with FOIA requests-from the retrieval of all correspondence and emails, to copying them for lawyers and staff to review in order to remove confidential or privileged information, to assembling and packing them, and on and on. Just one of these requests for a certain batch of e-mails generated 24,000 individual sheets of paper. So instead of doing our jobs, my staff, including attorneys, spent thousands of hours and wasted more than $2 million of public monies to sort through it all one sheet at a time.
What these political operatives did was to twist the ethics reform measures that she had fought for, into a “weapon” to use against her. Governor Palin described the people who where behind these tactics as “relentless and shameless,” which they were. She mentions the time when Linda Kellen Biegel (aka Celtic Diva), filed an ethics charge against her for wearing a jacket with the logo of her husband’s Iron Dog sponsor on it. She adds:
I was charged with accepting “bribes” of chocolates and a kids’ hockey stick when I gave a speech at a charity event in Indiana. I was charged with holding a fish in a photo for a state fishing pamphlet. I was served with a complaint filed under the name of a fake British soap opera character. I was charged with conducting an interview with a national media figure in my state office. I was charged with answering reporters’ questions in the lobby of my state office the day I returned to work and found a herd of reporters congregated near the doorway to my office. As I tried to make my way through, I stopped to answer questions-and got slapped with an ethics accusation.
Governor Palin is a true reformer in every sense of the word. A key issue for her has always been restoring integrity back into the public sector. Her history of standing on the side of the people, against corrupt members of her own party, is a matter of record. The Alaskan people had their share of unethical politicians, and now democrat operatives were making a “mockery” of the new laws put in place to end their own culture of corruption. It was dirty politics at it’s worse and was truly appalling to watch.
The attacks on the governor were not easy, but had they been personal attacks against her, she would have stayed in office. The fact that her state was suffering because of the actions of political attack dogs, was unbearable to her. She wrote (emphasis mine):
Loss of reputation I can take. But I could not and cannot tolerate watching Alaska suffer. One by one, each ethics complaint against me was tossed out. But a new one quickly sprouted to take its place. I knew it wouldn’t stop and the ongoing cost to our system plagued me. My loyal staff who had accomplished so much with me in our years in office were besieged. No one could paralyze my administration before, and I wouldn’t have been told to sit down and shut up, but these frivolous and expensive complaints were effectively doing what no one else could. […] At some point, you have to say “Enough.” You have to pick your battle. Pick your hilltop. And hold the position of your own choosing. My state was being shaken by one partisan earthquake after another. Every time we found steady ground, “another avalanche of FOIAs, ethics complaints, and lawsuits crashed down. My team had been targeted for destruction because of who the team leader was. I began to think it was time to pass the ball.
Proving Governor Palin’s point about the political nature of this assault on her administration, she had this to say:
The reaction to my announcement was instructive. The same people who had wanted nothing more than to throw me out of office were suddenly outraged that I was obliging.
That is because the resignation caught her political opponents off-guard…
It’s pretty clear that the governor had gone through a lot of garbage and thought out her resignation thoroughly. She obviously did it for the State of Alaska above all else. I remember how absolutely frustrating it was to watch her try to push through her agenda, only to see these operatives create so much obstruction.
There was also the group of state legislators using their positions to not only get some media exposure, but also curry favor with the national democrats. These members of the legislature, who had been sworn to carry out their duties for the citizens of Alaska, were instead playing to the cameras and stalling the business of the state. The governor knew that she was the target of the assault, not the other members of her administration. She, as a good leader should, stepped aside so that the people’s business could be conducted in peace.
It makes you wonder what these republican critics would do if faced with a similar situation. Would they let the people’s business be stifled due to political attacks? Would they care that their constituents resources were being wasted, all so that the establishment could be rest assured knowing that they had finished their terms? In other words, would they let the people who voted them into office pay the price for their own political advancement?
I also wonder if Governor Palin’s resignation would have been necessary had the Republican party lifted one finger to help her, while it was happening. I was stunned to see the attacks happen, but I was more stunned to see Governor Palin go through it alone. Not one national republican stood up for her! She was their candidate for Vice President just a few short months before. I imagine the attacks would have continued had Governor Palin had some support from national republicans. However, it would not have been as easy for those involved to conduct such a hideous campaign if the national party had shined a spotlight on it and said “enough!” But they didn’t say anything… Their silence was deafening.
It bears repeating that Governor Palin hasn’t wasted her time since leaving the governor’s office. She was instrumental in leading opposition to Obama’s misguided health care legislation. Her endorsements during the 2010 midterms helped changed the face of Washington for the better. She continues to be one of, if not the first conservative leader to weigh in on important issues facing our country, helping to frame each debate. What have these critics done to advance the principles the Republican party? Governor Palin turned over her agenda to her lieutenant (who was just elected by the people), then became one of the most outspoken conservative activists in the nation. Her work has been invaluable.
When politicians or members of the media criticize Governor Palin for resigning office, remember why she did so. Then ask yourselves, who are these people criticizing her for making that move? What would they have done if they were in her shoes, and why? This move on her part was what a good leader and a true public servant should do, given the circumstances. If only all of our elected leaders put the public good above their own ambition, perhaps this country would be better off.