(The following is a guest submission by Sally Chuck.)
At her most recent CPAC speech, Governor Sarah Palin criticized the “establishment experts who keep losing elections and keep getting rehired,” and who think that they know more than the conservative base in picking “electable” candidates. She added, “the architects [in clear reference to Karl Rove] can head on back to the great Lone Star state and put their names on some ballot." Karl Rove in a TV appearance the next day hit back saying that if elected, “I would serve out my term. I would not leave office mid-term.”
Yes, Sarah Palin did quit. But there are many in politics who, ironically, should quit but simply wouldn’t. After all, who in D.C. would want to give up power and all its perks? But first, to borrow Tucker Carlson’s words, the statement that she left office mid-term is an “undisputable fact.” What is also undisputable are the facts that surrounded her resignation. Her administration was held hostage by frivolous and strictly partisan ethics complaints. For twelve months, from the time she was picked by Senator John McCain as his VP running mate until her resignation in July 2009, fifteen legal actions were filed against her, on top of those lodged against her own staffers. All fifteen have been dismissed. The charges ranged from “talking to reporters in her office, wearing a snowsuit with an Arctic Cat logo on a frigid day of the Iron Dog snowmobile race, to her image being featured in ad promoting Alaska seafood’! (See partial list of the ethics complaints and the judgment of dismissal here). There was even a case filed by “Edna Birch,” who was a non-existent resident of Alaska. “Edna Birch” was in fact a fictional character of a British soap opera Emmerdale. By the time she left office, all the legal expenses related to the ethics complaints have cost the Alaskans $1.9 million. She also incurred more than $.5 million in personal legal fees. Half a million dollars probably do not mean much to rich men like Karl Rove and Tucker Carlson but for a mother of five whose 2007 adjusted gross income was $166,000, that amount of bills was significant. In her resignation speech, Palin said that the undue burden to the taxpayers plus the lost time and resources in addressing these charges that could have been used in attending to the duties and responsibilities of her office weighed heavily in her decision. She knew she was a target of partisan attacks so she opted to remove the goal post, pass the helm to her lieutenant governor so that the state could move on and continue to progress.
So how did Alaska do after she left office? Very well, so it seems. Because of the economic policies she put in place and carried on by her successor, her state was awarded not one but two credit ratings upgrade to Triple A; first by Moody’s in November 2010, which gave Alaska it’s very first Aaa rating in state’s history and by S&P in January 2012. This economic boon took place while the US suffered its first credit rating downgrade in August 2011.
Yes, Sarah Palin did quit. The slew of relentless, baseless accusations leveled by her Democratic opponents paralyzed her administration and her staff from doing their day-to-day jobs. The Alaskan taxpayers spent $1.9 M for the political vendettas that did not cost the governor’s detractors a dime. But it is a sad, ironic reality in American politics today when public officials who selflessly give up their positions for the welfare and interests of her constituents are rebuked as “quitters” while those who abuse and cling to their offices are supported and given cover by their political cronies. Remember the congressman from Louisiana, William Jefferson, who was caught with a stash of $90,000 in his freezer? He fought to the end and was actually re-elected to a ninth term before he was finally convicted and indicted for bribery and corruption charges. It was the same case with Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. of Illinois who screamed innocence and took medical leave while he fought off charges of misusing campaign funds. His party stood by him and he easily won re-election by a landslide. He, too, was found guilty. Politicians like Jefferson and Jackson knew they were guilty. They should have quit but refused to until their trail of lies and corruption could no longer be hidden and covered up. Chuck Hagel’s disastrous performance at his own Senate confirmation hearing as President Obama’s choice for Secretary of Defense should have been enough to make any decent, responsible public servant withdraw his own nomination. Yet his confused answers and apparent lack of understanding and qualification for the job he sought did not deter senators from both parties to give him their blessings. Mr. Hagel is now our “de facto deputy commander-in-chief.”
And then there is Karl Rove, who not only would NOT quit after his epic losses in the last election but has the audacity to offer up himself and his newly-created Conservative Victory project in recruiting and vetting “winnable” candidates. According to Sunlight Foundation, in 2012, Rove’s American Crossroads super PAC spent $104,746,715 with a 1.29% return on investment in an election that the Republicans could have easily won. Only one of his candidates actually won. For hundreds of millions he spent, his group’s track record was – the candidates Rove supported lost and the candidates he opposed won. In stark contrast, Palin’s mere word of endorsement won the GOP eight seats out of the fourteen that she endorsed. That is a nearly 60% success rate.
To Mr. Rove, you may have earned the nickname “architect” for successfully running George W. Bush’s reelection campaign but you just spearheaded the most embarrassing yet quite expensive election defeat. It is time for you to quit and let conservatives decide what is best for themselves, the party and the country. But of course, you won’t. It is hard to see your own failures when a colossal snot is splattered on your face.