Guest post by Jude
Sarah Palin Is Running A Marathon.
It’s called life.
It was quite a news day to be off in the canyons and away from cell signal or wifi. Although I might be the last person to comment on the Alaskan Governor’s announcement today, please indulge my being late to the pity party, because I still love me some Sarah Palin. By the time I heard, the spin had already begun, but I didn’t want to hear any of it. I just felt that this must be a terrible move on her part, or a really unfortunate choice she felt compelled to make for some reason we might find out about later. Either way was depressing. As so many have already said, being labeled a quitter isn’t going to help her make a run for national office any time soon.
But Sarah Palin isn’t a quitter. I know this because, well, because just last night I read her interview in Runner’s World. Sample quote (noting that she is, to my knowledge, the only political figure who is consistently quoted phonetically: (RW)”What about in a race? Could you beat the president?
(SP)”I betcha I’d have more endurance. My one claim to fame in my own little internal running circle is a sub-four marathon. It wasn’t necessarily a good running time, but it proves I have the endurance within me to at least gut it out and that is something. If you ever talk to my old coaches, they’d tell you, too. What I lacked in physical strength or skill I made up for in determination and endurance. So if it were a long race that required a lot of endurance, I’d win.”
Sarah Palin is running a marathon.
I drove home to sit at my computer and watch the video, ready to see this meandering statement I was hearing about. As so many times before though, when I finally saw her own, un-edited words – instead of the punditry – I came away understanding. The explanations were right there, some in her voice, and some in the things she couldn’t quite say, but alluded to. Here, I’ll say a few of them for her:
– I’m a lightning rod for attacks, and they will not stop. I am attacked in sexist ways no Democrat would be expected to tolerate, my family is treated like a bunch of drug-addled reality stars, and the media is trying to marginalize me into some sort of Brittney Spears (the bad times) figure. This is because they fear my ever being respected, and they hate the way we are, but that’s not a fight I need to have on your dime. This is making it almost too difficult to govern, too difficult for Alaska to be properly stewarded by me, your elected representative. The assaults I’m under, both frivolous lawsuits and the media blasts that have to be responded to in some way, are costing both me and (she did say this part) Alaska more money than it is responsible for me to allow any longer.
– The Left declared me “fair game”, and I can’t afford to fight it alone and do right by you. In fact, if I stay it harms Alaska, because that’s how bad it has become. And it’s not just the media, believe me… Basically, you don’t need my target on your head!
– I use the basketball analogy because it’s a kind way of describing what has happened to me and my family, not so wannabe cool kids can make fun of it, even though they will. When you’re being triple-teamed constantly, the responsible thing to do is pass the ball. Get it? No one else is a strong enough player to help draw the coverage right now-God knows Newt doesn’t have the game he used to, and Rush is busy in the locker room fighting off thirty Alinskyites with nothing but girth and a golden microphone he’s swinging. I am being swarmed, swamped and kicked in the knees, and there is no drawing a foul in this game, because the ref is only wearing media credentials.
– Steve Schmidt is a jerk. (End bad Palin channeling.)
When I heard Old Man McCain had picked Sarah Palin for VP I shuddered. Her talent and character don’t come along together very often, she had good work ahead of her in office, and going down with that ship was not what she needed. Same with Jindal. Yet, there I was at the convention, (probably with better seats than Duane, I’m just saying…) trading elbows with Andrew Breitbart as we declared our love for the most charismatic GOP’er since Reagan. On the way home that night I was called by a musician friend who wanted my take on her, because she was intimidating as a new candidate. I told him-and I’m not claiming any kind of prescience here, because it was plain to see-that now the race was on to define her. It was the Media vs. the RNC, and we all knew who was going to win that one. ‘Aww, no,’ I recall him saying, ‘ it isn’t like that. You’re paranoid.”
Cue the Trig garbage, brutal magazine covers, NBC/SNL, etc. Some of the smartest people I know have told me that Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her house…
As Hugh said on the air the other day while talking to Jim Geraghty, “everything she is is the antithesis of everything that liberal urban elites are, so it’s not just enough to say, ‘I disagree with you,’; she has to be repudiated and crushed.” And she almost has been. They said she was a fool. They said she was a criminal. They said she had had an affair. They said Trigg wasn’t her child. Now they’ll call her a quitter, and they’ll be wrong again.
So where does she go from here? Well, as she might say, a Mama bear fights back when her cubs are threatened, but at some point, when the attacks are relentless and show no signs of ending…she may just pull her cubs back into the cave if she can. The problem with that move is that Palin’s domicile is a looong flight from the lower 48 (what we all call America). As governor, every time she pops her head up they try to take it off. Think about it – what kind of a governor can she be if the only business she really gets done by going to New York is to affect Letterman’s ratings? The conventional wisdom has been that she should stay in Alaska, do well and get “better” at stuff. The problem with that strategy is that she’d be too far from the media centers to fight back against the head-shots that will keep coming at her anyway. She’s no quitter. She’s just running her own race.
Imagine the kitchen table conversation at the Palin house. ‘Hey, would you guys like this stuff to stop for a while, and for Dad and I to have the option to fight back against it when does happen, and to fight for good people more often, at our own pace, on our own schedule? Would you like it if I can be home more often but also do more for America? Oh, and do you think I should be responsible and step aside as governor since the bad guys have made every day I remain in office more damaging to the state?’
‘Hell, yeah.’ (I like to think that one was Piper.)
Sarah Palin is the biggest star in politics after the sophist in the oval office, and Sarah Palin has been abandoned by too much of the Right. Mitt Romney is a cyborg and probably has 2012 in hand already, which I think is great. Love the guy, think we should be so lucky. But how can the GOP and the RNC fail to defend and champion Palin? She is a superstar media talent who’s natural charisma could light the sun. Don’t listen to the garbage about how she hurt the ticket – that’s something Democrats tell themselves to sleep at night. She is a major voice in the conservative movement, the most prominent female Republican, and on and on. Is it so hard to defend her at parties that we have to say she’s finished, or that we never thought she could make it back anyway? If she’s taking herself out of politics, then fine, we can let her be… but don’t bet on it. Sanford has clearly taken himself off the board, but she’s securing and defending her place. Palin has a remarkable killer instinct and she climbed the political ladder in a way no one expected. She may very well be passing the ball because she believes it’s the right thing to do, but she’s also going to become a more effective national figure by doing so. We might see more of her, not less, and if that’s the case, will the RNC want to help her? More importantly, will it even know how? I think it’s just as likely that she’s going to learn how to play the national media all by herself, and she may be better for it in the end.
And if I’m wrong and this is the beginning of the end of Palin’s political career? Well, as I said at the top of the post, this race is called life, and no one could blame her for making sure she wins that one.