Sunday, July 05, 2009


I go away for a few days and, well, holy crap. Thank you, Phil, Kathy and Bulworth, for extensive (and excellent) coverage of Palin (and much else besides).

This morning I read Adam Nagourney's take in The New York Times, and he gets part of the way to what I think is going on:

For some Republicans, the comparison that came to mind was when Richard M. Nixon announced in 1962 that he was leaving politics for good, after losing the governor's race in California, two years after a failed White House bid.

In fact, Nixon used the next six years to quietly refurbish his image, building ties with the conservative wing that was becoming ascendant in the Republican Party, ingratiating himself with Republican senators and candidates for governor by campaigning on their behalf, and becoming better schooled in issues.

Er, yeah -- Nixon licked his wounds and plotted a comeback, unencumbered by an actual job in government in which his performance could be assessed. I think that's part of what Palin is planning. But there was more than that going on with Nixon: he became (in his own mind) a victim, a guy brought low by a press that hated him. I wouldn't say he won in 1968 because voters felt he'd been victimized -- but subsequent Republicans (e.g., both Bushes) have sought votes based on the notion that those votes were a way to stick it to the Eastern Jew-communist atheist homosexual pornographers.

Palin wanted to be the victim of the evil liberal elite, but all she can say is that she's taken a number of hits -- nothing unusual for an A-list pol. She certainly hasn't been driven from office -- but it would benefit her if she had been. So she drove herself out of office -- and clearly gave the impression that she was the victim of a political murder, not political suicide.

As Phil said on Friday:

... in the absence of any serious accomplishments of her own that Palin can point to, the hatred of her enemies is the essential component in any argument about why she deserves to be the party's figurehead.

(And she's asking for more attacks with this abrupt resignation -- which will further reinforce her and her supporters' image of her as a victim.)

Elsewhere in the Times, there was this quote from her Facebook page (Josh Marshall has the whole message):

...And though it's honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course we know by now, for some reason a different standard applies for the decisions I make.

Wow -- that's practically a poem. She's not just the martyred victim of her evil enemies' double standard, the best-known beneficiary of the double standard she suffers under is (implicitly but obviously) the guy whose job she wants: Barack Obama. He got to quit his job and become president! Why can't she? It's not fair!

(Of course, no one ever said there was anything verboten about a sitting governor seeking higher office and then quitting if elected -- or a sitting senator like the one Obama beat in the general election, or the sitting senators and governor and congressman Barack Obama beat in the primaries. But Palin is incapable of respecting political opponents, or, really, anyone who crosses her, and she's insecure enough to feel that anyone who gets something she wanted must have had a break she deserved and didn't get.)

Back to Nagourney:

Her move may play well with her strongest supporters, but her political instincts and stability were once again being questioned in other circles of the party, which had already been wary of her after the election last year. That is hardly a development Ms. Palin could welcome as her party looks for a candidate who can endure what could be a very tough race in 2012.

"Somebody has to explain to Republicans how this woman is going to expand her support base," said John Weaver, a former adviser to Mr. McCain.

"Yes, she is the darling of a certain element of our party," Mr. Weaver said. “But it remains to be seen -- in fact, it remains rather doubtful she can grow beyond that."

The irony is that the better Obama does, the better her chances of getting the nomination. If he succeeds, there won't be anything left of the GOP by 2012 except "a certain element," the element that loves her. If Obama struggles, more independents and young people are going to give the GOP a second look -- and that's not good for a candidate whose appeal is to the crazy base. So she needs for Barack Obama to do well.

I don't think she knows that. And I don't think she knows she won't be elected president in 2012, no matter what.

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