In what can best be described as mildly coherent rambling, Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, announced her resignation on July 3. During her speech, she alluded to a combination of factors that lead to her decision. Reading through the full text of her speech, I was able to extract 11 reasons that were buried deep amidst her wandering prose and tangled logic. They are paraphrased below (along with the relevant text from her speech in italics):
1. Defending myself against claims of ethics violations by political operatives is distracting me from doing my job as governor. Therefore, I resign.
“Political operatives descended on Alaska last August, digging for dirt. The ethics law I championed became their weapon of choice. Over the past nine months I’ve been accused of all sorts of frivolous ethics violations … Every one – all 15 of the ethics complaints have been dismissed. We’ve won! But it hasn’t been cheap – the State has wasted THOUSANDS of hours of YOUR time and shelled out some two million of YOUR dollars to respond to “opposition research” – that’s money NOT going to fund teachers or troopers – or safer roads.
2. Life is short. Time is too precious to waste. I am wasting my time as governor. Therefore, I resign to make better use of my time.
“Life is too short to compromise time and resources… Productive, fulfilled people determine where to put their efforts, choosing to wisely utilize precious time… to BUILD UP.”
3. I am expected to serve out the term I was elected for. But that would make me a quitter. Therefore, I am quitting because I don’t want to be a quitter.
“… 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. Nah, only dead fish “go with the flow”.”
4. I want to help people. I now realize that I don’t need the title of Governor to do that. Therefore I will do away with my superfluous title of Governor.
“I’ve never believed that I, nor anyone else, needs a title to do this – to make a difference… to HELP people. So I choose, for my State and my family, more “freedom” to progress, all the way around… so that Alaska may progress… I will not seek re-election as Governor.”
5. I have decided not to seek reelection. Lame duck governors milk the system by traveling around and neglecting their state’s politics. That is wrong. The best option once one decides not to run for reelection is to desert one’s post. Therefore, I quit.
“And so as I thought about this announcement that I wouldn’t run for re-election and what it means for Alaska, I thought about how much fun some governors have as lame ducks… travel around the state, to the Lower 48 (maybe), overseas on international trade – as so many politicians do. And then I thought – that’s what’s wrong – many just accept that lame duck status, hit the road, draw the paycheck, and “milk it”. I’m not putting Alaska through that – I promised efficiencies and effectiveness! ? That’s not how I am wired. I am not wired to operate under the same old “politics as usual.” I promised that four years ago – and I meant it. It’s not what is best for Alaska.”
6. The political environment in Alaska has turned on me. I want to take a stand. Therefore, I am resigning to take a stand against those who wish me out of office.
“My choice is to take a stand and effect change – not hit our heads against the wall and watch valuable state time and money, millions of your dollars, go down the drain in this new environment.“
7. I want to pursue my priorities for Alaska and America on a bigger scale. Being Governor is holding me back. Therefore I will quit so that I might better serve as a citizen.
” Rather, we know we can effect positive change outside government at this moment in time, on another scale, and actually make a difference for our priorities – and so we will, for Alaskans and for Americans.”
8. I am Alaska’s governor in title only. This is wasting taxpayer’s time and money. While some may endorse my charade, I oppose it. Therefore, I resign.
“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.”
9. My children told me to resign, primarily because an adult said something nasty about their handicapped brother Trig. An emphatic cuss-word used by one of my kids convinced me that they were right.
“In fact, this decision comes after much consideration, and finally polling the most important people in my life – my children (where the count was unanimous… well, in response to asking: “Want me to make a positive difference and fight for ALL our children’s future from OUTSIDE the Governor’s office?” It was four “yes’s” and one “hell yeah!” The “hell yeah” sealed it – and someday I’ll talk about the details of that… I think much of it had to do with the kids seeing their baby brother Trig mocked by some pretty mean-spirited adults recently.)”
10. Even though I am opposed to governors milking the state for unnecessary travel, a recent trip I took to visit wounded soldiers in Kosovo and Landstuhl showed me that their work is of national importance and real while my work as Governor is local and superficial. Therefore I will quit because I want to do something national and real.
“My decision was also fortified during this most recent trip to Kosovo and Landstuhl, to visit our wounded soldiers overseas, those who sacrifice themselves in war for OUR freedom and security… we can ALL learn from our selfless Troops… they’re bold, they don’t give up, they take a stand and know that LIFE is short so they choose to NOT waste time. They choose to be productive and to serve something greater than SELF… and to build up their families, their states, our country. These Troops and their important missions – those are truly the worthy causes in this world and should be the public priority with time and resources and NOT this local / superficial wasteful political bloodsport.”
11. I believe “no more politics as usual” is good. Deserting my post is highly unusual. Therefore deserting my post is good. So I quit.
“I have given my reasons… no more “politics as usual” and I am taking my fight for what’s right – for Alaska – in a new direction.”
There was a twelfth reason. It was not stated explicitly by Palin the politician, but stated clearly between the lines by Palin the hockey mom. That voice said:
“The pressure of publicity brought to bear on me and my family since last August are beyond my ability to cope, no less govern. Therefore, I resign.”
Saying this would have confirmed Governor Palin’s limitations as a politician but redeemed her integrity as a human being. Had Sarah Palin the courage to make that 27-word speech then she would have been living up to her credo of “no more politics as usual”. Lacking that courage she couched her resignation waste-deep in 2,571 words of empty political rhetoric, transparent positioning and populist prattle. Politics as usual. Her constituents deserved better from her.