The XX Factor

Sarah Palin Is Right About One Thing

Am I losing it, or does Sarah Palin have a point? I mean, when she says that if she’d remained in office, she wouldn’t have accomplished anything because state business would have been tied up in the many ethical charges against her? That strikes me as a hard kernel truth in the middle of the sea of bullshit Palin is wading in (today, literally, by giving TV interviews while out catching fish ). Palin is right that she became a different kind of politician when McCain has picked her as vice president. Maybe that’s because she’s run headlong into the embrace of celebrity, and she could soberly renounce national fame and fortune and return to just being Governor Palin if she tried. But could she, really, at this point? When Palin made her suprise announcement, ardent defender Bill Kristol asked, “What is she going to accomplish in the next year as governor?” That seemed to me snobbish scoffing at the day-to-day work of running a state. Now I’m starting to see the unvarnished point. Given what a target of controversy she’s become, what legislative agenda could she push through? (Other than forcing out the state public health official who wanted to present evidence about how laws that require teenagers to get parental consent before an abortion are linked not to fewer abortions, but to later and riskier ones. More on that from Clara Jeffrey at Mother Jones .)

It’s a funny sort of toppling: I resign because of the damage my detractors are doing to me, even though I did nothing wrong and I am still tough as nails. And the bit of honesty here gives the lie to what Palin keeps repeating about how resigning “isn’t about retreating, it’s about progressing.” It’s also entirely possible that the real reason she can’t be an effective governor is that she did do something wrong. But whatever the cause, Palin is right that her term of office has turned into a circus. And that Alaska may well be better off without her.