The XX Factor

When the Going Gets Tough…

Jess, reading your post on Nancy Pelosi’s successful (if fraught) bid to remain the leader of House Democrats, I was struck by the difference between Pelosi and Sarah Palin, the most powerful woman on the other side of the aisle. Oh, wait, no - Sarah Palin isn’t on the other side of the aisle. She’s not on any side of any aisle, or behind any executive desk, because when the position she was elected to got tough, she bailed.

Pelosi, on the other hand, has been vilified by the right and lambasted by the left. When Republicans aren’t calling her the Wicked Witch of the West, it’s Cruella De Vil . House Democrats are saying she’s a White House-enabler who destroyed the Democratic majority and deserves to be punished. Yet, faced with withering criticism from all sides, Pelosi fought for a leadership position that she knows will expose her to even more slings and arrows.

Last year, when Palin decided it was time to “pass the ball - for victory,” her greatest travails consisted of hostility from the “lamestream media” and accusations of ethics violations that she said were cramping her style. But that was enough to send Palin fleeing from the Alaska governor’s mansion, straight into the arms of Fox News.

Now she tells Robert Draper that she’s in “internal deliberations” about a presidential run. Why someone who found the governorship of a resource-rich state too much trouble thinks she would enjoy four years in the Oval Office is beyond me. What, I wonder, would Palin’s reaction be when she finished her first year in office and found that her approval ratings had slipped, the newspapers (not to mention the blogs!) were saying mean things, and there were rumblings of discontent within her own party? Would we be treated to the sight of an impromptu press conference on the front lawn of the White House, where President Palin would announce that she was leaving things in Vice President Bachmann’s capable hands because the media was just being so damn distracting? Maybe! But you know who we can be certain wouldn’t subject us to that kind of spectacle? President Pelosi.