Notes from the Perimeter

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Politics as Unusual


Say WHAT? When Sarah Palin’s stupefying announcement left even Karl Rove shaking his head, you know she’s either “crazy like a fox” or just plain crazy. To try to make some sense of it all, I decided to consult my Inner Sage: she-who-knows-all-but-seldom-shares.

Me: Greetings, Oracle Who Lives Within. I come with questions.

Sage: Make it quick. I’m busy today sabotaging your diet.

Me: This business with Sarah Palin is a puzzlement. I feel that if I can understand what’s going on, I’ll gain more insight into life itself.

Sage: Dream on. Anyway, what do you want to know?

Me: Although I read the transcript of her resignation announcement I couldn’t understand what she meant. Many statements seemed contradictory. For example, she said, “People who know me know that besides faith and family, nothing's more important to me than our beloved Alaska.” However, in a message on her Facebook page, she wrote that she was leaving her job to pursue a “higher calling.” Which is it?

Sage: For Narcissus, all pools are mirrors.

Me: What?

Sage: Next question.

Me: She boasted that in her two years as governor, she accomplished more than most governors are able to do in two terms. Is this true?

Sage: When oil revenue flows like water, the fish are easy to catch. When the waters recede, the wily fisherman abandons the boat and heads for the hills.

Me: Excuse me?

Sage: I’m on a roll here. Continue.

Me: She said, “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.”

For one thing, aren’t ‘lame ducks’ politicians who either can’t run again or know they can’t be reelected? Since she chose not to pursue a second term as governor, is she a true lame duck? Is there really no more work to be done in Alaska? Did she have the same qualms about traveling around the country when she was running with John McCain? And, really, aren’t ‘politics as usual’ descriptive of those who place personal gain above the public good?

Sage: Many queries provoke a single answer: You betcha.

Me: (Sigh.) Why did she pick the beginning of a huge holiday weekend to make her announcement?

Sage: Blessed are they who dispense their news on a slow day for they shall not be heard.

Me: She claims she and her family have been unfairly brutalized by the media. Is she really being treated more harshly than other politicians?

Sage: Don’t ask me – check with Hillary.

Me: She seldom allows herself to be interviewed or in a press conference situation – why is that?

Sage: Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.

Me: She said, “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.’” What flow is she talking about, and, hey, isn’t she the quitter here?

Hello…? Hmmm, I feel like a cookie.

Obviously the questions remain. Is Sarah Palin stepping down or stepping it up? Is she taking care of her family, clearing the decks for a run for national office, or simply going after greener pastures (as in money)? All I know is that when the going gets tough, the tough might get going but the Palins of this world get out. And there’s where, in my opinion, she belongs.