Among the myriad questions raised by Gov. Sarah Palin's abrupt resignation, is how her excuse for leaving office -- mainly that lame-duck governors are ineffective -- would play among her peers who were, you know, actually lame-ducks governors.
The answer, not surprisingly, is quite poorly.
Gov. Ed Rendell, (D-Penn), who is constitutionally prohibited from running for re-election, laid into Palin for what he deemed a "ridiculous" rationale for resigning and for "abandoning" the state in a time of crisis.
"To resign after two-and-a-half years in office and somehow to say that she was going to be a lame duck and lame ducks can't get anything done and governors just go on junkets during her lame-duck period is ridiculous," Rendell told MSNBC. "First of all, she's a first-term governor, not a term-limited, second-term governor, and if she hadn't announced she was leaving, she wouldn't have been a lame duck, she would have been in a pretty strong executive position, number one. Number two, this is not the time for governors to abandon their states.... Everyone of us is facing severe financial challenges brought about by the international recession and this is not a time to leave. We pledged to our folks when we asked them to elect to us, we pledged that we were going to serve four years and we serve in the good years, but we also serve in the bad years as well. And for her to leave and turn the state over to a lieutenant governor with less than a month's notice, in the midst of difficult financial times, I think it's just dead wrong."
"Again," Rendell added, "had she just said I'm not running for re-election and announced that, I think that would perfectly fine. But she's really abandoning her state at a very difficult time. And I appreciate the pressures on family. All of us in public life have that. You guys in the media have the same pressures. I appreciate all of that, but I think she made the wrong decision to leave her state. If you want to help Alaskans, lead during tough and challenging times."
While he's a partisan, Rendell's words still have resonance, in part because they hit at a criticism that even Republicans share, including Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowksi. Palin, after all, is arguing that it is impossible for a governor to be effective when she or he has term limits and wider ambitions. But she arbitrarily imposed the term limits on herself and is also making the determination that she can't juggle the larger conservative cause with the provincial needs of Alaska. No one else made that judgment. Certainly Tim Pawlenty, who won't seek re-election but is considering a run for the 2012 Republican nomination, didn't.