Sarah Palin's recent resignation as Governor of Alaska brings to my mind the words of that 1919 WWI classic How Ya' Gonna Keep 'Em Down On the Farm, After They've Seen Paree? (words by Lewis & Young, music by Donaldson) (www.heptune.com/howyagon.html) The song refers to the return of American soldier farmers after World War I and questions how they will transition back to their old lives after seeing the world.
I believe this analogy can be applied to Sarah Palin. In her short campaign as the GOP Vice Presidential candidate in the 2008 Presidential election it seems that she got addicted to the spotlight of national politics.
Despite the media scrutiny and some unfair coverage of her during the campaign, I believe Governor Palin enjoyed being on the cover of Time, Newsweek, People Magazine and just about every major newspaper in the country. She reveled in the adulation she received from the huge crowds she drew for the GOP rallies. She seemed to take great pleasure in giving her nomination acceptance speech and sparring with Senator Biden in the VP debate.
After this adrenaline packed election season, it must have been very difficult to go back to the old job of just being a governor in a state geographically separated from the rest of the country. Sarah Palin is a person who loves to be challenged. Being Governor of Alaska may have become "been there, done that." Also, economic difficulties and legislative battles probably took some of the excitement out of governing there.
I'm sure there were other factors involved which she cited in her farewell speech last Friday: the attacks against her family, the continuous and expensive litigation (all proven unfounded), the unscrupulous media rumors, and the desire to not be a lame duck governor.
The ironic thing is that leaving her governor post will not diminish the media coverage. In fact, this move has generated a lot of attention because people are baffled by it.
"You can't put the genie back in the bottle." The only thing that will get the media and the public to stop talking about Palin will be if she leaves politics altogether. And judging from her speech, she is not planning to "go gently into that good night."
She referred to a "higher calling" and "making a positive difference from outside the Governor's office." And her July 4th Facebook page sounded like she was already campaigning for higher office: "I am now looking ahead and how we can advance this country together... I hope you will join me. Now is the time to rebuild and help our nation achieve greatness!"
Ms. Palin admits she is "unconventional" and has always fought against "politics as usual" which may account for her appeal to the common man. However, whether this latest move of stepping down as Governor of Alaska in the middle of her term will help or hurt her career remains to be seen.
One thing is certain. Sarah Palin is not going away. The allure of the national public spotlight is too great.