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Parsing Palin; or, the Quintessential Act of Quitting

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One really needs to parse Palin's political swan song since it reveals so much about her character. Beyond her penchant for narcissism exists something that has been with her since college; namely, her penchant for quitting. Quitting colleges, quitting the governorship, quitting on people, quitting on her word and now quitting on her base constituency.

Regardless of what one may think of Palin as a bona fide political candidate for the Republican nomination for president, in the end she's exposed herself for what she actually was, is and always has been: a political poseur. She quit on running because she's essentially a coward. She realizes that she couldn't debate with everyone else who's running (including Bachmann) and were she miraculously to win the nomination, she knows that she'd be skewered by Obama. She is only effective with massaged media and within the corral of her political constituency. Regardless of what she said in her statement, her decision has rendered her effectively effete and, in political terms, irrelevant. To state, as she did, that she didn't need a "title" to be a political activist, is merely political persiflage on her part. The truth is the presidency isn't a title. The chancellor of a university is a title. Having a PhD or an MD gives one a title. By marginalizing the presidency, by calling it a "title" it allows Palin the failsafe escape for which she's always been searching and if one parses her prose, that's patently clear:

After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States.

I'm not sure how much actual "prayer" went into "her" decision and what the constitution of that prayer was, but it presumes that she prayed to God for an answer and, at some divine moment, God divinely answered her prayers and must have said, "Sarah, don't run." Palin's "serious consideration" alludes to what I've already stated. She seriously considered the fact that she would ultimately fail in the debates and even if she were nominated would ultimately be toasted by Obama. Her perpetual blathering on American history and chuntering on serious political issues would have made her appear more inept than Rick Perry and so her consideration was duly considered.

As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country.

This is yet another example of one of Palin's cowardly quotes, if not one of her more specious ones since she's constantly equivocating. In the first sentence, her family comes first and in the second sentence, her family comes second. What's it going to be? Not only that, she refuses to take complete agency three times. Earlier she states it was "her" consideration. Then, it becomes "their" (husband and wife) consideration. When one refuses to take agency for one's actions it's much easier to look for a scapegoat for her actions and in Palin's case the scapegoat (no matter how she tries to "sugar coat" it) ends up on the "family." Lastly, she refuses to take agency because God and family come before country. So, her "decision" was predicated on the fact that she is devoted to her God, her family and her country and in that order. Which she reaffirms in the next sentence.

My decision maintains this order. My decision is based upon a review of what common sense Conservatives and Independents have accomplished, especially over the last year. I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office -- from the nation's governors to Congressional seats and the Presidency.

What's curious about this statement is that she presumably assumes agency for her decision by owning it rather than it being a collaborative decision as she stated in the previous sentence. First, she says the decision was made because it maintained her order of God, family, and country. Yet, in the second sentence she says it wasn't based on a collaborative decision or even on a message from God, but was based on what other "common sense" (her favorite catch-all phrase regardless of the severity of the issue) Conservatives and Independents have accomplished which essentially allows her yet another failsafe escape. Her statement that she can be "more effective in a decisive role" (yet another allusion to "decision making") in helping elect others is fraught with delusion. What is she talking about when she states "decisive role?" In what capacity would she have a decisive role? As a Fox newscaster? Does she believe that bailing out of the race is going to allow her to maintain political credibility among the constituency she abandoned? Does she think people running for office will want her help? If she weren't a political pariah before 2010, then she certainly is one now.
She concludes with...

We need to continue to actively and aggressively help those who will stop the 'fundamental transformation' of our nation and instead seek the restoration of our greatness, our goodness and our constitutional republic based on the rule of law.

I can overlook the fact she wrote a split infinitive since she's not big on education anyway and would be an advocate for dismantling the department, but one must ask what does stopping "fundamental transformation" actually mean? Into what is it transforming? In what way is it fundamentally changing? Is the United States transforming into a communist society? Have we implemented sharia law? In some respects, we're already a social democracy so we can't transform into something we already are. So, what is it? Is it the Nationalist Socialist Party that Glenn Beck was so fearful of? Palin doesn't say. Nor does she say why the United States is no longer great or good or Constitutionally viable. Will an oligarchy change all that? What Palin has deftly done (albeit unconsciously) with her rhetoric is to defuse the fact that she is fundamentally incompetent to lead, fundamentally too cowardly to withstand media scrutiny and fundamentally too greedy to give it all up. She has clearly ignored the salient reasons why she decided not to run (namely, money and responsibility) and not so subtly shifted the prose towards the collective "we" which, presumably, she will be a part of, but not necessarily a leader of.

It is no shock that Palin has quit the nominating game because she quit it long ago. Lawrence O'Donnell has said he knew Palin wouldn't run when she quit the governorship of Alaska. I knew she wouldn't run when I discovered that she had quit a bevy of colleges before she ever earned her degree. That's a fundamental character flaw and those things can never be transformed.