The Resignation Speech

July 4th, 2009
This is what I get for reading the news last. I get up every morning and check out batches of web sites--the computer batch, the entertainment batch, the blogs batch, and the news & commentary batch. Sometimes I check the non-news sites first, but when there's a big story, it gets referenced elsewhere and I find out about it second-hand, as if it's already old news. I found out about Jackson's death on Gizmodo, and today read about Palin's resignation on Pharyngula. PZ Myers did a nice Monty Python “Brave Sir Robin” sendoff, and for a minute I thought he was making the “Palin resigned” story up. But no, Palin did resign, as I'm sure you know by now. What's very interesting is to read her official statement, as originally posted, with all the quirky formatting bits. Right from the beginning, she sets the tone, using the story of Alaska's purchase by the United States. In essay writing, this is known as an introduction technique, an anecdote that is supposed to be interesting and which (in this case revealingly) supports the thesis statement:
But [then Secretary of State Seward] endured such ridicule and mocking for his vision for Alaska, remember the adversaries scoffed, calling this “Seward's Folly”. Seward withstood such disdain as he chose the uncomfortable, unconventional, but RIGHT path to secure Alaska, so Alaska could help secure the United States.
Palin, from the start, sets out to define herself as an Alaskan and American hero unjustly maligned by fools. It's worthy of note that Palin identified Seward as “a member of President Abe Lincoln's cabinet,” despite the fact that he arranged the purchase two years after Lincoln's assassination. No good conservative could fail to throw in a Lincoln reference somehow to add oomph to their Republican creds. Palin continues:
People who know me know that besides faith and family, nothing's more important to me than our beloved Alaska.
So, I'm quitting.
So to serve the state is a humbling responsibility...
So humbling that I'm quitting.
My administration's accomplishments speak for themselves. We work tirelessly for Alaskans.
Right up until we quit! Palin then drones on about her masterful achievements, including some of her classic whoppers:
And we made common sense conservative choices to eliminate personal luxuries like the jet, the chef, the junkets... the entourage.
The jet that she (didn't) sell on eBay (for a $600,000 loss)? Oh, and the chef who was “eliminated” first to a make-work job, and then to cook for the legislative lounge (because Palin moved to Wasilla and didn't need a full-time chef anymore), saving Alaska nothing. And the “junkets”? They must have been ginormous under her predecessor for Palin's to claim that she “eliminated” them; As of 2008, Palin had made 72 trips including cross-country travel to places like Texas and New York (and let's not forget Kosovo), and even had the state pay for her children traveling with her on ten of those trips. Alaska paid $43,490 for Palin's husband and children to travel, and Palin herself claimed $16,951 in “per diem” payments she was not entitled to for “travel” which was actually her just staying at home in Wasilla. As for frugality, shall we even get in to the $150,000 wardrobe? The RNC paid for that, but it kind of made a joke of the whole “we're frugal” business.
And the Lt. Governor and I said “no” to our pay raises.
Like the 46% pay raise she got her first day in office? She said “no” to that? Funny, there's no record of her turning that down, and indeed that was her salary. Actually, Palin is talking about another pay raise that was suggested by a panel whose members she hand-picked. A cheap stunt--get a panel to recommend a big pay raise right after you got a huge pay raise so you can turn down the smaller one and act like you're being “frugal.” Not to mention that Palin tried to get that money by other means, like the per diems. Palin then proceeded to her central thesis:
But you don't hear much of the good stuff in the press anymore, do you?
That awful “Liberal Media™” taking a fantastic governor down just because of a few dozen scandals, several violations of law, multiple abuses of power, and dozens and dozens of brazen, bald-faced lies. How dare they! She then blabs on about how she's been victimized by evildoers; here's the distilled version:
Political operatives descended digging for dirt, their weapon of choice, frivolous ethics violations dismissed. We've won! State has wasted THOUSANDS of hours of YOUR time and shelled out some two million of YOUR dollars to respond to “opposition research” - political absurdity, the “politics of personal destruction” ... these silly accusations? Spending other peoples' money in their game, pretty insane - I promised no more “politics as usual.”
Palin then edges toward her surprise:
If I have learned one thing: LIFE is about choices!
Like quitting! Here's the money quote, the one everyone has been talking about--where Palin goes up-is-down and white-is-black:
Life is too short to compromise time and resources... 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”.
Or, as Josh Marshall quipped, “Quitters stick to it. Winners quit.” The most sympathetic reading of that statement I can come up with is, “I have been taking a horrible, undeserved beating from my political enemies who want me to just sit there and take it; I won't quit the fight by staying on as governor and letting them keep using me as a piñata, so instead I am resigning so I can fight those bastards without having my hands tied by public office.” Which is pretty absurd, when you think about it--why can't she fight back as governor? But no, she has to leave, which, for another few paragraphs, she explains as being what is RIGHT to HELP people in a PROUD and INSPIRED manner (using LOTS of CAPITALIZED words JUST like in the BIBLE when referring to the LORD!). She also takes some time explaining, in a rather meandering way, how she decided to leave office at the end of her term, but didn't want to be a lame duck, so she decided instead to leave right away. Um, yeah. But the essence of what she's saying is this:
My choice is to take a stand and effect change - not hit our heads against the wall and watch valuable state time and money, millions of your dollars, go down the drain in this new environment.
She's going to fight, but not from the governor's office, where she can't do anything. That makes sense. Governors are pretty powerless and ineffective. Of course, she's claiming that she can't do anything because of the environment, that being the damned Liberal Media™ dogging her every move and making it impossible for her to get anything done. So... what's the real reason? Analysis in my next post.

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