If Republicans were deliberately looking for a roadmap on how to self-destruct, they couldn't have done any better than they have in recent weeks. The mysterious resignation of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin just adds to the impression that the Republican Party is sailing on its own version of the Titanic.
Although it seems to go against every Republican instinct, in Palin's case the savaging of her political enemies regarding her current circumstances would not be inappropriate. Since her elevation to national status as the running mate for ill-fated candidate John McCain, Palin has had a large, bright target painted on her back by the Left, who could not countenance a popular, talented, attractive, and conservative woman rising to such heights. It would appear that Palin has reached the point of wanting to step out of the public spotlight-at least for a while-to avoid further vicious attacks by "activists" within her state as well as national "celebrities" like the acid-tongued David Letterman. However, this strategy could backfire as critics question her motives and search even harder for that elusive "smoking gun" that could bury her future political prospects forever. And ironically enough, the media scrutiny may actually intensify, if that can be imagined, as she makes this move to supposedly escape the limelight.
The continuing chain of ethics complaints against Palin and her husband Todd apparently weighed heavily in her decision to step down, since they were affecting the state's finances as well as her once-stratospheric popularity ratings, not to mention the strain it put on Palin and her family. But from an outsider's view, it seems that a better approach for a future viable senatorial or presidential candidate would be to fight vigorously against the charges which so far have been dismissed. Continuing the fight and getting current and future charges dismissed would perhaps start to discourage even the bloodthirsty character assassins who have made a career out of attempting to destroy Palin. Leaving with over a year left on the current term only lends to speculation by her enemies that there must be something out there that will eventually nail her.
It's hard to say where Palin goes from here. Does she believe that, like Richard Nixon, she can lay low in the private sector for a couple of years and resurrect her political career in time for a presidential run in 2012? If so, it's a tremendous gamble on her part. This resignation, however justified it may be in her eyes and her family's, will continue to be an Achilles heel unless and until she comes completely clean about why she did it. Being coy about it buys her nothing, not now or in the future.
Among other things, Palin needs to set the record straight on the ethics charges and do everything she can to clear her name from the sullying accusations. She needs, at the risk of sounding like a whiner, to state the obvious: that there are political enemies out there who are trying everything they can to destroy her future political viability, both in Alaska but more importantly on the national stage. If this were not so, then the ethics charges would not be filed because she has done nothing wrong. Sitting on the sidelines and allowing the media speculation to continue unanswered is a recipe for fulfillment of the destruction that the Left so richly desires.
No matter what she does or does not do, Sarah Palin will always have the pejorative "controversial" or "embattled" next to her name in terms of media coverage. So she might as well fight, even if it is from the sidelines, rather than stay silent while the slings and arrows continue unabated.