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The Palin Puzzle

July 8, 2009


The Palin Puzzle
By Michael S. Smith II, SCHotline Contributing Editor

On July 6, I enjoyed a nice lunch with an old friend and mentor of sorts. My friend, who shall remain nameless, is a Charleston transplant — or “comeyah” if you must — of D.C. origins. He was very involved with the Reagan, Bush and other Bush administrations’ efforts, both in formal and informal capacities. He is also the author of one of the most significant pieces of legislation which outlines the tenets of one of the most significant U.S. foreign-economic policies for the Western Hemisphere — that bill shall remain nameless, too.

Despite his decampment from D.C. several years ago, my friend’s relationships with the most insider of insider conservatives from within the Beltway have remained intact. Time and time again, events prove my friend has more than just a prescient feel for the pulse of the Republican Party’s heartbeats. Given such, I was delighted by his brief inclination to address the news of Sarah Palin’s decision to resign her post as governor in order to, ostensibly, pursue a Reaganesque stump tour about the Lower 48.

While our conversation was mostly limited to conjecture, here is a summary:

To begin, Gov. Palin has been bombarded by a maelstrom of muck of all imaginable form since John McCain added her to his ticket last year. She was not prepared for the fallout that would ensue.

(Mention of the appointment stirred my memories of a question directed to John McCain during the pre-event event part of his last major fundraising appearance in South Carolina in 2008. A member of the crowd of 50 or so of us who gathered for the private reception Sen. Graham hosted for John McCain asked something along the line of, “Can you tell us who your vice presidential pick might resemble?” The honored guest bullied his host a bit as he replied: “Anybody but Lindsey Graham.” How true those words ring in retrospect.)

If wearing Sarah Palin’s shoes, boots or whatever (just don’t get too carried away with your imagination!), most in their right minds would seriously consider resignation a worthwhile option. However, most aspiring to ascend to a higher office would quickly clear that option from the table — at least if they’re planning to run for that office in the immediate future.

My friend, waxing typical academic wonkishness, asserted: The resignation makes sense if Palin is planning to move south in order to pursue a master’s or doctorate degree in foreign affairs or some other area of study that will strengthen her ability to position substantive comments on bigger issues that matter to our country. Still, we agreed that’s as unlikely an If as a Palin appearance on David Letterman’s show since Letterman called her daughter a quiff.

So what’s driving Sarah’s latest move? Probably the same sorts of things that diverted John McCain’s attention away from the economy last year, not to mention the same sorts of things that prompted Gov. Sanford to divulge the details of his tryst in Argentina in the utterly bizarre manner he did two weeks ago — bad advice from too many clueless “political consultants.”

Simply put, it may be that Palin has surrounded herself with too many yes-(wo)men. If this is true, the lenses of her political glasses may be becoming so blurred by the steaming piles of sycophantcy surrounding her that the ship of Palin-post-governor-of-Alaska has been rendered rudderless. In other words, the same sort of group-thinkish approaches to determining “next steps” that proved so poisonous for the Bush-Cheney foreign policy establishment’s endeavors appear, from a distance, to be sabotaging Palin’s political future.
“Can she become president in 2012?”

“No,” my friend replied, adding: “She won’t even win the primary.”

According to him, when it comes to having what it takes to debate with someone like Barack Obama, the Empress of “Victory 2008” would quickly discover she has “no clothes,” figuratively speaking that is. The only way she’d stand a chance of making the White House her family’s future home in 2012 would be for tragic events to position Joe Biden as her competitor — and that’s if, by some miracle, Palin can pull off a primary win.

One’s ability to back-door their way past the others who lined up for the Veepstakes last year is hardly something that will position that person as a serious candidate for the presidency three years from now.

If she’s as calculating and rational as we presume she may be, Sarah Palin will not position herself as a big-ticket item for at least another six and a half years.


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2009 8:01 PM

    I prefer this retired General’s perception of her decision:

    Brilliance of Goverernor Palin’s Resignation

    The more I reflect on it I am astounded by how close she was to using the Colonel John Boyd’s OODA Loop on her growing list of opponents. That is, Observe-Orient-Decide-Act and do it with such speed and surprise that it is a guaranteed defeat to an enemy. Boyd was never defeated in a dog-fight as a fighter pilot. His doctrine was, ultimately adopted widely not only by the Air Force, but by the Marine Corps. Further, it has been successfully applied in a fast-moving business environment. But this is the first time I’ve seen it done in the political wars–although I don’t think Sarah did it intentionally.

    It was her natural instinct as a fighter in sports and in government.

    What did she do? Observe: She saw the increasing attacks being made against her and her family and realized that it could have been a fatal attack to her and her objectives. Second, Orient: She recognized key time factors and measured them against the rather slow schedule for political campaigns now set by the media and political consultants. That schedule was too slow to protect her own personal and professional interests. Third, she Decided that with the pace of the Socialist Revolution of the past six months, and of the increasing viciousness of personal attacks against her and her family, that this is a time for urgent action. Then, Fourth, she acted with utmost speed, hiding her timing and revealing her decision at the best possible time–On the eve of our celebration of our Declaration of Independence. She gave a statement of intent and stand to fight for our country at the very time when the President evidences weakness upon weakness and his determination to continue dragging us all into Socialism–where history proves it results in poverty and chains! Yes, It is the OODA loop! It is the technique of victory instead of the slow defeat envisioned by the wee timorous beasties of the Republican establishment. She gave a certain clear trumpet call to battle. Yes, it was one very brilliant move both tactically and strategically.

    Some of you old fighter pilots (as well as point guards) will appreciate what Sarah has done.

    And the enemy: Howls of indignations, anger, bitterness, more slander. They’ve been out-smarted and they know it.

    Sarah, guard yourself and your family well. You may now be attacked physically.

    Al K (BG, US Armry, Ret)


  1. The Palin Puzzle: by Michael S. Smith II, SCHotline Contributing Edito « Sen. Kevin Bryant: blog from the backbench

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