Saturday, 4 July 2009

Exit Stage (far) Right

Having been immersed in the small, insignificant details of academic administration, I didn't know that Sarah Palin had resigned until I read the paper this morning (how very last century, to find something out in the newspaper the day after it happens!!!). The first question was, of course, whether she was retiring from the governorship of Alaska to concentrate on national politics. I then went about doing a fairly long surf of my various online news sources and blogs, and the consensus seems to be that she is exiting, stage (far) right.

It is not a coincidence that Vanity Fair has a devastating piece on Palin's behaviour during last year's presidential campaign, which has fuelled renewed criticism in general of Palin's political position, her family's odd allegiances, and her general M.O.

Still, the normal thing to do in the face of this sort of criticism is to declare, LBJ-style, that she would not seek, nor accept, to run for another term. Instead, she is resigning, as if she were responding to some sort of scandal (one possiblity is that a scandal is about to break). It's very odd, and she is probably letting down a lot of the fringe Republicans who were hoping she represents the future of the Republican Party.

Which leads to the final point. The Vanity Fair piece makes clear that the Republicans started imploding during the campaign, a process which has only intensified since they lost. The problem with the Republican Party is not Sarah Palin or other illiterates like her. The problem is that many in the party think the future lies with them. Until they figure that out, they're nowhere. Even more nowhere than Wasilla.

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