It started with her puzzling announcement of resignation.
Strategically timed to take place on the eve of Independence Day, Palin put together a hastily arranged news conference to say that she didn’t want to accept the lame duck status, take the paycheck and milk that experience and it was in Alaska’s best interest that she would step down on July 26th. However, the announcement came after the publication of a controversial Vanity Fair article by Todd S. Purdum, which showed there was still some deep resentment toward Palin from former McCain campaign staff.
To that extent, Purdam posed the question, “How could John McCain, one of the cagiest survivors in contemporary politics—with a fine appreciation of life’s injustices and absurdities, a love for the sweep of history, and an overdeveloped sense of his own integrity and honor—ever have picked a person whose utter shortage of qualification for her proposed job all but disqualified him for his?”
At the news conference, Palin stood at the podium uncomfortably in front of her Lake Lucille home in suburban Wasilla, Alaska. She started the news conference by invoking familiar rhetoric — citing examples of stability and efficiency of her administration including the refusal to accept stimulus money because it is “bad for America,” but it was the media that became her primary focus.
“You don’t hear much about the good stuff in the press anymore, though, do ya?” she said.
Without taking into consideration the awkwardness of her resignation announcement, she wrote a message on Facebook the next day, which said, “The response in the main stream media has been most predictable, ironic, and as always, detached from the lives of ordinary Americans who are sick of the ‘politics of personal destruction’. How sad that Washington and the media will never understand; it’s about country.”
No, Mrs. Palin. It’s not about the country. It’s about you. You made the news.
Strangely enough, she takes her case against bloggers and online media outlets to Facebook and Twitter, two web sites that exchange the same kind of discussions that she feels are defamatory to her.
According to Palin, political opportunists and her opposition investigated ethical complaints made against her — which utilized a lot of time, money and resources in order to “set the record straight” and clear her of any wrongdoing even though her actions as governor raised many questions about her ethics. The way she has conducted herself since she was tapped to be McCain’s VP candidate last August gave the media — often in the market of exploitation and hype — reason to investigate, criticize and realize that something is wrong in the state of Alaska.
Because of her questionable behavior and antics, she became a clear target for comedians with the most notable example being Tiny Fey from Saturday Night Live, who imitated Palin. However, on November 4th, when Barack Obama was elected to be the 44th President of the United States, Fey retired the uppity, campy parody of Palin. Over time, it came to be that Palin did not need an impersonator. She became a parody of herself.
None of us can ever deny that Mrs. “Aw, Shucks!” has been an intriguing figure in modern American politics: she’s sexy, risky and has unequivocally divided the GOP. Her influence was been colorful at best, politically destructive at its worst, leaving many seasoned veterans of the GOP in a state of awe and grave concern, but announcing her resignation prior to the end of the term has shown to everyone her reactionary, edgy impulses that — has more than likely — sealed her fate for any chance of succeeding in a 2012 presidential run.
We’ve seen her reactionary side before including her most recent feud with late night show comedian David Letterman, who joked about her daughter — originally meaning Bristol, 18, who gave birth to a child out of wedlock — getting “knocked up” by Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez. In comedy, there are tasteless jokes, but Palin took great exception to the jokes to a point where her supporters attempted to boycott Letterman. In this case, Palin did not understand the bigger picture. Even though her other daughter attended the Yankee game that Letterman was referring to (Willow, 14), Letterman was referring to a situation that directly contradicted Palin’s positions on abstinence. That contradiction gave the media cause to scrutinize her, but she made the brash decision to blame the media and everyone else but herself for putting the bulls-eye on her own back.
After her resignation, Palin went on the attack, threatening to sue media outlets including bloggers for asserting “false and defamatory” allegations. In a press release sent to the media immediately after her resignation, her lawyers go on to make sweeping statements about the media, such as “…modern journalism apparently abhors any type of due diligence and fact checking before scurrilous allegations are repeated as fact.” That’s one lengthy, contrived euphemism for telling the media to stop posting dissenting opinion and fact.
In a statement, Palin attorney Thomas Van Flein said, “To the extent several websites, most notably liberal Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, are now claiming as ‘fact’ that Governor Palin resigned because she is ‘under federal investigation’ for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation. This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law.”
Nowhere does Palin or her attorneys distinguish what is defamation and what is free speech on a case by case basis.
Around the end of her resignation speech, Palin said, “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.” She said this within an announcement that stated she was quitting her position as governor (and as one GOP senator put it, “abandoning” her state) — and maybe, just maybe the whole idea of keeping her head down is actually reasonable given the influx of media attention she has brought onto herself.
Palin has become a walking contradiction, a question with no answers, a conservative muse with a ridiculously small resume — and who’s to blame for that? HINT: It’s not the media.