If it is better to resign from elected office than become a Lame Duck, doesn’t that create a Lame Duck Catch 22 because you can’t become a Lame Duck unless you become an elected official and all elected officials become Lame Ducks?
In American politics a Lame Duck is an elected official who is at the end of her mandate and will not or cannot seek reelection. Because she is not up for reelection, she does not have to worry about appeasing her constituency, has no political accountability and therefore is free to govern as she pleases. According to Governor Palin,
And so as I thought about this announcement that I wouldn’t run for re-election and what it means for Alaska, I thought about how much fun some governors have as lame ducks… travel around the state, to the Lower 48 (maybe), overseas on international trade – as so many politicians do. And then I thought – that’s what’s wrong – many just accept that lame duck status, hit the road, draw the paycheck, and “milk it”. I’m not putting Alaska through that – I promised efficiencies and effectiveness! ? That’s not how I am wired. I am not wired to operate under the same old “politics as usual.” I promised that four years ago – and I meant it.
Arguably, though, there is nothing forcing an outgoing elected official to “milk it”. Lame Ducks can be mavericks, especially considering the fact that they no longer have any political pressure to stay in office. They can become a force for action rather than a force for the status quo. So if Palin had said “no” to the “Bridge to Nowhere” when she was subject to all sorts of pressures from special interest groups, it would certainly be much easier to say “no” now that she doesn’t have those pressures. Why then is the tough pit bull in lipstick so vulnerable to “milking it” in the absence of political accountability? Surely with Lame Duckness comes political independence.
Traditionally this Lame Duck period lasted from election day in November until the inauguration in January of the new incoming official. Now Governor Palin wants to move that threshold from just a few months to 15 months before the end of her term. So if close to half way through one’s final term the elected official becomes a Lame Duck and should then follow Palin’s example and resign, doesn’t that just push the threshold further back, making the 15 month point the end date and the previous 15 months the Lame Duck period?
According to Palin’s logic, President Obama, if reelected, should resign half way through his second term to avoid becoming a Lame Duck president. That would turn his second term into a de facto 2 year term, and the Lame Duck period would essentially be pushed back to the very beginning of the term. Would that mean he should resign upon being reelected or that he should never seek reelection because doing so would immediately make him a Lame Duck? Worst of all is that the exact same logic would then apply to the first term, instantaneously making the president a Lame Duck on Inauguration Day. Thus, by being elected, presidents inevitably become dead fish that “go with flow”.
As a result, Governor Palin does not believe that she is capable of being a responsible agent to the people as an elective official.
I’ve never believed that I, nor anyone else, needs a title to do this – to make a difference… to HELP people. So I choose, for my State and my family, more “freedom” to progress, all the way around… so that Alaska may progress… I will not seek re-election as Governor.
Ironically this contrasts with her GOP Convention speech 10 months ago when she said the exact opposite, “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.” In other words, to make a difference you did need to be an elected official, even if you’re title was that of “small-town mayor”. It looks like now that she will no longer have a title, that original statement is no longer accurate.
Finally, Palin blamed partisanship and a biased media for the “millions of dollars” spent to defend herself against politically motivated charges to the detriment of the taxpayer. As Joan Walsh reports, those ethics complaints cost the state only $286,000,
And while Palin described the complaints as the work of Democratic political operatives and east coast media types looking for dirt, all but one of them were filed by her constituents in Alaska. That one exception was a complaint by a DC watchdog group about her $150,000 clothing gift from RNC. It was ultimately dismissed, but it dealt with an unclear area of campaign-finance law.
The rest of the complaints were all filed by Alaskans. Four of the complaints were filed by a Republican former ally of Palin’s, Andree McLeod, who turned on her because she felt Palin was cutting ethical corners, hiring cronies and using a private email account to conduct public business outside the realm of public records. Many of the complaints predated her vice presidential nomination. And at least one of the complaints was clearly justified; Palin had to pay back about $8,000 in travel expenses for her children. Another is still pending: A seemingly reasonable complaint about Palin charging the state per diem when she’s living in her own house in Wasilla rather than the governor’s mansion.
So the complaints didn’t cost Alaska “millions,” they weren’t filed by outside Democratic operatives, and most of them weren’t frivolous. Is Sarah Palin going to keep telling these lies on her self-pity tour? And why is so much of the media letting her get away with it?
Why don’t we conclude by giving a “shout out” to all those in the liberal media for never fact checking or second guessing any of the good governor’s incoherencies. Heck, I’m just trying to see America like Sarah Palin sees America.