sarah_palin_wtfI had promised myself to take a break from Mme. Palin.  I frankly felt sorry for her kids whose personal lives were being unfairly played out in the media. But Palin’s resignation left me no choice.  I asked the same question thousands of Alaskans and pundits posed: WTF? They said it more diplomatically, but it was essentially the same question.

Whenever I encounter inexplicable decisions I ask but one thing: whose needs are being met?  In Palin’s case the answer appears to be obvious. Her decision, no matter how she couches it, is about her, her career, and her future. While others may benefit from her resignation, her family and the state of Alaska comes to mind, make no mistake, this is all about Sarah.

Having been thoroughly spanked by all but the most conservative voters and media, Palin retreated to her familiar underdog position, which has now devolved into her familiar victimhood position. She fails to see that she has earned much of the enmity that has been heaped upon her. She performed poorly as a vice-presidential candidate, underwhelming all but the right wing of the GOP.  She became an object of fun, the Dan Quayle of the new millenium. She proved to be immune to constructive feedback and is clearly not a scholar. After returning to Alaska she appeared to have lost interest in governing the state. Now she has shed the shackles of gubernatorial responsibility. With weak oil revenues and the bloom being off her personal rose, being governor just ain’t fun anymore.

This is not leadership. Leadership involves persistence, determination, and a willingness to put one’s own needs aside for the greater good, sort of like parenting, but without the diapers. Palin’s willingness to dump her current job so that she can pursue a job with more glamor and money (talk show host) or fame (tell-all book) or ambition (presidency) tells you everything you need to know about her.  Like most politicians she is an opportunist. However, unlike smart politicians she doesn’t understand that the tough options are almost always the right ones. Seeking the presidency is usually a long journey during which the candidate builds coalitions and establishes his/her credentials, sacrificing and sweating well out of the limelight. Quitting one’s highest elected position three-fourths of the way through a lackluster first term accomplishes neither.

I am not a good example of thoughtful career planning. My own has been characterized as much by sheer chance as by hard work.  But if chance favors the prepared mind, one has to ask for what Palin is prepared. And isn’t finishing what you started a “traditional family value?”