Being the chief executive of a state government is the best on-the-job training you can get for being the chief executive of the Federal government. Many of the same elements are in play; budgetary concerns, legislative relations, muckraking opponents, the press, and a hundred other mundane challenges that the average person never hears about.
Sarah Palin had the opportunity to gain more executive experience – heck, she had the job! – and she just blew it off. This is a problem for Palin’s fans and a boon for her detractors because Palin (to date) has given no coherent reason for her resignation. The most likely reasons for the resignation seem to be that (1) She was unable to adequately perform the duties of her office due to the numerous (bogus) ethics complaints and attendant investigations pending and (2) She hopes to cash in on her fame by selling a book and/or giving speeches. Unfortunately for her, Palin hasn’t personally gone on the record stating (1) and her ex-future-son-in-law has gone on the record theorizing (2).
Expanding on my theory that gubernatorial experience is the ideal training for the presidency, let’s look at Palin’s potential competition for the Republican nom in 2012:
- Mike Huckabee served one half-term (appointed) and two full terms (elected) as governor of Arkansas.
- Tim Pawlenty is serving out his second term in Minnesota.
- Haley Barbour is serving out his second term in Mississippi.
- Mitt Romney served one full term in Massachusetts.
- Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has less experience as governor than Palin, but by 2012 will have surpassed her.
In this sample group of sixRepublican prospects, Palin will come be the least experienced executive come 2012, and she is no longer gaining experience. At the same time she is tied for the least legislative experience, with none. Please, Palin backers, don’t try this at home. Touting her mayoral experience won’t cut cheese with me.
I’ve waited this long to express an opinion on Sarah Palin’s resignation because I kept thinking that there’s more to it, that there’s a statement or revelation forthcoming that will make it all make sense. But that isn’t happening, and if hasn’t by now, I don’t think it will.
It’s over, Sarah. You were a longshot, but you still had a shot. And now you’ve blown it.