Among the many entertaining puzzles in the Palin resignation speech that Shannyn Moore of Huffington Post called “a word salad”, one point is getting insufficient attention from the pundits.
“Todd and I are looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills in order to set the record straight.”
Sarah Palin is poised to use her appeal to the wacko-right and fundamentalist GOP base to get rich. It’s not just the book with its enormous advance and huge sales potential. As a speaker, Palin is likely to generate a gusher of shekels. She would be following the leadership of George W. Bush who “crassly told journalist Robert Draper that his chief post-presidential intention is to ‘give some speeches, just to replenish the ol' coffers.’" The figure of $150,000 is widely cited for Bush’s domestic speeches and quite a bit more for overseas gigs. Now Palin is going to present some daunting competition. Let’s face it, when it comes to delivering from a stage, Palin provides a more colorful act than Bush.
Before the religious right convinced McCain that he had to accept Palin onto the ticket if he wanted any support from their troops – the only reliable Republican bloc – Palin was busy climbing the Alaskan political ladder. She was being closely tended by national Christian right figures, even from the days of her mayoral campaign in Wasilla.
Once she stood at the national podium to waves of adulation, it was hard to go back to the day-to-day responsibilities of running a state. Despite humiliating herself in excruciating public displays of flappy-mouth – from botched TV interviews to inappropriate winks to gleefully accusing the most popular man in America of hanging out with “domestic terrorists” – Palin found no fault with herself. That is because she has a “higher calling.” She’s never said otherwise. She is doing god’s work, so whatever she does, it must be just perfect.
Having acquired a taste for adoring, salivating, autograph-seeking attentions, Palin doesn’t want to give up the silks for her Alaskan fleece. It’s the stage she wants, more than the power. She doesn’t want to monitor budgets, set policies or negotiate anything more complicated than a TV talk-show contract or a role as Republican money-machine.
If she manages to become the top headliner at fundraisers for 2010 Republican campaigns, it would make her a happy bunny. She would be preaching to a receptive choir – who else would be at a GOP funder? – and they would be relieved that it wasn’t Romney or some other suit droning at them over their lobster.
She knows she’s right in everything – but the criticisms, ridicule and law suits get her down. She used to be a very popular politician in Alaska; now instead of friends she feels surrounded by obstacles. She feels a bit betrayed because she’s the same object of god’s ambitions that she has always been.
“Some say things changed for me on August 29th last year - the day John McCain tapped me to be his running-mate - I say others changed.”
The Mistress of Incomprehensibility
Palin continues to be the mistress of incomprehensibility, and she longs for an audience who appreciates that skill. Apparently the Alaskan legislature doesn’t. She insists that she is explaining with clarity why she is walking away in the middle of her term. Here are four of those transparent reasons:
2. She refuses to take the “quitter's way out,” so she quits.
3. In her basketball analogy, she reminds us that “a good point guard knows exactly when to pass the ball,” (Oh how the ‘Barracuda’ must miss those uncomplicated days of sports glory featured in the photo!), without recognizing that the guard does not then leave the court and go home to her sunbed.
4. And because she worries that “a problem in our country today is apathy,” she’s walking out of the job to which voters elected her.
She also is very conscientious about providing challenges for future students of language when they try to deconstruct her inscrutable homilies, such as “Nah, only dead fish ‘go with the flow.’”
Finally, reaching to more revered texts for guidance in the midst of chronic inarticulacy, she recites for us the hallowed words on her parents’ fridge door:
"Don't explain: your friends don't need it and your enemies won't believe you anyway."
It’s a whole new configuration of Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell.