USA Today reported yesterday that, according to a new nationwide USA Today/Gallup poll, Sarah Palin's approval ratings have improved since her surprise announcement last Friday that she'll step down from the Alaska Governor's office on July 26.
Her move, she said, would allow her home state of Alaska to progress further than it would with her at the helm (in the face of the overwhelming time demands associated with defending herself against a slew of ethics complaints following her much-publicized run at the Vice-Presidency, alongside Republican Presidential candidate John McCain). Leaving would also, she said, free her up to work to "help our nation achieve greatness."
I don't know what that means, and apparently, neither did anyone else in the Republican Party. Political strategist Karl Rove said that he and other party leaders were "perplexed" by Palin's move. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa said that, "It's astounding," and that a run at the Presidency in 2012 would be difficult for Palin in light of her mysterious resignation. Mike Huckabee, another potential Republican Presidential contender in 2012 said that the move was "risky". Senator Lisa Murkowski even went so far as to accuse Palin as having "abandoned the state and her constituents."
Yet, Republicans nationwide indicated that they like her more for it. Maybe it's because the voting public recognizes that it takes a lot to walk away from such an incredible post for the good of your state, knowing it might cost you a lucrative job in the future. There's a ring of honesty that can't be explained away.
Think about it: Sarah Palin walks away from a post that would be a natural feeder to a Presidential run because the drama surrounding her life is taking away from her ability to serve the state of Alaska. No matter how hard you try, there's no way that the press could possibly spin that and make it some strategic move.
And the American public appreciates that.
Because if there's one thing we American's would love more of, it's representatives who are willing to actually sacrifice their own aspirations for the good of those they purport to serve.
The sad thing is that the Republican Party still doesn't get it; to them it's just a "risky" political move. Which is why they're a party headed rapidly toward political oblivion. It just feels right when a politician stands up and says, "me being in this post has cost the state $2 million; it's not fair to you, so I'll stand down and let another fill the spot." How dare Senator Murkowski accuse Palin of "abandoning" her state? She sacrificed on behalf of her state.
And unless the Republican Party can remove their collective heads from their collective backsides, stop pursuing their own political ambitions, and start doing what's right for their constituency--despite the personal political costs, they'll be a party no more.
Mark my words.
And the last one standing will be Sarah Palin. For all her shortfalls (including her incredibly shrill voice, her lack of nationwide political experience and her relative inability to make more than three consecutive public appearances without saying something incredibly foolish), the American people trust her. And believe in her. And will vote for her.
Governor Sanford could take a lesson from her.