Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

07/05/2009 (4:06 pm)

My Take on Palin's Resignation

palinnotinvestigatedWith the blogwires alight with unfounded rumors of a federal investigation that has probably never existed, the question about Sarah Palin on everybody’s mind is, “Why did she resign?”

I listened to her resignation speech at Tammy Bruce’s site on Friday, and her reasons seemed perfectly clear to me, based entirely on what she said (what a concept!) Beginning at about fifty seconds into the second video on Bruce’s site (the one I have embedded here,) where Gov. Palin says “Some say things changed for me on Aug. 29 last year, the day that John McCain tapped me to be his running mate…”, she explains how political opponents have tied Alaskan government in knots with frivolous accusations of ethics violations, requiring excessive time and government spending just to fight them off. It is at the end of this section that she announces that she is not seeking re-election, and not going to serve as a lame duck either. The reason is quite clear: she is the lightning rod that is attracting the vicious assault that has tied Alaskan government in knots. If she goes, the assault stops, and Alaska can continue to make progress without having to fight ridiculous political battles. So, she is going. That is basically what she said.

This is really the only explanation that makes sense. It is an entirely selfless reason — which is why professional politicos cannot buy it. It is not about seeking election to some other office, nor about launching some sort of publicity stunt, nor about stepping down before some imaginary ethics investigation goes public (do they really believe that one of those could have remained hidden during the investigative blizzard she’s endured?), nor about chickening out and trying to protect her family. Any one of those would have been believed of a professional politician by professional reporters on the political beat.

But Sarah Palin is not your ordinary, professional politician. She is just a mom who won an office because she was trying to make something better. She actually believes in what she is doing. She does not care what recognition she wins; she is content with her life as it is. She is what she appears to be: an ordinary, decent person who places a high value on the most important things (God, family, duty), who cannot be swayed by less important things like fame, wealth, title, or power. She is that rarest of rare animals, an office-holder about whom the tiresome bromides about selfless public service actually, literally apply. This is unheard of by political reporters, who just know that she’s playing an angle somewhere. There is no angle; that is why nobody can believe it.

For the record, I am not a PalinBot. I think she is a remarkable woman and a remarkably effective governor, and I am impressed with her character. However, I am not convinced she can win a national election, and so far, I have not seen that she is capable of carrying on a cogent conversation regarding the details of complex foreign policy. I have little doubt that she can run a government effectively and think through problems lucidly — she has done that, and nothing but that, throughout her public career — but I have to take it on faith that she would be able to apply the same competence to foreign affairs that she has to Alaska’s affairs.

I will give her this high praise, though: she is strong where Ronald Reagan was strong, and her strength comes from the same place. What leftists and politicos called simplicity in Reagan and naiveté in Palin are the same thing, the confidence and clarity that come from a clear conscience and a firmly established moral compass. She is not an intellectual, and neither was Reagan, but intellectualism is a poor predictor of leadership ability, and the sort of moral clarity that empowers people like these produces mental acuity that perceives what far brighter minds cannot perceive. It proves a pet thesis of mine, that righteousness makes one smarter, and sin makes one stupid. (Add Gov. Mark Sanford to the pile of evidence proving the latter…)

In the meantime, Ms. Palin has responded to the media onslaught against her with characteristic aggressiveness and verve; rather than cutting and running or taking it quietly, she is now threatening lawsuits against those who repeat groundless allegations. It is difficult to make a case of defamation against a public figure, but it is not impossible, and Palin’s style has never been to allow a pesky defender to get away with over-aggressive moves without paying for it.

This is one tough woman, and her career is far, far from over. Bully for her.

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July 5, 2009 @ 8:39 pm #

Phil, I find your summary that Palin “is just a mom who won an office because she was trying to make something better” goes a long way in explaining her. For some that is an indictment against her. For others it is a great strength. I see it as strength. And hope she always keeps that dimension to her.

July 6, 2009 @ 7:38 am #


I think you have nailed it on the head. My sole quibble is that I also think protecting her family may have entred the equation at some level, because that is also part of who she is.

I do not believe her career is done, and will be waiting to see what develops.

July 6, 2009 @ 7:50 am #

The entire GOP should close shop and go home. A Nation suffering from the cancer of liberalism doesn’t deserve the principled, honest Government of Republicans. Maybe it’s time we allow the Democrats to finish that long trip down the sewer that liberalism has been taking us, so we can rebuild out of whatever remains of America after they libs prove once again that socialism is an abject failure.

Nations get the government it deserves, and regardless of his motiviations, Rev. Wright was correct. A nation which murders 10 million of it’s own children in the womb, throws God out of it’s institutions, and becomes as base and immoral as America doesn’t deserve God’s blessings.

Nor will it receive them.

July 6, 2009 @ 9:52 am #

Been a while since I posted here, work has been a bear lately.

I think you hit the nail on the head with this post. It also goes toward one of the biggest problems, in my opinion, that Liberals have with Palin, she is genuine. She does not seem to prevaricate, dissemble, or hedge. She says what she believes, no more no less. For those in the press who are so used to hearing people include more lie than truth in any given statement from a need to protect themselves, it is jarring.

It is like a person who wears glasses for 10 years and tries contacts for the first time. They get a headache because they are unconsciously “looking for the edge” of the corrected vision without realizing they are seeing everything. (true story from when I first put on contacts and then came back the next day and asked the optometrist why I had a splitting headache and was dizzy.)

(Webmaster notes: welcome back, we missed you.)

July 6, 2009 @ 12:57 pm #

I have a lot of mixed feelings on this person. It seemed readily apparent that she was playing the Letterman thing for all that it was worth (including purposefully misunderstanding the joke)…but was truly due an apology.

She is not without the stain of abuse of power – I have a good friend who writes for Alaska’s biggest newspaper and Newsweek who shares my mixed feelings…but has NOT been worthy of ALL the ethics complaints.

Personally, I think it would be a GIANT mistake for the GOP to run her on the ticket…but I think maybe for some of the same reasons people were hesitant about running that movie star Ronald Reagan : )

July 6, 2009 @ 1:41 pm #


I hear you, but I’m not so sure about that. IF (a huge if) she plays her cards right, in a few years she might seem like a breath of fresh air, and Obama’s flowery rhetoric might have a sour tone to all but the most dedicated souls.

Absolutely no way to call this at this stage. Personally, I think the odds are that this will hurt her rather than help, but the real story has yet to be written.

July 7, 2009 @ 6:09 am #

What was apparent from the outset was that the further left on the spectrum you went, the more Sarah was hated. They rightly discerned that she was a clear and present danger to their world view and set about creating the moribund caricature (embodied by Tina Fey) of a stupid, backwoods hick. Think Deliverance and you get my meaning.

Now, she has enjoined the wrath of the higher mind on the right side of the spectrum. They now know that she is coming for them, too.

While I agree with the above comments that say that we cannot know exactly what is next for her, other than what she plainly said in her remarks – funny how so many of the best and brightest of the fourth estate can’t listen, must be Sarah’s accent – we do know that one of two things is true. First, this was Sarah’s swan song. “Politically, if I die, I die” was the quote she made the week before. That’s refreshing in of itself. Second, she is going to come down to the lower 48 and lower the boom on the statists – all of them.

If she puts it together correctly, we might just be in store for one of the most remarkable journeys in American political history.

She is the Anti-Obama, the Anti-statist. With the scope and influence of government spinning wildly out of control and no one really articulating a message far and wide to the contrary, she could quite possibly be the one person who can indeed articulate the message of Conservatism – limited government based upon the founding principles contained within the founding documents – outside of both parties.

Memo to Washington: Fear the ‘Cuda. Now, where did I put my Gadsden flag?

July 8, 2009 @ 12:04 am #


These are Andrew Sullivan’s collection of the untruths and half-truths told by Palin. I don’t post these for blanket acceptance…but every one is worth consideration.

July 8, 2009 @ 9:13 am #

You mean, THE Andrew Sullivan? the one who still insists that Trig is not Palin’s child?

Jim, Sullivan has negative credibility on this topic. It doesn’t take a great deal of objectivity to recognize that Sullivan goes berserk at the very mention of Sarah Palin’s name; even his friends and employees acknowledge it. I feel confident that I could go through his list of “lies” and explain how he’s being disingenuous in every single case — I can do four of the first five right off the top of my head — but it’s really not worth my time to do it. By saying of his rage-addled tripe that “every one is worth consideration,” you utterly discredit yourself as a non-partisan interpreter of the facts, and mark yourself as a partisan.

Stop lying about yourself, Jim. You’re not the objective individual you claim to be, and you never have been.

July 8, 2009 @ 1:29 pm #

The authenticity of Sarah Palin has frightened the political establishment, both Dems and Reps, very badly. She does not play by their rules, and will not be controlled by them. They do not know how to handle that.

The way she connected with people all across America during the ’08 campaign was something to behold. We have not witnessed any conservative candidate with this sort of charisma in my lifetime, and I am an old man. The fact that she is a very good looking woman certainly did not take anything away from her, but there was a lot more than that. She spoke what she thinks, what she believes, and it fits with what the masses of Americans think and believe.

I think that Phil has given us a good analysis of where she is right now. I do think we will see more of her in the future, but I think that future is pretty vague at this time. I really doubt that any specific plans to run for particular office at a particular time are planned at this time. I expect we will see here campaigning for other folks mostly for a while.

July 8, 2009 @ 2:10 pm #


I really don’t care much about your attack on the source…the unconventionally conservative Sullivan had proven to me in many cases to be twice the thinker that you and I are, added together. It’s more important that you are in the equation than I am).

I don’t think I’ve been successful in getting you to read either of the books I’ve recommended to you proving that fact.

If Sullivan doesn’t like Palin much, okay. All of us can be less than objective when that situation is true. But she either campaigned for the “bridge to no where” funds or she didn’t. She either terminated employees the day before she said she did not, or she didn’t.

They are worth considering, EVEN IF WRONG, Phil.

July 8, 2009 @ 3:22 pm #

“Phil, I really don’t care much about your attack on the source…the unconventionally conservative Sullivan had proven to me in many cases to be twice the thinker that you and I are, added together.”


Them’s fightin’ words where I come from…

Good thing we’re not where I come from.

*waves cigar, raises eyebrows repeatedly*

Darkhorse, if what Mr. Sullivan’s intellectual prowess is demonstrated by his Trig trutherism I’ll be damned if I don’t need a drool cup.

July 8, 2009 @ 4:08 pm #

Turfmann –

Hilarious! And I mean that!

But seriously, there isn’t a single one among us, intelligent or otherwise, that doesn’t have some glaring weak spot. I don’t understand what causes Sullivan’s (assuming he’s wrong, I’m uneducated on the issue), but I know, after reading two of his books, that he is normally a very sound thinker.

And you’ll notice that I included myself in the “Sullivan = 2x(Phil + Jim)” equation…AND said that I really don’t add all that much to the Phil side of it.

July 8, 2009 @ 5:48 pm #

First of all, darkhorse, I don’t believe that all accusations are immediately and equally worthy of serious consideration simply by virtue of the fact that they exist. Lots of accusations are not worth our time. And to be candid, I do not believe for a millisecond that you don’t know this.

Foremost in that category are accusations by individuals who are clearly, publicly, and embarrassingly fixated with irrational hatred on their subject — regardless of what fine books they’ve written on other subjects. If you want to go on reading Sullivan — and pretending that he’s “conservative” in any meaningful sense of the word — feel free; but I am not taking him seriously on the subject of Sarah Palin, and nobody with any understanding of human nature would, either, knowing his animus.

Solely as examples of the sort of thing we can expect from that level of animus, let’s look at two or three of his accusations:

Palin lied when she said the dismissal of her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, had nothing to do with his refusal to fire state trooper Mike Wooten; in fact, the Branchflower Report concluded that she repeatedly abused her power when dealing with both men.

The Branchflower Report was a partisan hit job, commissioned by her political opponents and improper according to state law. Of course they found that she’d abused her power; that was the purpose of the commission. The properly constituted state investigation disagreed (and having read the details of the incident in several reports, so do I.) The best the Branchflower report represents is a “he said, she said” standoff, the public stance of the opposing party, and thus it is not sufficient basis to call anything a lie.

Palin lied when she repeatedly claimed to have said, “Thanks, but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere; in fact, she openly campaigned for the federal project when running for governor.

She campaigned for it; then she managed it; then she tried to reconcile the funding with the costs; and then she decided to scrap the project. The final disposition of the project was exactly as she said: “Thanks, but no thanks.” It’s not a lie at all — unless you imagine she has some obligation to mention details from every phase of the project every time she mentions any part of it. Why would such an obligation exist, exactly?

Palin lied when she wrote in the NYT that a comprehensive review by Alaska wildlife officials showed that polar bears were not endangered; in fact, email correspondence between those scientists showed the opposite.

I’ve not read the research they’re referring to, but I know that it’s ordinary, in discussions of research, that when somebody states incorrectly the conclusions, it’s called an “error,” not a “lie.” And Sullivan doesn’t even say that she stated the conclusions incorrectly, just that “email correspondence between the scientists” showed the opposite; again, it’s ordinary in discussions that when positing counter-research to rebut your opponent, you call your opponent’s position “incorrect,” not “a lie.”

That’s three of the first four items in the list, and without having to lift a finger beyond what I already know of the circumstances, I can see that Sullivan is taking the very worst possible interpretation of every possible quibble, miscue, or verbal tick, and calling it a “lie.” This conforms precisely to my understanding of his state of mind. Consequently, I need to read no further; I’m sure the rest is no better than this part. My rejection is thus completely reasonable.

By contrast, your insistence that even the most obviously rancid, putrid, hate-filled rant is “worth consideration,” is inexplicable, ESPECIALLY given your repeated prating on the subject of giving people the benefit of the MOST charitable interpretation of their acts. Like Sullivan, you obviously do not want to give Sarah Palin the benefit of whatever doubts you insist I give all my targets.

Why not?

July 9, 2009 @ 12:48 am #

But don’t you see, you’ve made my point about “benefit of the doubt” exactly?

Obama has Clinton meet with Honduras’ (legally) deposed leader, and so Obama is a fiery Marxist, ready to bring the country down. Worst possible interpretation.

Sullivan produces a list as long as my arm of incorrect statements, half-truths, or lies by Ms. Palin, and the whole list is suspect. BEST possible interpretation.

The difference? Palin is your kind of conservative, toeing all the right lines (as opposed to Sullivan, who toes most of them, but certain issues just don’t cut the mustard), while Obama is not.

And you have done the very same thing to me here. I was careful to say I don’t take Sullivan’s list hook line and sinker, but the list is worth studying (and not, as per my overstatement, that “every item” is worth consideration. For that I apologize).

This discussion is the first I heard of Sullivan’s feelings on Palin, and I appreciate being informed by you and the others here about it. I think Palin’s behavior toward Letterman was appalling and deceitful, and yet she was still due an apology for Letterman’s comments.

You said: “Like Sullivan, you obviously do not want to give Sarah Palin the benefit of whatever doubts you insist I give all my targets.” I never insist that you PRESUME the best…only that you leave the possibility open that the WORST isn’t true. At times you do just that…in my opinion (FWIW) not often enough.

July 9, 2009 @ 5:19 am #

The difference is, darkhorse, that I explain my reasons for thinking that alternative explanations for the Obama administration’s behavior are not plausible explanations. I can be persuaded otherwise, if your reasons and your support are good enough. The reason I don’t accept your alternatives is not that alternatives are not welcome, it’s that you have to support them with facts, and generally speaking, you don’t do that.

Same with Sullivan. I explained in horrible, gory detail my reasoning regarding Sullivan and his diatribe. Understand — that reasoning takes a few seconds in my own mind, or as long as it takes me to scan the list to see how sound his first few reasons are. I just read from the top of his list, and 3 of the first 4 are laughable (the fourth, I don’t know the facts so I can’t make a call.) All you offer in return is “he wrote some good books.” I’ve read enough of Sullivan to doubt that I would agree; but even beyond that, Sullivan’s just, plain lost his marbles over Palin, and has become a joke in the blogosphere on the topic.

And for what it’s worth, if I’d scanned the list and found several items near the top that were substantial, I would have been angry and uncomfortable, but I would not have dismissed the list, and I would have reviewed the whole thing more carefully. But honestly, Jim — after you’ve read “She said that a report concluded X, but the scientists traded email and in the email they said Y, so she’s LYING,” why don’t you infer that his definition of “lying” is a bit of a stretch beyond the ordinary usage, and that he’s being tendentious in order to be able to construct a list that looks really long?

Believe me, this is not the first time I’ve seen reasoning like that from leftists (or from conservatives, for that matter — and I don’t pay much attention to the conservative versions of those lists, either. But the conservative versions don’t come from the best-read conservatives in the world, they come from idiot nobodies. The leftist versions come from guys like Sullivan, and from members of Congress. There’s a difference.) I remember reading “bushlies.com” before the 2000 election; they called it a “lie” that he’d defended legal abortions in 1980, but was against them in 2000, and on several topics they said he was “lying” because his position was X, but they had evidence suggesting that X was wrong. Most folks I know would call the first “changing his mind,” and the second “disagreeing.” You can make a case that a person changed their mind for political convenience (like Al Gore appeared to have done), but that’s not what these folks argued; they called it a “lie.” After I’ve read somebody do that 2 or 3 times, I shrug my shoulders, categorize the entire exercise as a tendentious waste of time, and move on. Don’t you?

Whenever you’ve razzed me about assuming the worst, it’s been an instance where I believe the EVIDENCE points in a direction you don’t like. I don’t assume much; I try to follow evidence. I do leave open the possibility that the worst is not true, but I do not forget evidence I’ve already accumulated. On Obama, I spent, what, a full year documenting his neo-Marxist roots? I even embedded a couple of data points in the post, regarding his discussions with South American Marxists prior to the election. Do you really think it’s intellectually necessary for me to forget the results of the year’s research when approaching his handling of the Honduras fiasco? Why would that be? I think it’s intellectually necessary for me to keep my prior conclusions in mind; that’s not called “assuming the worst,” it’s called “letting the evidence lead you to a conclusion.” I thought that was a good thing… and I still think so.

July 9, 2009 @ 5:42 am #

“Comment by darkhorse

July 9, 2009 @ 12:48 am #

This discussion is the first I heard of Sullivan’s feelings on Palin, and I appreciate being informed by you and the others here about it. I think Palin’s behavior toward Letterman was appalling and deceitful, and yet she was still due an apology for Letterman’s comments.”

While I wholeheartedly agree that no discussion of the schizophrenic nature of Palin-hate complete without Mr. Sullivan at center stage, I do believe that you were the one who brought Sullivan into the conversation here. Correct me if I’m wrong, please, I’ve only had three cups of coffee at this point. Then the question is how it was you that brought your attention to something that you had never heard of?

“Comment by darkhorse

July 8, 2009 @ 12:04 am #


These are Andrew Sullivan’s collection of the untruths and half-truths told by Palin. I don’t post these for blanket acceptance…but every one is worth consideration.”

I would also like to hear your thoughts on how Palin’s behavior towards Letterman was appalling and deceitful. I watched the entire thing unfold myself and I didn’t pick up on that.

July 9, 2009 @ 1:29 pm #

turfmann – let me be a little more clear – I am quite familiar with Andrew Sullivan – he is a brilliant thinker and the author of at least three books that I have read.

What I was not aware of was that he apparently has some kind of odd weakness in his rationality about Palin. I pay very little attention to most blogs in the world (other than Phil’s) and had no idea.

July 11, 2009 @ 5:33 pm #

I did not vote for Obama/ because I took the TIME to check out every one of his poignant attempts at identifying with Blacks!

Too numerous (all lies) to mention here. Yikes/ these folks ( jet trips – shopping in Paris/London – theater in London Lion King -walking in woods of Russia with $6000 clutch purse/ visiting soup kitchen in $540 sneakers/ Guberment Motors) act like they just won Publishers’ Clearinghouse.

As for Sarah Palin/ cognitive dissonance will keep many, otherwise intelligent people (easily propagandized) from seeing the truth/ they’ll never put themselves above the situation and use ‘common sense’.
First off – For goodness sakes/ McCain had NO right in choosing her. He met her BRIEFLY one evening before the grand announcement. Hell I had a harder time getting a job at a supermarket (years ago). She was the plumb to counteract a Black Man/ which didn’t work.

Sarah on the other hand should have had the common sense to give a gracious no thank you.

First off – VP is a very vital position/ a heartbeat away from the Presidency/ it is more than evident now that Sarah (we’re not talking personality) does not have the emotional or intellectual capacity for such an arduous demanding job (foreign policy – trade policies – intrigue of CFR – Bilderbergs -G-6 – G-20 – Federal Reserve etc/ how they impact and dictate American policy. Also greatly negated is the real issue of their family issues.

I had a special needs brother/ and worked my entire life with Down’s syndrome – retarded – handicapped. This baby of theirs (campaign etc) has been tossed around/dragged around like a Christmas ham. The little girl, (age 8) is seen in almost every photo, struggling with the baby –spitting on his hair ( poor little thing) during Sarah’s acceptance speech.

DON’T give me any arguments/ if you’ve never dealt with such children (heart – other medical issues) you haven’t a clue. He NEEDS daily therapy, intervention (monitoring) to bring him to his highest potential. This takes a committed mother (father) and is NOT a part time job.

Mudflats blog in Alaska gives more insight into what’s happening (besides family issues – daughter’s preg – Levi out for $ – Sarah seeing big money).

As Mayor she left the small town with an astronomical debt (SPORTs CENTER) to serve her/husbands interests in these dog sled races. A HUGE complex was built and at the same TIME the Palin’s had a huge Log Trophy home built/ which coincidentally, has been found to have many supplies delivered there/ from Sports Center contractors/ who Sarah had various contracts sent their way/ for personal favors.

Then there’s Wasilla the meth capital of Alaska with its own intrigue and questions?

Once ya experience the city high life/ applause/adoration – magazine spreads etc it’s hard to go back to the drudgery of Alaska with its small population/ no cameras – no cheering crowds.

Sadly in this country few see MOTHERHOOD as the highest calling/ setting your baby (Sarah thought it cute) under your desk is NOT acceptable nuturing.

There’s nothing wrong, especially out of need, when a woman NEEDS to work. Our HIGH cost – society now demands this.

Sarah with teenagers – special needs baby should have FIRST served her REAL calling/ left politics for a later time.

Her husband makes good money, (oil fields – fishing business) plus Alaska citizens get thousands (checks) for EACH citizen, yearly from oil royalties. Granted they wouldn’t have their TROPHY home/ but baby Trieg would be a lot better off and the eight year old could enjoy HER childhood.

July 13, 2009 @ 6:20 pm #


When has anyone ever discussed the appropriateness of any politician’s raising of their children vs holding, or running for, a high governmental office? Ever. (BTW, I don’t have any children so you can dismiss this question if it’s too much for you. But it’s actually a serious question. There might be someone out there; but I don’t know of any.)

Some of your other arguments might actually be cause for pausing. At least long enough to watch out for the venom you’re dripping all over the place.

July 30, 2009 @ 12:24 pm #

Enjoying your articles. Thank you. thot you might enjoy a look at her in up-town Anchorage.


July 30, 2009 @ 2:15 pm #

Thanks for the link, ar. Nice photos. No real news. Palin is a class act, and the eagerness of some critics to find character flaws in her tiny word choice miscues is truly disturbed, and disturbing. She’s allegedly a pathological liar, vindictive, abuses her power, and stupid to boot. Except that she’s a woman of unusual courage and integrity, she’s kind, she serves the public faithfully, and she produced results that people had been trying to produce for decades before her and did not. So, best of fortune to Ms. Palin now that she’s no longer governor.

August 1, 2009 @ 1:08 am #

And she is a legal citizen as well. Do you call baraq o baw maw IPOTUS or almost POTUS
or not yet POTUS or someday when we get around to it POTUS?

I would like to know who this guy is, wouldn’t you? The remark above to baraq o baw maw is aramaic…

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