Marie Antoinette Syndrome and Sarah Palin
cross posted at www.susansalisbury.squarespace.com
I wanted to call it Marie Antoinette Syndrome (or MAS) but apparently that name is already taken. It has something to do with people whose hair turns white overnight. It is named after the Queen herself. Hardly anyone ever gets it, so I think I will use it anyway. So, anyway, the deal is that the Lady is famous for responding to the statement, the people have no bread, Well then, let them eat cake. It is symbolic of the fact that she was so out of touch with the reality of the average person’s life that she thought that what was being told to her was that the bakery was out of bread. She didn’t get that they were starving because they had no money and no food.
So, what does that have to do with Sarah Palin? Hordes of elites keep saying Sarah didn’t come up with a “good” reason, or the “real” reason that Governor Palin resigned. So let me try to summarize what the governor herself has said in terms that even the elites, the Marie Antoinettes of today, can, maybe understand. The elites suggest that either a) Sarah was so personally hurt by all the lies, false charges, and personal invasions of privacy to which she was subjected that she resigned or b) she resigned to avoid some more dire charges against her. As I will demonstrate below, she never once mentioned that she was hurt and she gave perfectly legitimate, and as it turns out, very stragtegically savvy reasons for resigning.
Let’s start out with the fact that the governor and her husband were earning maybe $200,000. Per year. As of 2007 the official salary of the Governor of Alaska was $125,000.00. Now that is a whole lot of money to your average working family which earns maybe $45,000 a year. But even at,say, $200,000 a year income, a $600,000 lawyer bill is more than intimidating. Its a lot of money. The elites don’t seem to understand this. It is 3 times what your whole family earns in a year if you earn even $200,000 a year because you have to pay taxes out of that 200,000.00
IN fact, Governor Palin made reference to her lawyer bills. Sitting at the vantage point of a person who earns less than $200,000 a year, and I am a lawyer, looks to me like lawyer bills were one important factor.
So what, you say, she should have started a legal defense fund. Well, guess what she did, using lawyers who are experts in setting up such things, and the legality of that fund wa
The ethics complaints against her were frivolous, but the cost of defending them was high–see above– and there was no end in sight. All but one was dimissed and one was settled by her reimbursement of travel costs for one of her children. How do I know. She said so in her allegedly “long and rambling” farewell speech. Further, as she noted, there would be no let up on the frivolous charges, because the filers, who were two people who hated her, never had to pay one penny for filing frivolous charges.
What also became clear to her was that the Democrats in the legislature were under orders to make sure that no legislation she introduced or supported would be passed, that she would personally be subjected to meaningless investigation after meaningless investigation and that every time she left Alaska, charges would be filed. The Democrats had made it more than clear that the 2012 campaign had already started and that she would not be allowed to put any more legislative feathers in her cap and that she would be under every assault they could make for her remaining time in office.
Unlike some people who hold office, Sarah Palin did not run for office to get a paycheck or power. She wanted to accomplish things and, even in her first two years did so. Like a general who surveys the battlefield after the foe is engaged, Sarah Palin looked over the battleground and concluded that a)Sean Parnell, her lieutenant governor, is a strong conservative Republican who, because he is not on the national stage would be able to accomplish more than she would and b) that she could accomplish more elsewhere. At the time she announced this very fact, it was not obvious to her detractors that she was correct in those conclusions. It now appears that she was.
So far, not one mention of hurt feelings or not being able to take criticism. Because that was not the reason she threw in the towel for that round. She said it was a strategic decision. She specifically mentioned a basketball analogy. She talked about passing the ball to another player to make the score. That analogy is about strategy, not hurt feelings.
Now, of course, even we totally non athletes know that the player who passes the ball when she is surrounded by guards, is still in the game.
She had a plan. She has made enough money that her family doesn’t need to worry about money any more. And she continues to make it. She can now travel whenever she wants without worrying about ethics charges. She has used facebook to change the public discourse on important issues.
But still the petulant elites say, she hasn’t explained why she quit. The only excuse for the elites total obliviousness to the facts is that, like Marie Antoinette, they are incapable of understanding the real life situation which faced Sarah Palin in July of 2009 and the real life options that were actually available. They also seem to be incapable of understanding or believing that Sarah Palin understood those options much more than they did, and, apparently, reached the accurate assessment that she could do more out of the governor’s office than in it. If she had failed to reach her goals, I could understand the opacity of their thinking. But in light of the fact that she said she needed to do this in order to achieve her goal of affecting the public debate and that, indeed, resigning from the office of Governor, did allow her to a) get her story out by writing a book b) earn enough money to pay off all her lawyer bills, c) allow her to travel and speak freely, her decision to resign looks to me to be brilliant. But then, I’m not Marie Antoinette.