Another controversial person: Sarah Palin. Why’d she quit?

John Fund, who writes the Political Diary for the Wall Street Journal online, writes that people misunderstand when they think that Sarah Palin’s decision to leave her role as governor of Alaska was a recent one. He contends that the people who hated her and what she stands for turned her job into a quagmire. In driving her from office they made it clear that she was not one of them:

She made many mistakes after being thrust into the national spotlight last year, but hasn’t merited the sneering contempt visited upon her by national reporters. She simply was not their kind of feminist — and they disdained the politically incorrect life choices she had made.

What kind of “sneering contempt,” you say? The kind that David Kahane writes about in National Review Online:

Did Sarah stand for “family values”? Flay her unwed-mother daughter. Did she represent probity in a notoriously corrupt, one-family state? Spread rumors about FBI investigations. Did she speak with an upper-Midwest twang? Mock it relentlessly on Saturday Night Live. Above all, don’t let her motivate the half of the country that doesn’t want His Serene Highness to bankrupt the nation, align with banana-republic Communist dictators, unilaterally dismantle our missile defenses, and set foot in more mosques than churches since he has become president. We’ve got a suicide cult to run here.

And that’s why Sarah had to go. Whether she understood it or not, she threatened us right down to our most fundamental, meretricious, elitist, sneering, snobbish, insecure, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders bones. She was, after all, a “normal” American, the kind of person (or so I’m told) you meet in flyover country. The kind that worries first about home and hearth and believes in things like motherhood and love of country the way it is, not the way she wants to remake it.

So, Fund writes, because she was so controversially “normal,” her critics relentlessly attacked her and paralyzed her in her role as Alaska governor. But the message they sent is not a good one, he says:

In helping to convince Sarah Palin that her road forward in national politics would demand even more sacrifices and pain than exacted from most politicians, the media did nothing to encourage women or people of modest means to participate in politics. By sidestepping her critics, Sarah Palin is now moving to another playing field where she has more control over the rules of the game. Her friends say her critics may call her a “quitter” now, but they should wait and see what new role she decides to fill. She may wind up having the last laugh.

The Palin style of leadership

In a recent article, Byron York at NRO looked at how Sarah Palin governed in Alaska. What the article demonstrates is that she has learned quickly and governed more than ably and that the talk on the campaign trail is not empty rhetoric.

Of note, York describes her style of governing:

[I]t’s fair to say that overall, Palin’s time in office, from her swearing-in until the moment John McCain picked her to be his running mate, has been a success. And from her handling of the issues she has tackled, it’s possible to see a pattern in the way she approaches governing.

First, she hires well. “There was a pretty good team of people assembled right away to come in and start with her big-picture principles and develop a process and legislation to carry that out,” says Joe Balash. “I would say that her management style is to give her staff, her cabinet, a pretty long leash, but with very high expectations — and she’s not afraid to tell you that you didn’t get it right.”

Second, she is involved with details on some big things, but not on everything. “When it comes to issues that she cares about, that she knows the public cares about, she’s got all kinds of time and prioritizes things in a big way,” says one insider who has worked with her and asked not to be named. “For the mundane tasks of government . . . say, regulations for the Kenai River, she instead looks for recommendations from her cabinet and the regulatory agencies, but she’s not going to get in and argue specific details.”

Third, she is dead set on fulfilling campaign promises. “There was this absolute expectation that if it was an issue that had been talked about during the campaign and there was a particular commitment that she had made, then we had to live up to it, no matter how difficult,” says Balash, “because her big thing was restoring the confidence of the public in state government.”

From that same article, Republican state senator Gene Therriault sums it up best when he says: “She’s been in office for two years now and has been fairly successful, which either belies the argument that she was not prepared or is an argument for the fact that she is a quick study.”

Read the whole article here.

Sarah Palin: Tough politician

OK, I’m kind of wearing out the Sarah Palin posts today, but this article in the Wall Street Journal gives a good summary of her political style while she’s been governor in Alaska:

When she ran for governor as a Republican outsider in 2006, she took on not only a sitting governor from her own party but Alaska’s Republican establishment — vowing to clean up a political system that had been rocked by an FBI corruption investigation.

After winning handily, her popularity in Alaska has soared as high as 83% as she has gone on to sack political appointees with close ties to industry lobbyists, shelved pork projects by fellow Republicans and even jumpstarted a campaign by her lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell, to unseat veteran Rep. Don Young of Alaska in the Republican primary held this past Tuesday. The winner has yet to be declared in that contest, as Mr. Young currently leads by less than 200 votes and a recount seems likely.

Gov. Palin has shown similar fearlessness in going after Big Oil, whose money has long dominated the state. She appears, for example, to have forced Alaska’s dominant oil producers, ConocoPhillips and BP PLC, to finally get serious about a natural-gas pipeline — without making any tax or royalty concessions.

“People see her as the symbol of purity in an atmosphere of corruption,” says Anchorage pollster Marc Hellenthal. “She’s more like Saint Sarah.”

You can, and should, read the whole artice here.