John Fund at the WSJ says he talked to sources close to Palin and knows why she quit: the tremendous political and personal cost of thousands of FOIA requests and related ethics investigations, and the stress on family caused by uncivil public discourse and a venomous media.
Too bad she didn’t articulate it quite as succinctly when she announced. I listened to her speech and found myself wondering what the primary motivation really was. (However many reasons are given when one is speechifying, there is nearly always a primary driver for these things).
It is a shame that we have become so accustomed to the casual defamation of political figures that we often focus more on the person’s inability or unwillingness to tolerate the abuse than on the scourging itself:
Karl Rove acknowledges the unusual battering Ms. Palin has endured in recent months, but told Fox News that GOP leaders are still puzzled by her decision. “If she wanted to escape the ethics investigations and save the taxpayers money, she’s now done that,” he said. Unfortunately, he added, her decision “sent a signal that if you do this kind of thing to a sitting governor like her, you can drive her out of office.”
I suppose. But should we focus more on the “signal” Palin sent to her attackers – that making false accusations and being nasty can pay big political dividends – or should we drill down on the abusive behavior itself?
Regarding Rove’s comment, John got one takeaway quote that resonates:
But Palin friends say such commentary misses the real point. “The Beltway media can’t understand someone not consumed with presidential ambition,” one told me. “Maybe Sarah Palin won’t run for president and maybe her family situation made it tougher to handle the barrage of attacks that come with that territory. The real issue that should be asked is why a mean-spirited system has to treat people who run like that, instead of why someone may choose not to go through it.”
I say we have an obligation to call for an end to the vicious slandering of, and base and baseless litigation against, our public figures on both the left and the right. It is one thing to investigate and ask questions; it is quite another to set your sights on the destruction of a person’s political life, which cannot help but bleed over into the personal.