Well before Sarah Palin’s stunning announcement that she is resigning as governor of Alaska, GOP insiders were concerned that Palin was showing signs that she was not up to leading the party to victory in 2012.
On the surface, Palin has everything going for her. A rock star, she is smart, a terrific speaker, and an articulate spokesperson for Republican values. As governor and mayor, she has a string of real accomplishments to show for herself. As noted in the Newsmax story "Sarah Palin Mythology Debunked," much of the criticism of her has had no basis in fact.
But unfair as media attacks and ethics complaints against her have been, insiders say Palin has succumbed to a paranoia that underlies a string of misjudgments she has made since her defeat in the November election.
While she had no qualms about letting her daughter talk about her out-of-wedlock pregnancy on national television, Palin herself has become so suspicious of the media that she has rejected hundreds of requests by even friendly reporters to interview her. Her press aides say that before considering interviews, she insists that they comb through reporters' work, even if they write for a friendly, conservative publication.
That same lack of confidence seems to be behind her on-again, off-again acceptances to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and at a major Republican fundraising dinner in Washington.
Palin’s biggest supporters have been appalled at her transformation. Just before the Alaska legislature opened this year’s session, a bipartisan group of state senators invited Palin to join them on a retreat. Palin sat at one end of a conference table and listened as Gary Stevens, president of the Alaska Senate, a Republican with a reputation for congeniality, expressed pleasure that she was attending.
Smiling, Stevens asked if she would like to share some of her plans and proposals for the coming legislative session.
Palin looked around the room and paused.
“I feel like you guys are always trying to put me on the spot,” she said.
The room became silent.
“She looked ill at ease, more defensive than we’ve been accustomed to seeing her,” said one legislator who was there.
Thus, in contrast to the self-confidence and sunny demeanor that won over so many, Palin has become a sulking, suspicious diva. Quitting the governorship with 18 months left in her term only confirms that impression.
As Karl Rove told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday, Republican leaders are perplexed by Palin’s decision because “if she wanted to escape the ethics investigations and save the taxpayers money, she’s now done that, but it . . . sent a signal that if you do this kind of thing to a sitting governor like her, you can drive her out of office.”
Nor, Rove said, is she going to be able to escape media attention: “If she thinks somehow that she’s going to be able to protect her family against the kind of things that she’s suffered over the last couple of months from David Letterman and others, and seek a role of leadership for effective change for our country, as she said in her speech, she’s not going to be able to do it."
Moreover, given that one of the knocks against her was lack of experience, Palin needed all the experience as governor she could get.
In short, Palin seems to have lost what so many of us admired her for — her nerve.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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