Sarah Palin: A Year on the Road Less Traveled

It is July 26th, 2010. Governor Palin is in Wasilla with her family, having just returned from a fishing trip in Dillingham. She has just been informed that a fortieth frivolous ethics complaint has been filed against her for talking with reporters at an Anchorage 5K race about her best selling book that had been released just in the Spring. Things are still moving forward with the transcontinental gas pipeline, and after a fierce battle with the obstructionist Alaska legislature, a prudent FY2011 budget has been passed.

On the national political front, President Obama and Vice President Biden are hitting up the links (again) trying to decide if the administration should meet with the head of BP more than 3 months following a massive oil spill in the Gulf. The administration had passed its first major piece of “reform” legislation –a government take over of health care–during the Fall of 2009 in spite of the protest of a sincere, bold, but somewhat faceless group of Tea Party Patriots. President Obama is on near cruise control with his agenda, with few prominent, outspoken, well known critics of his administration.

In June, Tom Campbell defeated Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore for the GOP nod in Califorina. Nikki Haley had recently returned to the South Carolina legislature as an up-and-coming reformer who had a strong showing in the primary for governor, but didn’t have quite enough to make it over the top.

Such may have been the visage of the Alaskan and American political scene had Governor Palin not stepped aside from the governor’s office and handed the reins over to Governor Parnell a year ago today. As Governor Palin stated when she made that famous, surprising announcement on July 3, 2009, she had no intention of running for a second term, nor did she want to waste countless hours of staff time and hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer monies fighting the ridiculousness of unfounded lawsuits. So she did what many considered a career-ending move; she resigned. Governor Palin no longer wanted to be relegated to spending the majority of her time battling dozens of baseless, frivolous ethics charges, which were not productive for her state. She instead knew she could fight for Alaskans and Americans outside of office, and she knew the man who would fill her place would govern with the same agenda as she had.

When Governor Palin announced she was stepping aside from the governor’s office on on July 3, 2009, she said:

Political operatives descended on Alaska last August, digging for dirt. The ethics law I championed became their weapon of choice. Over the past nine months I’ve been accused of all sorts of frivolous ethics violations – such as holding a fish in a photograph, wearing a jacket with a logo on it, and answering reporters’ questions.

Every one – all 15 of the ethics complaints have been dismissed. We’ve won! But it hasn’t been cheap – the State has wasted THOUSANDS of hours of YOUR time and shelled out some two million of YOUR dollars to respond to “opposition research” – that’s money NOT going to fund teachers or troopers – or safer roads. And this political absurdity, the “politics of personal destruction” … Todd and I are looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills in order to set the record straight. And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn’t cost them a dime so they’re not going to stop draining public resources – spending other peoples’ money in their game


My choice is to take a stand and effect change – not hit our heads against the wall and watch valuable state time and money, millions of your dollars, go down the drain in this new environment. Rather, we know we can effect positive change outside government at this moment in time, on another scale, and actually make a difference for our priorities – and so we will, for Alaskans and for Americans.

A year later, Governor Palin’s message and intentions have not changed. In an interview with the Daily Caller last week, she said:

The media incentivized political opponents to file false ethics charges and expensive, wasteful, frivolous lawsuits against me, my family and my staff, in an obvious attempt to destroy us.

I said, ‘Enough. Political adversaries and their political friends in the media will not destroy my State, my administration, nor my family. Enough.’ I knew if I didn’t play their game any longer, they could not win. I would not retreat, I would instead reload, and I would fight for what is right from a different plane.

Governor Palin knew that for the sake of her state, her country, her family, and her political voice, it would be best if she stepped aside from the governorship. She said it in July of 2009, and she said it in July of 2010. Her tune has not changed. It is hard to delve into alternative history, but one has to wonder how the political landscape would appear if Sarah Palin were still governor of Alaska. I don’t think it would be too far from the aforementioned scenario. She would have made progress on the pipeline (as is being done anyway) and would have continued to battle with legislators to ensure a modest budget was passed and state sovereignty was upheld. President Obama would be gliding through his first term tone deaf to the voices of the American people. The Tea Party movement would still be strong and vocal, but it would not have such a powerful voice, nor widespread coverage, had Governor Palin remained in office. The health care reform bill, stymied enormously by two words and a pair of quotation marks from the Governor, would likely have passed in the Fall of 2009, rather than the Spring of 2010. Aside from Governor Palin, there have been few voices that have consistently, boldly, and unabashedly spoken against the overreach and tone deafness of the federal government, the reckless spending, the negative impact of cap and tax, the mismanagement of the oil spill, and the enemy-centric foreign policy of the Obama administration. Had Sarah Palin remained governor of Alaska, she could not be speaking in such a way without an ethics complaint being levied against her. Stepping aside from office allowed her to speak more boldly and fearlessly.

She likely could not have been a vocal supporter of candidates for office without outcries and ethics complaints from the anklebiters, and no one knows about the power of a Palin endorsement better than two fellow mama grizzlies — Carly Fiorina and Nikki Haley. Both of these women are definitely strong candidates in their own right, but without the endorsement of Governor Palin they may not have received the necessary visibility and campaign funding to put them over the top. The same could be said of other candidates, such as Susana Martinez. Governor Palin’s endorsements are helping to pave the way for many Constitutional commonsense conservatives to victory in November.

When Governor Palin uttered the words “I never thought that I, nor anyone else, needs a title to do this — to make a difference, to help people” in her signature display of self-confident humility during her resignation speech, it was unknown just how powerful her voice and how widespread her influence would be. Sarah Palin, without the official title of current governor, has been a voice for everyday Americans, speaking against progressivism, standing for the principles of our Constitution, and supporting those candidates who stand for those conservative principles. The anklebiters and the Left may have thought temporarily that they had won a great victory, but time has most definitely proven otherwise. Governor Palin is not a conventional politician; she is an unconventional leader. As C4P noted following her resignation announcement, Robert Frost’s words were true then, and they are true now:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Governor Palin’s Farewell Address – July 26 2009

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