On being a lame duck

| Comments (1) | Misc
I know it's a mistake to try to make sense of Sarah Palin's registration speech, but even amidst the general incoherency, the following struck me:
And so as I thought about this announcement that I wouldn't run for re-election and what it means for Alaska, I thought about how much fun some governors have as lame ducks... travel around the state, to the Lower 48 (maybe), overseas on international trade - as so many politicians do. And then I thought - that's what's wrong - many just accept that lame duck status, hit the road, draw the paycheck, and "milk it". I'm not putting Alaska through that - I promised efficiencies and effectiveness! That's not how I am wired. I am not wired to operate under the same old "politics as usual." I promised that four years ago - and I meant it.


Maybe I'm missing something, but as far as I can tell the reason that a politician who is a short-timer has trouble being effective isn't because they don't have to run again—that's mostly empowering because you don't need to worry about consequences—but because they aren't going to be around long enough to reward or punish you. But Palin's term has two more years to run, not two months. That's plenty of time for others to have to worry about doing what you want. And of course Palin is (or at least before this was) likely to remain politically powerful even after leaving office, so this seems like less of a concern for her than the average politician.


It's also interesting — and a view into her psyche — to note that she seems to think that there are only two choices:

1. Laze around, take trips, and enjoy the leisure time that not worrying about re-election gives you.

2. Quit.

It never appears to occur to her that

3. Continue doing your job with diligence and vigor.

...is even a choice.

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