Contrary to most reports, her decision had been in the works for months, accelerating recently as it became clear that controversies and endless ethics investigations were threatening to overshadow her legislative agenda. “Attacks inside Alaska and largely invisible to the national media had paralyzed her administration,” someone close to the governor told me. “She was fully aware she would be branded a ‘quitter.’ She did not want to disappoint her constituents, but she was no longer able to do the job she had been elected to do. Essentially, the taxpayers were paying for Sarah to go to work every day and defend herself.”
This situation developed because Alaska’s transparency laws allow anyone to file Freedom of Information Act requests. While normally useful, in the hands of political opponents FOIA requests can become a means to bog down a target in a bureaucratic quagmire, thanks to the need to comb through records and respond by a strict timetable. Similarly, ethics investigations are easily triggered and can drag on for months even if the initial complaint is flimsy. Since Ms. Palin returned to Alaska after the 2008 campaign, some 150 FOIA requests have been filed and her office has been targeted for investigation by everyone from the FBI to the Alaska legislature. Most have centered on Ms. Palin’s use of government resources, and to date have turned up little save for a few state trips that she agreed to reimburse the state for because her children had accompanied her. In the process, though, she accumulated $500,000 in legal fees in just the last nine months, and knew the bill would grow ever larger in the future.
If you think that’s sickening, consider this: all of the reporters and pundits “speculating” on the reasons for Palin’s “bizarre” resignation know full well that Palin and her family are getting constantly bombarded by these legal harassments from her enemies. Yet they still spin yarns about how this is the result of Palin’s flightyness. They paint her as a ditz who’s not cut out for leadership.
I’m not often surprises by the level of viciousness found in the baser participants in political battles. But the concentrated assault on Sarah Palin really is something to behold. Why would any normal person ever want to go into politics?