Ross Mackenzie

Does it make any sense, what Sarah Palin has done?

Little that is happening these days seems to make much sense, particularly regarding the Republicans.

But I mean, just up and resigning as governor of Alaska? All the experts say it's the wrong thing to do. That it sends the wrong message - giving up on the only statewide elected post she's ever held. That it confirms she really is the ditz they have suggested since John McCain vaulted her to fame.

A couple of points. First, the political landscape stands dramatically changed from just a year ago - and the media landscape along with it. So, second, it's a landscape regarding which there are no experts. So, third, who's to say Sarah Palin is any more ditzy than the self-styled experts?

Then why would she quit before fulfilling her contract to precisely the Alaskans she says she is quitting to serve better?

Three possibilities. 1) She is a true outsider, as opposed to the ersatz ones most politicians claim to be. 2) She views the unconscionable assaults on her and her family as greatly damaging and beyond the pale, and has concluded her time in politics is up - that, for her, the political game is over. 3) She worries deeply about the future of the country, views the Republican Party as in collapse (Mark Sanford flaming out with an Argentine bar dancer), and - on this new political landscape - sees herself as a possible flag around which Republicans, conservatives and moderates can rally.

Well, what Mark Sanford did with Maria Belen Chapur wasn't so bad as lying about it. And sex hasn't proven fatal to a lot of pols - from Thomas Jefferson to John Kennedy to Bill Clinton. It didn't spell the end for Rudy Giuliani or Newt Gingrich either.

But it did finish off Gary Hart, who in 1987 dared the press to track him, which it did - all the way to the yacht Monkey Business and the spicy blonde Donna Rice. And it finished Eliot Spitzer and too many forgotten pols to count.

So Sanford should have resigned, and Sarah Palin shouldn't have?

About Sanford, probably. About Palin, hard to say. Still, it's difficult to escape the conclusion that many of the comments about her resignation from those who fear her or wish her ill betray a sexism infusing the left. It's a leftist axiom that good-looking conservative women have the intelligence of a bag of hammers. Of course, a corollary holds that the uniformly left-leaning damsels of Hollywood were born uniformly brilliant - theirs being the brilliance of ideological congeniality.

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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