by Meg White
The punditry over the Fourth of July weekend was intensely focused on the announcement that Republican Gov. Sarah Palin will not only not be running for reelection, but that she is resigning with a year and a half to go in her first term as Alaska's momma-bear-in-chief.
Every political analyst willing to say what they really think has called this move disastrous and confusing coming from a woman who has made it abundantly clear that she wants to be the nation's first female president.
News reports cite Palin's loss of support from conservative kingmakers across the spectrum as a result of the resignation.
But they're wrong. Not that strategists are supporting Palin's recent decision. Psychopaths such as Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh aside, most on the right are calling this political suicide.
It's more that Palin never had the "support" of Karl Rove, Mike Huckabee, George Will and others who are denouncing her now. Conservative strategists had always been willing to use Palin to bring in her particular brand of voter to the booth, but only as long as she didn't turn off the rest of the voting-age population.
Even GOPUSA President Bob Eberle (whose reaction to the news was basically, "What is she thinking?!") was before probably more of an opportunistic cheerleader than a real Palin lover. After all, his organization's goal of "promoting the grassroots conservative philosophy" is only aided by Palin while she can attract more voters to the Republican fold. Presently, she is treading water at best.
This seemingly recent change of heart does not mean these people are cold-hearted liars. They're strategists and fundraisers; they act from PAC pocketbook balances and polling numbers, not the heart. But the reason the media is so enraptured with what conservatives have to say about the Palin resignation is that their words have a direct bearing upon Palin's ability to follow a "higher calling," as she put it.
Meanwhile, Palin is quick to warn against those nasty critics, "spinning" their "false info," and urge her supporters to "hang in there" via her handy TwitterBerry and various other social networking avenues that are becoming more and more popular with her base.
And it works. As David Corn points out on CQ Politics, Palin's true believers are still with her.
The hardcore Palin supporters (the only kind she has nowadays) seem to be the same type you saw in the disturbing rallies at which Palin appeared as Sen. John McCain's running mate. They're religious "hockey moms" who see Palin's rapid ascent to power as both a palatable brand of feminism and as proof that they too can have prestige without all that hard work that gives you those nasty wrinkles.