Because so many in the media will never understand that it’s all about country when it’s all about Sarah Palin, I want to commend the outgoing Alaska governor in the warmest terms.
Certainly, she gave us all a start there when she announced her resignation last week at a backyard news conference, perhaps to a distinguished group of garden gnomes. (A very maverick thing to do).
How we would miss her if she left the national stage! Why, we would have to put a wig on Newt Gingrich to have any hope of hearing anything so stylishly goofy.
Yes, Sarah Palin is the best. Personally, I love the way she is always blaming the media for her own troubles. This is very flattering to those of us still in the business.
At the very moment when newspapers in particular are lame old dogs with more accountants than fleas hopping about on their backs, it is great to be told that we still have some bark worth worrying about.
Of course, she also gets riled up about bloggers and those ingrate citizens who file ethics complaints against her or indeed anybody who ventures the slightest criticism of her wonderfulness. She is beyond thin-skinned. She is translucent.
My first worry when I heard the news of her resignation is that America would be deprived of her leadership. In her speech she gave her reasons for leaving "candidly and truthfully," which was why nobody could understand what the heck she was saying. The thing was more of a puzzle than a moose wearing a scarf and earmuffs.
You see, her critics are content with "politics as usual." But Palin is a practitioner of politics as unusual. This is part of her special charm. She has un-tethered words from their meanings, much as a salmon fisherman might cast off a troublesome net.
The usual speeches by the usual politicians are like rivers that rise in the mountains of high dudgeon and wind their way through the patriotic lowlands to empty at last into a sea of platitudes and false promises.
Palin’s recent speech, however, did not have any discernible course. It was all eddies and cross currents. You could have sent a party of English teachers, wearing pith helmets, out to trace its meanderings, parse its structures, deconstruct its constructions and plumb its depths, and they would have come home defeated without a pithy conclusion, this despite the pith helmets.
Who else in our national life could say with a straight face, "Some Alaskans don’t mind wasting public dollars and state time. I do." Who are these time-wasting and squander-happy Alaskans exactly? They sound like people I might like to have a drink with. I have never met anybody as brazen as that, even in Pennsylvania, where lawmakers have raised inertia from a physical law to a high art.
I suppose most of us don’t get out enough to meet interesting characters but Palin is doing it for us. It takes a special talent to declare that going to Kosovo to meet the wounded soldiers fortified her resolve to give up because the troops are bold and won’t give up and won’t waste time.
And that sort of thinking, if I can dare to use such a stuffy old word like thinking, is a huge favor she has bestowed upon the nation. For too long, we have been restrained by silly catch phrases such as "when the going gets tough, the tough get going." Well, that was a silly attitude.
How refreshing to note that when things got tough for our Sarah in Alaska, she got going to the exits. She did not go with the flow. She made her own flow, which flowed out the door.
Everywhere in America, people’s inner quitter found a new role model. At one stroke, cut and run became respectable. Those who persist in doing the job they signed on for can now say to "heck with it" because they are just wasting their time and practicing business (or politics) as usual.
Fortunately, it seems that Palin is not leaving us — she later explained that she is just heeding a "higher calling." I certainly understand that. I sometimes get a higher calling when I am out in my back yard resting on my chaise. It is from Mrs. Henry telling me to get up and mow the grass.
But Sarah Palin’s calling is higher than that. She seeks to advance the conservative cause in the nation. Hurrah! Bring it on, to quote a great conservative president who reduced the GOP to a remnant. Everybody who is dying for a laugh is with her.
Reg Henry can be reached at rhenry(at)post-gazette.com.