Page 2 of 2   <      

Palin's Golden-Brick Road

There's nothing wrong with ambition, of course. No one gets to the White House or the Iditarod finish line without it. But claiming selfless virtue -- not to mention solidarity with wounded soldiers in Kosovo and Landstuhl, Germany -- over personal preference is a herring of a different color.

"Let's face it, she just doesn't really want to govern, and she's doing what's best for her," said a Republican campaign strategist who has worked with Palin.

"This is a win-win," said another. "It's a win for her because she is not politically viable, and now hopefully she can make a lot of money, have balance and affect culture in a positive way. It's a win for the Republican Party because she was the female version of [George W.] Bush in some ways. She is not intellectually curious. We need and have smart, competent alternatives."

Undoubtedly and understandably, Palin is weary of the fray. The crucial turning point was the attacks on her family. No one can honestly make the case that the Palins didn't take more heat than other public families. That said, it isn't difficult to avoid media attention. All one has to do is go to Alaska and stay put. But Palin, like the giddy Icarus, seems drawn to heat and light.

Palin also blamed frivolous ethics charges as a reason for her premature retirement. Alaskans lately have turned against the once-popular governor and filed complaints that have run up legal fees in the $500,000 range. Nobody wants that, surely, but that's chump change for Palin, whose supporters tossed $400,000 her way the first month SarahPAC went online.

Finally, Palin blamed "a full-court press from the national level picking away right now" and said she "knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can win. And that is what I'm doing -- keeping our eye on the ball that represents sound priorities. Remember, they include energy independence and smaller government and national security and freedom. And I know when it's time to pass the ball for victory."

Fortunately, Palin has hired a writer to help with her tell-all.

Insiders confirm that Palin felt she couldn't accomplish as much as a besieged governor as she can as a private citizen working behind the scenes. While that may be true, the sidebar reveals a convenient rationale. The usual rule applies: Follow the money.

As a public speaker, Palin will be golden. Other rumors circulating suggest a television show, a possible newspaper column (but remember, Palin hates the mainstream media), and fundraising gigs where the erstwhile vice presidential candidate can retain her hot spot on center stage.

If that is altruism, there's a lakeside house in Wasilla with a fabulous view of Russia you're just gonna love.

<       2

© 2009 The Washington Post Company