By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
While it's probably too much to hope that Sarah Palin (or, really, most politicians) be governed by rules of logic and/or intellectual honesty, the lame duck Alaska governor's resignation reasoning (such as it was) all but eliminated a future presidential run for herself.
The conventional definition of "lame duck" politician is, according to William Safire's Political Dictionary, "an officeholder whose power is diminished because he is soon to leave office as a result of defeat or statutory limitation." Note the word "soon." Granted that Sarah Palin is proudly not a conventional politician, but in her speech Friday, she redefined "lame duck" as being a pol whose power is diminished because they are going to leave office ... at some time (in her case the regular departure date would be something like 18 months in the future).
As Hot Air's Ed Morrissey noted, "Using this logic, Palin should never have run for the first term unless she was willing to run for the second, and not run for either if she wasn't willing (or legally able) to run for a third." And you can take that logic one step further: No president should run for a second term because they would instantly be a powerless lame duck, subjecting the country to four years of utter fecklessness. And if a president is then not going to run for a second term, they automatically become a lame duck as soon as they take office in their first term ... so they should not seek the presidency at all.
One other note on the "lame duck" issue—what a terrific insult to the 35 other governors operating under term limits. As several commentators have pointed out, the options available to pols not seeking re-election are broader than either quitting or mailing it in. "No mention of a third option: using your freedom from crude electoral politics to make hard choices and earn the best possible results for your state," TNR's Michael Crowley, for one, writes. Agreed.