In the comments section, I found this well-written and brilliant analysis by a commenter named "ice9," which I reprint here in full with his/her permission, with only minor edits: (emphasis added)
I take at face value the Feds' denials of an investigation. Obviously we can dismiss Palin's own explanations, both because she's a liar and because she made no coherent explanation. But I have a different sense.
Palin is not just a lame duck. The people of Alaska, including the Republican base, are annoyed at her. The wingnuts there of course love her still, and the rapture-ready Christianists are proud, but everybody else is disgusted. She abandoned the state to campaign, which is symbolic. But she also stepped 'above' her office in a variety of ways: she capitalized on various moronic lower 48 preconceptions about Alaska; she straightened up her house for the national media. she washed her hands of the complex and demeaning Stevens trials. Meanwhile the legislature, including moderate Republicans, are furious at her failure to participate in legitimate processes. Begitch took the senate seat, which stung the Republican organization and exacerbated the split between the practical and the wingnut factions.
And Palin went under the national political microscope, with humiliating and revealing results. She pimped out her kids, warts and all; she used her authority to cover up the little nasties that her family had accumulated; she looked like a dope, and in comparison made Alaska look like a bunch of spoiled rich quarrelsome dopes. She and the McCain folks ironed out Alaska's interesting differences with other states, and she spun various half-truths about how the state operates. In essence she buttered over a bunch of issues, putting them off or ignoring them. It's the standard tradeoff for a sitting governor who runs for national office: if you win, you bring a bunch of goodies to the state; if you lose, you've been derelict for no profit at all, and the bill comes due. Palin can't pay, and won't pay that bill. She won't go back to work. This is because she never really worked at governing, of course, but also because she deeply believes that she is above such work with its compromises. She feels herself to be annointed, and the annointed don't handle the basic tools of government.
I think she quit because she knew that the remaining part of her term would be nothing but hard work and trouble. I think she knew her national political aspirations -- already badly weakened by her unsuitability and her previous performances -- would be further eroded by any attempt to govern. All by itself, this calculation is abundant cause to reject her as a leader.
She knew that the Dems and moderate Republicans in Alaska were going to take every chance to hang her up for more scorn, which of course would resonate nationally because of her popularity and her consistency as a figure of fun on the left. She knew that she would be maneuvered into compromises by parties to Alaska's government exploiting her sensitivity to national attention. She knew that those base causes under national base scrutiny require grand, broad gestures and that as governor she would have few or no chances to make those gestures or, worse, she would be forced by exigencies of real government to compromise them. She calculated that the value of 'experience' as governor was less than the crap that was going to stick to her in the process, and calculated that the flash from her quitting would subside more quickly.
This calculation, we can see, is a neat synopsis of everything that is wrong with the current bizarre incarnation of the Republican party. They have contempt for the actual messy skill of governing. (Think Sanford, who just wanders off, vs. Schwarzenegger, who seems to be involved and energetic despite the risks. Think Pawlenty, who has scotched the economy in Minnesota for years just to put up a 'no tax' gesture that is visible in South Carolina.) It means much more in the current political calculus to speak, make appearances, and yak on Far Right Radio and TV than it does to serve, to solve problems, to govern. Worse, perhaps worst of all: it reinforces the perception I have that the current and future style of governance by conservatives bears no relationship to any legitimate governmental process at all. They give little or no thought to how actual government will go other than to rule by zinger and by fiat. And cooperation is right out. Any cooperation with 'them' is a stain. Enemies -- liberals, of course, but moderates too -- must be ignored, or attacked. Incompetence of the Bush stamp is a shrugging offense.
No government is the result, but it's no surprise that 'no government' is preferable to these people. What sort of nation (or state?) can be ruled that way? Only one 'at war', 'under threat' 'in fear' -- or, perhaps, a nation governed in fact by the Cheneys and Roves that stand behind.
I hope that this new style -- 'above governing' -- is not the fashion of the future, does not become the standard practice. I hope we can agree as a nation that public service requires actual service: gradual, bipartisan, grinding, gradual, and results-oriented. I hope that we can cut through the sexy simple solutions to the Palin Puzzle, such as the theory that she's sidestepping some kind of investigation or yielding to extortion (though if proved those would be their own kind of fun, but inconclusive). I think we need to pin her down on the simple fact of responsibility ducked.
And here's another comment from one of Ed's readers:
Last Line EPIC Fail: It was NOT McArthur [who] said "we're not retreating, just advancing in another direction" - it was Marine Gen. Oliver P Smith.
A perfect ending for Sarah Stupid
And here's a post by Andrew Sullivan, linking to his previous reporting of Sarah Palin's numerous lies.
And just in case there were still any doubts about how laughably thin-skinned and
These people aren't just hypocritical and irresponsible; they're downright infantile, possibly to the point of making Michael Jackson look mature, needle-tracks and all. (Hey, at least MJ was actually still working when he died.) And speaking of infantile, check out peaceful_fox's notes on those delightful "Tea Parties" showing the world what "Real America" is all about.
UPDATE: Joan Walsh of Salon has an article about Bible Spice's latest lies about those pesky ethics complaints that alllegedly cost Alaska millions of dollars. Hint: they cost less than $300K, and they weren't orchestrated by Democrats.