Palin’s perilous prospects?

PALIN’S PERILOUS PROSPECTS?…. Sarah Palin’s resignation has raised a lot of reasonable questions that are hard to answer. Why is she quitting? What’s her next move? What is she thinking?

But if Palin has decided to give up after just two years in the governor’s office so she can pursue national office, the next question is, hasn’t the last 48 hours effectively ruined her political career beyond repair?

I noticed one far-right blogger said on Friday, “It’s over. You can’t resign from a governorship and then run for higher office. Barring some strong reason, like needing treatment for cancer.” (“It,” in this case, was apparently a reference to Palin’s future in politics.)

I’m inclined to think this is right. Palin asked voters to give her four years as her state’s chief executive, and she’s quitting after 30 months. Her rationale — she’s facing media pressure and doesn’t want to work as a lame-duck governor — is quite literally unbelievable. In her two and a half years as governor, Palin hasn’t accomplished much, hasn’t demonstrated mastery of any area of public policy, and was found to have violated state ethics laws.

If she runs for the Republican nomination in 2012, Palin has the kind of record that her rivals are likely to exploit to great effect. The only high-profile pundits I’ve noticed praising these bizarre developments are Mary Matalin and Bill Kristol, and both of them have poor analytical skills.

Summarizing the bottom line, Josh Marshall makes the case that Palin is finished.

You could keep plumbing the depths of this ridiculousness for some time. But as MC rightly notes it’s simply poisonous, toxic, fatal for anyone running for president. Setting side political and policy stances, the one thing really key about a president is that they be steady under pressure, not rash, and not prone to spur of the moment freak outs where they just walk away from the job to go to Disneyland. A lot of nonsense gets knocked around about ‘character’ in presidential elections. But this is the foundational question of character that really is critical. Assuming this isn’t about some soon-to-pop scandal and it’s really that Palin just decided on a moment’s notice (look at how much preparation went into the press conference to know how long this was in the works) to up and walk away from her responsibilities, that’s simply fatal for anyone’s presidential chances.

She may resurface as a latter-day Hannity or she may found some Palin-specific Anti-Defamation League dedicated to calling out obscure bloggers who’ve written mean things about her. But what very little shot she had as a future presidential candidate (and it was a much longer shot than I think many realized) is over. She’s done. She’s back to what she was — a small person looking for someone to be angry at.

That certainly sounds persuasive. Indeed, I agree with nearly every word.

But there’s just a nagging feeling I have that when it comes to the Republican Party base, reason and logic are largely irrelevant. The kinds of voters who participate in, say, the Republican presidential caucuses in Iowa in 2012, may not care whether Palin has thoroughly discredited herself as a credible and serious political figure. Hell, they might very well think, “Sure, Palin may quit the White House in 2014 if the going gets tough, but I’d rather have two years of the Quitta from Wasilla than none at all.”

Can Palin recover from her humiliating fall? She shouldn’t be able to, and the country will be better off if she isn’t able to, but I’m not quite ready to rule out the possibility.