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Palin Deserves a Little Sympathy

By Steven Stein

As the country mourns Michael Jackson, we may be overlooking another public figure who deserves our sympathy. That person, of course, is Sarah Palin.

Last time we checked in with As Alaska Turns, Palin was alternately feuding with a late-night comedian, the father of her grandson, the Alaska state legislature and pretty much anyone who makes a living as a reporter. Then, of course, Palin played the ultimate spotlight-grabbing trump card: She resigned her governership with a speech straight out of Mad Libs.

The logic behind the decision seemed maddeningly opaque. Then yesterday came Jim Rutenberg and Serge Kovaleski's mammoth New York Times article, which offers a mesmerizing glimpse into Palin's decision to resign.

We learn that:

- Palin “appeared anxious and underweight" following the presidential campaign.

- She was hounded by ethics complaints, many of which seem frivolous.

- Her famously thick hair became so thin that she sought out “emergency help from her

- Because of money issues, her husband and closest adviser, Todd, was working longer hours.

So consider her situation: Palin had to raise five kids, one a paparazzi-hounded, unwed mother, another with special needs -- all while her husband spent more time at work and less time with the family. She also had a state to run.

Of course, Palin didn’t help things by picking frivolous fights (see: Letterman, David) and making some ill-advised trips to the lower 48. Just because I feel a little bad for her doesn’t mean she’s qualified for any sort of high office.

But as her hairdresser, Jessica Steele, movingly put it -- and, really, who knows you better than the person who does your hair? -- “Honestly, I think all of it just broke her heart.”

By Steven Stein  | July 13, 2009; 10:17 AM ET
Categories:  Stein  | Tags:  Steven Stein  
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Boo Hoo Hoo.
I'm changing the title of your article; "PALIN DESERVES A LITTLE SMYMPHONY". There, I just rubbed two fingers together, there's your symphony.

Posted by: CharlesOfPortAnegles | July 13, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Poor thing!

But didn't she already have a pregnant unwed teen daughter and a special-needs infant when she say yes to McCain's offer to be his VP candidate?

She's extremely ambitious, but doesn't know her own limitations -- no wonder she got into trouble.

Posted by: Krisipuu | July 13, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for this. While I am not impressed by what she is as a politican, I think she can BECOME so much more if she could only get people who are smart, behind her and she listens to. We really need 3 strong parties in this country. Money & Greed being what it is, I would settle for the Republicans getting back to having ideas and not just blocking things. Getting behind Palin and making her stronger would help.

Posted by: bentleybruin | July 13, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

So she can't handle her personal life....and she wants to run the country? No wonder her husband is spending more time at work.

Posted by: jckdoors | July 13, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Palin deserves squat. If she actually tried to think before speaking (and there's no evidence this has ever occurred), her head would likely implode. She's a petty, vindictive hypocrite. GOOD RIDDANCE

Posted by: EdSantaFe | July 13, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I'd be pulling my hair out as well - she went from being a one eyed fish in the sea of the blind as governor of a state with roughly the population of Baltimore to a potential Vice President. She is likely more responsible for the overwhelming Obama electoral landslide than John McCain. She scared the bejeezus out of the intelligent electorate.

Then, when the conservatives lose not only the White House, but the Congress as well, the RNC blames who? Yes, Sarah Palin. It was all her fault they chose her when Obama skipped over Hillary for Vice. Right.

Suddenly, her quiet little Alaskan popularity contest came under the scrutiny of a full court "Press".

The party of family values chose a woman whose daughter is a minor unwed mother. Oops.

The party that shouted from the mountaintops "John Edwards got a $400 haircut" suddenly had a VP candidate with a $6000 Nieman Marcus addiction. Oops.

The woman who complained loudly about "palling around with terrorists" is married to a Secessionist.

How much pressure can the poor woman take?

Apparently we know. David Letterman has the power to unseat a state Governor with a bad joke.

As long as that governor is borderline loony tunes anyway.

Posted by: treinhart | July 13, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Treinhart, if Palin is borderline loony tunes, her fans are full-on bat-poop crazy in comments threads.

They apparently believe they defend her best by incongruously making increasingly more preposterous claims about President Obama.

I guess that's all they've got.

Posted by: Krisipuu | July 13, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

You mean the 'Pit bull with lipstick"?

The one who mouthed the words "palling around with Terrorists"?


you've got to be joking.

Posted by: vigor | July 13, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I am a Democrat, and I think Sarah has been treated abominally by her opponents and the press in general. She has a point or two in her resignation speech that are mocked and ridiculed. For exmple, before she was picked as McCain's running mate, she had a good record in Alaska, the state seemed to have a real consensus government. I'll go so far as to say that state government in Alaska seemed to work, unlike state governments in Illinois, New York, California, and my own Texas. Now the very same people that were onboard with the good things Alaska was doing are now too busy denouncing Sarah to participate in running Alaska for the good of it's citizens. Another point, how many ethics violations were filed against her before her being chosen for McCain's VP, versus how many since, is it now something 0 to 14. And how much of her time has to be spent defending these allegations, some of which are so idiotic as to defy belief, like the Artic Cat jacket one. Her ability to govern Alaska has all but been destroyed by these attacks, so it is not unreasonable for her to think that Alaska would be better off if the Governor was not a lame duck in a shooting gallery. It is a valid point considering the visciousness of the attacks against her and her family. And some states have this funny little law called resign to run that states if an office holder decides to run for a different office, he or she MUST resign from the office they currently hold in order to do so. In fact we have such a law in Texas, but the Republicans routinely ignore it, and since Republicans hold all statewide elective offices that law in never enforced. What Sarah really needs is a really good chief of staff that she can trust implicitly. Are you listening, Mary Matalin?

Posted by: mike92 | July 13, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Mike92 wrote: "Her ability to govern Alaska has all but been destroyed by these attacks."

Oh, for cryin' out loud. So what if Palin had to spend time defending allegations of misconduct?

What a wimp she is compared to, say, Bill Clinton during all the baseless Whitewater and Lewinsky investigations -- and an impeachment. He managed to govern extremely well nevertheless.

Sarah Palin quit because the going got tough. She was in over head -- and what a relief bit is that she and McCain didn't make it to the White House.

Posted by: Krisipuu | July 13, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Some more in defense of Sarah Palin. Also her children have been focused on, and trashed by the media without any mercy what so ever, more so than any other political candidate in our history. And is there any excuse at all for the conduct and false allegations made by Andrew Sullivan, why can't he be held responsible for his insane and paranoid fantasies about Sarah Palin. Comedians, Tina Fey was more than acceptable, her satire was aimed at the Governor personally and politically, but Letterman's crude sex jokes about Todd Palin's daughters were just way over the line. And just who is Levi Johnston to criticize the Palins? Has he paid one dime in child support, especially since he has made a few trashing them. Has he gone out and tried to make a home for his child, or is his idea of a home living with his meth head mother who is currently under several indictments for drugs. Would a family court judge allow placement of a new born in such an environment? I think not. In an earlier time young Mister Johnson would now be married, and if he could do nothing else, then he would be in the service, and being a father, rather than a talk show guest. And who are these 'un-named McCain staffers'? Are they really political policy people, or are they shoe polishers. Why can't they give their names, the campaign is over, and this is not classified defense information. And why do reputable news orginizations publish this trash without the names of those staffers, and the positions they held in the campaign. I might believe this if it came from McCain's campaign manager, but what if this un-named source is Cindy McCain's hair dresser, would that person be believable in this context. That will do for now. Think beyond your limits, whole new vistas open up before you.

Posted by: mike92 | July 13, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Whitewater was baseless, Lewinski was not. Granted I do not think that Paula Jones' lawsuit should have been going on while Clinton was President, the suit should have been stayed by the court until Clinton left office, but the Lewinsky allegation was not baseless. I did then and still do believe the while there was no obstruction of justice, since the Paula Jones' lawsuit had nothing to do with justice, President Clinton did commit perjury. It had nothing to do with his conduct as President, and if the suit had been stayed, it would not have happened. However my point is this. It is a lot harder to defend yourself in this country if you are actually innocent of the charge against you, rather than trying to wing it on technicalities such as the meaning of the word 'is'. I thought Clinton was a good President, and if he could have run for a third term, I would have voted for him. I don't think I would vote for Sarah Palin for President under any circumstances, though if she came to Texas, I might vote for her for Governor since she would be far better than this vain fool Rick Perry. But I also think she has been treated very badly and very unfairly by her detractors.

Posted by: mike92 | July 13, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

My heart bleeds for Sarah - NOT. Isn't she the same woman who paraded her husband, her children and even her daughter's boyfriend on stage at every opportunity? That poor infant dragged around from place to place at all hours of the day and night?

Didn't she drag her daughter Bristol on tv interviews and suggest her for spokesperson for chastity before marriage?

Please! This woman brought a lot of this on herself arguing with her grandson's father, Letterman, the media in general.

She needs to go away and soon.

Posted by: JaneDoe4 | July 13, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Mike92, you're right about the Lewinsky case (it wasn't baseless), and after I hit send, I was going to correct myself, but got distracted by my 3 YO grandson.

But my point still stands -- Clinton managed to govern effectively despite it all.

Unrelated to the investigations aznd impeachment, he got raked over the coals, outright lied about ("murder list," indeed), and constantly criticized for a number of other things, as any other president would be.

To say Sarah Palin has been treated unusually badly or unfairly is just silly.

Posted by: Krisipuu | July 13, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

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