There have been many pieces on Sarah Palin lately. They come from many different angles; most of the ones I've read are good. Jonah's is insightful and thoughtful, as usual. So is Ross Douthat's.
Insightful, thoughtful... but are they useful? These are basically opinion pieces highlighting her strengths and weaknesses, and they have merit. But this one by John Fund actually explains why she stepped down.
This situation developed because Alaska's transparency laws allow anyone to file Freedom of Information Act requests. While normally useful, in the hands of political opponents FOIA requests can become a means to bog down a target in a bureaucratic quagmire, thanks to the need to comb through records and respond by a strict timetable. Similarly, ethics investigations are easily triggered and can drag on for months even if the initial complaint is flimsy. Since Ms. Palin returned to Alaska after the 2008 campaign, some 150 FOIA requests have been filed and her office has been targeted for investigation by everyone from the FBI to the Alaska legislature. Most have centered on Ms. Palin's use of government resources, and to date have turned up little save for a few state trips that she agreed to reimburse the state for because her children had accompanied her. In the process, though, she accumulated $500,000 in legal fees in just the last nine months, and knew the bill would grow ever larger in the future.
This is the kind of thing that news media glosses over, not just because of ideology but because of the yawn factor. Just like the ACORN agitators and their role in Obama's rise -- where's the story? You get better ratings when you say magic words like "pregnant teenager" or "Republican scandal". Here's Fund's depressing conclusion:
....Ms. Palin mostly likely will not run for president -- in 2012, at least. She made many mistakes after suddenly being thrust into the national spotlight last year, but hasn't merited the sneering contempt visited upon her by national reporters. She simply was not their kind of feminist -- and they disdained the politically incorrect life choices she had made.
In helping to convince Sarah Palin that her road forward in national politics would demand even more sacrifices and pain than exacted from most politicians, the media did nothing to encourage women or people of modest means to participate in politics. By sidestepping her critics, Sarah Palin is now moving to another playing field where she has more control over the rules of the game. Her friends say her critics may call her a "quitter" now, but they should wait and see what new role she decides to fill. She may wind up having the last laugh.