Palin Un-PACs Her Bags

Like Bill Clinton's Arkansas, Alaska ghosts haunt Sarah Palin

Is Sarah Palin becoming the female Bill Clinton

No, no! Not that way.More in the home-state headaches way.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Clinton years was what seemed like an ongoing tension between the ambitions and plans President Clinton wanted to pursue in Washington, DC -- and the Arkansas "ghosts" that seemed to regularly pop up and either frustrate the plans or knock them temporarily off track.

Keep in mind that so many Clinton-era scandals had their start when Bill Clinton was the governor of Arkansas.  The Monica Lewinsky/impeachment story grew out of a civil lawsuit filed by, yes, Paula Jones after she encountered the governor in an Arkansas hotel room. 

Whitewater, the Rose Law Firm billing records, "Troopergate"; Kathleen Willey, special prosecutors looking into Clinton relationships and business partnerships for years, if not decades.  Thus, as much as the man adopted the song "Don't Stop" (thinking about tomorrow), his past inevitably kept rising out of the grave like "Friday the 13th" serial killer Jason, trying to drag him back down. 

So, it looked for a while like Gov. Palin had put the fallout from the presidential campaign behind her.  She had withdrawn somewhat from what seemed like daily interviews (though the "I named Bristol after the Connecticut city" could have been avoided).

She announced the formation of SarahPAC, sending a signal that she was going to be a player in Republican and conservative campaigns for some time.  Her grassroots supporters were looking forward to her kicking off C-PAC at the end of the month. The conservative conference has become something of an annual Lollapaloozza for the Right -- bringing organizations and activists together  for a weekend of panels, strategizing and the like.  If Palin wanted to take her role as Crown Princess of the Right, it was right there for the taking. 

But, on Tuesday, she suddenly announced that she wouldn't be coming to C-PAC after all.  Citing a need to focus on "duties of government," Palin instead will send a taped message. That decision has a downside, as US News' Paul Bedard notes:

One conservative associated with the convention said Palin, who earlier this month attended the prestigious Alfalfa Club dinner, was "making a mistake" by not appearing in person. But another said that the taped message, while lacking the wow factor of an in-person presentation, showed that she was still keen on keeping close ties to the conservative movement as she builds her political action committee, SarahPAC, and considers her national career in politics.

Of course, apropos of Clinton, it might be easier to believe Palin's "duties of government" line -- were it not said the same day as the abrupt resignation of the state's attorney general. Talis Colberg had been front and center of investigations into Palin's own "Troopergate" problem.    

It wouldn't have been impossible to avoid the national press -- which covers C-PAC in a much more in-depth manner over the last several years.  However, ducking the media at an event like that causes media stories to write themselves -- and not in a favorable way.  So Palin has apparently decided to stay out of the spotlight for a bit longer.  

But now comes the hard part -- figuring out how to keep those "Alaska ghosts" tamped down enough so she can prepare herself to get back out on national stage right.  

 Robert A. George is a New York writer. He blogs at Ragged Thots.

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