I was wrong. I admit it. Miranda-ize me and make me do the perp walk.
Sarah Palin is not qualified to be president of the United States and therefore, is not qualified to be a heartbeat away.
The partisans who said Sarah Palin was a Dan Quayle - a not ready for prime-time player who would freeze up when caught in the glare of the spotlight were correct, notwithstanding my denials in a blog of September 7, a few days after the Republican national convention in Minneapolis.
They charged that Sarah Palin was Tom Eagleton, "not properly vetted, with her own set of jumper cables in the closet," as I wrote then.
Well, they were right.
Her backyard speech Friday announcing that she was stepping down after less than three years in office undercut what had been her strong suit: that she would rather fight than quit; that she was no fainting belle.
In the aftermath of her electrifying speech to the convention last September, I wrote
The Republican vice presidential nominee is completely outside their playbook: a true blue-collar hockey mom, elected chief executive of the Last Frontier - secure in her faith, expert in public policy, comfortable in high heels - who, as Fred Thompson so memorably noted, "can properly field dress a moose."
I am one very pumped up foot soldier in the battle for November 4. [The Hot Chick Clicks]
Sarah Palin was the antidote to the Democrats' notion of feminism as the Women's Studies agenda of victimhood, abortion, and perpetual grievance-mongering against the other gender. That is very threatening to the liberal's claimed hegemony over "women's issues."
Further, she had executive experience that Hillary Clinton would have died for - and that Barack Obama did not have when he ran for President.
This is not to say that I do not have sympathy for Sarah Palin. She and her children were subjected to calumny that exceeded even that brought against Hillary Clinton. At least, for the most part, Chelsea was spared.
But, from the get-go, the rumor-mongers fostered stories that Down Syndrome son Trig was not her own. Then there were the crude jokes, especially that of David Letterman (whom I've always liked) that daughter Bristol was "knocked up" in the 7th inning of a Yankees game. Try substituting the name of your own 14-year-old daughter and see how you feel.
Governor Palin was in a virtual three-way tie with Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney for the affections of national Republicans. Democrat(ic) political operatives knew they had to bring her down. Their tactic was to throw at her an unremitting barrage of ethics violation claims - 15 in the last eight months.
It did not matter that the claims were bogus from the start. In fact, Gov. Palin has successfully defended herself against every one that has been decided.
But the charge always seems to get more publicity than the verdict - especially an innocent verdict. In addition, defending those charges was costing the Palins a half-million dollars. Alaskan law states that you must use your own money to defend yourself.
Now, it is expected that Sarah Palin will ride the rubber chicken circuit at $50,000 a pop. That should pay her bills.
My guess is that she will encourage talk of 2012 - it helps her asking price - without really intending to run for another office.
But she could have made many speeches while still holding office - and she wouldn't have been labeled a quitter. She would have overcome the liberal onslaught and emerged stronger than ever - with the sympathy of every fair-minded person. She had her own political action committee, which would have more than covered her legal bills.
Todd Purdum's cover story in the current Vanity Fair magazine could not have been better timed. Before her surprise announcement the day before Independence Day, he wrote:
Palin is unlike any other national figure in modern American life-neither Anna Nicole Smith nor Margaret Chase Smith but a phenomenon all her own. ... Palin's life has sometimes played out like an unholy amalgam of Desperate Housewives and Northern Exposure.
... she is by far the best-looking woman ever to rise to such heights in national politics, the first indisputably fertile female to dare to dance with the big dogs. This pheromonal reality has been a blessing and a curse. It has captivated people who would never have given someone with Palin's record a second glance if Palin had looked like Susan Boyle. And it has made others reluctant to give her a second chance because she looks like a beauty queen. [Go out and buy the magazine.]
I was a guest on Joy Cardin's news program on Wisconsin Public Radio Tuesday. A caller from out-state ridiculed Palin's observation that "she could see Russia from her house." That, of course, was comedienne Tina Fey's dead-on impression. (Memo to self: be sure to catch this week's SNL.) But perception becomes reality in the world of politics.
Maybe it was a case of too much, too soon. Perhaps she could have used a little more seasoning before being brought to the big leagues. Even Susan Boyle of the Britain's Got Talent has undergone her own meltdown.
And perhaps she will have a second act in American politics; Richard Nixon disproved F. Scott Fitzgerald's axiom that there are none in American lives.
In the end, it was Sarah Palin's refusal to take any one's counsel (except for First Dude Todd, as Purdum reports) that may have sunk her hopes of landing on a national ticket. The same thing is what helps make her such a riveting figure.