Yesterday I was on MSNBC Live to discuss Sarah Palin’s decision to step down as governor of Alaska.  David Shuster wasn’t a big fan of this Tweet from Gov. Palin: “Critics are spinning, so hang in there as they feed false info on the right decision made as I enter last yr in office to not run again….”

Apparently, according to the Shuster, that was an attempt by her to “mislead” voters since she really has a year and a half left in office.  I stand by what I said on TV: give the lady a break.  Regardless of what you think of Palin’s decision to step down as the AK governor, I think we can all agree that she’s under a lot of stress right now, esp. given the intense criticism (and rampant speculation) that has been lobbed her way over the past few days from the mainstream media, the blogosphere, and many others.  So I’m willing to bet that a minor misstatement like that was an honest mistake.  I don’t recall this type of assume-the-worst attitude directed at other politicians.  Maybe Shuster has never heard of Joe Biden?

As for Palin’s motivations behind the move, I am, until she proves otherwise, willing to take her at face value — that she is sick of the nasty game of politics.  And with Palin, we know all too well just how nasty it’s been over the past year: unprecedented personal attacks on her family, sexist remarks, constant false accusations, and conspiracy theories galore.  Lord knows if I had to put up with all of that, particularly the nasty barbs about her children, that I’d be sick of politics too.  As I said on the show, I think Palin has had more hatred and vitriol thrown her way that any other politician in my lifetime.  Shuster’s co-host, Tamron Hall, didn’t take too kindly to that remark, saying (after I had left) that she was constantly shocked how people could say that Palin had dealt with more hate than Obama, because a small amount of McCain/Palin supporters said vile things about Obama at campaign rallies, and clearly that is much, much worse than anything Palin has dealt with.   Hall might be shocked at my statement, but I find hers laughable.  Obviously some people have said awful things about President Obama – racist and otherwise – which are deplorable.  But how a handful of comments from extremists could possibly compare with the constant onslaught of smear attacks on Gov. Palin, much of it coming, not from extremists, but from mainstream journalists, baffles me.  And nasty remarks about the candidates aside, Palin’s family has faced unprecedented attacks.  Children of politicians used to be off-limits, but not so with Palin. 

Maybe that isn’t why she’s stepping down.  But if it is, I, for one, can’t blame her.