At this point there is much speculation about why Sarah Palin abruptly announced her impending resignation from Alaska's governorship. Her critics are already calling her "erratic" but she is consistent in one respect: she cares little for the established ways of doing things when she thinks she has a better course of action.
The conventional wisdom holds that you bury news when it is announced at 4 PM on Friday of a holiday weekend. But the comparative news vacuum seems to be only amplifying the echoes reverberating through the political world. Does anyone think that Sarah Palin minds the fact that the Bigfoot anchors and columnists are on Martha's Vineyard and unavailable to slam her?
One school of thought holds that Palin's career in politics must be over. ("She quit on Alaskans and she'll quit on America".) Some speculate a scandal lies behind the unexpected move and the odd timing. An alternative theory of leaving politics is that the toll on her family life, the vitriolic attacks (epitomized by the Vanity Fair article by Todd Purdham), and the false ethics accusations which have indebted The Palins, have led Mr and Governor P. to decide that it just isn't worth it. Perhaps they had a family discussion, and decided last night to put it aside, and focus on her kids. She more or less laid out this scenario today in her address.
In fact, this decision comes after much consideration, and finally polling the most important people in my life - my children (where the count was unanimous... well, in response to asking: "Want me to make a positive difference and fight for ALL our children's future from OUTSIDE the Governor's office?" It was four "yes's" and one "hell yeah!" The "hell yeah" sealed it - and someday I'll talk about the details of that... I think much of it had to do with the kids seeing their baby brother Trig mocked by some pretty mean-spirited adults recently.) Um, by the way, sure wish folks could ever, ever understand that we ALL could learn so much from someone like Trig - I know he needs me, but I need him even more... what a child can offer to set priorities RIGHT - that time is precious... the world needs more "Trigs", not fewer.
A different school of thought is that she is planning a run for the presidency, and realizes she cannot do that from a base in Alaska. The distance from the mainland and the lack of media coverage of her while acting as governor would make it all but impossible to put together the sort of organization one needs to run for president. Freed from the duties of governor, she can go out and give speeches, supporting candidates and earning chits, meeting people and capitalizing on her unrivaled hold on the GOP base, which loves her. Mark Levin presented a particularly insightful case that this is what Governor Palin has in mind, all the while acknowledging that he doesn't know any inside information.
These words in her address also struck me:
And there is such a need to BUILD up and FIGHT for our state and our country. I choose to FIGHT for it! And I'll work hard for others who still believe in free enterprise and smaller government; strong national security for our country and support for our troops; energy independence; and for those who will protect freedom and equality and LIFE... I'll work for and campaign for those PROUD to be American, and those who are INSPIRED by our ideals and won't deride them.
I WILL support others who seek to serve, in or out of office, for the RIGHT reasons, and I don't care what party they're in or no party at all. Inside Alaska - or Outside Alaska.
This does sound as though she is planning to campaign for politicians across the country. And then there was this basketball analogy:
Let me go back to a comfortable analogy for me - sports... basketball. I use it because you're naïve if you don't see the national full-court press picking away right now: A good point guard drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her eye on the basket... and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can WIN. And I'm doing that - keeping our eye on the ball that represents sound priorities - smaller government, energy independence, national security, freedom! And I know when it's time to pass the ball - for victory.
It is not clear if she is talking about passing the ball to her Lt. Governor, so she can work at a national level, or whether she sees herself leading a political movement which she realizes will not carry her to the presidency, but might elect a Republican.
Because I like and admire Sarah Palin, and think she has unmatched charisma and authenticity, my hope is that she intends to devote her professional energies to running for president, and, in the process, lead the opposition movement to the radical change Obama and the Democrats are trying to accomplish. But it is a hope more than a prediction.