Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sarah Palin Resigns as Alaska's Governor

Sarah Palin has announced that she is resigning as Governor of Alaska:

So why did she resign? In Palin's words:

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.

But I won't do it from the Governor's desk.

Of course the odd timing of this resignation, as well as her rambling resignation speech, have led many to speculate on the "real" reason that Palin is stepping down.

There is one report from Andrea Mitchell at MSNBC that indicates Palin is fed up with politics altogether and wants out:

Speaking on MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell reported that, according to "people very close to Sarah Palin," she has "told her supporters that she is out of politics, period. She is fed up with politics. She doesn't like her life. She feels that she needs to raise her family. She's sick of the commute from Wasilla to the capital. And she really does not want to run for higher office, that this is not a case where she is stepping down in order to clear the way for a presidential run. In fact, she has told some of her biggest backers in the national Republican Party that they are free to choose other candidates for 2012, which of course opens new avenues for Mitt Romney, for Tim Pawlenty, for other potential candidates who are definitely in the running."

There are also people speculating that Palin resigned in order to make some money before running for the Presidency in 2012 and then you have those who are saying that Palin is resigning in front of a big scandal that is about to break. Max Blumenthal on The Daily Beast:

Many political observers in Alaska are fixated on rumors that federal investigators have been seizing paperwork from SBS in recent months, searching for evidence that Palin and her husband Todd steered lucrative contracts to the well-connected company in exchange for gifts like the construction of their home on pristine Lake Lucille in 2002. The home was built just two months before Palin began campaigning for governor, a job which would have provided her enhanced power to grant building contracts in the wide-open state.

SBS has close ties to the Palins. The company has not only sponsored Todd Palin's snowmobile team, according to the Village Voice's Wayne Barrett, it hired Sarah Palin to do a statewide television commercial in 2004.

As of right now, analysts can only speculate, but it must be noted that Palin's resignation probably doesn't make a lot of sense if she plans to run for President in 2012. It would seem to me that she would at least want to have served a full-term as Governor to be able to tout that qualification if she was going to run for the nation's highest office. It would probably even make more political sense to run for re-election so that if she was planning a Presidential run, she could at least tout that she was elected to a second term.

What doesn't seem to make sense is if she is planning on laying low and playing the "the liberal media forced me out" card before running for President in 2012. While that may have some appeal to her conservative base, I can't really see that as a political strategy that would give her the type of widespread appeal that she would have to rely on to get her through the primaries. In all other normal situations, I would almost put money on the option that her resignation has something to do with an upcoming scandal. The abruptness of her decision as well as the odd timing really sets off my political scandal radar, but I need to remind myself that we are talking about Sarah Palin. Palin is not a normal political candidate and her decisions do not always make rational sense. Maybe she really is planning a run in 2012 and thinks that this is her best option. Time will certainly tell, but something tells me that the story of Sarah Palin's political career is not over just yet.

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