As you've probably heard by now, Sarah Palin has decided to resign as Governor of Alaska, and will step down July 26.
There's not much else known as I write this. Speculation is running wild, from the notion that Palin means to start campaigning for 2012 and didn't want to be in office while doing so to the idea--based on something her staffers appear to have heard--that she's done with politics altogether.
This just feels funny. I've admired Sarah Palin, even though I've gone back and forth about various things regarding her chances at winning the White House or otherwise advancing in national politics. I still admire her in many ways--but the timing of this announcement, the decision not only not to seek another term but to avoid finishing out her present one, and one or two other things are making me suspect that there's another shoe out there waiting to drop. It's hard not to be cynical when politics and politicians are involved, and like most Americans I've become resigned to the frequency and spectacle of a politician's downfall. Certainly the news headlines from recent days have been a reminder that even the people we sometimes think of as "our sort" of politician can prove to be anything but that, in terms of virtue or commitment or morality or a whole host of other things.
I would be surprised if Sarah Palin is leaving politics because of some imminent political scandal; she's shown herself easily capable of handling such situations, and has not been harmed by the worst the media could do during the recent presidential election. But something is up. I can't believe Palin would refuse to serve out the remainder of her term for some purely personal or selfish reason, which means that there are two main possibilities: she's running for national office, or there is some family or personal scandal brewing.
Could she be planning to run for the Senate? The only problem here is that the Alaska Senator who will be up for re-election in 2010 is not the Democrat who was just elected, but Republican Lisa Murkowski, who has only served one term. Unless Senator Murkowski has decided not to run for re-election it's doubtful that Palin has her eye on the Senate.
What about the House? Alaska has one at-large Representative, Donald Young (a Republican) Rep. Young is 76 years old, though, and some consider him a moderate (he does generally vote pro-life, but did vote in favor of ESCR, for example). Could Sarah be considering a primary challenge to Rep. Young?
Is she planning to run for President? That one seems less likely to me, considering. Serving out her term until 2010 before beginning a two-year presidential campaign would not have been impossible; why quit her job as Governor and raise questions about her experience level?
The less-happy possibility, that there's some negative reason for this sudden resignation, is not something I'm prepared to speculate about just now. Given the media's prior tendency to go into "attack mode" where Sarah Palin is concerned, though, if there is some negative reason out there I'm sure we'll hear all about it, soon.
Patrick Archbold at Creative Minority Report says Mike Huckabee's the happiest person on the planet today. Patrick's probably right.