We all thought that republican governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, the 2008 vice-presidential nominee on the losing republican ticket in the US general election, had finally gotten the message to lay low and do some homework about world events and government 101 before attempting to run for president in 2012. Seeking re-election as governor, or better yet yet, running for the US senate seat was what most political strategists expected her do to broaden her knowledge and experience base before any presidential attempt. Palin would have displayed staying power, as she used her elected office to learn to fix all the things that tripped her up during the 2008 campaign.
But Palin is nothing if not interesting doing everything. She demonstrated yet again that she can do the unpredictable by implementing the unexplainable. Last Friday, the day before the American Independence holiday July 4th, in a speech (click for both text and video) that both democrats and republicans are still scratching their heads over, she told the world that she was resigning her position as governor of Alaska only two and a half short years into her four-year term.
She claimed she was doing it for Alaska, even though much of her speech was about how successful her administration has been for Alaska. That begs the question: if she was so successful for Alaska, how does resigning serve Alaska?
During the next few days many folks on all sides of the political landscape weighed in on Palin’s weird action. Some said that she is a quitter, since she previously resigned from the city council of Wasilla, Alaska in 1996 to run for mayor, and then resigned from her position on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in 2004, claiming she didn’t like the ethics of some fellow republicans on the commission. You can read all the details HERE.
Then, in an interview with the Associated Press yesterday on a trip to a remote Arctic village north of the Arctic Circle, which must have cost the Alaskan taxpayers serious money in airplane expenses for Palin to needlessly travel way up to the village of Kotzebuek, Alaska (population 3200) just to sign a state law enforcement bill into law, Palin said that all of the information requested and investigations initiated against her since her vice-presidential run had been too costly for Alaska, costing the state nearly US$2 million. Somehow, the implication was that her resignation was to relieve Alaska of that expense.
She did not explain how resigning would mitigate the progress (or expense) of those information requests and investigations, though.
Her lawyer also weighed in, stating that contrary to rumor, there are no investigations pending against Palin at this time. But if no investigations are pending, how does her resigning save the state of Alaska any money?
Nothing in recent memory has caused both liberals and conservative to agree as much as Palin’s seemingly inexplicable resignation as governor of Alaska in mid-term. Most seem to agree that Palin has seriously wounded any chance of successfully running for the republican nomination for president and the general election in 2012.
But what if she’s not going to run….in 2012? After all, basic history indicates that popular presidents win re-election most of the time, and President Obama is nothing if not popular. And just maybe, Palin, or more likely one of her political strategists, realizes that the enormous effort required to mount a successful campaign would be wasted, and possibly fatally damaging, to any republican challenger against Obama’s run for re-election in 2012 .
Remember that Palin is only 45 years old, or fifteen years younger than Hillary Clinton during the 2008 election season. Palin could easily sit out the next three or four campaign seasons, while she hosts a conservative (and hugely lucrative) radio/TV show on Fox, speaks on the hugely lucrative lecture circuit, and does her hugely lucrative book deal.
Then, in 2016, or 2020 or even 2024, she could mount a more credible (and better financed) presidential campaign. As one conservative put it, she can’t win by staying in Alaska. And there’s not much doubt that she won’t stay in Alaska long, if she pursues this course of action. Keep watching that one.
However, she does seem to have completely miscalculated public reaction to her resignation, just as she miscalculated public reaction to her public war of words with her ex-future-son-in-law/father of her grandchild.
Still, Sarah Palin continues surprising us with wonderfully unpredictable behaviors. Of course, lots of people do lots of unpredictable stuff. Somehow, that’s not a trait most people would describe as presidential. Think North Korea…and Iran.
So stay tuned. Considering it’s Sarah Palin, it’s going to be entertaining, at a minimum.
Hey! Maybe NBC’s Saturday Night Live will hire her as a regular for a weekly TV segment called, “How NOT to be president!”