In case you've been living under a rock the last few days, spending the Fourth of July holiday away from all televisions, radios, computers, cellphones and other text messaging devices, Sarah Palin resigned from her job as Governor of Alaska. She announced on Friday that she had decided not to run for re-election, but didn't want to be a typical "lame duck," taking trips and vacations on the state's payroll. She will turn over the governorship to Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell at the end of the month.
The legion of Palin-haters in the media have gone wild with speculation about her "real" reason for leaving-- everything from the scandal they've been trying to discover (or create) since they first heard of her, to another pregnancy, to their favorite: "she just abandoned her job." Well, I'm not willing to pronounce judgement on her resignation and doom upon her political career without more information. It makes perfect sense to me that she finds herself unable to function as Alaska's governor with the national media circus going insane every time she sneezes. It makes sense that she would have decided not to run for re-election for that reason alone, and having decided not to run again, figured she might as well absent herself from the office altogether. Between being unable to perform the duties of her office, considering a run for President in 2012 and being half a million dollars in the hole from defending herself against the constant baseless legal attacks, it makes sense to me that she would turn the state over to someone who could do the job without such distractions.
But we haven't heard the next part yet. Is she going to run for Senator, and use that office as a platform from which to launch her 2012 presidential campaign? Is she going to form her own third party based on traditional American values like freedom of worship, the right to self-defense and adherence to the Constitution? Is she going to spend the next 16 months campaigning for Conservative Republicans, to help them take back Congress -- and then launch a presidential bid? Or is she going to move to Iowa and start the earliest election campaign ever? In her resignation speech, Palin told the crowd, "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."
So the only thing we know for sure is that she's not giving up politics; we have no idea what form her future will take. Nobody knows what her plans are yet. So I'm not going to judge whether her resignation was a smart move or the worst decision since the Bay of Pigs invasion. Not yet.