But now...now something is afoot in the Palin world. On July 3rd, Palin announced that she would be stepping down as Governor of Alaska at the end of the month, letting her lieutenant governor finish out the remainder of her term. During a press conference that I can only describe as garbled and incoherent, Palin tried to frame her decision in terms of it being best for Alaska and best for her family...without specifying what her future plans were in any great detail.
Naturally, the political world (most of whom had no idea that this announcement was coming), jumped all over the news with various theories, criticisms, mockeries, and other assorted ideas. My favorite columns on the subject are Maureen Dowd's "Now, Sarah's Folly" and Gail Collins's "Sarah's Straight Talk", both from the New York Times.
A bit more has been coming out as the news has grown older. The Washington Post put out an article analyzing whether or not Palin has a political future after this; John McCain put out a statement supporting his former running mate; and Palin herself posted a July 4th message on her Facebook page hinting that she doesn't plan on going into hiding politically.
What do I think about all this? [Please note that the following are opinions, possibly unfair, and certainly slanted.]
- I think that Palin's excuses about her stepping down being best for Alaska are just that, excuses. I know there were assorted ethics probes going on in Alaska, but they are nowhere near "scandal" level...especially now that she isn't as much in the national spotlight. I think she couldn't take the heat and decided to cut and run.
- I think that Palin will likely seek higher political office, either challenging Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in a primary election in 2010 or trying for the presidency in 2012. Interesting note: Senator Murkowski was less than thrilled with the governor's decision to step down. Another interesting note: Senator Murkowski is the daughter of the man Palin beat in the Republican primary to become governor.
- My friend Bobby thinks that Palin is aiming to pull a Richard Nixon-esque comeback-- be low-key for a few years, build up support within the party, then emerge to take the country by barnstorm. It's possible she'll try. It's also possible that if she does, any good Democratic strategist could engineer her defeat-- starting with "she quit on her state when the going got tough and she smelled sweeter flowers, who's to say she won't do that to you?" Then, too, there's the issue of her inability to string together coherent thoughts...but we don't really need to go there. Just watch the press conference:
- For all her faults, I really think Sarah Palin has a great idea about spending time with family. She should go spend time with hers. Lots of it. Write a book, hang with her kids and husband, play with her new grandson. Do a couple of speaking engagement to keep up the money flow. And stay in Wasilla. Please.
- VP Joe Biden suggested in an interview with ABC's "This Week" that the US would not stand in the way of Israeli military action against an Iranian nuclear program. Another classic Biden misspeak/gaffe, or representing the views of the administration?
- A New York Times article discusses the impact of recession employment troubles on my generation-- a generation used to being pushed into intellectually stimulating or advancing activities is now having to get used to too much down time.