Look: it's Palin and she's crazy, so anything is possible.
But the following thoughts are the ones that make sense to me as a long-term Palinologist.
I don't quite buy that this is a brilliant scheme to win everything back by running from the base as a martyr of librul-media meanies. Why? First off, she lies about almost everything, so one's immediate response should be: if she said it, it's probably not true. Besides, if she really thinks she could do more for Alaska by leaving it (a rare display of insight on her point), she could at least do the minimum and finish up her term of office. I mean: I know the endless photo-shoots and Greta interviews can take time, but it's not like she seems to do very much. Her ratings my be sinking like a stone, but they have not incapacitated her. And as every Republican hack has pointed out, quitting a governorship before your first term is over is not exactly a good advertisement for being president of the United States. If she can't handle a few Alaskan bloggers and Steve Schmidt emails, how is she going to handle Khamenei and al Qaeda? Maybe her base is so ga-ga they don't care. But again the whole diva quitting-fit is totally at odds with the core image that turns them on - of a tough-girl, Thatcher-style, play-with-the-big-boys Alaskan Evita. You can't do that and then throw a sixteen-year-old fit and slam your bedroom door when the press gets too tough.
Here's Marc's view:
As a governor, she is ineffective; the moment she decides not to run for re-election, she had two choices: either untether herself from political customs and be the governor who spoke truth to power, or surrender to the whims of a legislature and governing apparatus that really grew to - not just dislike her, but hate her. Both options, she must have realized, are entirely untenable. Her relationship with Democrats and Republicans was irritable on good days, and her attempts to straighten her back and yell drew derisive laughter. For someone who has dipped a leg or two into the whirlpool of national politics, the contrast must be scalding. People who know Palin say that she cannot wait to - really wants to - play the role that she believes she now must play.
Okay: she's joining the Beck-Limbaugh-Hannity circus. It sure is more lucrative and far more fun than governing a state. Her main goals in life so far have been money and fame (and photo-shoots); and she doesn't handle power, understand policy or manage people well. So why not earn money from being a celebrity rather than from that excruciatingly arduous thing called governing?
But here's why I can't quite buy this either.
This was obviously an incredibly hasty decision, with no prepared speech, delivered almost to minimize its publicity impact on the Friday of a federal holiday before the Fourth of July. If she were really re-launching her career in a new media-driven, Fox-News, Huckabee-Limbaugh vehicle, she would surely have set up the launch a little better. She can do speeches. She could have done a great one - a rallying cry, a "You won't have Palin to kick around any more" piece of bravado - and launched a big fundraising drive to get her on her way. But no: we get this desperate, unrehearsed, "I'm-not-a-quitter-because-I'm-quitting" stream-of-consciousness. Again, anything is possible, since she's ga-ga, but this really felt to me like a very swift withdrawal to avoid what might be an almighty shoe about to fall to earth.
What could that shoe be? Some unknown ethics inquiry? Some big official scandal about to break? The free house-construction no-one quite resolved? Trooper Wooten's revenge? Bristol can't take the bullshit any more and has sold a tell-all? Levi just got a lot of money from the Enquirer? Sherri Johnston has implicated a Palin in her drug-bust? Did Track get in trouble again? Is there another unplanned pregnancy somewhere? Someone took a hike on the Appalachian trail? Has Lyda Green finally gone nuclear? Has Mercedes got a book contract? Or has she pushed Levi one step too far? Is Trig really Tina Fey's child?
The number of potential enemies and victims with an ax to grind and a lucrative story to tell is endless. Who can say? But the abruptness of the withdrawal is so weird one has to wonder. I mean: she managed to face down a pregnant unwed daughter, an arrested relative, a delinquent son, a secessionist husband, 32 absurd lies (and counting), a completely loopy pregnancy story and carried on regardless, winking and posing away. I mean: those Runners World photos don't look like a a politician in clinical depression, ground down by exposure. So what possible scandal could be big enough to force her to quit this suddenly, without a prepared statement, and shocking her entire staff? What could be so big that this extremely ambitious woman would do something that all but ends her potential credibility as a national politician? No one can elect a president who couldn't even finish one term of office as governor because of press pressure. Right?
All I know is that if a shoe drops, we probably won't hear about it first from the mainstream media. So stay tuned.
(Photo: Jewel Samad/Getty.)