A day later, the Palin speech is still one of the most bizarre events in politics that one can remember. (Mark Sanford's cri de coeur is a close second.) It's still unclear if she's out of politics for good and if she's not whether she has irreparably harmed her chances of running for higher office.
Yesterday, a couple of wise readers noted that Bob Dole quit the Senate in the course of his 1996 presidential bid. But that was well after his bid was underway and it represented a belief that one could not manage the Senate and run for president simutaneously. Dole not only quit his majority leader post but also resigned from the Senate. Eisenhower, as I noted, was just a few months shy of the GOP presidential nomination in 1952 when he ditched his NATO command. Today, the New York Times likened Palin to Nixon in 1962. But that seems like a strained analogy. After losing the 1960 presidential race to John F. Kennedy, Nixon made a bid to be governor of California and it was only after losing that race that he famously said that the press corps wouldn't have him "to kick around anymore." He then spent six years rebuilding his political career. Palin, as the Times notes, doesn't have a scintilla of Nixon's experience as House member, Senator and vice president. In fact, if you compare her to Dan Quayle, who served in the House, eight years in the Senate and four years as vice president, she's still lacking.
I guess I still wonder if this all has to do with needing money and believing that more legal trouble awaits her. But as a strategy for running for president in 2012 it's bizarre, at best. She can't claim to be a one-term governor. Her reason for bolting: She's not seeking reelection and thus doesn't want to be a lame-duck leech on the taxpayers seems bizarre. As Kevin Drum notes, "OK, Sarah doesn't want to junket around the country as a lame duck. Fine. But can't she just, you know, diligently do her job instead?" It's a good question.