Three Theories of Palin's Resignation

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Sarah Palin's stunning announcement that she'd not only decline to seek reelection as Alaska's Governor in 2010 but that she'd resign her term later this month caught everyone by surprise. After all, can you think of another presidential candidate who resigned their office to seek the presidency? Jimmy Carter and Mitt Romney had left their governorships when they sought the White House. Bill Clinton remained as Arkansas governor when he sought the presidency. George McClellan was fired by Lincoln before he ran for the presidency in 1864. The last person I can think of who left government service to run for the presidency was Dwight Eisenhower who gave up his NATO command in the Spring of 1952 and garnered the GOP presidendtial nomination a couple of months later. That's far different from cutting out of elective office 18 months before you're scheduled to leave.

Okay, so why would Palin do this on a Friday before a holday, traditionally a day for dumping bad news? A couple of theories:

1. She has more bad news to report. There's something going on with her family again. There's more to come with the state's finance. Whatever. There's no good reason for her to suddenly up and quit the governorship, her one claim on elective experience.

2. She wants the money. Palin is probably turning down tons of lucrative speaking offers, corporate boards and others ways of getting righ while she bides her time waiting for the presidency. Maybe she just cant say no to the money any longer?

3. She's totally impulsive. Assuming this wasn't a well calculated, move maybe she's just being utterly impulsive. She got sick of the job, sick of dealing with declining revenue, sick of having to stay close to Juneau and Wasilla when she really wants to be in Manchester and Des Moines.

I can't explain why Palin who abandon the people of Alaska before she finishes her first term as governor. But I suspect not that many Alaskans will be complaining.

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Matthew Cooper is a managing editor (White House) for National Journal.

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