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But no need to fear a defamation lawsuit here: I confess that all of the legitimate, innocent explanations for Palin's resignation are starting to seem maybe kind of possibly plausible. (The innocent alibis seem to be (1) she wanted to protect her family; (2) she wanted to avoid further legal bills; (3) she wanted to cut her losses in state politics; and (4) she wanted easier access to a national platform.) Some of them even seem admirable.

But if one (or several) of those explanations is correct, what I have trouble explaining is why she gave that complete trainwreck of a resignation speech. (It really was a trainwreck, and saying so feels more like relaying a fact than expressing an opinion.) It was counterproductive by almost any standard. If Palin's goal was to protect her family, the hasty, stammering delivery instantly raised suspicions and will subject her family to greater scrutiny. If Palin wanted to cut her losses in state politics, the speech opens her up to the mockery of colleagues and voters. And if Palin wanted a bigger stage, the speech was as good as taking a torch to the theather. Even the Wall Street Journal editorial page is flummoxed!

So, are there any theories that embrace one of the innocent motivations above, but also explain the speech? Bad nerves?

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