With Vanity Fair's devasting article on the poor political and ethical judgments of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin still not only on the newsstands but still the talk of the nation, the neophyte state executive has decided to use this weekend as her moment to announce her early resignation from the governor's office. This is leaving nearly everyone bewildered, because it's not exactly the best way to refute accusations of poor judgement and bad communication, and it's also leaving many people to suspect there's another shoe about to drop concerning some ethical scandal or somesuch.
Here's just one example of the weirdness: According to The New York Times article on the announcement that took even Republicans by surprise: "[S]he said she had decided not to seek re-election when her term expires, and that she thought it would be unfair to her constituents to remain in office as a lame duck."
That doesn't make sense. Especially because the ostensible reason that people offer in an attempt to make her look not unstable is that she's leaving early so she can focus on running for president in 2012 (about which, forget it; if she thinks people will pick her over Obama even if his approval ratings dive by two-thirds, she's in a fantasy world). But if that's the real reason she's leaving, then this: Why the heck would Americans put her in the White House? Because sooner or later a president also becomes a lame duck, and we don't expect them to say auf wiedersehen once they've been elected to their second term, and wander back to Alaska to shoot innocent moose (meese? mice?).
So, as with so many times concerning this politician, whichever is the truth -- a big scandal about to hit the fan or she wants to concentrate on losing the next presidential race -- the truth still makes her look bad.
Yesterday on this blog, I quoted conservative/libertarian satirist P.J. O'Rourke on his views regarding the future of media. But at the same event, O'Rourke was asked whether the Republicans have any great national leaders about to become their heroes (and possible victors in 2012). His response was that they had basically two: Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin -- but Gingrich had a freakish ego like the blowfish in "Finding Nemo" and Sarah Palin was, at best, kinda whacky. His suggestion for his party was that they basically go away on a retreat for however many years it took them to grow up and become sane again.
Maybe if the GOP ran P.J. O'Rourke in 2012, they might at least not be a laughingstock -- or at least it'd be intentional. But for now, we're mostly all just joining betting pools to guess the Palin scandal that's the real reason she's quitting:
* Todd Palin's really her son?
* She's converting to Scientology?
* She can't see Russia from her house, but she can crank call them, and the bill's been charged to the state?
Who knows? But the comedy show that is the Sarah Palin story (and the GOP leadership story) goes on.