On Friday, I was vegging out on the beach, enjoying an Italian ice and the latest issue of Lucky, when I got a text from a friend: Sarah Palin was peacing out as the governor of Alaska at the end of the month. For the next hour, I compulsively read the news on my iPhone, trying to make sense of Palin’s semi-loopy announcement.
“[I want to] fight for all our children’s future from outside the governor’s office,” she said. “I thought about how much fun other governors have as lame ducks. They maybe travel around their state, travel to other states, maybe take their overseas international trade missions. I’m not going to put Alaskans through that. I promised efficiencies and effectiveness.”
[New York Times]
Um, Sarah, remember 10 months ago when you ran for freaking VICE PRESIDENT? What if McCain had won the election and had some inevitable health problem? You could have landed plop in the Oval Office. Would you up and quit then? Also, you think the best way to by efficient and effective is to…hand the reigns over to someone else? Of course, I am not the only one to note that Palin’s resignation just doesn’t compute. She may hide behind small-town mayor and hockey mom monikers, but it’s pretty obvious that home girl is ambitious as hell. Women like her don’t just quit. Not to mention that she dropped the news just as media folks were heading off the grid to plan their 4th of July barbeques—that’s the oldest trick in the book. Here are the leading theories on why she’s stepping down.
Theory #1: She’s setting the groundwork to run for Prez in 2012.
Even before Sarah’s abrupt announcement, CNN speculated that she was thinking White House, since she was hardly spending any time in Alaska and was instead taking trips to Washington, D.C., and New York to attend fundraisers and make appearances. And The New York Times pointed out that it would be nearly impossible for Palin to run for re-election in 2010 and then turn around and run for president in 2012. Leaving her post would give her lots of time to think on the national level. [New York Times and CNN]
Plausibility Rating: Medium. This makes sense, and polls do show that Republicans are heavily hoping for a 2012 Palin run. But why leave Juneau now rather than a year from now? Quitting your governorship midway through your only term doesn’t exactly scream, “Hey people, I’d make an awesome president!”
Theory #2: She’s television bound.
Some folks are saying that Sarah Palin is cheating off of Levi Johnston’s life plan, and looking for a career on the boob tube. Variety speculated that she would be an obvious choice to anchor a show on Fox News. Or perhaps she could start a talk show, and become a moose-hunting version of Oprah? [Variety]
Plausibility Rating: High. After all, Palin’s pretty. She can talk—well, at least when she’s reading off a teleprompter. She likes to be in the public eye, as evidenced by her flute-playing at the Miss Alaska pageant. And Mike Huckabee headed straight to Fox News after he dropped out of the presidential race.
Theory #3: She’s under investigation.
Rumors are swirling all over the internet that folks think some fishy business took place in the construction of Wasilla’s sports complex, since the company that built it also happened to do construction on Palin’s home. And the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog reported that Palin had racked up more than $500K in personal legal bills defending herself against ethics complaints. [Wall Street Journal and Anchorage Daily News]
Plausibility Rating: Low. In most cases like this, the FBI would have no comment. But a spokesman today went out of his way to refute the rumors. “We are not investigating her,” FBI spokesman Eric Gonzalez told the Anchorage Daily News. “Normally we don’t confirm or deny those kind of allegations out there, but by not doing so it just casts her in a very bad light. There is just no truth to those rumors out there in the blogosphere.” Could he be full of it? Sure. Meanwhile, Palin’s lawyer is threatening to sue over defamatory statements that an investigation is the reason she’s out. [Anchorage Daily News]
Theory #4: She’s being blackmailed.
Could it be possible that someone has some serious dirt on Palin? Like that she’s dealing drugs, a la Marion Barry? Or having an affair with a woman in Argentina like Mark Sanford? Okay, so maybe no one’s reporting this, but it’s one of the few things that really makes sense to me.
Plausibility Rating: Extremely low. But it would be amazing!
Theory #5: That Vanity Fair article got to her.
This month’s Heath Ledger issue of Vanity Fair contains a pretty scathing article about Palin headlined, “It Came From Wasilla.” In it, former McCain campaign head honchos divulge that (a) some people in the campaign referred to her as “Little Shop of Horrors” and (b) others worried that she was suffering from postpartum depression or narcissistic personality disorder. They essentially blame the downfall of the election of her. Amelia, as well as Now Public, think this article might have pushed Palin over the edge. [Vanity Fair]
Plausibility Rating: Medium. But come on, Miss Barracuda has to have tougher skin than that, right?
So why do you think Sarah Palin is leaving the governor’s mansion?