In a shocking and interestingly timed speech, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced that she will be resigning from her position effective July 26. Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell will take over as Alaska’s Chief Executive.
A mere 16 hours ago, I posted an article that discussed the never ending soap opera that is the life of Mrs. Palin. When writing this piece, I had zero idea that this bombshell announcement would serve as the next episode in this ongoing drama.
While it is no surprise that she will not be running for a second term as governor, the shocker is that she will not even complete her first term in office.
"Once I decided not to run for re-election, I also felt that to embrace the conventional ‘lame duck' status in this particular climate would just be another dose of 'politics as usual,' something I campaigned against and will always oppose," explained Palin.
There are so many interesting variables to this announcement.
First is the decision to break the news on the first day of a holiday weekend, when the media and most citizens are not paying full attention. Palin obviously did not want this to be a widely talked about story, because if she did, she would not have made this announcement today. Today is a weekend day because of tomorrow’s holiday and because many offices are closed. Ask any communications professional, major announcements are never made on a weekend. Unless it takes place on a Sunday morning talk show.
Second, it is clear that Palin has outgrown far away Alaska and she is worried that her lack of concern for her current job has affected her popularity. Palin’s poll numbers within the state have dropped by more than 30 points since 2008. She cannot afford for these numbers to drop any further. It is very difficult for a politician to be successful nationally if they are unpopular in their home state.
Third, Palin will now become a strictly national figure, as opposed to a national figure based in Alaska. Realtors in Des Moines should be on the lookout for a phone call from the Palins seeking a place to live. She will almost certainly set up shop in an early 2012 primary/caucus state. Demographically, Iowa fits the bill better than New Hampshire or South Carolina. The good people of Iowa should get used to the appearance of the Palin family at Hawkeye football games and other community events.
The risks involved with her decision are ample.
Palin runs the risk of looking as if she abandoned her job and the people of Alaska. Also, she will now be a full-time presidential candidate two and half years before the first balloting in the GOP nominating process takes place. This very long period of time allows for the greater opportunity of a rhetorical misstep and for a political scandal to present itself.
Former Governors Mitt Romney (MA) and Mike Huckabee (AK) and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will also be full-time candidates over this same period of time. The difference between these individuals and Palin is that they all served at least one full term in office. One would think that this will be a major point of contention against Palin.
It seems pretty obvious that Palin is trying to follow in the footsteps of President Obama. She has witnessed a young, previously unknown politician spring onto the scene and parlay that popularity all the way to the White House. Palin wants to be the Republican, female version of Mr. Obama. This is the new, long range scope of the Sarah Palin soap opera.
As mentioned yesterday, expect another new episode of this continually evolving drama to premiere any day now.