The only true surprise in Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s announcement that she will resign from office in three weeks is that it happened right now, but a look below the surface, shows that Palin has been declining in popularity in Alaska, while she is focusing more of her attention towards running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.
Here is the video of Palin announcing her resignation courtesy of MSNBC:
What is not shown in the video clip is what is most revealing. Palin ran through all of her accomplishments as governor, and sounded a whole lot like a presidential candidate. Did anyone else notice Palin’s definition of herself as a politician of change? There is little doubt that the motivation behind this move was to work on her book and lay the groundwork to make Palin a fulltime national political figure, so that she can get an early start on the 2012 GOP campaign.
In a written statement, Palin tried to spin this as doing what is best for Alaska, “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. It is my duty to always protect our great state. With that in mind, my family and I determined that it is best to make a difference this summer, and I am willing to change things, so that this administration, with its positive agenda, its accomplishments, and its successful road to an incredible future, can continue without interruption and with great administrative and legislative success. I look forward to helping others – to fight for our state and our country, and campaign for those who believe in smaller government, free enterprise, strong national security, support for our troops, and energy independence.”
That is a nice way to spin it, but the reality is that Palin has lost 25% off of her approval rating since she ran for VP last year. She has little to gain by running for reelection. In essence, Palin became the first candidate to declare for 2012 today. Her announcement of resignation was sort of rambling off the cuff statement. Palin had a chance to have the spotlight all to herself, and she didn’t have a nice prepared speech to go in front of the cameras with.
This is a huge gamble by Palin and her advisers. She didn’t need to grow her national profile. What she does need to do is demonstrate that she is ready to be president. How she is going to do this as a private citizen is a bit of a question mark. My suspicion is that the Palin people see Mitt Romney as her main rival for the nomination, and they were getting anxious having to watch Romney on national television all of the time.
I think what you see is what you get with Palin, and I expect her to try to charm her way to the Republican nomination. No one should buy her claim that she resigned today for the benefit of Alaska. She resigned to run for president in 2012. Except for giving herself more time to devote to the effort, I don’t see how resigning now helps her politically.