There’s something about Sarah

Love her or lump her, Sarah Palin, the Alaskan governor and former U.S. vice-presidential candidate, is at least an interesting character.

Palin’s unconventional rise played out like the script of a TV sitcom: hockey mom married to snowmobile-riding husband runs for the municipal council in a small Alaska town. The next thing you know, “hockey mom” is mayor… then governor… then candidate for vice-president of the United States.

Having had her vice-presidential hopes dashed in 2008, Palin returned to the Alaskan governor’s job, presumably to bide her time until making a run for the U.S. Senate, or for the presidency itself in 2012.

Then, on Friday, she announced her resignation from the governorship for reasons unknown.

One can only guess why she took this drastic step.

Rumours have circulated that she made the decision to step down as governor so that she could focus on a 2012 presidential run. But this seems to make little sense.

If she were to run for president in 2012, she would still do so with one of the weakest resumes ever presented by a presidential candidate, having neither served in Washington, D. C. nor having been governor of a major state. She would also do so under the cloud of having given up the governor’s job prematurely. If Governor Palin couldn’t stick it out for a full term as governor of a small state, her critics would ask, how could a President Palin be trusted to stick it out for a full term in the cutthroat world of Washington, D. C. politics?

Sometimes politicians have been pushed out of office by mutinies led by rank-and-file members of a party. However, this is also an unlikely reason for Palin’s resignation, for the simple reason that the United States does not run a parliamentary system. As governor, Sarah Palin is not “first among equals”, as a premier or prime minister is in theory. She was directly elected to her job and, barring impeachment, could have chosen to hang on to it until the next election for governor in 2010 if she wished.

This leads us to look at other historical reasons as to why politicians have resigned suddenly when they were at the top of their game.

Some politicians have resigned to take other jobs. Could Palin have been made a lucrative job offer that won’t be announced until after she leaves the governor’s office later this month?

Other politicians have left due to personal crises — failing health, depression, burnout,  exhaustion or family tragedy.  One of these is a possible reason for Palin’s sudden resignation.

The potential is there for a scandal so serious that Palin might have decided that it would be better to be outside of politics when it broke than on the inside. This is a rare reason for quitting early. But if there is a scandal about to break, what could it be?

Other than the above, there are few other reasons for quitting the top job in politics so abruptly.

In due course, we will find out why Sarah Palin did what she did. She has too high of a profile for her motives to remain a mystery forever. But, we’ll have to be patient in waiting for the facts to come out.

Related items:

The Economist: An Alaskan Mystery

Vanity Fair: It Came from Wasilla

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About theviewfromseven
A lone wolf and a bit of a contrarian who sometimes has something to share.

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