“People who know me know that besides faith and family, nothing's more important to me than our beloved Alaska. Serving her people is the greatest honor I could imagine.”
In fact, Palin loves Alaska and the honor of serving its people so much that she told relieved Alaskan Republicans Friday afternoon that she is resigning, effective in a couple of weeks. Palin told a news conference at her Wasilla home that, having decided not to run for re-election, she wants to get out of the way.
“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,” Palin tells reporters.
Then, continuing without pausing for a breath. she adds, “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."
Huh? Lots of elected local, state and federal officials decide not to run for re-election but they stick around to finish their term. There hadn’t been a whisper of her leaving office before the election.
“Somehow, this doesn’t surprise me at all,” a former senior member of the McCain presidential campaign tells me almost as soon as the news breaks. “She was a disaster campaigning for vice president and she isn’t any less of a nightmare back home in Alaska.”
Massive State Problems
As governor, Palin is coping with massive state problems that are taking the shine off her political star. In fact, she was likely to face a primary challenge if she decided to run for another terms as governor.
A principal problem is lower oil prices and a recession-induced drop in demand for Alaska crude. Since the state collects hefty royalties on oil pumped from the ground, revenue has dropped precipitously. Threatened is not just the state budget but the annual “dividend” Juneau pays to each resident every year.
Then there are Palin’s problems with her own party which essentially forced her into accepting federal stimulus money. The state’s conservative voters may not like the idea of Washington spending a lot of taxpayer cash, but they want their share as long as it is being handed out.
Moreover, Palin faces new charges that she forced out a state official on tenuous grounds. Yesterday, Beverly Wooley, who spent more than 20 years in public health in Alaska, ended her stint as state public health director on Wednesday.
She's the second top health official to leave within days. The state's chief medical officer, Jay Butler, left two weeks after declining to take on Wooley's job along with his own. He now is in Atlanta, overseeing a Center for Disease Control task force on a vaccine to protect against the H1N1 flu virus.
During the presidential campaign, Palin was criticized sharply by the legislature for firing the head of the state police for refusing to fire an ex-in law.
The question remains why the sudden departure?
After all, being governor gave her a platform for media attention whether to pick a bizarre squabble with David Letterman or demonstrate her bewildering ignorance of domestic policies or foreign affairs.
No doubt the reason has little if anything to do with the reasons she’s giving today. Palin’s lack of familiarity with the truth came out again in an e-mail exchange released this week with Steve Schmidt during the campaign. Is another scandal brewing in the life of right wing America’s favorite trailer trash queen or is she really as erratic as we always suspected?
“Beats me,” my Republican source exclaims. “I’m as bewildered as you. I just hope she goes away and returns to the obscurity she so richly deserves.”