Why Did Sarah Palin Resign as Governor of Alaska?

Why did Sarah Palin resign as Governor of Alaska?

When a politician makes a surprise resignation announcement there’s usually something more going on behind the scenes.

When that resignation is made on a major national holiday such as the fourth of July, you can bet there’s more going on than what we’ve been told.

If Sarah Palin, who is still technically the goveror of Alaska until the end of July, made her bombshell announcement on the fourth of July in an attempt to bury the story, her tactic failed. The day of her announcement wasn’t exactly a slow news day. The major news outlets were still busy reporting a slew of celebrity deaths, and when you combine these events with the large number of political upheavals around the world, you’ve got yourself a full plate of news.

But the question of why Palin resigned is still a lingering question. Palin’s first term as governor is still incomplete — she wouldn’t have been a “lame duck” candidate (considered political poison) for quite some time. The question of what Sarah Palin will do next is on everyone’s mind, from bloggers to network political pundits.

Enter the zeitgeist — speculation. Opinions and rumors about scandals, pregnancy, and other potential Palin intrigue is downright viral. Still, there is no evidence that Palin resigned for any reason other than the reasons she gave, conviluted and weak as they may be.

The most common theories about Palin’s step down go something like this — Palin quit in order to focus on a 2012 White House run, or Palin or members of her family will soon face an indictment for any number of alleged crimes. Many people believe that Palin is the target of a federal investigation related to embezzlement charges from her days as Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. Putting some of these fears to rest, the FBI actually released a statement saying that they are not investigating Palin — a rare and interesting announcement. Why would they come out and say “No, we are not investigating ____”?

Here’s some of the history regarding Palin and potential trouble. When she was Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, the company that won the state contract to build an ice hockey and sports complex in Wasilla (a company known as SBS or Spenard Building Supplies) just happened to be awared a private contract to build the Palin’s family home, using the same materials as they used for the sports complex. To make things even more interesting, the owners of SBS have close ties to Todd Palin, the governor’s husband.

This is bid rigging, plain and simple. However, the investigation into the alleged rigging of bids in Wasilla has been going on for quite a while now, and both Democratic and Republican officials have assumed that Governor Palin would throw her hat in the GOP presidential ring for 2012. Why would this become an issue now, after all the time Palin’s had to run aground in the past? Since neither of these facts are new, we can assume that Palin’s resignation has nothing to do with charges of bid rigging.

Some, including a talking head at CNN, have suggested that Governor Palin is pregnant. Still others point to Palin’s own resignation speech, in which she suggested that the media frenzy surrounding her and her family led in part to her decision to step down, to suggest that recent reports about her in magazines like Vanity Fair and on websites like Something Awful “hurt her feelings so much” that she simply can’t take it anymore, and has decided to get out of politics completely.

After reports began to surface, mostly from the blog world, that Palin may indeed have resigned because of a “pending federal embezzlement investigation”, the Palin family lawyers called this speculation false and warned in a letter to the media, “This is to provide notice … that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law.” Be careful what you write, bloggers, because Palin is armed with a legal team. Not that a lawsuit would stick in such a case, but that your name may get dragged through the mud in the process.

When Palin steps down at the end of July, it will be up to Alaska’s Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell to smooth things over in Alaska. Palin has become quite unpopular in her home state, in fact some say Palin is resigning because of the mountain of legal costs that the state of Alaska (and her family) are paying — you may recall the long list of ethics complaints filed against her during her term as governor and during her run as Vice Presidential candidate. Yes those charges have all been dropped, but Palin and the state of Alaska is still responsible for the legal fees incurred.

Besides speculating about her future, or about reasons behind the resignation, many are stepping up to criticize Palin and her decision to resign. Palin’s main opponent in Alaska, state senator and fellow Republican Lisa Murkowski, has been particularly vocal in her criticism. “I am deeply disappointed that the governor has decided to abandon the state and her constituents before her term has concluded,” Murkowski said in a statement last Thursday.

Further fueling rumors of Palin’s purported presidential campaign, Sen. John McCain, the man who propelled her to the national spotlight by selecting her as his running mate, was more gracious than Murkowski, saying on Saturday that Sarah Palin “will continue to play an important leadership role in the Republican party.” Does this mean that McCain knows something we don’t know?

It is strange to see Republicans lining up to take potshots at Palin. So many of Palin’s fellow party members are ready to criticize that the Democrats really don’t need to make statements at all. Former Bush administration advisor (and dubious political figure himself) Karl Rove said, “If she wanted to escape the ethics investigations and save the taxpayers money, she’s now done that, but it is — it sort of sent a — sent a signal that if you do this kind of thing to a sitting governor like her, you can drive her out of office,”

And former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (who ran for the presidential nomination in 2008 and has been named as a potential 2012 candidate) had this to say — “The challenge that she’s going to have is that there will be people who say, ‘Well, look, you know, if they chase you out of this, it won’t get any easier for you at other levels of the stage.'”

A source named as being “close to Palin” told reporters that Sarah Palin’s plans are to raise money for political candidates and causes she believes in, while making money by giving speeches and touring in support of her memoirs.

Regardless of the reasons behind Palin’s resignation, the news came as a shock. In fact, there are reports that people close to her and her family had absolutely no ideas of what she was planning. Palin still says she has been planning to quit “for a couple months.”