Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's decision to step down before the end of
her term caught the political world by surprise, and has fueled
questions and speculation about her political future. Palin was
Republican John McCain's vice presidential running mate in last year's
presidential election and is seen by many Republicans as a potential
candidate in 2012.
Governor Palin was not expected to seek
re-election in Alaska in 2010. But what caught most people by surprise
was her decision to step down later this month without completing a
full four-year term as governor.
fulfilled people determine where to put their efforts, choosing to
wisely utilize precious time to build up. And there is such a need to
build up and fight for our state and our country, and I choose to fight
for it," Palin said.
In her resignation
announcement, Palin cited several reasons including recent political
attacks on her family and the high financial cost of ethics
Palin also mentioned a desire not to serve out
her term as what is known as a lame duck, a politician with fading
political influence because they either will not or cannot seek another
term in office.
Fellow Republicans were caught by surprise,
including former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Huckabee told Fox
News Sunday that he worries some voters may see Palin as a quitter.
a Sarah Palin fan. I like her personally. I like her points of view.
I think she is right on the issues. The challenge that she is going to
have is that there will be people who say, look, if they chase you out
of this, it won't get any easier for you at other levels of the
[political] stage," Huckabee said.
Appearing on the same program was Karl Rove, the top political adviser
to former President George W. Bush. Rove said he was perplexed by
Palin's decision to step down.
effective strategies in politics are ones that are so clear and obvious
that people can grasp it. It is not clear what her strategy here is
but exiting the governorship two and a half years through the term
and putting herself on a national stage that she may not yet be
prepared to operate in [...]," Rove said.
analysts say Palin's unexpected decision has raised questions about her
political future and reopened a debate from last year's presidential
campaign about whether or not she is ready for national office.
John Fortier is a political expert at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.
think it is only going to reinforce some problems that critics of her
saw, as her being not ready for the job or impulsive or not appealing
enough to a wide base of America who expects her to pursue a
traditional course," said Fortier.
engaged critics and even comedians in recent months, especially those
who in her view have targeted her family. Many Palin supporters say
they understand her desire to step away from the national political
limelight for a while.
But Fortier says she still could position herself for a presidential run in 2012.
take her at her word that in some ways she is a little bit tired of the
criticism, and the unfair criticism in some cases, and that she has
some personal things in her life she needs to attend to. But I think
there is some sense that she also wants to be able to focus on national
issues," Fortier said.
Other analysts say
Palin's decision to quit now may give her time to rebuild her image
with the public, an image that took a battering during last year's
Gerson Moreno-Raino is a political expert at Regent University, a Christian
university in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
has been heavily criticized by both the left and the right, Republicans
and Democrats, and this may be a way for her recapture her lost image
and really be in control of her image and her message, which is very
important," Moreno-Raino said.
But, he continued, Palin may have some political fences to mend with
even some of her most loyal supporters who were disappointed with her
decision to step down as governor with 18 months left to go in her term.
think there are people that at a gut level are loyal to Sarah Palin.
And maybe some will argue that she can effect a lot of change, but the
majority of these individuals, I think, are concerned about how she is
going to be able to do this given the fact that in some ways she has or
can be perceived as having quit," Moreno-Raino said.
Palin remains a polarizing figure in national opinion polls, she
continues to draw strong support from conservative Republicans,
especially evangelical Christians.