Sarah Palin’s announcement that she is stepping down from her position as governor of Alaska, effective in two weeks, took the political world by surprise. Alaska’s lieutenant governor will be sworn in soon as that state’s chief executive in Pioneer Park. This will all be very orderly, but both the MSM outlets and the new media — the ones who are not out of town, taking mini-vacations for the holiday weekend — are oddly off balance about the whole episode.
To be sure, part of Mrs. Palin’s announcement was expected. Most people anticipated that she would let us in on a plan not to seek re-election as governor. The widespread assumption that she intends to campaign for the presidency in 2012 fueled speculation that she’d simply complete her first term and then retake the national stage. Hearing that the governor is not planning on even finishing out her first gubernatorial term has shocked a lot of people. It has also led to a rush to fling dirt on top of her political grave — particularly by bloggers who want to be the first to proclaim the governor “so over, so 2008.”
Hang on, though.
The timing of this announcement is very odd for someone who is trying to execute a strategy to get into the White House in 2013. Not only is this a “Friday afternoon news dump,” but it is the mother of all Friday afternoons. Because many people are taking today off and left their homes yesterday for the beach, the lake, the camp, or the hiking trail, we’re well into a three-day weekend for many. If the governor wanted widespread publicity for this unorthodox move, she could not have picked a worse time.
And, to the unending distress of the militant left, she is not the idiot that Katie Couric attempted to make her into, so there likely is some reason Palin wanted to “bury” this news, or at least keep the political paparazzi at bay for a little while.