Ed Kilgore is managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a frequent contributor to a variety of political journals.    

Generously helping the chattering classes extend a week of speculation about her past and future, Alaska governor Sarah Palin announced today that she was resigning her position on July 26, because--well, it’s not quite clear why, but if you watch her press conference, it seems to have something to do with her concept of point-guard play in basketball.  She’s handing off the governorship to her Loot, moving towards the basket, and then executing some play only she knows.  

To the extent that there are any coherent rationales expressed in her announcement, they involve the distractions of her battles with her lower-48 enemies (and perhaps their Alaskan stooges), and her realization that she wouldn’t be doing much work as a lame duck, so why wait to resign?  

More conspiratorial souls, or perhaps those who think the whole announcement was more than passing strange, are expecting some other shoe to drop--perhaps a scandal, or an indictment, though probably no trips to Argentina.  Still others think she’s actually getting out of politics altogether.  At least one conservative pundit who’s been known to swoon for her, Bill Kristol, guesses she’s already decided to run for president, and calls it a “an enormous gamble--but perhaps a shrewd one.”

Along those lines, my own guess is that Sarah Palin has gotten too big for Alaska, in her own mind, and in the minds of the hard-core cultural conservative base activists across the country, who have loved her and suffered with her as a sort of St. Joan of the Tundra. 

So what better time to declare her independence of her old frozen turf, with all the budget fights, and personnel problems, and the perpetual scrutiny of those who know her best?  If she wants, I’m sure she can land a nice spot on Fox, and if quitting her one substantial job after just two-and-a-half-years increases the mockery of The Elites, why should she care? As I said the other day, mockery is nectar to Sarah’s legions. 

But whether she’s getting tired of a small-potatoes job after hitting the big time, and wants to move up, or is getting out of the game entirely, she’s definitely a free woman now--unless there is a process-server staking out her front door.

--Ed Kilgore