Sarah Palin's decision to resign as governor of Alaska came as a shock to most political observers and especially to Republicans. There are conflicting stories about why Palin made her decision. Her not wanting to be a "lame duck" excuse was in itself lame, and to announce her intentions on a Friday -- the day before July 4th -- was another example of bad timing. Or was it?
Did she hope that by announcing her decision in the deepest of news holes that no one would pay attention? Or, as I suspect, was it exactly because it was a no news day at the start of a long holiday weekend that would guarantee three days of endless attention and speculation? Palin may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but she has an uncanny ability to draw attention to herself.
Even if the attention she draws is often negative, one gets the sense that Palin lives by the old maxim "it doesn't matter what the story says as long as they spell your name correctly." We've been subjected to a raft of Palin stories the last month -- none of which would seem particularly helpful to a politician. From her drawn out battle with David Letterman to several stories on the internal dynamics (or horrors) between Palin and the McCain campaign, to her last minute decision to attend a huge Republican fundraiser after she had previously declined the invitation, Palin has been everywhere.
For Republicans suffering from a string of sex scandals and the lowest congressional approval rating since Mr. Gallup began polling, the reemergence of Sarah Palin has been a disaster.
No one has a stronger love/hate relationship among Republicans than Palin. The right wing loves her and what's left of responsible Republicans can't stand her. Her decision has ignited debate about her 2012 presidential ambition, a debate the GOP does not need at the moment.
I think I can speak for most Democrats in applauding Governor Palin's decision. Not only does it give the people of Alaska a chance to now get a real chief executive, it makes Palin along with Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, John Ensign, and a certain governor of South Carolina the public faces of the Republican Party. Who could ask for anything more?
Go for it Sarah! In fact please announce your candidacy for president as soon as possible. We Democrats want you front and center wherever and whenever Republicans gather. You, Sarah Palin, are truly the gift that keeps on giving. Our heartfelt thanks!
Bob Beckel currently serves as co-host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The Five (weekdays 5-6PM/ET). He first joined FNC as a contributor in 2000 and rejoined in 2011 as co-host of The Five. Click here for more information on Bob Beckel.