On Friday, July 3, 2009, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced her intention to resign from office at the end of July. (The transcript of Sarah Palin's resignation speech can be found here.) On what would have normally been a slow news day, a Friday leading into a holiday weekend, the world was taken by surprise by the news and reacted accordingly. Accusations flew and speculation surfaced everywhere from within the media to online social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. As imagined, those on the left side of the political aisle, for the most part, used the opportunity to fire more accusations and insults towards Palin and many on the right were left disappointed. But not everyone responded negatively. Several big name Republican pundits, though somewhat suprised, stepped in and defended Palin and her decision.
Radio giant Rush Limbaugh took a break from his 4th of July golfing trip to talk about not ruling out Palin's potential for a 2012 presidential run, "I don't think this precludes her running for office down the road, the presidency, in 2012, at all. I think these people saying she's an instant target because she quit is just inside the beltway formulaic. And she's not that... If anything, this woman's M.O. is outside-the-box, not formulaic, so until we know what this is all about, I think it's just everybody being the smartest person in the room. All I know she is going to continue to fire up people."
Former Governor Mike Huckabee sang a different tune, insisting he is a fan of hers, he insinuated that if Palin cannot handle current attacks as Governor, she certainly would not be able to handle them as President of the United States, "The danger that Sarah Palin faces, and let me be very quick to tell you -- in the way of full disclosure -- I am a Sarah Palin fan. I like her personally. I like her points of view. I think she's right on the issues. The challenge that she's going to have is that there will be people who say 'Well, look if they chase you out of this, it won't get any easier for you at other levels of the stage.'" It should be noted that many believe Governor Huckabee is planning his own run for President in 2012 and Palin is often seen as one of his biggest competitors.
Former adviser to President George W. Bush, Karl Rove, called Palin's move "risky," but also conceded that it's "not clear what she's doing and why."
Other top-name Republican pundits and strategists weighed in and were very supportive of Palin's decision. Mary Matalin called into CNN over the weekend and described the decision as "brilliant." "Well, I think it’s really brilliant, with two caveats, one being that there’s nothing else, ala the Sanford fiasco. There’s nothing else that we don’t know. If all that’s there is what we see right now, it’s brilliant. And, secondly, that she has a plan and people have a plan to put up with the conventional wisdom, chatterati and the political class saying how stupid it is, because it’s brilliant.
The ever-controversial Ann Coulter appeared on "Hannity" on Monday night and not only defended Palin but lashed out at her critics saying, "They're talking about her like an ex-girlfriend. They're totally over her but they just can't stop talking about her. 'No, I'm over her. She's history, I feel more sorry for her than I do for me,' but they can't stop talking about her. I mean who is the last politician they said was a hick, wasn't going any place, was stupid? I think that's Ronald Reagan. She has this amazing ability to connect with people. And you know, as Nixon said, they're not going to have Palin to kick around anymore."
Governor Palin, herself, decided to avoid her critics and the media and instead turned to Twitter and Facebook to get her message to those she really wanted to reach: the American citizens. She has been furiously standing up to rumors and speculation via the social networking websites and posting messages such as "Critics are spinning, so hang in there as they feed false info on the right decision made as I enter last yr in office to not run again...." and "We'll soon attach info on decision to not seek re-election... this is in Alaska's best interest, my family's happy... it is good, stay tuned."
While no one knows for sure what's in store for Palin's future, no one can argue that we will be hearing about her from both supporters and critics for a long time to come.