I just watched Sarah Palin’s announcement that she will step down as governor, which was surreal even by her standards. It’s hard to pick just one favorite moment, though this has to be on anyone’s list:

“Life is too short to compromise time and resources… it may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: “Sit down and shut up”, but that’s the worthless, easy path; that’s a quitter’s way out. And a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just hunker down and “go with the flow”.

I also liked the quote from General MacArthur: “We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.” It takes a certain something to say that without apparent irony.

The part I couldn’t get past, though, was the basketball analogy:

“Let me go back to a comfortable analogy for me – sports… basketball. I use it because you’re naive if you don’t see the national full-court press picking away right now: A good point guard drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her eye on the basket… and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can WIN. And I’m doing that – keeping our eye on the ball that represents sound priorities – smaller government, energy independence, national security, freedom! And I know when it’s time to pass the ball – for victory.”

The thing is: though Palin said several times that she explained her reasons for resigning, she didn’t. Specifically, she never explained why right now, she has to pass the ball in order for her team to win. Why not just head in for the layup, or take an outside shot? Why does she have to pass the ball to her Lieutenant Governor?

I have no more idea than anyone else, but hey: what’s the point of blogging if not to amass a record of your unfounded speculations so that you can go back and see how wrong you were? My unfounded speculation: I do not believe for a moment that this is about taking time off to prepare for 2012. Nothing I know about Sarah Palin leads me to believe that she would give up power voluntarily, let alone for something that is such a long shot, and in such a transparently self-destructive way.

I think that there’s something we don’t know about: either a serious health problem or a serious scandal. In either case, it would, I think, have to be a really big deal to make her react in this way. She has shown herself to be more than capable of brushing off smaller scandals, national embarrassment, and a whole host of other things. She did not step down from the governorship when she gave birth to a child with special needs, or when she was asked to be McCain’s running-mate. She did not decline McCain’s offer because of the potential embarrassment, either to her or her family, of her daughter being unmarried and pregnant. She is no shrinking violet.

Nor, as I said earlier, does she strike me as someone who would give up power without a very, very compelling reason. I didn’t actually get a lot from the recent Vanity Fair piece on Palin, but I did like this quote:

“Remember, says Lyda Green, a former Republican state senator who once represented Palin’s home district, and who over the years went from being a supporter of Palin’s to a bitter foe, “her nickname in high school was ‘Barracuda.’ I was never called Barracuda. Were you?”

Well, no, I wasn’t. She was. Resigning in the middle of her term is not a barracuda-like thing to do.

I await further news with fascination. I’m also taking bets on who the next imploding Republican Presidential hopeful will be.