YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE…. Towards the end of her strange speech yesterday, Sarah Palin said, “[I]t hurts to make this choice but I’m doing what’s best for Alaska, and I have explained why….. I’ve given my reasons.”

Apparently, she didn’t explain it very well, because no one — friend or foe, Dem or Republican, media or officeholder, in Alaska or in the lower 48 — seems to have the foggiest idea what she’s thinking right now.

There are plenty of possibilities, but very few answers.

1. She wants to run for president.

Being stuck running the executive branch in Alaska wasn’t helping her national ambitions, so she’s walking away from her duties. Her first trip to Iowa will be announced in 5 … 4 … 3 …

2. She’s sick of politics.

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reported yesterday, citing “people very close to Sarah Palin,” that outgoing governor has “told her supporters that she is out of politics, period. She is fed up with politics. She doesn’t like her life. She feels that she needs to raise her family. She’s sick of the commute from Wasilla to the capital. And she really does not want to run for higher office, that this is not a case where she is stepping down in order to clear the way for a presidential run. In fact, she has told some of her biggest backers in the national Republican Party that they are free to choose other candidates for 2012.”

3. She’s getting out now in advance of a major political scandal.

Palin has only held statewide office for 30 months, but she’s already been caught playing fast and loose with state ethics laws. AKMuckraker reports on other Palin-related scandals that may be poised to break.

4. She’s running for the Senate.

Notice, one of the harsher Republican criticisms of Palin yesterday came from Alaska’s Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who said, “I am deeply disappointed that the Governor has decided to abandon the State and her constituents before her term has concluded.” Maybe she sees Palin in her rearview mirror? (Murkowski is seeking re-election next year.)

5. She wants to spend more time with her family.

It’s the ultimate in political cliches, but Palin is a mother of five, including a baby with special needs.

6. She has a secret.

A serious medical condition she doesn’t want to talk about? A problem on “the Appalachian trail” (if you know what I mean)?

7. She’s gone mad.

Josh Marshall speculated, “Either Palin is resigning ahead of some titanic scandal (which should emerge in short order if it exists) or her resignation was triggered by an even more extreme mental instability than we’d previously suspected.”

I’m open to suggestion, but for now, I tend to think it’s #1. Palin has, I suspect, been given some very bad advice, and has come to believe that she can launch a credible national campaign. Sensible, reasonable people realize how extraordinarily ridiculous this is, but Palin, I’m guessing, has been blinded by a combination of ambition, arrogance, and conspicuous unintelligence.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.