Commentary: Palin's rationale for resigning is perplexing

Gov. Sarah Palin finally let reporters ask her about why she has resigned, but she offered no clearer explanation than she did during her announcement Friday. She would not say whether she will run for president — the explanation that would make the most sense for her decision to quit. It would be much easier for her to begin pursuing the presidency if she is unburdened by the responsibility of running a distant state.

Holding court on a beach in Dillingham, allotting 10 minutes to each news outlet, Palin continued to complain about having to face numerous, often frivolous ethics complaints. Instead of treating those nettlesome charges as nuisances, she explained that they came to dominate the work of her administration. That doesn't speak well of her ability to handle a high-profile political job, where criticism and personal attacks are, regrettably, inevitable.

She continues to say she didn't want to stick around as a lame duck, once she decided not to run for re-election. In the upcoming legislative session, she suggested, she would be a political pinata, as lawmakers bashed on her in hopes of winning the soon-to-be vacated space in the governor's mansion.

That might make sense if Palin were as unpopular as her predecessor. But Palin is still plenty popular with Alaskans, so bashing her would be a strange marketing strategy for a future gubernatorial candidate. She doesn't seem to realize that lame duck status also can be liberating, freeing an official to do what she thinks best, even if it's politically unpopular.

In any event, political jockeying breaks out in the Legislature every time a governor is either term-limited or chooses not to seek re-election. Is she saying that every governor in that situation should resign?

To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.