Sarah Palin, One Year Later

One year ago today, Sarah Palin resigned as Governor of Alaska after only 2 1/2 years in office.

It was a year ago today that Sarah Palin shocked the political world by abruptly quitting her job as Governor after only eighteen months two and a half years in office, and what a year it’s been:

(CNN) – One year after announcing she was stepping down as Alaska governor, Sarah Palin remains firmly in the national spotlight, thanks to television appearances, a national book tour, speaking engagements, Facebook and Twitter.

The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee also remains a force on the campaign trail, endorsing numerous fellow Republicans in the GOP primaries this year. But the big question remains: Does Sen. John McCain’s running mate in the last race for the White House want to make her own bid for the top job in next presidential contest?

On July 3, 2009, the governor, who had 18 months left in her first term in office, announced “that I am not seeking re-election.”

Palin went on to say that “I have determined it is best to transfer the authority of governor to Lieutenant Governor Parnell.”

She stepped down on Sunday July 26. If anyone thought her resignation would be an end to the national fascination surrounding Palin, they would be mistaken.

Palin’s visibility and income have skyrocketed, thanks to her best selling book, “Going Rogue,” her contract as a contributor on Fox News Channel, her own TV show on TLC, and speeches that are believed to bring in $100,000 a pop. Her keynote address at the first National Tea Party convention in Nashville Tennessee in February was carried live by the cable news networks. A new book is due out in November, which is expected to be followed by a second national book tour.

Just in the past two weeks, her speaking engagements have taken her from California to Texas, Virginia, Georgia and Nevada, where Wednesday she served as keynote speaker at the International Bowl Expo in Las Vegas.

Palin has also been busy over the past year taking on the Obama White House and Congressional Democrats, getting her messages out on her Facebook page and Twitter.

Palin has remained a force in Republican party politics. She’s endorsed a slew of candidates in the Republican primaries who’ve gone on to win their nomination battles. Among those she’s successfully backed on the statewide level include Rand Paul in Kentucky, Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Terry Branstad in Iowa, Susana Martinez in New Mexico and Carly Fiorina in California.

However, while she’s become a major force inside the Republican Party, it’s fairly clear that Palin’s national appeal isn’t any better today than it was when she stepped down:

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted two weeks ago indicated that 33 percent of Americans hold a negative view of Palin, with 29 percent saying they see her in a positive light, and 24 percent saying they hold a neutral view of Palin.

While very successful so far in the GOP primaries, according to the survey, 52 percent of all voters said they would respond in a negative manner if they knew Palin endorsed a candidate they were considering voting for in the midterm elections.

As for the big prize, recent national polling does not look favorable to Palin. Only three in ten people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll from April thought Palin was qualified to be president, in line with other national polls conducted earlier in the year.

It’s unclear if Palin really wants to run for President, though. Her endorsements certainly seem to have behind them the idea of building a network of supporters among elected politicians, but, at the same time, she seems to be quite enjoying riding the speaking tour circuit and making thousands of dollars just for delivering a speech.

Running for President is hard work and would require Palin to step outside the protective media bubble she’s created for herself on Facebook, Twitter, and at Fox News. Given all the reports about how she was clearly run down by even the two months of campaigning she did as a Vice-Presidential running mate in 2008, one wonders if she’d want to subject herself to that again. After all, it’s much easier to pontificate than actually do something.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    It is a sorry shame Obama cannot follow Palin’s example of putting what she saw as the good of her State ahead of what continuing to hold that office would accomplish. The difference is Palin was effective and helped Alaska. Obama has done nothing except raise our debt and lower our defenses. Obama insults our allies of long standing such as the UK because his grandfather was a Mau Mau. He hates capitolism because there are srong indications there were communists influencing his early thinking (Frank M. Davis, the child molester and cocaine user)

  2. GRD says:

    Just as it’s far easier to snark at someone on a blog than to be out there campaigning for candidates and working for good causes.


  3. JKB says:

    Palin running for president is a problem in that the progressives would go nucular to stop her. Better to stay in the influential position she has where they can’t zero in on her. Palin has become like EF Hutton, when she speaks people listen. Even if they loath what she says. She can also play the whipping girl causing the dems to spend their resources going after her while the candidate moves ahead.

  4. anjin-san says:

    Palin’s tenure as governor was a great success. For Palin. She quit before she had to do a lot of work, and she leveraged it into millions of dollars.

  5. steve says:

    I keep hoping the Republicans can find a candidate well grounded in foreign policy. I dont see any forthcoming at this time.


  6. TangoMan says:

    The author’s opening line = “after only eighteen months in office,”

    The text of the article = “who had 18 months left in her first term in office,”

    I knew the author was Doug even before I checked to confirm my guess. Is it really so much to ask that easily verified facts be verified and that emotional bias and misinformation not inform blog posts?

  7. TangoMan says:

    For the record, she had 15 months until the next election and 16 months left in her term.

  8. Herb says:

    15 months, 18 months, who really cares, Tangoman? The woman quit before her term ended to go be a Facebook/Fox News pundit.

    What, you think quibbling over how many months she didn’t serve is going to make her look better? She’s a quitter and a sell out and you love her for it.

    Honestly, I don’t think that most conservatives…and I mean, actual conservatives rather than right-wing partisans…are as gullible as you or Zelsdorf. That might put a crimp on Palin’s political future plans.

    No, scratch that. It will.

  9. TangoMan says:

    15 months, 18 months, who really cares, Tangoman?

    To my mind there is a significant difference between saying someone has been in office for only 18 months when in fact they’ve held office for 32 months. Whenever Doug touches Palin-related issues these types of errors seem to litter his posts. Alex is clearly the most liberal amongst the OTB bloggers and he’s quite easy to read because he doesn’t infuse his posts with uninformed bias. When I disagree with him it’s on matters of interpretation or emphasis. The facts are usually not in dispute.

    The fact that a reference to 18 months in office doesn’t immediately set error alarms ringing in his head speaks quite strongly to his confirmation bias on this issue. For Governor Palin to have served only 18 months in office at the time of her resignation would mean that she had only been in office 5-6 months when Senator McCain was considering his choices for running mates. Wouldn’t that have been a major news item during the election? It wasn’t.

  10. TangoMan,

    Okay fine you caught me in a typo.

    She quit after two and a half years in office, not eighteen months and I’ve corrected the post to clarify that.

    That still makes her a quitter

    Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to get back to my hot dogs and adult beverages.

    Enjoy your holiday

  11. TangoMan says:

    That still makes her a quitter

    She joins the ranks of quitters like Secretary Clinton, Secretary Napolitano, Vice-President Biden and President Obama.


  12. Herb says:

    Shorter Tangoman:

    I know you are, but what am I?

    (Dude, who do you think you’re arguing with? Doug’s a conservative. Oh, and Clinton, Napolitano, Biden, and, yes, Obama “quit” to go serve in higher office. Sarah Palin quit for a show on the Discovery Channel. Obama’s peers are two Bushes, a Reagan, and an Eisenhower. Palin’s peers are Bear Grylls, Captain Sig, and the Swamp Loggers. What’s the Latin phrase for “You proved my point?”)

    Shorter Doug:

    Now that I burned you, I’m gonna go burn some dogs.

    (And that’s a good idea!)

  13. TangoMan says:

    Doug’s a conservative.

    The great thing about relativism is that anyone can call themselves anything. It doesn’t matter to me what he calls himself, I’ll engage with his ideas, his statements and his analysis.

    Oh, and Clinton, Napolitano, Biden, and, yes, Obama “quit” to go serve in higher office.

    And Governor Palin went on to serve the nation more effectively as the prime opponent of President Obama far more effectively than she could have being tied down by Obama’s minions filling frivolous ethics complaints against here which she was statutorily required to deal with in a fixed period of time such that the vast majority of her time was allocated to dealing with those complaints. Her accomplishments in office are more than most governors achieve in two terms. Her Lt. Governor is accomplishing the remainder of their shared agenda.

    Clinton, Napolitano, Biden, Obama and Palin all left office for a higher purpose. She was the leading voice in opposition to ObamaCare, in opposition to Cap and Tax, she helped the TEA Party rise in influence, her support of candidates in primaries helps reshape the future of the Republican Party. How would she have been more effective punching a time card in the Governor’s office while dealing with 50 further frivolous ethics complaints that consumed her days?

  14. steve says:

    “She joins the ranks of quitters like Secretary Clinton, Secretary Napolitano, Vice-President Biden and President Obama.”

    Hard to believe that even you would believe in this equivalence. Quitting a job for which you are elected to go on TV as a commentator is hardly the same. This is so obvious you lose all credibility. (I suspect it had more to do with oil prices dropping, but who knows, she quit for personal reasons and now works for cable TV. I cannot think of another governor having done the same thing. Many have left to become cabinet officials or to run for POTUS.)


  15. John says:

    It would be fan-freaking-tastic if Palin decided to run for President – understand me? Fan-freaking-tastic. I’m using that term in the same sense that I would use it to describe a fight between a gorilla and a great white shark…or a train versus a tornado:

    Or this:

    This point shouldn’t even be debatable. People that like Palin want her to run, people that don’t should want her to run. In the end she won’t, but if she did…Koala fight!

  16. TangoMan says:

    Hard to believe that even you would believe in this equivalence. Quitting a job for which you are elected to go on TV as a commentator is hardly the same.

    Hard to believe that you would frame this issue this way when there are many media accounts of how the ethics complaints were tying up her office and her time:

    The governor repeatedly returned to the subject of ethics complaints filed against her during her 10-minute interview with the Daily News, saying she spent “most of my day, and my staff, most of their day and the department of law, a lot of their day on the frivolity.” . . . ./blockquote>

    There were statutory conditions on how time the Governor’s office had within which to address the complaints and provide the information requested and provide the witnesses to testify. Her office was spending the majority of it’s time on these complaints.

    I cannot think of another governor having done the same thing. Many have left to become cabinet officials or to run for POTUS.

    That’s where you and I are different, I suppose. I’ll look at the circumstances that surround a situation and try to develop an understanding of the options available to the affected party and see whether I agree that the decision taken was the best option from the range of options. You put a higher value on the appearance and form of the actions, so long as the kabuki is done properly, the substance of the issue seems immaterial.

    If you have evidence that any other Governor has been so targeted by partisan political operatives, engaged in frivolous activity which hamstrung the operations of the Governor’s office so effectively that they prohibiting a governor from performing their duties, and these Governors chose different options than Governor Palin, then please share with me the details so that I can put Governor Palin’s decision into a broader comparative context.

  17. An Interested Party says:

    It’s such a pity that the Great Liberal Conspiracy forced Palin from her office…if she wasn’t tough enough to stand up to this, what good is she? I thought the people of Alaska were important to her? She couldn’t turn on that Mama Grizzly thing to fend off these ridiculous charges being leveled against her? Didn’t the people of her state deserve that much from her? Who, outside of Tangoman and his small band of fellow travelers, really believes in the delusional narrative that he has created for his heroine? Who really thinks that she isn’t a quitter?

  18. anjin-san says:

    Yea, it’s funny how the “barracuda” wilted in the face of Katie Couric and a bunch of supposed liberal weenies.

    You would have thought that all that time she spent chasing Putin out of Alaska’s air space would have toughened her up a bit…

  19. Michael Reynolds says:

    Guys, guys, you’re being unfair. There were ethics complaints so she had to flee. I mean quit. I mean bail. I mean run. Whatever.

    Just as Bill Clinton had to quit when he was under pressure. Yeah.

    And if she were president of course she would likewise have to run at the first sign of trouble. For the good of the people, dontcha know.

  20. steve says:

    “If you have evidence that any other Governor has been so targeted by partisan political operatives, engaged in frivolous activity”

    This has been a constant in American politics, heck politics everywhere, for hundreds of years. You attack the policies of the opposition and go after ethical issues when you can. If they do not exist, you invent them. As an executive, you just deal with it. That is what you have staff and lawyers for. Sanford, who had one heck of an ethics problem, is still able to function as governor. If you cannot compartmentalize as an exec, you should not be in the office.