1) She's not running in 2012. For anything. People would be able to credibly use her resignation against her, saying she didn't finish her term.
2) With her resignation and Sanford's "Don't cry for me, Argentina" scandal, the GOP bench for 2012 just got a lot thinner. Romney is a smart guy, but his dedication to conservatism is questionable at best, and he's got the charisma of a toenail clipping. Jindal is young, and has slightly more charisma than Romney - let's say two toenail clippings. Huckabee is too much of a nanny stater. And Newt has more baggage than a Trans-Atlantic 747. We'd better hope someone emerges. One thing for sure, there is nobody out there that has the game-changing charisma that Palin had. Nobody could draw the crowds or raise the PAC money like she could.
3) Whether her career in elected politics is over for good is an open question. She may want to lay low for a while and return when her kids are all grown up. She could return to the national stage then, maybe when her youngest daughter Piper (now 8, I believe) is about to graduate high school. But the bottom line is, the choice is hers, so don't put too much stock in those that say her career in elected politics is finished whether she likes it or not. They said the same thing about Nixon in 1962 after he lost to Pat Brown in the race for California governor. They also said the same thing about Reagan after he lost the GOP nomination to Gerald Ford in 1976. How'd those predictions work out again?
4) As long as she stayed in politics, the left would continue targeting her kids. And when she responded (like she did to Letterman), pathetic, squishy DC pundits that fancy themselves as being on the right would tell her to "stop whining". Yes, I'm talking about you, Krauthammer, Jonah Goldberg, Quin Hillyer and Phillip Klein of The American Spectator, AllahPundit and Ed Morrissey of HotAir, and so on.
5) I really do think she resigned in large part for family reasons. Her family has been subject to some of the most vicious attacks ever hurled at a politician's family (and limply defended, if at all, by pundits on the right, save for the few Coulter's, Limbaugh's, Levin's and others we can count on to actually carry the conservative banner with pride). And while I think she could take it when it was just her being attacked, it's a far different story for a parent seeing their children attacked by the national media.
6) Directly related to 4), what disappoints me most about the treatment of Palin is not that of the liberals - I expect them to act like the soulless pieces of shit that they truly are. But alas, having read and heard many a Palin-related comments by much of the right-wing punditry, including those mentioned above, I am far more disappointed in them. Some of them are elitists, some of them elite-wannabes, but far to many of them have gone native in the DC-NY corridor and few of them have a clue about real conservative governance and what the grassroots really believes. Palin, in my opinion was a true Rorschach test that revealed the separation of those who sided with true grassroots of the right, and those elitists with aristocratic pretensions and who sided first with those that they considered in their social strata.
7) Another elitist squish named Rich Brookhiser wrote on The Corner over at NRO, after Palin's selection, that if she was the kind of candidate that excited the grassroots, then the right needed a new grassroots (don't have the exact quote handy). Well, after what we've witnessed through the prism of Palin's time on the national stage, I think it's clear that the grassroots needs a new elite. After all, the so called elite conservatives are what led us to a political environment in which a hardcore leftist like Obama could emerge and win the presidency, while giving an equally hardcore leftwing Democratic congress strong control of both the house and senate. Tell me why we should listen to them again?
These types are this generation's equivalent of the squishes on the right I discussed in my bookshelf entry earlier today, the ones who wanted Reagan to moderate his tone towards the Soviets. We were ill-served by those types then, and we are equally ill-served by them now. So while we all want to give the shaft to liberals, we need to be equally aware of those in the punditocracy and blogosphere that fancy themselves as members of the right but are nothing more than useful idiots for the left. They damage the conservative cause as much as any Democrat ever did, if not more.
Palin on the other hand? She was the best thing our movement had in years. I just hope that if she does disappear from elected politics, that she doesn't disappear altogether, because there is nobody else out there right now that could even come close to spreading our message as effectively as she could.
Good luck, Sarah.