Alaska's Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski issued a surprisingly harsh statement late on Friday, ripping Gov. Sarah Palin's decision to leave office at the end of the month. "I am deeply disappointed that the Governor has decided to abandon the State and her constituents before her term has concluded," Murkowski wrote.
Palin had announced mere months ago that she would help Murkowski raise money for her 2010 Senate race.
And so the question remains: Why did Sarah Palin decide to 'abandon the state'? Is she planning to run for president in 2012, or was this her exit from politics? Was she sick of the personal attacks or was there a devastating new scandal on the horizon?
Or, perhaps the answer is something more immediate and universal: she did it for the money.
With a book due out next spring and the opportunity to make a good amount of money on the speaking circuit, Palin's motivation could have been simply to capitalize financially on her fame. As Fox News puts it, Palin will have "a variety of potential platforms, from writing books to hitting the public speaking circuit to working directly with the Republican Party to get candidates elected" from which to pursue her goals. And in the process, "the ability to make a lot of money -- far more than the $125,000 or so a year she has earned as governor."
Similarly, Democratic strategist Bob Shrum told Politico that the Palins would likely never have to worry about money again given the Alaska governor's earning power.
"She could make more in two weeks on just speaking fees than in the rest of her time as governor," said Shrum.
According to Politico's Mike Allen, Palin's close friends say that among her immediate plans are "paid speeches, and [she] will spend time writing her book, which is due this fall, then promote it heavily when it comes out in spring 2010."
The advance Palin received for the book, which will be published by HarperCollins and has been described as a tell-all memoir, is not known. The Anchorage Daily News reported in May:
The governor said details will be disclosed as required under Alaska law when her annual financial disclosures are due next March. Her advance from the publisher is likely to be paid in stages, though, and it's not clear if she has to disclose the full amount on that report or only the portion received in 2009, according to the state public offices commission.
At the very least, Time notes, this can only prove to be good publicity for her memoir:
One project that will receive a boost from Sarah Palin's plan to step down as the governor of Alaska is her much-touted autobiography, for which it will provide a hotly anticipated chapter.