By now you have no doubt heard that Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, has resigned. There is a great deal of speculation about her reasons, timing and her future political career. Both Republicans and Democrats alike were taken by surprise and are not quite sure what to think about it. How did she come across? Did she answer questions with her speech? What did she leave unanswered? I thought I would give my opinion of what her speech did and didn't do. The left says Palin gave no reason for her leaving office, is running away because she isn't qualified, can't take the spotlight's close look at her life, is erratic in her behavior and can't be trusted. The right says Governor Palin is just looking out for Alaska and needs time with her family or will be attempting to run for senator. Looking at Palin's speech, I find that she did give a reason for leaving at the end of the month. She said that she didn't want to waste the time and money to maintain her position when she is a lame duck. This is consistent with what we know of Governor Palin. She will make the tough decisions for what she believes is in the best interest of the people she governs. However, there are two questions this brings up that are left unaddressed in her speech. The first, and most important, is "Why is she not running for re-election?", and the second is, "What message does this send the American people if she has any plans to further her political career?" Let's look at what her speech communicated about the reason she is not seeking a second term. She really didn't give a concrete reason. She mentioned that her family needs her and she spent a great deal of time talking about the mainstream media and various TV personalities, whose attacks have been relentless and in some cases completely unfair. Governor Palin talked also about the legal bills she has been forced to pay in order to defend herself against these attacks. I don't think anyone would think badly of her if she came right out and said, she is giving up politics to protect her family and to earn in the private sector to pay off the legal bills, but that's not what she said. While any of these would be a valid reason for not seeking re-election, her speech failed to articulate even one. If she is staying home because her family needs her, I would expect her to say she is giving up politics until her family has grown. But she didn't say that. If she is stepping down to pursue a better position that would give her more experience in order to run for a higher office, I would have expected her to tell us what she will be doing. But she wasn't specific about how she was going to support causes and candidates from outside the government. Then there is the question of whether or not she will run for Senator or even President of the United States. If she is going to run for any other office, she will undoubtedly be a lame duck at some point. What if she was VP or President? Would she leave her commitment a year and a half from the end? Further, there is the matter of her demeanor during her speech. Governor Palin didn't seem to be her usual relaxed self during this speech. Speaking quickly, taking deep breaths before many of her points, and many other little things made her appear nervous. The Right extolled her communication skills for being able to speak this long without notes, but I think if she had written some bullet points, she would have come across as succinct. The Left said she spoke far too long. I quite disagree. It wasn't the amount of time she spoke that was at issue, it was the disorganized way in which she approached the subject as if there was more to the story than she was willing to go into at this juncture. Finally, there is the matter of what she said. Governor Palin is a very powerful speaker and came off that way during this speech when she was talking about what she would do and has done. Where she faltered is when she painted herself as the victim of the mainstream media. It came off as complaining. While I believe she has every right to complain, the people want her to be the bull dog she is known to be. They want her to stand up for her beliefs and ideas in the face of opposition. That's what a leader does. That's what a leader has to do. There will always be those who disagree with you and, these days where civility is all but gone, leaders know that those disagreements may be hateful and hurtful. Governor Palin's speech leaves many questions, but I think one thing is certian. This decision had to be well thought out and there is a plan. I believe it will be revealed over the course of the next few months. If she does have aspirations in the Senate or White House, she'll have to work hard to communicate to the American people that she has the commitment she'll need to get their vote. I thought about this last part a great deal since I am just about to release my newest study, The Language of Leadership. I'll be posting on that in just a few days. Our online class has several pre registered students who have begun taking the course this week. You can take a look at how the class is run here!