Sarah Palin was so circumspect in her resignation announcement that not even her natural allies on the right could make heads or tails of it.
Meanwhile, her enemies on the left didn't waste any time in attacking the move as flaky and irresponsible.
The thing is, absent some compelling reason why she can't serve out her term as Alaska governor through 2010, that's the way it looks. Just plain flaky.
Certainly there are persuasive reasons why an elected official might resign early. Health. Family. Scandal. Most voters today will even excuse personal ambition.
But Palin's main stated reason for resigning -- that she didn't want to be a lame duck -- is, itself, lame. That's what she signed up for. She chose to be Alaska's governor and she chose to be a lame duck by not running again next year.
And she was obligated to another 18 months in the job.
She talked about eschewing "politics as usual." Say what? Sometimes, "politics as usual" is a good thing -- such as when you complete the job you were elected to do.
Unless she explains herself better, comes up with a more concrete and legitimate reason for leaving office July 26, she's handing her enemies ready ammunition. And on this count, we can't blame them for firing.
Of course, they're going to attack her no matter what she does. That's what they do.
Indeed, it's becoming clear that the assault on Sarah Palin -- the constant media sniping, the baseless and costly ethics accusations, the unproven rumors of FBI investigations -- might be a sort of left-wing cyber-style attack designed to nip a promising conservative presidential candidate's campaign in the bud.
In short, they want any notion of a President Palin strangled in the crib.
But as rough and tumble as that is, it's politics. If you're a politician, particularly one who claims to be suited to the White House, you deal with it.
Instead, Sarah Palin just looks like a quitter. How could anyone support that in any future run, especially for high office?
Moreover, as baffling as her explanation was -- not even the conservative and whip-smart columnist George Will could understand her reasons for resigning -- it makes you wonder about how she would handle more complicated communications.
Sarah Palin already had mainstream media that were hostile to her. In failing to serve out the gubernatorial term Alaska voters honored her with, she has made things all the more difficult for herself politically.