The news that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president in 2008, will not seek a second term next year was not exactly a surprise. Her numbers back home had been in a nose dive since last year's campaign and she's been feuding with legislators of both parties over the budget problems facing the state.
She's also found herself in many controversies away from home: battling with talk-show host David Letterman, giving mixed signals about attending a GOP fundraising dinner in Washington, and being blamed by some unnamed John McCain staffers for the party's defeat last year.
But few expected her to flat-out resign. On the one hand, it could give her more time to prepare for a 2012 presidential run — while the conventional wisdom is that she still needs to work out her deficiencies to be seen as a serious candidate, polls show her popularity among Republicans still very high.
Or it could signal that she's had enough — of the attacks and the ridicule she and her family have endured since she was named to the ticket in 2008.
Fourth of July fireworks started a bit early this year.