From Todd Purdum’s Vanity Fair profile of Palin, a week or two back:

Surveying the landscape of political and policy troubles in Alaska, Gregg Erickson, an independent economic consultant in Juneau, concludes, “Everything she’s doing seems to be saying that there’ll be a problem in the future owing to her inattention, but she won’t be here to deal with it.”

Today, Palin announces that not only is she not going to run for re-election next year, she’s resigning as governor of Alaska later this month:

“Once I decided not to run for re-election, I also felt that to embrace the conventional Lame Duck status in this particular climate would just be another dose of politics as usual, something I campaigned against and will always oppose,” Palin said in a statement released by her office.

“It is my duty to always protect our great state. With that in mind, my family and I determined that it is best to make a difference this summer, and I am willing to change things, so that this administration, with its positive agenda, its accomplishments, and its successful road to an incredible future, can continue without interruption and with great administrative and legislative success,” she said.

Not running for re-election is a sensible move if she wants to run for president in 2012. Leaving office before she completes even one term, on the other hand, is not going to strengthen anyone’s confidence in her. Sounds like Gregg Erickson is on to something. (Or maybe Andrew Sullivan got to her.)

Update: Politico takes at face value the Palin camp’s claims that this is a way to save taxpayer dollars by curtailing ethics investigations of the Barracuda. Selfless pol steps aside for the greater good…