I have been asking myself this question for months - "if Sarah doesn't run for re-election, what happens to the pipeline?"
Had she simply not run for re-election, she would have triggered a competitive GOP gubernatorial primary, and run the risk of the "Good Old Boys Club" (or "CBC" for those Alaskans who understand that acronym) taking the GOP nomination and the governorship. Otherwise known as the "Republican Majority", this group is vociferously anti-Palin and even functions as a SEPARATE PARTY in the State Senate - where both the majority and minority leaders are Republicans, due to the "Majority's" decision to govern in coalition with the Democrat's rather than work with their fellow Republicans. If they had taken the governorship, the pipeline project (and many other Palin programs) would have been near the top of the cut list.
However, by resigning now, Palin installs Sean Parnell as an incumbent before the 2010 primary. So, instead of fighting off a strong "CBC" challenger, Parnell will have a much clearer shot at keeping the office in Palinite hands for another four (or possibly eight) years. Sarah Palin did not give up on her reforms today - she institutionalized them, Now, they will not leave office with her, but rather continue under Gov. Parnell.
While we're on the subject of Sean Parnell, I think we need to welcome him to the Governorship. In following Palin for so long, I have followed Parnell by default - both as Lt. Governor and as a congressional candidate. He's a stand-up guy, a fine campaigner, and a fantastic leader for Alaska. In fact, with a little seasoning, he might be a good national candidate himself someday.
So, I'd like to offer a toast to Governor-designate Parnell, all of the accomplishments of the Palin administration, and all of the fun we will be having now that "Gov. Palin" is now "just Sarah". Something tells me this is only the beginning for Sarah, and I for one am more than ready for the next stage of this journey.