Au Revoir, Sarah

"NEW PARIS, Pa. — Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska was swiftly working the rope line Friday at an apple orchard in southwestern Pennsylvania when she met a supporter who brought her to an abrupt stop.

Amber Brown, 23, held a poster that read: “I have Down syndrome and I’m voting for you. I’m a fighter too!”

Seeing Ms. Brown, Ms. Palin wrapped her in a tight hug.

“I love that poster,” she said. “You’re a fighter and you’re beautiful.”

Then Ms. Palin hugged her again. Before climbing back on her campaign bus, she circled back to Ms. Brown and hugged her a third time."

No matter how you feel about her politics and her values, she is not going to go away anytime soon -- unless she chooses to do so.

Anyone with her ability to connect viscerally with so many people on a national stage would find it difficult -- if not impossible -- to walk away from all the opportunities that will come her way.

It will be most interesting to see what choices she makes about her future as a public person outside of Alaska. This excerpt from today's New York Times account of her return to Alaska contains a glimpse into what might be her future:

"Last week, after Senator Ted Stevens was convicted on federal charges that he failed to disclose gifts and free home renovations he received, Ms. Palin joined Mr. McCain and other top Republicans in calling for him to resign. Yet while Ms. Palin lost her bid for the vice presidency, Mr. Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in Senate history, holds a narrow lead in his bid for a seventh full term.

Asked Wednesday whether she still believed that Mr. Stevens should resign, Ms. Palin was circumspect, saying only that the people of Alaska "just spoke" on the issue at the ballot box and that "they want him as their senator." She said Mr. Stevens should decide "what happens next." (Mr. Stevens could still be forced to step down, and Ms. Palin is widely viewed as a potential candidate for his seat if he does.)"